Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Crystal Lake Brewing (CLB) had a small outdoor patio that accommodated roughly 20 people. Back then, the party was mostly indoors. Everything changed last summer.
“Out of necessity, we had to rethink what we could do to serve people outside safely,” says John O’Fallon, co-founder. “We’re fortunate to have two parking lots, a small one in front and a larger lot on the side of the building.”
So, O’Fallon and his team used the smaller lot to expand their beer garden and create a fun outdoors hangout.
“People loved the extra outdoor space, and it worked great, so we decided to make it permanent,” O’Fallon says.
The expanded beer garden now includes several new tables, accompanied by large umbrellas and tents.
Building on what began last year, the team has added several improvements to make this more than just a repurposed parking lot. A special asphalt coating keeps the space cooler by reflecting the sun’s heat. New fencing and lighting over the original patio create a classy little nook. The lights stay on and the party keeps on going long after the sun sets.
“We’re making our little corner of downtown Crystal Lake an inviting place for people to enjoy a pint,” O’Fallon says.
Once you’re set up on the patio, enjoy a solid lineup of made-in-house beers featuring reliable favorites like Beach Blonde, a golden lager, and Busted Prop, a hoppy American wheat ale.
While you can find CLB drinks at many local restaurants, bars and retail locations, several small-release and special seasonal beers are available only at the Crystal Lake tap room. A recent offering is Snack Bar, a strawberry rhubarb milkshake IPA that captures the flavors of a strawberry chocolate milk.
There’s no restaurant in-house, so guests are invited to bring their own food to enjoy with a drink. Even so, be on the lookout for local food trucks that visit on Friday nights. ❚
Crystal Lake Brewing is located at 150 N. Main St., Crystal Lake, (779) 220-9288.