Down in the heart of downtown Rock Island sits Blue Cat Brew Pub, Illinois’ second oldest operating brew pub. The establishment opened in 1994, and is owned and operated by brother-sister duo Dan and Martha Cleveland.
Dan is the gentleman behind the tasty craft brews served at Blue Cat. Not only has he been brewing for over 20 years here in the QCA, he also hosts home brew competitions and judges several beer events throughout the year. Try one of their class beers like the Wigged Pig Wheat or Off the Rail Pale Ale, or ask about their seasonal offerings.
Martha is the lady behind the fantastic food. Blue Cat recently came out with a new menu that has something for everyone. There are several new vegetarian additions for the non-meat eaters, though the meat lovers will also be pleased; Blue Cat cures their own bacon and uses their rib eye trimmings for their burger patties.
Intrigued by the burger idea, that is what I ordered during my visit to try out the new menu. Martha ground the beef up just before hand patting together and grilling my burger. I couldn’t resist the house bacon either so I added that on top, needless to say the burger was divine. I had a bowl of Moroccan Meatball Soup because Martha also makes wonderful soups and her offerings are always changing.
Another new change at Blue Cat Brew Pub is their new General Manager, Tyler Cleveland, Martha’s son. He has spent the last several years in Chicago working in the bar and restaurant and industry and has returned home to join the family business.
Tyler has been doing some creative things behind the bar. Blue Cat now has a new, set drink menu, with cool ingredients like their own house tonic and home made bitters. In talking with him about these new ideas, Tyler said, “We’re trying to be more crafty without being fussy; approachable, thoughtful food without being pretentious, all from scratch.”
Blue Cat Brew Pub is located at 113 18th Street in Rock Island, Illinois. It is one of the area’s longest running brewpubs for so many reasons; they make solid beers served alongside great homemade food by a local family. Check them out!