The Waldo district's 75th Street Brewery concocts unique beers best enjoyed while listening to the sounds of the local musicians who frequent its stage. As brewmasters labor to perfect the flavor of each keg, chefs craft an ever-growing menu of famous American eats, including burgers, ribs, pasta, and fresh vegetable salads. They call out daily specials on colorful, handwritten chalkboard menus suspended next to the high, exposed wooden rafters. For those who appreciate alfresco dining, a sunny beer garden lets in air and light through its slotted roof, while four solid walls block unpleasant noises, such as the squalls of wandering avant-garde jazzmen.
Craig Stichter was born a tinkerer, so he originally tried to turn that interest into a career as a mechanical engineer. But he married a professor, and his wife's career took them around the country?exposed to the world of craft beer for the first time, Craig's passion for engineering was soon surpassed by a passion for home-brewing. He started creating his own flavors, including the DeVine IPA, Trail Bender Wheat, and Boone County Brown, using that childhood knack for tinkering to come up with new brews. He built a business plan, hired excellent collaborators such as head brewer Kraig Bridgeford, and founded Bur Oak Brewing Company. Today, the brewery bottles three year-round offerings and a handful of seasonal beers, in addition to providing tours to those who, like Craig himself, have a curiosity about the brewing process.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, a USDA–approved big-cat rescue facility, plays motherly host to a roaring family composed of five tigers and a lone lioness with a sultry swagger. Adopting philanthropists can align with their striped or unstriped spirit animal, choosing from noble felines such as the elder Mohan—a white male tiger with blue eyes, a pink nose, and a natural screen presence—or Raja—the relentlessly caring mother of sisters Gracie and Thor.