Brewer’s Choice: Rt. 66 Old School Brewing’s Paul Bidne on his “Mango Is Our Middle Name” sour, local disc golf bar crawls and an appreciation for Blue Island Beer Company
Head brewer at Rt. 66 Old School Brewing
110 Bridge Street in Wilmington, IL
1. The last really good beer you drank was… Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale at The Open Bottle craft-beer shop in Lockport. It’s my favorite Christmas beer. I look forward to it every year.
2. What fellow Illinois breweries and specific beers have impressed you lately?
Nik and Ivy, Metal Monkey, Will County Brewing, Blue Island Beer Company, Mad Hatchet Brewing. They all make great beer and are always helping their communities. Blue Island has a special spot in my heart. Bryan Shimkos is a mentor to me. He taught me how to brew, and then I started my journey into this.
The rest of them are members of the Joliet Brewers Guild. We are coming up on our 10-year anniversary. This club has about eight or nine members that are doing this professionally.
Of the beers I’m most proud of, Mango Is Our Middle Name is a collaboration we did with Unpossible Mead. It’s a honey mango sour that turned into our biggest selling beer and won gold and bronze medals last year in competition.
3. What are you most proud of at your brewery?
Well, I can go on and on. For starters, the owners, Steve and Tina Nelson, took a chance and hired me. I am forever grateful for them giving me this opportunity. Of the beers I’m most proud of, Mango Is Our Middle Name is a collaboration we did with Unpossible Mead in Dwight, IL. It’s a honey mango sour that turned into our biggest selling beer and won gold and bronze medals last year in competition.
We keep coming up with new recipes all the time. It keeps the creative aspect to brewing. We are a little brewery 20 miles south of Joliet, in Wilmington, IL on historic Route 66.
4. What do you have coming up that people should know about?
We have all kinds of fun events here. We had Christmas movies all of December, we have a scavenger hunt and arts and craft nights during the week. In the spring, we are doing a disc golf bar crawl where we are teaming up with all the local bars, and each bar is going to have a disc golf hole in their back area to make up a nine-hole course. We also host a home-brew competition each summer.