So you want so open a family business. How about a brewery! Well in 2016 after a few years of planning that's what Chris Heier did and Half Hitch Brewing Company became a reality. Now as brewery operations manager he is doing a bit of everything around the brewery and finding time to show us around too.
The Business of brewing
We caught Chris in the middle of his hop additions when we got to Half Hitch. Which shows he is for sure a hands on guy ' the business, admin, sale, marketing that's the hardest part' he explains about running a brewery. I love the brewing part after you understand the process its actually fairly relaxing. They most rewarding thing for Heier is being able to share his craft beer passion with the local community by taking part in local events and meeting people who come to eat and drink at the brewery.
All In Brewing
Looking around the brewery there is something missing, so I ask ' where is your pilot system?'. 'We don't have one, go big or go home' Chris says as he switches valves and turns handle to send the wort into the fermenters. Now, I know with the advent of beer software you can be pretty close to the beer you want to make first time but still this seems a pretty ballsy way to make beer, and I kind of like it, that all in brewing attitude.
To the beers, as usual I went for a flight and here's what I came up with.
Pony Up Session Ale: Great session beer, light, crisp with medium citrusy flavor and hoppiness. Good lingering balance of citrus and hops.
Mama's Apple Pie: Does exactly what is say on the label, malty green apples, light cinnamon almost like a sour cider. Very Interesting.
Fire and Fury Red Ale: A medium caramel flavor beer with a fruity malty smell and a sweet crisp finish .
Shotgun Wedding: Smells like coffee and tastes like chocolate with a full mouth nutty flavor and a slight linger of hops.
Trying New Things
Now with the release of their Outlaw Cascadian Dark Ale as their first hop oil infused beer, Half Hitch is making the transition to using hop oil in their beer to replace dry hopping. Chris says they are always on the look out for new things to make their beer more interesting and inspire them to develop new products. They are already talking about adding another brewing facility and additional restaurant location plus Chris has hinted at his dream to open a Half Hitch Brew pub in Japan. Whatever is next for Half Hitch it seems like they are heading in the right direction with good beer and great food. Their first year is looking like a success and they are on track for many more.