Building a Brewery: Part 1, Part 2
By Andrew Burns, Head Brewer
What would a brewery be without a taproom? It's funny, because when I started to get into craft beer, taprooms weren't even legal in Minnesota. Now it's unthinkable to imagine a brewery without one. If the brewhouse is the heart of the brewery, the taproom is its face. The taproom is how a brewery greets the world, and it's the first way that many craft beer fans become acquainted with a new brewery.
Every taproom is different, and this variety is part of what makes craft beer such a fun passion. Most taprooms are pretty industrial – large open spaces with lots of metal and sparse decor. Some breweries turn their taprooms into fancy restaurants, some taprooms don't even have food. Some taprooms are spacious, some are tiny. What will our taproom be like?
Sometimes it can be hard to envision what our taproom will look like when, lately, more often than not it looks like this:
Nevertheless, here's what we've come up with:
- Historic – We have a historic building, used as a Sunday School, a township hall, a jail, and now ready to host an intimate taproom steeped in the stories and traditions of Dundas. Our taproom will reflects this, not run from it.
- Wood – A lot of breweries use a lot of metal in their taproom. We're not like that. We're not a warehouse. So wherever possible, we want to use wood, not metal.
- Inviting – Our space will feel welcoming. We picture Chapel as a gathering space. Some breweries are factories. We're not. Chapel Brewing is more of a place you'd want to spend time relaxing with friends, not awed by production equipment.
With those tenets in mind, here's what it looks like now:
The bar front is made with the original wainscot paneling that was in the building when we purchased it. The bar top is made from the original 1800s floor joists that were in the building. When we started our renovation, we discovered that the joists were not going to support our plans, but we were able to salvage them and re purpose them.
The pendant lights were salvaged from a Minnesota church, and help bring the "chapel" feel to the taproom. The ends of the bar were hand-carved by my father-in-law to match those lights. Speaking of lights and the bar front, here's a few more pictures:
So I have to be completely honest with you right now: I'm super excited. I know that our space is small, but it is finally starting to look like a taproom. And not just any cookie-cutter taproom, I'm excited about the character and charm we're packing into every corner. Chapel Brewing will have an incredibly unique taproom, and I'm really excited to share it with you all.
In the next installment, I'll give you a tour of the exterior of our site, including everyone's favorite feature: The Deck.