SAVOY — A craft beer nanobrewery that has been in the works for three years is welcoming the public to take a look on Friday and Saturday.
The grand opening for Triptych Brewing will include tours of the facility, samples of the craft beers and raffles.
Triptych, located at 1703 Woodfield Drive, Savoy, had a party on Feb. 15 and 16 for those who had contributed more than $100 toward the business through the crowd funding site, Kickstarter.
"We had a lot of friends and family and a fair amount from out of town," said Anthony Benjamin, one of the owners.
The owners have been posting construction pictures on Facebook but stopped doing it for a while so that the building's sleek new interior would be "a surprise" to its supporters, Benjamin added.
A soft opening on Monday attracted 20 or 30 people.
"People have been excited and enthusiastic," Benjamin said, noting that even some of the residential neighbors have brought growlers to take home beer.
There has been a lot of interest from Savoy residents who say they plan to stop by on their way home from work and from southwest Champaign residents who are close enough to ride a bicycle to Triptych, according to Benjamin.
"They like that it's close to home," he said.
The tasting area has seating for about 65 people. Benjamin and his partners, Joshi Fullop and Jason Bartell, refinished pews from a church on campus that was torn down, to create unique benches. The artwork on the wall was created from photographs that Benjamin shot while traveling in Germany and the Czech Republic with his wife. In one, you can see a notebook in which he takes copious notes on beers.
The idea for Triptych was born in 2009. Benjamin and Fullop knew each other from a home brewing club, and Fullop knew Bartell, who is a lawyer and accountant. The passion the three shared for craft beer eventually evolved into the dream of a distribution brewery with a tasting room on it.
Triptych has about 221 Kickstarter "founders" who receive merchandise like growlers, glasses, shirts and even the ability to name a beer, based on their level of support. They get to know about new beers before the public.
Scott Clemens of Urbana, one of Triptych's Kickstarter supporters, was in the brewery Tuesday, sampling some of the new brews.
"I just like craft beers," Clemens said. "I've been following the progress, and it's exciting to finally see it open. I had some of Anthony's beer before he started this business, and I've been impressed with what he does. Another thing that interested me is it's made locally, rather than going to downtown Champaign and drinking a Budweiser."
The three partners and their families did almost all of the work in preparing the building, with the exception of HVAC, electrical and plumbing work.
In keeping with the business's name, the menu is a triptych of digital screens on the wall behind the bar that are updated in real time on Triptych's website, triptychbrewing.com.
Beer is brewed on site, and customers can drink pints or sample sizes on the premises. Sixty-four ounce growlers can be bought to be consumed off the premises. Triptych is also self-distributing its beer to three Champaign businesses, Radio Maria, Dublin O'Neil's and Big Grove Tavern.
Benjamin said Triptych is not like a bar that serves traditional beers. Of the eight on tap, four are 3-percent alcohol, and all under 7 percent alcohol.
"We want to help people act responsibly," Benjamin said. "We hope they get acquainted with the range of flavors available in a safe, educational, welcoming environment, where there's not any pretense."
Benjamin believes craft beer's growing popularity is tied in part to the local foods movement.
"I think people are beginning to question where what they eat and drink comes from," he said.
The dried grain leftover after brewing is donated to a farmer in Monticello, who uses it to feed his cattle.
Triptych currently has eight beers on draft, and the goal is to switch out to new ones on a regular basis. The beers are seasonal; the current winter ones will eventually be replaced by lagers and wheat beers in the spring and summer months.
The business is open 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.