I love living in Goshen, and through the past few years our options for craft beer have grown. But for me, the best thing that has happened is Goshen Brewing Company (GBCo), which opened just a few minutes bike ride (a slightly longer walk) from our home.
My friendship with owner/brewer Jesse Sensenig began before the brewery opened, and I had many opportunities to taste his beer before he began brewing on a commercial system. These tastings included everything from preview events around Goshen to my first tastes of Menno Mighty and Tailwind in the garage of his in-law’s (his homebrew brewhouse at the time). I knew way before he opened the brewery that he was going to be a successful brewer.
Through the first year, Jesse has brewed approximately 40 different beers, including barrel-aged beer, kettle sours, an Altbier (a hard to find style) and a collaboration with the Goshen Homebrew Club. When asked my favorite of all of these, it’s a hard question to answer. My most likely response would be the GBCo beer in front of me. Some of my favorites have included All Rye All Rye All Rye (imperial rye IPA, 7.7 percent ABV, 49 IBUs); Barrel Aged Old Soul (Scotch ale, 8.8 percent ABV, 19 IBUs); barrel-aged Biz Czar (imperial stout aged in Journeyman Distillery’s Featherbone bourbon barrels, 7.5 percent ABV, 62 IBUs); Hophead Hooray (harvest ale brewed with fresh hops from Hop Head Farms, 6.5 percent ABV); Stone Bridge Stout (especially the version infused with cacao nibs, 6.3 percent ABV, 49 IBUs); and The Grind (coffee-brown brewed with Panamanian coffee beans roasted at DIY Coffee and Ale Supply, 7.1 percent ABV, 15 IBUs).
I recently chatted with Jesse about their first year and here are some things he had to say:
- When asked what he found most surprising, he replied, “Most surprising or interesting is that people have really strong feelings about the beer that they drink and are usually willing to give something new a try. We enjoy the challenge of keeping a diverse board of beers and feel like we can find something for nearly everyone that is willing to try.”
- He told me that the best thing about owning a brewery in Goshen is being a “third place,” a community building where people and families gather between work and home. “We are thrilled to be in the vibrant community of Goshen! We are very excited to develop into, if not already, an asset to the Goshen community.”
For beer enthusiasts with children, GBCo is a great option. I often find families there, and they have a great food menu with a special section for kids. In the warmer months, the patio is a wonderful place to enjoy a beer with a view of the mill race. Last spring I rescued several small snapping turtles heading toward the dangerous parking lot, and on a separate occasion watched a bald eagle from the patio.
GBCo has become my “Cheers” spot. It is rare that I don’t recognize at least a couple of others. And if I don’t, it’s easy to start up a conversation with someone new at the bar. I am a proud mug club member and was the first to purchase a limited 2015 GBCo Octoberfest stein for last year’s celebration.
Their anniversary party will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. May 14. The outdoor event will include a hog roast, yard games and music. Admission will be free. Although Jesse hasn’t told me for sure, I’m guessing that we will see some special beers released that day as well.
Goshen Brewing Co. is located at 315 W. Washington St. (next to the Goshen Farmer’s Market and behind Interra Credit Union) They have 10 taps with growler fills to go. They are open from 3 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.