The building at 206 S. Sixth St. in Springfield that formerly housed the Andiamo coffee shop is now home to Terra Ferment, the newest addition to the downtown beer scene.
Terra Ferment officially opened to the public on Feb. 29, and owner William Tubbs described the weekend as a “steady and sometimes frightening stream of people coming in.” As the only employee, Tubbs recruited his friend John Zerkle, co-owner of the nearby Anvil & Forge Brewing and Distilling, to help out behind the bar for a few hours.
Rather than brewing beer on site, Terra Ferment offers a wide variety of different beers, ranging from those made at Anvil & Forge or Buzz Bomb to beers that are found overseas. “I want to try to represent the classic styles from around the world, as well as the local and regional brewers,” Tubbs said, noting that he carries about half European beers and half North American beers, including several made locally. “When I started traveling more I saw the bar culture in other countries and how different it is from here.”
Tubbs retired last July after 28 years with the state of Illinois, most recently as the editor of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and decided to turn a lifelong passion into a business venture.
“I’m a home brewer and used to be the president of Prairie Schooners, the local home brew club. Lots of the guys who have brew pubs around Springfield are friends of mine,” said Tubbs. “If you talk to my friends, they’ll tell you I’ve been talking about this for the last 20 years and it was finally the right time.”
While Tubbs hopes to be able to use the basement space for small events, he said that had to be put on hold while he was focused on opening, particularly since he doesn’t have other staff yet to help with coverage. He’s also working on compiling a list of downtown restaurants who would be willing to deliver to his location. Terra Ferment doesn’t serve food, but patrons can bring their own or have it delivered.
Tubbs said he also plans to get a special permit that will allow him to serve beer to go on the day of the St. Patrick’s parade downtown, since his location will be in the center of the action. “It’s going to be wall-to-wall people outside,” he said.
Terra Ferment is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 4-10 p.m., Saturday from 2-11 p.m. and Sunday from 2-8 p.m.