19 Jun The Questions Can Stop Now: An Introduction To Blind Owl Brewery
For months, the questions came. Every day at work, from friends in the area, over Twitter and Facebook, they didn’t stop.
“Hey do you know what’s going in at 62nd and Binford?”
“Adam what’s the deal on that new spot off Binford? I drive past there every day!”
“Is there a brewery going in by my house?”
So you can imagine my relief when I could finally stroll in to my office and loudly proclaim, “it’s name is Blind Owl Brewery, and I think it’s going to be awesome!”
Blind Owl will be able to boast a lot of things that General Manager Ian Lobe is proud of: a 300 seat dining room and bar area; an outdoor patio with room for 100 chairs, cornhole, bocce ball, and an herb garden; both indoor and outdoor stages for live music and open mic nights; and a separate banquet room for private parties and events.
“We wanted the brewery to be as family friendly as possible,” Lobe told me during a recent walk through of the brewery. “We want to hold live music, we’ll have boce and cornhole sets outside, and we’re working on becoming dog friendly for our patio. We’re going to do everything.”
And by everything, Lobe really means that Blind Owl will have everything.
A private banquet room with it’s own bar and tap lines? Check. Stages? Check. Its own herb garden where they’ll grow their own ingredients for the kitchen? Check. Shuffleboard? Check. Bees? CHECK!
Wait… what? Bees?
“We’ve contracted a beekeeper who’s going to keep our own bees near the back of the outdoor area.” Lobe is beaming as he tells me this, probably because of the absurdity of the idea, as well as its mad scientist-like genius. “Not only are we going to use the honey in our recipes, we’re also going to sell it by the bottle and put it in our Honey Brown Ale.”
Which brings me to the beer, and fascinatingly enough, the head brewer: 22 year old Alex Petersen.
A recent Butler University grad, Petersen called damn near every brewer in the state upon graduation looking for an opportunity to learn the trade before landing at Thr3e Wise Men under the tutelage of then-brewmaster Omar Castrellon.
“I wasn’t 21 yet at the time, so I wasn’t in it for the beer,” Petersen says. “I was in it to learn.”
And learn he did. In our short talk, Petersen had my head spinning with his grasp of brewing many different styles of beer, including traditional German beers and beers built with varying grains and yeast strains. He notes that, while you’ll be able to get a standard IPA or the prior mentioned Honey Brown, he also wants to challenge patrons with German-influenced beer, because brewing those beers will provide a greater challenge to him as the head brewer.
“When I walk into a brewery, I’m going to order something light because it’s harder to hide anything in that beer, and the brewer’s true talents will stand out more,” he explains.
Which leads me to Chef Jason Hinton.
Hinton has a background in brewery kitchens, but a few years back he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Colorado to hone his professional skills. He followed that up with stints at the Alcatraz and the Claddagh before a stint at PF Chang’s to add to his repertoire. The menu he has crafted at Blind Owl though will be “as comfort food as you can get”: homemade beer batter for fish and chips and onion rings, house made BBQ sauce, and dough for pizzas from scratch, with as many recipes incorporating their beers as possible.
For every ounce of excitement Lobe has for his head brewer, he equally shares that about his chef.
“We saw Jason’s resume,” he notes, “and we knew he’d be perfect for the Owl. Now he gets to spread his wings and lead his own kitchen.”
As of writing, the Blind Owl team has not set a hard date for opening, so I’ll have to withstand the barrage of questions from friends and coworkers a little while longer. But for now, I can tell you: it’s called Blind Owl Brewery. It’s coming soon. And it’s going to be awesome.