LEMONT – After a summer full of construction, the Pollyanna Brewing Co. will have the grand opening of their tasting room from noon to 11 p.m. today at 431 Talcott Ave.
Pollyanna was founded by Brian Pawola, Ed Malner, Ryan Weidner and Paul and Don Ciciora. Pawola is the master brewer, having trained in the Siebel Institute of Technology’s Master Brewer Program.
Though the opening will be the first chance for some to taste Pollyanna’s craft beers, the brewery was active in getting their product out at competitions and festivals during the summer.
Their product has also been served at some local restaurants, such as the Tap House Grill, 3 Corners, Front Street Cantina and Gelsosomo’s.
“We wanted some accounts [at local restaurants] so people here would see us starting,” Paul Ciciora said. “They’re hearing about a brewery. Now, they’re starting to see a brewery. Now, they’re able to taste the brewery.”
Pollyanna brewed three beers this summer using other breweries’ equipment and was finally able to start brewing using their own equipment about three weeks ago.
“It’s been really nice to brew it here because it’s actually our own equipment,” Pawola said. “It’s equipment that I can get a good feel for. I can start getting into a rhythm when it comes to brewing.”
Gelsosomo’s, another new business in Lemont, was the first restaurant to serve beers made at the brewery. Pawola said Gelsosomo’s went through about four or five kegs in a week-and-a-half.
Though Pollyanna has been brewing for a couple of weeks, the building just received its occupancy license last week. Pawola said he used the extra weeks to be able to make more beer for the opening.
“We wanted to open up with more beer than most breweries open up with,” he said. “We’re going to have seven beers on tap on Friday. A lot of places will open up with three.”
Patrons will get an intimate experience, being able to look over the ledge and see where the beer is being brewed.
“Normally, at 3 o’clock, you’re going to see me working down there,” Pawola said. “You’re going to smell all the smells that a brewery gives off. You’re going to taste the beer 20 feet away from where it was brewed.”
Besides the beer, the brewery will continue its relationship with local eateries.
For the grand opening weekend, there will be food trucks from Pizza Via today and OMango on Saturday. Pawola said they will try to have food trucks every weekend, especially during the first couple of months.
Patrons also will be able to bring in food from local restaurants that deliver.
“We want to sell our beer to the locations that can support us, that want to bring their food into here,” Ciciora said. “It’s going to be a nice symbiotic relationship.”
Pollyanna has other events planned, such as a beer and food tasting with Tap House Grill in November or December and brewery tours through the Lemont Park District.
Pawola said he has been working on getting Pollyanna started for more than a year, so it is exciting to see it come to fruition.
“We’re ecstatic,” he said. “We’re ready to go the full Lemonty. That’s [the name of] our flagship beer, a golden ale.”