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Goshen Brewing Co. auctions off its first pint for a local charity

What better way to celebrate an opening day than to give back to the community that has supported Goshen Brewing Co. through its development? 

At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, before official opening time, about 20 people gathered outside the front door of the new Goshen brewery, where owner Jesse Sensenig auctioned off the first pint and first T-shirt.

Money raised from the auction went to the Elkhart County Clubhouse, located at 114 S. Fifth St., Goshen.

Clubhouse is a community where people who have a persistent mental illness can come to rebuild their lives. It offers support for education, or for returning to the workforce through a variety of entry-level positions.

Clubhouse Director Rich Meyer was on hand to see his son Jonny Gerig Meyer win the first pint with a high bid of $500. Jeremy Stutsman had the high bid of $250 for the first T-shirt.

After joining Jonny inside for his first pint, Rich told some stories of home fermentation experiments that didn’t go exactly as planned. It is my understanding that Jonny has come a long way since those first attempts and is quite a good homebrewer now.

Around 30 people were waiting to experience Goshen’s first brewpub when the doors opened. I recognized many familiar faces as well as many new faces. A steady crowd flowed in and out and once again I was very impressed with the support from the community.

Since I was there, I made it through the rest of the beer list that I didn’t get to at the soft opening.

I was asked several times what is my favorite GBCo. beer. It is always so hard to answer that question, because there are so many different styles to like.

While I was waiting for my friend Dick to arrive, I ordered Shoot the Moon (black IPA, 6.3 percent ABV, IBUs 51).  This was new to the menu since the soft opening, and I really, really like hoppy beers — Shoot the Moon did not disappoint. 

It poured a pitch black with a nice, thick tan head. There was plenty of pine and citrus in the aroma and flavor with a big malt backbone. It was medium bodied with a good roasted malt flavor that was nicely balanced with the hops.

I have had The Grind (coffee brown ale, 6 percent ABV, IBUs 15) before, but it is currently offered on both CO2 and nitrogen taps. Nitrogen generally delivers a creamier mouthfeel and since I had not had it on nitrogen, that is the way I ordered it.

There was a good nutty flavor with roasted malts coming through, with a good strong coffee flavor. If you do not enjoy coffee, though, I do not recommend this beer.

Goshen Brewing Co. Young Scotch Ale (Eric Strader/Hop Notes

Lastly, I sampled Young Soul (Scotch Ale, 6.7 percent ABV, IBUs 18). There were some differing opinions around our table as to the favorite of the two Scotch Ales. I thought that Young Soul had a bit more complex flavor, but I may just have to spend some more times with these two beers.

Even though it was only comfortably busy in the afternoon, I imagine it was quite a bit busier during dinner time. Jesse (the brewer), Jesse (the chef) and crew seem to have things pretty well in hand. However, I do recommend not being in a hurry these first few days, and give them a bit of grace as they work out any of the small kinks they many encounter.

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