Hunter Fiers received a unique Christmas gift from his parents, Steve and Julie, during his freshman year of college. The gift ~ learning how to brew beer. Logan Hamilton, teacher associate with Julie, served as the beer brewing instructor. Logan was an experienced home brewer. For their first time brewing, Hunter and Steve selected a simple American Wheat Ale beer extract kit. This allowed them to ease into brewing while Logan taught them the complex science of brewing beer. Immediately, Steve and Hunter were hooked.
The next couple of years were filled with many hours of experimental brewing and tasting countless craft beers from the U.S. and around the world. Steve and Hunter realized they had a passion for seeking great tasting craft beer. Some of their happiest memories have been accompanied with a pint.
The greatest gift Steve and Hunter received that Christmas was meeting their future Head Brewer, Logan Hamilton. Logan is blessed with the gift of brewing outstanding beer. Steve and Hunter soon became convinced that Logan was far too talented as a brewer for his beer not to be shared with the world. The Fiers family also has a friend who works as a brewer and lab technician for one of the largest craft breweries in the Midwest. It was these associations with brewers, coupled with their entrepreneurial spirit and interest in craft beer, that led Steve and Hunter to the decision of turning their passion into a reality.
Hours of hard work, diligent research, and some learning hurdles filled the next two years. However, dedication and perseverance prevailed and in the fall of 2014, Lionstone Brewing Company was born as the first proposed and approved microbrewery in Geneseo, Illinois in over 100 years. History is being revitalized since Lionstone Brewery and Gastropub is located just 300 yards away from where a brewery once stood 120 years ago. The name, Lionstone, was inspired by the Fiers family’s European heritage, much of which is Belgian. The lion is the protector of the Belgian coat of arms and the mark of the Fiers Brewery.
Let us pour you a pint and help us write the future……. Cheers!
I was introduced to homebrewing in 2007 when my good friend and pastor suggested we brew a batch of beer and hold an Oktoberfest at church. Well, Oktoberfest never happened but we did purchase a beer kit and some basic equipment. After my first brew session, I was obsessed with brewing. Three weeks after that we reaped the fruits of our labor. It turned out to be the best beer I had ever tasted! My pallet quickly evolved from Miller Lite and Killian’s to craft beers. I learned many important lessons in those early years, such as, cooling wort in the bathtub with ice like a bootlegger was not an efficient means of cooling.
In the coming years I advanced from extract kits, began formulating my own recipes, and built an all-grain brewing system. There was no stopping me from pursuing my passion. Being an art teacher and having an innate desire to learn, I developed a fascination and devotion for all things yeast and microorganisms. I began exploring bread making, wine making, and cheese making and to this day spend time, when not brewing beer, expanding my knowledge and skills on producing bread, wine, and cheese.
Craft beer has been an important part of my life for eight years. I look forward to every brew day because I know in the weeks that follow, I will be able to share my beer with friends and family. Being the Head Brewer at Lionstone Brewing will allow me to extend this passion to people of my community and continue a lifelong discovery of beer.
I started homebrewing in college because I thought it would be an interesting challenge and it seemed like a great blend of science and creativity. As is true with many brewers, after my first couple of homebrew kits I was hooked on brewing. My sister gave me some hop rhizomes for my birthday, which was the perfect gift because gardening was becoming a hobby of mine. I was now growing the ingredients to make beer. The degree I sought turned out to be agriculture because I wanted to grow hops. I received my Bachelors of Science in Agriculture from Western Illinois University. It was in college that I met a friend from Geneseo who introduced me to Lionstone Brewing.
I knew that after college I wanted to be involved in the alcohol industry although I wasn’t certain how I would go about doing that. Originally I thought about starting a craft distillery but I didn't know anything about large scale distilling. After some job searching, I accepted a position as a Distiller in Chicago at Koval Distillery. My coworkers and I would often grab a drink at one of the nearby breweries after work on Fridays. I was intrigued with the creative potential that breweries allowed and knew that eventually I would go back to my roots and brew beer. During my time as a Distiller, I met Steve, owner of Lionstone Brewing and as they say, the rest is history.
I never thought homebrewing would take me to this point. Brewing started as a hobby with making experimental batches of beer, cider, mead, and wine and has now turned into my career as Brewer for Lionstone. I am excited to bring my passion for hops, brewing, and making alcohol as well as my desire to create to Lionstone Brewing.