Most recently a Loyal Order of Moose lodge and originally a small church built in the 1870s, the little white chapel at 10408 Watterson Trail in Jeffersontown has begun making its transformation into a brewery.
The owners of 3rd Turn Brewing hope to be open by September in time for the city’s traditional Gaslight Festival. The transformation will not only include a brewhouse but a taproom, deck and a beer garden in a spot that has for years been a cut-through.
But first things first: The building’s interior still needs a lot of work.
“We’ve been trying to de-Moose it,” says Ben Shinkle, one of the four owners including his brother Dale and friends Greg Hayden and Brian Minrath.
3rd Turn will brew on a four-barrel system with four fermenters and a bright tank; a smaller, auxiliary brew system will be onsite for small-batch beers and experimentation. There could be a lot of that. Both Ben Shinkle and Hayden say all four owners are brewers and all four come from different angles, style-wise.
Hayden and Dale Shinkle attended Bellarmine University together and studied chemistry — which is to say they did plenty of experimenting back in the day.
“We’ve been mixing our own drinks for a while,” Hayden says. “It started off with some apple wine in the beakers and grew from that. When the four of us got together, we just pulled ideas and did quality brewing together.”
“We’ve got a good handle on flavors,” Ben Shinkle says. “I’ll put it that way.”
Interestingly, there’s not a specific plan yet as to what might be the initial offerings at the brewery, in part because the ideas are so diverse. Also, sometimes they brew beers they aren’t sure are any good, and others will love them. So, the jury is still out until they are certain they can scale their recipes for the new brewing system.
“When you have your chef and he goes in and makes his one dish on one plate and someone says, ‘That’s great, you need to make 100 of those,’ then you’ve got to get into the kitchen and learn how to make it in mass production,” Hayden says. “Right now, we’re ramping up our recipes for mass production.”
But the guys behind 3rd Turn (which is a horseracing reference) don’t feel pressured to pick a lineup now. Hayden says they have been “floored” by what the people in the East End have said about their sample beers, and they plan to let taste buds decide.
“We do lot of different styles,” Shinkle says, “and each one of us has a different specialty. Once we find things that catch on in the East End, we’ll keep doing those.”
“You don’t have to have a flagship,” Hayden adds. “You don’t have to have one beer that you’re going to lean on or even one style. Being outside of I-264, it’s a good question as to what people like out here. We have such varying palates ourselves, we thought we could have a number of beers to try out and find out what the flagship is for the East End.”
The quartet shared some beers at the recent Jeffersontown Craft Beer Fest and got good reviews. And product specs have all been created, along with renderings of how the brewery will be laid out: The front part of the building will be the main taproom, and the bar will be constructed where the baptismal tank used to sit back when the building was a church. A sitting room in back will lead to the back deck, and the brewhouse will be adjacent.
And the goal is simple: to be a good local brewery for Jeffersontown first and foremost. The audience, by and large, is within walking distance. 3rd Turn hopes to work with local restaurants to provide food, while they offer good craft beer and ambience.
While all four have been home brewing for years, they’re also inspired by the many other breweries they’ve visited across the country, taking cues from each one in terms of product, brand and atmosphere.
“We spend so much time in breweries when we go on trips or whatever,” Shinkle says, “that we thought, ‘We really want to do this.’ More importantly, we wanted to be the first ones in the East End to do this. That was it for sure.”
But, he adds, “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t want to open a brewery.”