ALGONQUIN – Brothers Bob and Steve Boyer want patrons to know that the beer brewed at Algonquin’s Village Vintner is not the same swill your parents used to drink.
Microbreweries, like Village Vintner, have been popping up all over the country, primarily in West Coast states such as California, Oregon and Washington, Steve Boyer said.
According to the Brewers Association, an industry organization that promotes small, independent American brewers, there are 2,347 craft brewers in the U.S. compared with just under 2,000 the year before.
Steve Boyer believes the younger clientele can be credited for the emerging successes of craft brews.
“The younger generation is really on the forefront of that,” he said. “They’re tired of the Budweisers.”
Added Bob Boyer: “that their parents grew up on. … We all grew up on Old Milwaukee, Pabst, Budweiser. Everybody’s realizing it’s not about how much you drink, it’s about what’s in it.”
The Village Vintner’s most popular beers are the Vanilla Cream Ale, with a flavor reminiscent of sipping on a bottle of cream soda; Hop Rocket, a strong-bodied IPA; and Cocoa Vanilla Stout, called “rich and creamy.”
But what sets the Village Vintner apart from others is that they’re one of only two brewery-winery combinations in the entire state. The other is near St. Louis, they said.
In fact, the business got its start as a popular winery in Carpentersville before relocating to a larger space in Algonquin, just off Randall Road.
“There are not too many places you can do a tasting of beer and wine in one location,” Bob Boyer said.
Village Vintner has a full menu of red, white, fruit and dessert wines to satisfy just about any palate.
While the company got its start making wine, but to rewind even further, Steve Boyer credits his mail carrier for sparking his interest.
The mailman and the future brewmaster had casual conversations about wine over the mailbox. Shortly thereafter, the postal worker offered to show him the extensive wine-making operation he had been running with his friends.
Steve Boyer was hooked.
“It started out as a hobby; now it’s work,” he said, laughing.
But there’s more to the Village Vintner than the beer and wines made in house at their sprawling location at 2380 Esplanade Drive in Algonquin. It has a menu with items that use only fresh ingredients.
“We don’t even have a microwave,” Bob Boyer said as a point of pride.
Both brothers said the ribs are their favorite dish on the menu, saying that they are slowly cooked overnight in a wood burner. The wood-fire pizzas also are a fan favorite.
The restaurant seats 100 with and room for another 25 on a patio for dining al fresco.
Since it opened in Algonquin’s Esplanade more than a year ago, the restaurant, brewery and winery has been relying primarily on word-of -mouth referrals to boost clientele.
So far, it’s working. Last year, Village Vintner produced 6,000 gallons of wine and brewed 8,000 gallons of beer.
“If you got something good, people will find you,” Bob Boyer said.
Village Vintner Winery, Brewery and Restaurant
Where: 2380 Esplanade Drive, Suite 100, Algonquin.
Information on beer and wine club memberships can be found at www.thevillagevintner.com.