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Growing Craft-Beer Scene Adds New Taproom In Bloomington

A local brewery’s new taproom in south Bloomington is the latest addition to Central Illinois' growing craft-beer scene.

Lil Beaver Brewery opened its taproom last week at 16 Currency Drive, Bloomington. It’s owned by well-known local homebrewer Chad Bevers and longtime friend Dale Thomas, both Bloomington-Normal natives.

Lil Beaver is the third craft-beer opening in Bloomington-Normal in the past year, following the successful launch of Destihl Brewery’s giant beer hall and White Oak Brewery’s taproom. A fourth business, Keg Grove Brewing Company, expects to open this spring on Empire Street near Linden Street.

"If you come once a week, every time you'll see at least two new beers."

GLT stopped by Lil Beaver Brewery on Thursday afternoon and found a packed house. There’s lots of space and high ceilings, with most of the light coming from strands of backyard-style bulbs stretching across the taproom. You can’t miss the giant walk-in cooler.

“The reasons that people came out is what really surprised us the most. It wasn’t just people who were following us and waiting for the doors to open. Half the people I talked to just heard about it on the news or they saw it on Facebook,” Bevers said. “It wasn’t something that was on their radar before last weekend, and we thought that was fantastic.”

Lil Beaver Brewery has 10 beers on tap at any given time. “Our goal is if you come once a week, that every time you come you’ll see at least two new beers,” Bevers said.

Like any good craft brewer, there’s a story behind each beer’s name. Bevers’ daughters are the “creative directors” of those names, he said, providing silly phrases that he matches to each brew. One of the most popular offerings is Now I Know My Know My, a cream ale that’s named for the song kids use to learn their A-B-Cs.

The brewery has had beers available on draft in Bloomington-Normal at select locations since November. Bevers and Thomas are now hiring more staff, including a second brewer, to help with their growth and the taproom. Bevers is also executive director at the Midwest Food Bank in Normal.

The taproom is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.