NEW ALBANY — This summer, a new hangout spot for beer lovers is coming to town.
Unlike other local breweries, however, Our Lady of Perpetual Hops is a bit off the beaten path, located in the Grant Line Industrial Park just past Indiana University Southeast.
Proprietors Tanner Wortham and Kyle Richmer said the idea to start the brewery and taphouse, which they hope to open in July, started as somewhat of a joke before blossoming into a full-blown business.
"The place we worked went out of business, and we just liked brewing beer," Richmer said. "My brother bought me a homebrew kit for Christmas one year. He said I could make my own, and it just escalated. I really like being able to create my own thing. You go to the store and spend $15 on a 6-pack of beer and don't really like it and want to change something about it, and now I can."
Similarly, Wortham said he has had a passion for beer for as long as he has been able to drink it, calling the brewing process a mixture of art and science.
"I started drinking beer when I was 21 and just fell in love with it," Wortham said. "There's so many different kinds of beers you can have. I like to think about the science behind it and what's actually happening. To be able to make these different variations of things that have different flavors is really cool. All of these different things with the climate and the hops can cause different flavors."
MORE THAN A NAME
The name, Our Lady of Perpetual of Hops, is more than a nod to New Albany's Our Lady of Perpetual Help. According to Richmer, it is also a reference to the brewing process itself.
"Typically on a regular brew, you add hops at different intervals throughout the process," Richmer said. "You add hops at the beginning of your boil, the middle of your boil and the end of your boil. Depending on when you add them, it has a different flavor profile. Perpetual hopping is when you add hops continually throughout the entire boil to give it a unique flavor. The perpetual hopping has been done by other breweries, but I don't know of anybody locally who's doing it right now. We also really like doing adjunct stouts, and that's not being done a whole lot around here. We do mango blonde ale, and that turned out really good. That's something for people who typically drink light beer. We're kind of all over the place with what we do."
With the business being fairly small-scale, Wortham said they will have the opportunity to try things other, more expansive breweries aren't able to.
"We'll brew a batch, maybe 14 kegs, and take out four or five kegs and add an adjunct to it like Oreos," Wortham said. "It'll be small quantities, like places who have one-offs. It'll be pretty unique. You won't be able to get it all the time, but if it gains traction, we'll up it to full-scale a little bit. You've got to keep the people wanting to come back."
The warehouse location of the brewery gives Wortham and Richmer plenty of room to work with, and they plan on utilizing the space to its full extent. The nontraditional interior, they said, will be more of an advantage than a roadblock.
"We talk a lot about our atmosphere," Richmer said. "There are some breweries not too far from here that have the industrial feel, but nobody really local has that right now. We're going to play on this big warehouse we have with the darts, cornhole and music. It gives us room for expansion for sure. We're not stuck to a small building. A lot of places start small, and then they're stuck there. They can't really grow. This building gives us a lot of room to expand our operation if we wanted to get bigger and distribute, can or bottle."
Accompanying the beer on site will be some dining options.
"We're going to have a small amount of food," Wortham said. "It's going to start off as kind of a concession stand. Food trucks will be a big thing for us. It's something simple, but the availability will be there."
Though food options at the brewery will be limited, the pair have even more plans in the work for foodies. In summer 2020, they plan to open up a second location on Paoli Pike in Floyds Knobs, directly across from the post office.
"It sits on 10 acres," Richmer said. "It's going to be roughly a 5,000-square-foot building. We're going to try to have a heavy outdoor presence up there, kind of like a destination spot. It'll be a full-scale restaurant, so that'll attract a much larger crowd than we can down here since it's 21 and up. We can get families in there. It's something that doesn't exist up there in the Knobs."
Greg Wortham, Tanner's father and co-founder of the brewery, said he hopes to see both businesses flourish once they become operational.
"We just want to get this up and running," he said. "We've already got plans drawn up on the Paoli Pike location. The goal is to keep both. This location is a bit of an unknown, but we're hoping it'll be something unique. You just never know until you open the doors. Hopefully it's a hit."