Southern Illinois is a place with a very diverse place as far as environtment, music and drink. I am currently a student at southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and am never bored or out of options for any of them. Outside Carbondale there is a wine trail of about a dozen wineries throughout the region nestled between many state parks and the areas largest national forest which is the Shawnee national forests. About an hour and a half away from me in St. Louis is the Shalfly Brewery which conducts tours, but Carbondale itself has much to offer.
The region is full of places to go camping, climbing, kayaking, fishing, hunting, backpacking. or whatever your cup of tea in the outdoors is. some key places are Giant City, Panthers Den, Fern Clyff, and Jackson Falls.
Within town there are many bars, most as can be expected are grimy college bars with little on tap but keystone, miller, coors and budweiser and the music consiting of 80's hair metal cover bands
. There are two bars however where one can enjoy music and delicious brew.
Hanger 9 which is a decent sized bar with a great atmosphere has smaller national touring bands. They pull everthing! you can expect to see mostly bluegrass, jam bands, country and blues and even have an open mic where the acts are ussally awesome! They have booked bands such as cornmeal, Split lip ray field, Greensky Bluegrass as well as the Schwag with Mealvin Seals from the Jerry Garcia Band. The Venue has a nice sized beer garden and on wedsday nights they have a special where you can sample 4 different 8oz microbrews for 4 bucks. they also have a wide selection of bottled beer and beer on tap. They also have a free pool table. This bar draws people of all ages from 19 to people in thier 70's.
Another great bar is Tres Hombres. It is a mexican restraunt with a beer garden and pulls acts such as the Werks, Hen House Prowlers as well as other bluegrass bands. Every monday night is Delta Blues night. They ussally have good specials. Last friday it was 3 bucks for a Rogue Chocolate stout pints! Again it has a diverse age range. With both these bars there is a strong sense of community between everyone there from old to young especially in the bluegrass scene.
The local Brewery is the Big Muddy Brewery in the next town over in Murphreysboro. I recently just tried the India Brown ale which I am now a big fan of. I also tried there wheat beer with a little diapointment but I am also not a wheat beer person so dont take my word for it. They have a line of about 6 beers.
Hope you make a trip down to Southern Illinois for some great expirences weather it's camping, checking out the wineries, or just grabbing a brew and a dance partner and listening to some tasty bluegrass