If you have been lucky enough to attend a beer tasting at The Local on a Goshen First Friday, then you’ve tasted what’s to come for Thomas Stieglitz Brewing Co. One of my first experiences with beer from Gary Stieglitz and Jeff Thomas was last October during a First Friday tasting, where Gary was serving Bramling Warrior Stout, and Jeff tapped Jolly Jack Pumpkin Ale from an actual pumpkin.
Recently I was able to meet up with both of them at The Local (211 S. Fifth St. in Goshen), where they are going to set up shop. This building has housed several different businesses and currently is home to Janus Motorcycles and The Goshen Artisan Market. Thomas Stieglitz Brewing will use the space in the middle of the building, and they have begun improvements to get things going. In addition to sand blasting the ceiling and working on the floor, they led me around the space to show me where certain parts of their brewhouse would be set up.
They will continue to use their one-barrel and two-barrel systems in the new space and upgrade as the business grows. They could, quite possibly, be the first nanobrewery in the state. The term nanobrewery is used loosely to refer to breweries producing less than three barrels (roughly 94 gallons) at a time. With the two systems, they can brew one larger three-barrel batch or two smaller batches of different recipes, giving them quite a bit of flexibility.
Liquor laws can get pretty complicated, so when the brewery opens it will be selling retail only, with growlers (reusable 1/2 gallon jugs) and possibly bottles. The brewery has already contacted several local restaurants that said they’d be happy to serve their beer, so they will also be kegging in 1/6 barrels (about 5 gallons). Free samples will be allowed, but before the brewery can sell pints for consumption on site, it will have to comply with a food requirement. The brewery is working with several area food trucks in order to make this possible.
Both Gary and Jeff have been brewing regularly over the past year to get ready for opening the brewery. Gary has been working on replicating some of his best recipes and has focused more on IPAs (India Pale Ale) and higher gravity (higher alcohol level) beers such as stouts and Belgian Dubbels. Jeff brews a good cream ale and American Pale Ale and tends to be more experimental in his brewing. Together, though, they tend to brew more traditional styles. However, both told me they love to explore brewing new styles.
The men recently returned from the 36th Annual National Homebrewers Conference (Gary is wearing his shirt in the photo), which was hosted in near by Gr. Rapids, Mich. They came back energized, with tons of information and many ideas.
Here are some of the beers we tasted together:
Fuggle Nugget Coffee Stout: You may have guessed from the name that this beer utilizes both Fuggle and Nugget hops. Gary also cold brews Electric Brew espresso roast to add to this beer. Electric Brew owner Myron Bontrager has been very helpful with the coffee side of brewing to achieve this bold flavored stout.
Cherry Oak Porter: Jeff used a pound of mixed cherries at the end of the boil, added a half-pound of cherries in secondary fermentation, then aged the beer on oak spirals for two months. Aging the beer on oak mellowed the cherry flavor a bit to make a smooth, nice drinking porter.
Black IPA: This was brewed using Galena, Falconer and Mosaic hops. It had one of the most hop-forward pine flavors I’ve experienced in an IPA, and with the dark roasted malt, it made a great beer for hop heads like myself.
We also tasted Gary’s Honey Citrus IPA, Daddy’s Other Blonde and his Belgian Trippel. Although we did not taste Jeff’s Ten Pin Cream Ale (I have sampled this at previous events), it will probably be on a regular rotation. He told me that the name came from his childhood memories of sitting with his grandfather at the bowling alley, where cream ale was a staple for bowlers.
Although there is no particular timeline for opening, the two mentioned it would be nice to be open by October. Federal paperwork has been submitted and needs to be approved before state paperwork is filed. Often paperwork, as well as construction projects, gets delayed, but we hope in this case it’s not. I for one know I am anxiously awaiting this neighborhood brewpub in Goshen. And when it opens up, I know that locals will take ownership and support these guys like I have seen many times before in other communities.