A La Carte: New owners of Craft Beer Bar to offer class

Lou and Kathy Calvetti — new owners of downtown Springfield’s CRAFT BEER BAR — have adopted a mission not only to serve craft brews but also to teach the public about the nuances of this growing market.

“They’re going to notice more of an educational aspect to what we do, more interactive stuff with our guests,” Lou Calvetti said, speaking about the pub’s grand reopening this weekend. “I really want to make this a collaborative effort between us and our breweries to give people a chance to learn about craft beers.

“It’s not all heavy stouts.”

School starts Wednesday with a sour beer tasting class led by nationally recognized DESTIHL BREWERY of Bloomington.

The class, led by Destihl brewer Austin Smythe, will include sampling seven sour beers, including Destihl’s own St. Dekkera Reserve Sour Ale. The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door and are only available at Craft Beer Bar, 430 E. Monroe St. Space is limited.

Destihl Brewery and DESTIHL RESTAURANT & BEER WORKS — founded by former attorney Matt Potts — grew from a home-brewing hobby to a microbrewery with a national reputation. The first brewpub opened in Normal in 2007. Today, the Bloomington-based production facility sends its small-batch, special-label brews nationwide.

Destihl also will be Craft Beer Bar’s featured brewer for October. Selected breweries will be featured each month for the $5 Thursday night pint, which includes a collector’s glass.

The Calvettis have nearly doubled the number of craft beers available to 200 choices, with new selections rotated in weekly. Steve Balen will remain bar manager.

The new ownership also has acquired a retail license, allowing for carryout sales.

Hours are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, noon to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

The sale of Craft Beer Bar — just shy of the business’s first anniversary — is the latest rearranging of holdings by founder Josh Sonneborn and his partners.

Sonneborn said he and his partners — Jordan Blevins, Chip Kennedy, Josh Lindvall and Paul Wiss — are positioning themselves for some yet-to-be-named plans. A fall announcement is expected.

The men have focused their business efforts on Springfield’s downtown area, adding to their portfolio CAFE BRIO, the former FIREHOUSE where Craft Beer Bar is located, and the dance club CATCH 22.

Last winter, the group sold Cafe Brio, 524 E. Monroe St., with former owner Mark Meng returning to the helm. Catch 22 also underwent a makeover, rechristened as LUCID and operating under new management.


BREWHAUS has added a Saturday brunch beginning this weekend.

Page 2 of 2 – Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with an a la carte menu full of traditional breakfast selections. The tavern is at 617 E. Washington St.

Area MCDONALD’S restaurants are leading up to National Coffee Day by offering customers a free McCafe coffee through Sept. 29.

The offer is good for a small McCafe and is available throughout the day.

The A La Carte column highlights restaurant openings closings, renovations and relocations, as well as personnel changes and business news. Natalie Morris can be reached at 737-7254 or by email at natalie.sjr@gmail.com.

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