17 Oct Goshen Redevelopment OKs brewery, discusses railroad improvements
There has been quite a bit of redevelopment happening in downtown Goshen, and along with it will come Goshen’s first brewpub – The Goshen Brewing Company. Goshen College grad Jesse Sensenig is very passionate about brewing, and he plans to turn that passion into a reality by renovating the former Northern Indiana Public Service Company building into a brewery. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Jesse and tour the building in it’s current state.
The building located at 315 W. Washington street (at the north end of the Millrace Canal, near the Goshen Farmer’s Market and In Terra Credit Union) has been vacant for some time, and in September, the Goshen Redevelopment Commission approved a lease agreement with the Goshen Brewing Company.
Sensenig will make monthly payments in addition to investing a minimum of $200,000 in remodeling and upgrades to the building. After this investment, he has the option to purchase the building for $95,000. There is a whole lot of work to be done on this building before he is able to open, but I think this will be a great addition to Goshen. Jesse himself said that he is surprised that a brewery in Goshen hasn’t happened already. A “rustic, industrial feeling” will be maintained, with much of the brick exposed. Many of the existing windows will be enlarged, and many more will be added.
It was not a difficult decision for him to return to Goshen to locate his brewery. The building is located about three blocks off of Main St., but after looking at several other local options, Jesse decided this was the best site. There is plenty of space for an outdoor patio that will look out onto the millrace and plenty of parking, with space for special events. Outdoor seating will be another great welcome to the area. Currently, the only Goshen restaurant to enjoy a beer outside is Venturi’s Pizza. And although I have enjoyed several outdoor beers there, I would prefer the quieter location near large trees and the millrace.
As we toured the building, it took a lot of vision as Jesse explained his plan for the inside. He told me that the farther along he’s gotten, the bigger and more expensive the project has gotten, but he believes in the community of Goshen, and he believes that the community will support him. The building will eventually be comprised of three floors: the top floor will house the kitchen, malt storage, and an office, the middle floor (the main entrance from the North side will enter onto this level) will be the bar and restaurant, and the brew house will be located on the bottom floor. Dumb waiters will be used to move food from the kitchen to the bar/dining room.
Inside dining capacity will be somewhere around 60, and it will be a family friendly environment, with children welcome with their families. I think that this will be a huge welcome, as some other local craft beer venues such as the Constant Spring and Iechyd Da Brewing Company do not allow children.
People have asked me whether this brewery will be competition for the Constant Spring, the main craft beer destination for downtown Goshen currently. There will be some similarities, but I think that Goshen will happily support both businesses. Jesse would like to use local ingredients to serve a seasonal menu, which would be similar. But he intends to only serve his own brewed beer, and he will not have any liquor on his menu. And don’t forget the outdoor seating. It has been my experience that people in the brewing and beer community are very helpful and supportive of each other. Jesse has already received a good amount of advice from Chip and Summer Lewis at Iechyd Da Brewing in Elkhart.
The last couple of years have found Jesse volunteering at the Great Black Swamp Brewing Company in Toledo, OH, where he has done everything from cleaning kegs, to helping in the brew house. During this time, he has also been working on his own recipes, finding good yeast/hop combinations and fine tuning grain bills. You can expect to find a wide variety of styles at the Goshen Brewing Company. “I like a lot of different varieties and appreciate all styles of beer. Everything from very hoppy to sour fruit beers,” he told me.
The Goshen Brewing Company will begin with a seven barrel brewing system with four seven barrel fermenters. One barrel equals approximately 31 U.S. gallons, so this means he will be able to brew a batch of 217 gallons at one time. Jesse plans to have eight taps, in addition to a beer engine with a hand pull to manually pump cask ale. This is unfiltered, unpasteurised beer, which is conditioned and served from the same vessel without any additional carbonation from either nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Basically, beer at it’s traditional bare bones, with less carbonation to allow more full flavors to show through.
Currently, Jesse is working with architects to finalize drawings for state approval, and he hopes to open sometime late Spring of 2014. Just today, Jesse returned from the Great American Beer Festival, one of the largest events of it’s kind, held in Denver, CO, and hosted by the Brewers Association. While there, he attended many sessions to further his brewing knowledge and skills. Although, Jesse and his wife currently live in Bluffton, OH, he travels back often to oversee his plans. I think that Goshen is more than ready for a brewpub and I anxiously await opening day at the Goshen Brewing Company.