Many people enjoy a cold beer from time to time, and during the holiday season, Christmas cookies are a popular treat. Brent Schwoerer of Engrained Brewery & Restaurant has found a way to combine the best of both worlds with a Christmas cookie beer.
“I wanted to do a cookie-style beer, and I’m happy with how it came out,” Schwoerer said. “Everyone has really been enjoying it so far. It has cinnamon and vanilla undertones with a malt-forward beer flavor.”
The Christmas cookie beer is the current seasonal brew in Engrained’s new bottled beer line, available for purchase at the restaurant in six-packs. Demand for their popular craft beer, brewed onsite by Schwoerer, has lead to the new bottling program, which includes Blackberry Lager, German Lager, Hefeweizen, India Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale, Oatmeal Stout and a changing seasonal brew.
“We bottle it in-house,” Schwoerer explained. “It’s a difficult leap to make as a small brewery because the equipment is so expensive, but I purchased a small bottling unit and we do it right here on the premises. It’s a fairly manual process.”
Engrained beer was previously available to take away in a growler, but that had a more limited shelf life. “Bottled beer stays fresh longer, which is perfect for sharing with friends and family during the holidays,” said Schwoerer. “It’s also a lot better suited for parties.” The seasonal beers are brewed in a single batch, but for those who are looking for a unique local gift or wanting something a little different for a holiday party, Schwoerer anticipates having Christmas cookie beer available through the end of the month.
Brent and his wife, Melissa, opened Engrained, which is located at 1120 W. Lincolnshire Boulevard next to Scheels, in 2013. “At Engrained, we are constantly evolving and offering more value for our guests, and bottling gives them the versatility they have asked for,” said Schwoerer.
Typically, 10 to 12 Engrained beers are available on tap at the restaurant. Six styles are offered year round, with regularly updated seasonal styles, many using Illinois hops.
In addition to a microbrewery, Engrained is a full-service farm to table restaurant. The seasonal menu uses beef, pork, cheese, chicken and eggs from Central Illinois farmers.
“We believe in supporting the community we live in and that means sourcing as many of our ingredients as possible from local family farms,” said Melissa, a Springfield native. “Springfield is our home, and we want to see it grow and thrive so that our children can have a future here. This is a special place where people know and care about each other, and we are fortunate to have the support of our community.”