By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — Prairie Street Brewing Company on Friday, Mary 11, announced the launch of its first canned beers for off-site sales.
Feather Eye Rye, is a tasty rye IPA, while Berry River Roll is a fruit-enhanced Kölsch. The announcement comes two years after the local company launched the names an brand identity.
“This is the first time beer has been packaged in this building for many decades,” said Reed Sjostrom, co-founder and head of brewery operations.
Prairie Street Brewing will officially released the beers at a kickoff party Monday, May 14, in its historic downtown building designed by Jonathan Peacock, an English brewer who immigrated to the United States and first brewed beer in Rockford in 1849.
“It’s kind of surreal, really, drinking beer you helped make out of a can,” Sjostrom added. “We’re excited about this and we hope it makes a few customers happy along the way, too.”
Sjostrom says the move to distributing beer to regional grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants and bars is a natural part of Prairie Street’s growth. The company sold 1,098 barrels of beer in 2015; 1,160 in 2016 and 1,250 in 2017.
“We will add another 400 – 500 barrels in 2018,” Sjostrom said. “It’s all part of our desire to bring our brews to more people in the region, wherever they are. We want Prairie Street Brewing Company to be known as ‘”Rockford’s hometown beer.'”
Sjostrom said Berry River Roll came out of a desire to make a classic summer beer, one he called “refreshing and crushable.” Itis perfect for sitting on a boat, lawn chair, or on the dock while “watching the river roll by.”
Berry River Roll contains no sweeteners. It’s all-natural, containing only blackberry and blueberry juiced added to the tank.
Sjostrom called Feather Eye Rye a unique twist on a popular style in the challenging modern world of craft brewing.
“IPAs are super popular, of course,” he said. “So, we wanted one of our first canned styles to be an IPA. But, we didn’t want to do just any IPA. Feather Eye Rye really showcases the ability of our brewers to make complex beers. It shines up front with rye spice and a little fruit, then moves on to a velvety medium body in the middle and finishes with citrus, pine, and tropical and herbal notes. Feather Eye Rye is a product of our experimental Pilot Series and we could not be prouder of it.”
The IPA won a Gold Medal in 2018 from tastings.com. R.