I started this blog last year when an amass of restaurants were opening all at once. There’s been a wintry lull and I’ve gotten to take a break. I went to Europe, adopted a puppy and focused on the monotony of my critical care nursing career.
Meanwhile, there’s been two breweries fermenting on opposite sides of Downtown Springfield: Buzz Bomb and Anvil & Forge (which should have been named Forge & Anvil. Rolls off the tongue). While there isn’t heard promise of a kitchen in either, I’ve been paying attention and so have the rest of the beer and food culture devotees of Springfield.
Buzz Bomb gave a preview of their recipes at “Shoes and Brews” at Erin’s Pavillion in Summer 2017. They ran out of supply quickly, but we were impressed that most of their drinks contained some sort of honey (bee relevant; go figure).
My husband and I somehow got invited to the exclusive soft opening of this super-anticipated brewery last week.
When I walked in, my wonder of why this place was taking so long was rapidly answered with a resounding “we built this entire place with our own bare, bloodied hands.”
From the 5,000 dollar suit of armor in their carefully built bookcase, to the epoxy on the gorgeous, hand-crafted tables, every detail is stunning and personal. The downstairs acts as the fast-paced, loud serving station and upstairs holds “the library,” and looks idyllic for Settlers of Catan or Risk.
My fear was that their amount of focus on the furniture would cause the beer to suffer. I tested this with a flight of their recommendations: 2, 3, 5, 8.
1. Maple Vanilla Porter
2. Milkman Chocolate Stout
3. Mandarina Bavaria
4. Session Swayze
5. 99 to Life
6. Old Ball & Chain
7. Berliner Weisse
8. 217 Common
Each beer can be bought in a full, half pour or taster. All sizes vary in price based on the type of beer.
The chocolate stout was lovely and didn’t feel like pudding in my mouth, as they so often do. The taste was mellow and sweet with hints of cocoa.
The Mandarina was slightly citrusy and was easy to drink. The 99 to Life was a 10.0% imperial that certainly would’ve resulted in dastardly events had I kept drinking. It didn’t taste or look as dangerous as it was.
The 217 Common had hop subtleties that made it enjoyable and pleasant.
All around, each beer was delicately brewed and wonderful to drink.
Then, my friend ordered a second round: the Berliner Weisse, their sour.
My friend shoved two pyrex tasting glasses in my face and said “you have to try this.”
I tried one glass, it was the sour alone. I appreciate a good, tart beer as much as the next post-warhead candy childhood survivor, but this was wonderful.
The second glass appeared coral in color. As I sipped, he said “they added blood orange.” I saw an array of syrups at the bar and could now safely assume they added each to the customer’s preference. This concept is so simple but creative. The ingenuity was charming and fun.
As the night progressed, we were found by multiple staff who seemed a little surprised we were there. It was just as confusing for me, as they all look the same, donning the same facial hair, dickies jacket, converse tennis shoes, paper boy cap and punk rock patches bearing “Buzz Bomb.” I heard the Pixie’s “Doolittle” album over the speaker system and reacted gleefully. One of the staff, Yoder, was appreciative at my knowing the album and offered a tour to my husband and I. He showed us the very specific equipment needed to perform beer science in the brew room, the shiny pieces of metal that all serve some special purpose unbeknownst to me, all the while still impressive.
I noticed the punk rock elements echo throughout the venue: Dead Kennedys, Pixies, Misfits were all present. The staff is all a bunch of punk nerds who DIYed a brewery, using their own 401k’s and scrounging up loan monies. It’s admirable to say the least. Don’t be fooled; there’s no safety pins holding the project together; they did it right.
The brewery is located at 406 E Adams St, Springfield, IL 62701.
Buzz Bomb opens today at 3 p.m.