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Kristiansen’s labor of love: Communication professor debuts local brew at Market Alley Wines

January 30, 2015

Adam Ruble / The Courier - Dr. Lars Kristiansen debuts his own American brew at local business, Market Alley Wines.

When was the last time you created something? In the words of Charles Dickens, “…a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”

The modern world is full of technology that provides instant gratification, such as iPhone applications, fast food and Netflix. When in a society that strives for the quickest route to an end result, it’s easy to lose appreciation for process that gets you there. However, within the community of Monmouth, Illinois, a community of craft brewers has formed to celebrate the process of creating quality beer.

On June 15, 2014, Brad Sturgeon, a chemistry professor at Monmouth College, and Steven Murmann, a local dentist, opened De Novo Brewery, the first and only craft brewery in Monmouth College.

De Novo offers four flagship beers – a pale ale, a red ale, a wheat ale, and a stout – at Fat Fish Pub in Galesburg and Market Alley Wine in Monmouth. In addition to these four beers that are available year-round, Sturgeon and Murmann invite local beer connoisseurs to create recipes for seasonal beers.

On Thursday, Jan. 22, Lars Kristiansen presented his original brew, ‘Lars’s Polar Beer,’ to the public at Market Alley Wine. “There’s a pretty decent circle of faculty that brews their own beers…I’m the second person to come in and guest brew for [De Novo],” stated Kristiansen.

Numerous Monmouth locals attended, along with more than a dozen Monmouth College faculty members that came to support Kristiansen and the art of craft brewing. De Novo brewed a ten gallon batch of the Vanilla Porter for the event, and within two hours all of it was gone. Within a week of the tasting, De Novo decided to create another batch of Kristiansen’s beer due to its popularity.

“Beer used to be made with only four ingredients: water, hops, malted barley, and yeast,” said Krisiansen. “Craft beer has exploded in the past five to ten years, partly due to hipster culture and the desire to be unique.”

Home-brewing is a hobby that requires patience but reaps extensive rewards. At the very minimum, it takes three weeks to brew a beer – but at the end of the process you literally get to taste the fruits of your labor.

“We’ve gotten away from the value of how something is made. It’s great to be involved in the process,” stated Kristiansen.

If you’re interested in tasting hand-crafted beers and wines (and you’re 21, of course), Market Alley Wine hosts local brewers and wine makers every month. Additionally, Market Alley Wine showcases local musicians every Friday and Saturday night.

Creation means everything from making a sandwich to painting a mural, and anyone can create something original. But whatever you create, be sure that the process is a labor of love.

Penny Flynn
Contributing Writer

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