Our second stop in Rockford, Prairie Street Brewing was a far more interesting stop. Located in what once housed Rockford Brewing Company, a pre-prohibition brewery, I can’t think of a brewery in Illinois with a better space and location. Located on the Rock River, the brewery has its own marina where boaters can dock and enjoy their dockside taproom and beer garden. The owners have carved out private event space, some lofts for rent, and they managed to fit in a pretty large tap room. The beer menu was diverse, but all fairly standard styles. We ordered a sample of each as our party had increased by one, we knew 14 samples wouldn’t be hard to tackle. Barleywine, Kolsch, saison, pale ale – they were all great. It was hard to pick out a favorite, so for dinner I went with their brown ale as I thought it would pair nicely with my meal. I ordered their Trolley Burger, which includes onion rings, provolone, fried egg, cherrywood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, house pickles, and thousand island dressing all on a brioche bun. The brown ale paired nicely with the beef, bacon and egg and before I knew it I’d devoured the whole thing. If I were a local resident I could see myself enjoying many summer evenings out on their dock with a pint and a good meal. I know very little about the local economy and demographics, perhaps there is a vibrant and sustainable craft beer scene in Rockford that takes advantage of this fun little spot; after all there are already three local breweries and one brewery “chain” in the immediate area. I just can’t help but wish this space was a little closer to the Chicago area, but maybe I’m just jealous.