Jon Crook, CEO, says the tap room at Carroll Brewing Company is unlike any other in Iowa. The building is located at Fifth and Clark streets in Carroll and originally was the electrical and steam generating facility for Carroll, and much of the interior appearance has been retained. The lights are original and have been refurbished to use in the taproom.
Jon Crook, CEO, says the tap room at Carroll Brewing Company is unlike any other in Iowa. The building is located at Fifth and Clark streets in Carroll and originally was the electrical and steam generating facility for Carroll, and much of the interior appearance has been retained. The lights are original and have been refurbished to use in the taproom.

March 6, 2018

A company that will create Carroll-specific craft beers is opening its doors this week.

Carroll Brewing Company will open its taproom at 4 p.m. Wednesday after spending months remodeling a former steam plant at the corner of North Clark and East Fifth streets.

Although the taproom will offer Carroll-area residents and visitors a chance to sit and drink local craft beers and other beverages, the business’s main function will be to brew three “core beers” that will be distributed and sold in restaurants, bars, stores and gas stations throughout Carroll and surrounding counties.

In addition to the more widely distributed core beers, the taproom will serve between 30 and 40 beers made only in Carroll throughout the year, including specialty, seasonal and barrel-aged beers.

The company’s CEO, Jon Crook, and brewmaster, Nick Troe, are working with local contractors this week to complete the building’s and taproom’s preparations before the Wednesday opening.

The company’s production facility — with its massive fermenters that will hold 26,000 beers each — is still several months away from being operational; for now, Carroll Brewing Company has been making its beers at Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake.

To start on Wednesday, the brewery will serve five of its Carroll beers, as well as beers and ciders from other Iowa breweries and producers.

“We’re extremely proud of the drinks that we’re producing in the state, whether it be cider, wine and of course beer, so we definitely want to showcase a lot of the ones that are our favorites and that we’re pretty proud of,” Crook said. “We’re just introducing that culture to a lot more people in western Iowa.”

The five Carroll beers that will be available at the opening include a light lager, golden ale, IPA, pale ale and black lager, Crook said.

Crook said he expects the business to fill a craft-beer niche that hadn’t been engaged in Carroll, in addition to providing a draw for tourists.

And customers who haven’t tasted many craft beers shouldn’t be scared away.

“If you drink Busch Light, you’re going to love this beer,” Crook said. “And it’s your beer. It’s brewed right here.”

The business will be open from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

The taproom will seat about 100 people. Although the business won’t serve food, patrons are welcome to carry in food or order food to be delivered from other Carroll restaurants, Crook said.

He hopes to have TVs installed at the bar by the time March Madness begins, and the bar soon will add liquors and wines to its menu.

For Wednesday, though, the focus will be on what’s on tap.

“If you’re a wine drinker, we have ciders any wine drinker will like,” Crook said. “If you’re a Bud Light, Busch Light, Coors Light type of person, we’re definitely going to have something you’ll like. There’ll be something for everyone.”

The building retains much of the rustic, industrial feel left over from its steam-plant days, with additional features that complement the feel. The bar backs are from the 1880s and used to stand in a general store, and the bar is built from 100-plus-year-old wood. The building’s light fixtures are the same ones that lit its interior in the 1920s. Old doors will add to the old-time brewery feel, and brown leather seating will bring the decor together.

“I’m really excited,” Crook said. “It never gets old walking into the building and looking at it — and that’s for me, and I see it every day, so I’m really excited to show it off to people and hear what people think about it.”

Crook said the first time he drove past the old brick building, he knew it was the home for the brewery he’d dreamed up.

This building just really wanted to be a brewery,” he said. “There hasn’t been a taproom like this in the entire state of Iowa, ever.”