Smile Politely

Bold flavors behind Door 4

Fall is the perfect season to take a short road trip, admire the shades of red foliage, and check out the beer scene in surrounding communities. It’s no secret that Champaign-Urbana boasts some of the finest craft beer in Illinois, but Door 4 Brewing Co. in Decatur has a distance-worthy warehouse brewery with a wide selection of drinks and a full-menu. The location sits on the bottom of Marquis Beverage Company, a Decatur-based coffee roastery, and is cleverly-enough the fourth door on the site.

We visited on a brisk, but sunny day; outdoor patio seating was open and a large garage-style door was lifted to allow indoor patrons to take in the fresh air. My husband and I were immediately greeted by the friendly staff. They had no problems offering suggestions and even asked what types of beer we liked so they could cater a flight to our palates. Door 4 does have an extensive tap list, with about ten of their brews and another 10 to 15 guest taps. Four, 5 oz. pours of Door 4 brew are $8, and a flight of guest taps is $10. As someone says, “When in Decatur,” so we selected only the local, Door 4 concoctions.

We started on the lighter side, planning to work our way up to the stout. Door 4 has several India Pale Ale (IPA) styles, and due to their general popularity, we each sampled one. Typically not my preferred choice, I was pleasantly surprised with their High Flier IPA, listed as a traditional American: it was sharp, but smooth. Down the Drain, their session IPA, struck a nice balance between bitter and citrus flavors.

After cheers-ing to our first samples, we moved onto the series of lagers and light ales. Staff recommended we try the D4 Strawberry Lager, which was a big hit this summer. The spiced fruit flavors actually translated well into the autumn season, giving the beer a “mulled” quality to it that was surprisingly needed after a day hike. (Rock Springs Conservation Area is about five miles away and a must-see in Decatur.)

The Traditional D4 Lager was a solid introductory beer for those who may be missing their Bud Light. The Eldo B.O.W.L. is a wheat ale, which I will admit, with bias, is a favorite beer style of mine. Though we didn’t get the full background on this brew, it reminded us of a traditional Hefeweizen. It had a full-body feel, but was light in flavor and easy to drink. The rich, grain flavor pushes forward on this one. The Four Day Weekend, the blonde ale, was hoppier than I was expecting. Its flavor gets lost a bit when you are sampling so many.

Door 4’s selection leaned towards lagers and IPAs, but we did find a few that fit more into the seasonal category, which is important for us because we switch styles with the weather. I got a full pour of the Oakwood Strawberry, a cream ale. My husband had 2 Beans, 1 Beer, a stout sure to keep you up at night since it’s brewed with coffee provided by Marquis. The cream ale was, frankly, delicious, and slightly heavier than its lager counterpart, with a warm amber color, and a sweet aftertaste. The stout is a must-try for coffee lovers. The roasted malt flavors play well with the coffee, and it drinks like a velvety cold-brew.

Door 4 Brewing Co. does have a food truck permanently installed outside that is directly tied to the business — they share the same name. Food is ordered with the bar staff, and you are given a buzzer that lets you know when your food is ready to be picked up at the truck. The menu includes burgers, hand-tossed pizzas, cheese curds, onion rings, and a few other carb-heavy appetizers to pair with your drink.

The staff said they are known for their burgers and everything is made-from-scratch (including the pizza dough). Being a mid-afternoon visit, we went with the cheese curds. I do not know if words can describe how good these fried puffs were. Clearly homemade, the breading was spiced and flavorful. These curds melted in your mouth, and my husband and I fought over the last bite (and seriously debated another order).

Since it was such a nice day, we enjoyed all of our drinking from the comfort of the outdoor patio space, which is dog-friendly. We were also advised that we were welcome to bring our pooch inside. The brewery space is large, and could easily accommodate a few hundred folks. It was not packed when we visited, but we learned it can pick up during event nights (like trivia). They also have a partnership with Rocket Axe Throwing, which was set up across the parking lot from the taproom.

After a few hours at the local hiking spot, we were just hoping to grab a drink and head home, but the chill ambience, hospitality, and top-notch drink and food kept us lingering for a few hours.

Door 4 Brewing Co. 
1214 W Cerrdo Gordo St
Tu-Th 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
F 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Photos by Adam Rahn 

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