Owner of Triptych Brewing goes from hobby to profession

By Christopher Reinhart

“Most of it kind of revolved around my dream to brew professionally, share beer with people and not sit in front of a computer all day,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin, both owner and brewer of Triptych, which opened in February 2013, started brewing when he moved to Champaign in 2005. He joined brewing competitions not long after that and was even named the Midwest Homebrewer of the Year in 2009.

At Triptych, located at 1703 Woodfield Drive in Savoy, guests can enjoy the unique experience of tasting beers that were brewed in an adjacent room.

Triptych has brewed 89 different kinds of beer since it opened, many of which it continues to brew because of customer demand.

“We tend to explore different styles and different ideas, like inspirations from foods and desserts and sometimes from other kinds of beer,” Benjamin said.

The menu currently offers drinks ranging from a light German lager to a bourbon barrel aged coffee stout. The brewery also has a mezcal barrel aged beer, Benjamin said, which can be be hard to find anywhere else in Illinois.

The beer selection at Triptych follows seasonal trends. In the summer, there are more light beers on the menu as opposed to the darker and stronger beers offered in the winter.

Some of the brewery’s most popular beers are the Dirty Hippy, Little Secret, Blueberry Blonde and Pretty Nice Little Saturday.

“If I wasn’t completely happy and in love with any of our beers, then we wouldn’t put it on draft and share it,” Benjamin said.

He said every one of Triptych’s beers has a special place in his heart, and he can’t choose a favorite.

Benjamin’s brewing hobby even extends beyond serving customers at Triptych. Each year, he sets aside a little bit of a beer he started brewing the year his son was born, called AJ Stout, and ages it in a different kind of barrel to make it just a little different. Benjamin said he does this so that when AJ turns 21, he can have “a really kickass birthday party.”

For the time being, Triptych only distributes in Champaign-Urbana and Savoy because Benjamin said he wanted to make sure the brewery could own its market before it tried to expand into another one. Late this year, Triptych does expect to reach into the markets of Bloomington-Normal, Peoria and Effingham.

The brewery plans to expand into the rest of the building it occupies in Savoy and to also build a patio in the near future. Benjamin said he hopes that over the next year or so there will be more brewing equipment and even more room in the tasting room and patio for people to come and drink their beer at the brewery itself.

“I like the fact that we can buy a drink that is locally made,” said Kevin Schroeder, University student and customer at Triptych. “The quality of the beer is better, and it also supports local businesses.”

Triptych’s beers are sold around town in places like Brother’s Bar & Grill, Seven Saints, Black Dog and Joe’s Brewery. Benjamin said the brewery’s main goal is to be distributed around town as much as possible and for the businesses that are selling their beer to be proud of the product.

Talyn Kaskel, a resident of Champaign, said, “I’m so excited to go with my friends and check it out. The Dirty Hippy is one of my favorite beers, so it’s cool that it is made so close to home.”

As they try beers in Triptych’s tasting room, customers can talk to the brewers to learn about the different beers, making it a more personal and unique experience.

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