By Sarah Jaquay
This brewery takes retro to a whole new level: it uses 19th-century brewing techniques and interprets the importance of beer to Dayton’s development. Brock has home brewed, is a certified master food preservationist and came to Dayton from Minnetrista, the Ball family home in Muncie, Indiana, where the Ball brothers became the kings of canning jars.
Located just outside the grounds of beautiful Carillon Historical Park (part of Dayton History, Montgomery County’s historical society), the brewery focuses on the year 1850. Costumed interpreters demonstrate historic processes used to produce beer, wine and cider in the Dayton area and elsewhere.
Dayton’s (and America’s) development is inextricably linked to beer. Before municipal water systems became common, many households served beer to avoid waterborne illnesses such as cholera. “Even children were served a low-alcohol beer,” notes Brock. Dayton was a big brewing town because many of its original settlers came up the Miami-Erie Canal from Cincinnati—a hotbed of German immigrants who brought their brewing savvy with them.
Brock says visitors will see beer being made in direct-fired copper kettles and wood-coopered mash tuns (containers where grains are steeped in water). She notes the actual process of making beer isn’t that different, but “visitors will be surprised at how well the brewers knew their product. It was less of a science because there were no computers to monitor the process.”
After steeping in history, visitors also can refuel at the new brewpub, seating 180 people inside and another 100 in the beer garden. Guests may order house-made selections including pale ales, amber ales, spiced ales and even a White Devonshire. No worries if their German-inspired menu begs for a national-brand lager; the brewpub also has options from Heidelberg Distributing Company. “We want visitors to give our products a try, but if you have a comfort glass, that will be available too,” Brock assures.
See www.carillonbrewingco.org for information.