Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Friar Tuck Beverage - Peoria, IL

Today I returned from a trip to Indiana. Unfortunately, I was far too far south to pay a visit to Upland Brewing Co. or 3 Floyds, so I made a consolation stop for myself in Peoria, IL. Initially, it doesn't sound like much of a consolation, but it turned out to be far better than I expected. For the longest time, people have been telling me about a beer & wine store called Friar Tuck. After finally, tracking it down and stopping by I can't believe it took me this long to pay them a visit.

Tucked into the end of strip mall that has since passed it's apex as trendy suburban construction, just off a busy intersection, is  Friar Tuck Beverage.  It doesn't look like much.  The brightly colored roof is faded, the parking lot is cracked and needs its lines repainted, and it doesn't even have a clearly marked entrance.  I missed the first turn-in.  Thankfully, looks aren't everything.

Immediately inside the front door.  Notice the humidor on the left.
It's a large, warehouse style store much like an ABC Liquor (@abcwinecountry) or a Total Wine & More (@TotalWine) and looks like a wine store should - hues of purple, clean, simple yet trendy, cases of wine everywhere - but on a grander scale.  You're greeted immediately by a glass cooler full of gourmet cheeses, which is the fourth wall for a kitchen area undoubtedly used to prepare foods for tastings or gourmet dishes to satisfy the foodie crowds.

Kitchen area.

Looking to the left upon entering.  The "Beer Wall" is the farthest.
"Follow the yellow brick road!"
After following this path I was a little taken aback by the sheer length of the beer aisle.  I haven't seen anything like it in a loooong time.  It was glorious.

In fact, since the picture makes it difficult to truly appreciate the far end, I took a video.  This is me walking, at a rather brisk pace, the entire beer wall front to back.  Check it.

Not bad, right?

The beer cooler is pretty impressive as well.

They do a lot of cool things here that craft beer geeks should love.  I present the following.

1.  They love cans.
2.  They have a comprehensive home brewing   section.

3.  A sizeable "pick six" selection

4.  Enough Mikkeller to inebriate a horse.

They even have some brands/varieties that are somewhat surprising. For example, the below pictured Ipswich is a New England favorite. I was under the impression that it was only available in that region. Looks like someone expanded their distribution!  They also have a nice humidor thrown in for those that care to enjoy a stick from time to time.  I have no pictures, but you're gonna have to trust me on this.  Not to mention the acres of wine, inclusion of products from local distilleries/wineries/breweries, gadgets for wine & beer drinkers, and an expansive liquor selection.  Wow.

If you're ever passing through Peoria, IL (I know, I know... HUGE tourist destination, right?), be sure to hit up this gem of a pop shop.  I'm about an hour away, but I'll know I'll be stopping by again for those harder to find bottles.


  1. Awesome place man!!! Beautiful actually.


  2. Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure they're my new "go to" place for something i can't find locally. :)