Galena Brewing Company

Galena Brewing CompanyGalena Brewing Company
Galena Brewing CompanyGalena Brewing Company
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

227 North Main Street
Galena, Illinois, 61036
United States

(815) 776-9917 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 38 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

Nice place in the quaint, historic town in Galena that struggles with parking. In the middle of a string of novelty shops. Nice town. This place has a nice vibe in an industrial setting. Beers are good, not phenomenal. I had their wings that were on special. 20 for $10. The Parmesan garlic wings were phenomenal. The BT was very responsive. Kid friendly as well. I will go back every time I take family for a road trip. Carry out 16 ounces. Can take growlers as well.

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Photo of wolverine0712
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Visited the brewery last Friday and took the tour. Brewermaster Jon Wagner led the tour and was very informative. For only $5 you get the tour and a pint of beer. Wagner gives a little beer history, brewery history (Red Stripe was started there), and how they brew. Well worth 5 buck.

Full Review:

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Photo of mynie
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I'm now old enough (and white enough) to appreciate Galena, which is the town where Chicago people go on weekend trips when they want to look at antiques and go "ooh" at some cute old buildings. The town is pleasant. They got lots of little shops, decent wineries and a nice little distillery, and then this place.

This place is really, really nicely set up. It looks like a small-ish shop from the outside, but the inside is wide and spacious with tall ceilings and excellent natural lighting. It goes for the industrial vibe of so many other brewpubs, bricky with exposed ductwork, only it pulls it off without seeming forced or fake.

As for the vibe: Mississippi Valley people tend to be weird. Trust me, I know, I grew up there. The stereotype is that Iowa and Wisconsin people are achingly nice, but that's only true if you go further north. In the valley, folks is reticent and tend to glare judgingly at at outsiders. And, counterintuitive as this may seem, this goes double in drinking establishments, which are usually populated only by locals, the cousins of locals, and/or fat and racist bikers. Should you attempt to engage these simple, hateful folk in a conversation, you best 1) be white, 2) have no accent whatsoever, and 3)use no words containing more than two syllables. Break any of those rules and you might find your tires slashed.

Thank god, Galena Brew Co seems to be an exception to this trend. The people weren't exactly east coast talkative or Minnesota friendly, but they were decidedly less awful that those in the surrounding towns. It might be because they're used to tourists, or it might be because the vibe in Galena is just generally less hateful than it is in, say, Savannah, but the difference is marked.

As for the beer... eh. Flagships are all solid. But the bigger, bolder, more contemporary styles were mixed. Especially those styles that can be easily screwed up. Stick with the classics and you'll walk away happy. But, you know, don't go expecting anything too outstanding.

To summarize: the facility is gorgeous, the vibe is good for the area, the staff are friendly, and the beer is okay.

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mynie from Maryland, May 19, 2014
Photo of lovethebelgians
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Really cool place, tried a flight of all of their seasonals that were on tap. Most of them all pretty solid, my definite fave though had to be their Return of the Dunkel, one of the best Dunkels I've had in awhile. The other beers were a hefe, IPA, coffe oatmeal porter, rhye. Most all solid but nothing spectacular

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Photo of ferrari29
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Situated right in the middle of Galena's charm and small-town streets is a big city caliber brewing facility. GBC makes great beers at a great price. People are very friendly and the wait staff know everything about their beers. Management has done a fantastic job of bringing local bands to play on Friday and Saturday evening for a great evening of beer and entertainment. You wont be disappointed. Pretty much every beer that GBC makes is available on-tap and most of them sell for take-home at the gift shop. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy; GTC co-owner and Event Coordinator. She's a great person who cares about her company, customers, and most importantly, beer. I wish they would distribute further east though, especially in Chicago. They would do great.

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ferrari29 from Illinois, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of davey
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

Lived in galena for a spell, and was in here almost everyday. The place used to be a funeral home. It's very spacious, with open seating. The bar sits about 15. A couple goo sized flat screen TV's. Good lighting. Inside is all wood and brick.
Behind the bar is the brewing equipment. You can also see the the tanks in the back. Tours are daily.
Food is okay, just small portions. Lots of beer related foods. Beer bread, ipa brats, etc. Price is too high on most items.
Service is great! Greg is on of the best bartenders I've met. Everyone knows the beer, and can help you out with selections.
Now to the beer. You're not going to find anything mind blowing but everything poured is solid. The IPA and stout are my favorites. I've had a Randalled IPA and a coffe infused (tweaked out stout) that were really good, but are very rarely done. Seasonals are on par. The brewer knows his stuff but isn't really allowed to expand or innovate, which is a bummer.
If you're in Galena this is a must stop!

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davey from Oregon, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Although I might have elected to try a couple of the highly rated pizza joints in downtown Galena, this was kind of a tough place to pass up. Our party of five wasn't served with any great speed throughout our entire meal, which was kind of a bummer, but otherwise the vibe was good, the food was total quality stuff, and the beer also most satisfactory.

They give tours of the brewery, which we passed on, and instead endured a horrible open mic performance and then another passable one. Lots of bikers came through, and the rest of the clientele was a diverse mix of folks. Just a very open atmosphere and vibe, with quality on every level, except for maybe the service.

They offer five regular rotation beers, plus two seasonals. Nothing for those looking for extremity or innovation, but the three I sampled were solid solid solid. They even bottle some of their stuff (guess which president's likeness the label's sport?), and those are available in the gift shop to the left of the front doors. Definitely stop by when you're in beautiful historic Galena.

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Metalmonk from North Carolina, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of emerge077
3.74/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Summer 2019
New brewer, new seasonals, nothing too exciting but a decent blueberry coffee blonde ale and Uly’s is pretty good though less robust than I remember it. Atmosphere was kind of lame, screaming kids and crying babies. The place is big enough they shouldn’t seat huge groups with kids right next to the bar, but it is seat yourself so it was the group at fault. Not sure if i’ll return here.

3 years later... some things have changed. The brewmaster left to work at Pecatonica (a rumor I heard), and they only had a couple seasonals, an English pale and Rye something. Krankshaft guest tap (yay) but it blew (boo).

The more exotic menu items were gone in favor of mostly standard pub grub. The staff didn't seem to know much about the beer or the large pictures of historical people the beers are named after. It was funny when one person asked what IBU's were, and the bar was all aflutter about it. A little bit disappointing after a fairly strong start, though they still make a couple good flagship beers (Uly's and the hefe).

Also, why do they open at 4pm during the week? I swear I saw a dozen people try the door at lunchtime, only to find it closed (including me). I'll continue stopping here when in town, but the bloom is off the rose to some extent.

08-04-2011 4.18
Stopped in here today after missing the opening by a couple weeks last year... overall first impressions were good.

This was formerly a funeral home? Wow, it's huge. Vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, wood floors and a rustic bar towards the back with the brewing equipment front and center under a skylight. Seating for 15 at the bar, with about 20 or so tables around. Space was set up for a dj, karaoke, and their weekly "brew-olympics" event.

We were just in for lunch, and the atmosphere was pretty chill, surprisingly with heavy reggae vibes flowing. Karin was the bartender, apparently also a big reggae fan who relocated from San Diego, which was fun to chat about. They recently held an outdoor reggae fest here, and brewed a tasty seasonal apricot beer for it, Jah-pricot. Service at the bar was really great in general.

Beer selection seemed to be pretty standard style wise, with one rotating seasonal. They do about 5 flagship beers, and also had Millstream craft sodas on tap. Standouts were the Hefe (far better than the old Sand Creek contract-brew), Annabelle's IPA, and Ulys Dark (Irish Dry Stout). Also good but not too wild were the Farmer's Cream Ale and Miner's Treasure Late Amber. Growler fills were $18 so we passed, no outside glass either. They were actually brewing that day (behind the bar) so that was fun to see.

Food was actually really good, we ordered a few things of the tapas menu, which were easy-to-share small plates, great "beer food". First was a small loaf of beer bread, baked in house using their amber ale, with a side of honey butter. The beef empanada with rosemary and demiglace was very tasty, also the caprese flatbread and mini charcuterie plate. The menu seemed contemporary with a broad range of styles. From their website: "Gluten free and Vegetarian dishes; Nothing fried, nothing grilled!" They even had roasted marrow bones, which may be off putting to some, though also a menu feature at high-end restaurants in bigger cities. There's more to Galena than just wine and steaks now, the beer revolution has finally arrived...

Great potential with GBC, they put alot of work into the building rehab, and it's a nice space with a broad appeal in this tourist town. Hope they expand the seasonal selection, and do some occasional small-batch stuff, maybe allow their brewer to get more creative (HINT HINT) and brew the Hefe year-round. I'll be stopping back in whenever passing through the area. 2012: They seem to be running a slightly more diverse beer schedule with new seasonals such as Belgian Saison and Rye Barleywine. Keep it up!

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emerge077 from Illinois, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of kdog630
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Visited Galena Brewing Company three times this weekend while in Galena. The first time was while waiting for our room to be ready around 3:00 on Friday. There were a few people at the bar and a family with a couple of tables pushed together. It was pretty dead, otherwise. The bartender was pretty indifferent. My glass had been empty for a while before he walked by again and looked our way.

We came back around 8:00 after dinner and there were only two other people there. It was bitter cold outside, so this didn't really surprise me. This bartender knew her stuff. She told us different things about the beer and then told us about places to cross-country ski around the area. The Mrs. got the hefe and I got their seasonal dunkel. We then got a growler and left.

We went there again on Saturday before dinner because we wanted to take the 6:00 tour. There were a good 30 people there and a duo was setting up. The tour was really very good. The brewer takes you around and explains his processes, shows where each step takes place. Only 25 but really into it.

I wasn't really sure what to say about the atmosphere. You can tell they put a lot of work into reclaiming the building. The bar is kind of sterile but you get a good view of the mash tuns behind it.

Overall, I liked the three beer styles I tried. The IPA didn't quite work in the tulip glass, but I got it in a plastic cup for the tour, and (I know, plastic cup) you really got a better idea of the aroma. Refilled my growler before leaving town. I'll review the beers when I'm done.

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kdog630 from Illinois, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of Frankinstiener
4.68/5  rDev +19.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I've a few of there bottled beers since they started selling them but this is my first visit to the brewery since it opened in July. I tried most of the beers they had. Standouts were the Uletide ale. This beer was just under 9.5% aBV and had lots of flavor. They also had a double bock on there specials menu that served the style well. The Hefe and the Amber tasted better on tap then when I had previously tried them, and the IPA was fantastic.

At far as atmosphere I went in on a sunday and they had football on the flatscreens and the staff was more than friendly.

The food is different but everything I tried (3 of the Tapas) was really good.

Il definitally be back

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Galena Brewing Company in Galena, IL
Brewery rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 301 ratings