The surrounding area, with its rolling hills and farmland, has been and is becoming an even more popular wine growing area. In addition there are popular new distilleries and microbreweries. I recommend:
Massbach Ridge Winery: Though they have a tasting room in downtown Galena at 117 S. Main, I highly recommend visiting the winery tasting room at 8837 S. Massbach Rd in Elizabeth, IL, surrounded by vineyards and spectacular farmland. Get off of Rt 20 on Rt 78 and drive through Stockton to the winery; just follow the signs to the right about 3 miles. Afterwards you will see the charming Village of Elizabeth on the way to Galena. Having lived in the state for almost 35 years, this was my first experience tasting Illinois wines. They do have sweeter wines as well as dryer whites and reds. I enjoyed the Massbach Reserve, an oak-aged blend, which is made with Marechal Foch and Frontenac grapes.
Galena Cellars Vineyard has a downtown tasting room located at 515 S. Main, but I preferred driving out to their 4746 N. Ford Road location where you see their vineyards and winery. It is approximately six miles from downtown Galena in beautiful, rolling farmland. Their tasting room is in an old house. They offer a full range of dessert wines, port, fruit wines, semi-sweet wines, roses, semi-dry wines and dry reds and whites. I tasted and bought a bottle of their Frontenac which is a local varietal that I was not aware of but liked, this full-bodied dry red.
Other wineries to explore, and on my list for my next visit, include Rocky Waters Vineyard in Hanover, south of Elizabeth at 2003 West Hanover Rd. They focus on Marechal Foch, Leon Millet and St. Croix along with white varietals of Lacrosse and St. Pepin.
Fergedaboudit Winery and Vineyard, in Hanover, is another winery to explore with a tasting room open from April to early November. They focus on Tuscan-style wines that come the closest a true Chianti.
Galena Brewing Company, 227 N. Main: A large micro-brewery and bar/restaurant featuring their brews. They offer flights of their regular as well as their seasonal beers. The flight included a light Farmer’s Cream Ale, the Fevre River Ale or wheat beer, the Miner’s Treasure Amber Ale, Annabelle’s India Pale Ale or IPA, Uptown Brown Nut Brown Ale and Uly’s Dark Oatmeal Stout. I liked the light ales and the Oatmeal Stout. Let me know what you prefer.
Blaum Bos. Distilling Co. can be found just outside of downtown Galena at 9380 W. US Highway 20. They produce a line featuring bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, vodka, gin, moonshine and seasonal spirits. They offer daily tours plus a tasting room and cocktail bar on the premises.
I also read about Rocky Waters Vineyard/Winery in Midwest Living Magazine, which is southeast of town in Hanover. I hope to visit it on my next trip.