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On the Go (Archive)

Lunar Brewery serves up local craft brews

Villa Park, IL

Hidden in a 100 year-old building in Villa Park lies an untapped beauty: Lunar Brewery. Not only is it a neighborhood bar, but it is a bar that brews its own beer.

Charlie Tierney was a regular customer at Lunar long before he decided to buy the place. Tierney first started out in the food industry as a room service waiter, then worked his way through the hotel business before becoming the manager of a fine dining restaurant. As Tierney puts it, he “paid his dues” in the restaurant industry before stumbling into owning Lunar.

“I always thought it was the American dream to own a corner tavern,” Tierney says. “The fact that they make good beer makes the dream even better.”

Lunar currently has four of their own brews on tap, and 13 guest drafts available as well. They always have a set bottled list and a guest draft lineup where Tierney tries to feature as many other breweries as possible.

“People seek this place out because it’s a beer destination,” Tierney says. “We don’t have Miller or Bud on draft because you can get it almost anywhere. Instead, we have over 100 different types of bottles.”

Amy LeFurgy from Elmhurst is very familiar with the tavern and the beer Tierney serves.
“The beer is awesome!” she says. “It’s by far the freshest beer you can get in the ‘burbs. The beer is all brewed in the back in very small batches, which lets them be very creative in the brewing process.”

Tierney takes full advantage of his freedom during brewing. One of the perks of owning Lunar is that Tierney gets to experiment with the beer he creates. In one of Lunar’s beers, there are around 40 pounds of real blueberries, and in another there is orange peel and coriander. Usually they brew beer once or twice a week and then lager it for one to three weeks depending on the viability of the yeast.

“Lately the beer industry is wide open,” he says. “You can shoot for a style but you are actually crafting new style guidelines all the time. The way craft brewing is going, the sky is the limit.”

Although Tierney doesn’t sell his beer anywhere else, he welcomes the opportunity to take his beer to festivals. On Aug. 20, The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild will be hosting their fourth annual Micro Brew and Food Review in Oak Park. One of the features of the event is the Craft Brewers Guild “Replicale” project, in which Tierney and his brewery will be participating. This project is where 15 breweries set out to make the same beer, and as a result of the different equipment and the different brewers, each batch turns out differently. This year’s style is an American Belgium Pale Ale, which Tierney is currently in the process of brewing.

Tierney is hoping to spread his love of beer and craft brewing by continuing to make the best beer in the area. He also urges everyone to come try all of the beers that Lunar has to offer. “Come thirsty!” he says.

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