Spotlight on Blue Cat Brewing Co: Old-school vibe, Midwest comfort food and 30 years of brewing experience in the heart of Rock Island
Where you’ll find it: 113 18th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight.
History in short: Blue Cat Brew Pub originally opened in 1994 by brother and sister Dan & Martha Cleveland, who had a 23-year run at the helm. Blue Cat was revived in 2021 under new ownership led by head brewer Charlie Cole, who has a regular rotation of his own unique beer creations mixed with classic Blue Cat recipes from years gone by.
The space: Conveniently located in the heart of the arts and entertainment district of Rock Island and just steps from the Mississippi River, Blue Cat provides a bit of an old-school pub kind of vibe — in a good way. Shoot some pool, throw some darts, sample a flight and win free merch in a video-game tournament. A private event space is available upstairs as well.
Conveniently located in the heart of the arts and entertainment district of Rock Island and just steps from the Mississippi River, Blue Cat provides a bit of an old-school pub kind of vibe — in a good way.
Interesting note: Blue Cat’s food menu is not to be overlooked, as it blends Midwestern comfort food (try the burger) with creative salads and appetizers, rotating soups and even a monthly themed beer dinner.
What we’re drinking: Cole, who has three professional brewing certificates under his belt, is known for his hazy IPAs and wild ales, but you’ll always be able to find a few of the classic Blue Cat beers on draft as well. There’s almost 30 years of collective brewing experience at work here.
Dressed to Impress is a Belgian tripel brewed with a heavy dose of Florida orange blossom honey. Their Cleveland wheat ale is a new take on the Wold Beer Championship award winner and features coriander and blood orange puree. Tasty for sure, and the fact it comes in at only 4.9% makes it crushable in the warmer months.