Spotlight on Analytical Brewing: Opened in 2022 by three neighbors, they’re churning out a balanced lineup of beers along Route 66 in Lexington
510 W. Main Street, Lexington, IL 61753
Thursday: 4-9 p.m.
Friday: 4-10 p.m.
Saturday: 12-10 p.m.
Sunday: 12-5 p.m.
History in short: One of the newest craft breweries in the state, Analytical opened June 25 of 2022. You could say things all started when two of the partners, Andy Arndt and Brian Graves, had an opportunity to participate in “Beer with a Brewer” with Jeff Mroz from Keg Grove Brewing Company in Bloomington.
“It’s basically an open conversation …with and about beers,” Graves tells us. “Leaving that experience was fun, and it was eye opening for us. A year after that, Andy and I started home brewing together.”
Things began to take off early in 2021, and Graves and Arndt decided to bring aboard another friend, Nate Poehlman, to discuss potential locations for a brewery of their own. Soon, the small town of Lexington took center stage, a meeting with the mayor followed, and the demolition and purchase of a former storage garage ensued. With a lot of hard work — much of it done by themselves — they opened for business 11 months later.
Interesting note: All three owners are neighbors and friends from Hudson, Illinois, about 20 minutes away. Interestingly, all three still hold down full-time jobs outside of the brewery.
The space: Analytical has what could best be described as a modern industrial design — “comfortable with a great atmosphere,” according to Graves. The front of the building is primarily glass, allowing in a ton of natural light, and a 10×12-foot garage door can be opened to the street. The beer garden spaces on two sides of the building — complete with picnic tables and shade sails for blocking the sun — double the occupancy when it’s nice out.
What we’re drinking: Analytical is starting to see some signature beers emerge, like Analytical by Nature, a West Coast IPA, and an American pale ale called Analyze This. Route 66 is an easy-drinking blonde ale, and its strawberry blonde and peach blonde variants are top sellers. On a recent stop on our way to Bloomington, we fell in love with their Galaxian hazy IPA and silky smooth Seriously Chocolate imperial stout. Food trucks and pop-up food opportunities are the norm here too, and hand-cut charcuterie plates are available on site.
We’re not really trying to serve a niché in the beer market. We want to have a balanced lineup of beers that appeals to a wide spectrum of customers. — Co-owner Brian Graves
On the horizon: Analytical’s management team has ideas about expanding taproom hours and, eventually, production, in order to increase their distribution reach into restaurants, bars and craft-beer stores throughout central Illinois and beyond. They’re also pretty excited about their Campfire Stout (think s’mores), a seasonal winter ale called Cheermeister that’s brewed with peaches and pecans, and an amber ale called Squirreled Away made with pecans and maple syrup.
From the brewery: “Our focus is on producing high-quality beers that are true to style, and I think that’s important. We’re not really trying to serve a niché in the beer market. We want to have a balanced lineup of beers that appeals to a wide spectrum of customers.” — Co-owner Brian Graves