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Syngenta Square tent
GOING LOCAL: The 2017 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., featured a beer garden at Syngenta’s tent. This year, the company is bringing in local food and brews.

Syngenta Square has local focus

At the Farm Progress Show, Syngenta will offer smoked meats and craft beers made in central Illinois.

The Syngenta Square area at the Farm Progress Show this year will include beer and smoked food served by local businesses. The show is Aug. 27-29 in Decatur, Ill.

Monticello-based caterer IJW Meats will provide Syngenta Square visitors smoked meat. The barbecue truck will serve brisket, pulled pork, turkey and Texas hot sausages.

“They have fantastic food. We’re hoping it pairs well with the craft beer we’ll be providing,” says Kevin Daly, sales representative for Door Brewing Co., located in Decatur at 1214 W. Cerro Gordo St. A trailer with tap handles for Door Brewing’s strawberry and pilsner lagers will be at Syngenta Square, served alongside brews from Riggs Beer Co., an Urbana farmer-owned brewery.

“The Syngenta people wanted to get something a little different for their consumer, because craft beer is such a big thing right now,” Daly says. “And they’re very big into local.”

Daly says Door Brewing’s lager isn’t too different in taste from more mainstream lagers, but they’ll also be serving Miller Lite, Busch Light and Michelob Ultra.

More on beer

The two beers from Door Brewing Co. being served at Syngenta Square are made with a pilsner malt barley that’s grown in Europe. Jim Misner, Door Brewing’s head brewer, says they recently changed from using their American-grown two-row barley on the pilsners to European pilsner malt for the flavor.

“A majority of the products that we make, outside of the two pilsners, are still made with the biggest part of the recipe being a base malt such as two-row barley, which we source from South Holland in the Chicago area,” Misner says.

The plain pilsner by Door Brewing fits the parameters of Germany’s 500-year-old “purity law” that requires beer be made with nothing but hops, water, barley and yeast. To bring pH levels into the right range, they use a German malt instead of lactic acids to stay in line with the purity law.

“One of the products that we’re going to serve at the show is our strawberry lager, and that would normally be in the parameters of the German law,” Misner says. “Except we add strawberry puree to it, and that would be radically outside those boundaries. It does taste good and sells well though, so we're going to keep making it.”

Door Brewing Co. opened in 2017, after the last Decatur Farm Progress Show, so 2019 will be the first time the local brewer’s beer is served on the showgrounds. The same is true for Riggs Beer Co., which opened its doors in June 2016.

Misner notes Door Brewing Co. has a farmer connection as part of their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment.

“We have a farmer that lives about 25 minutes southeast of town who has about 200 head of cattle, and we give our grain away to him for free after we’re done using it,” he concludes. “I just get ahold of John — we call him Farmer John — and he comes through, picks it up happily. He doesn’t mind spending the gas to come get it when he’s able to put it in his feed for free.”

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