BY GREG SIERING
When Kurtis Cummings and Jeff Hall thought about opening a brewery, they wanted their venture to mirror their passions and values, and they wanted to add something to the community. From those musings, and many test batches of beer, Switchyard Brewing Company was born.
Housed in the former Jake’s Nightclub at 419 N. Walnut, the brewery is slated to open in early 2018. Cummings and Hall, both 30, decided that their business would take a new twist on the old idea of a public house (or pub), and offer free space during the day to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other creative types who need a place to work.
So, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Switchyard will cater to the co-work crowd, selling Hopscotch coffee and breakfast items along with beer for workers coming off the night shift. Both men work as EMTs for IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency Medical Services and know that finding a beer after work, when “after work” is before noon, can be a struggle. A lunch menu will start at midday.
After 4 p.m., the brewery will shift to more traditional brewpub fare, offering a mix of local food and beer in a family-friendly environment. Cummings, who worked for Oliver Winery for six years, says they are developing an “elevated brewhouse menu” that focuses on seasonal foods and local ingredients, including gluten-free and vegan options. “The overall goal for the menu is to provide a synergy that communicates the same high quality in both food and beer,” he says. Live music is part of the plan, but so is having a space conducive to conversation.
Cummings and Hall have built interest in Switchyard Brewing Company through tastings at local festivals and have raised more than $42,000 in seed money through a Kickstarter campaign. Keeping with their regional and local focus, the two chose to purchase their 15-barrel system from Craftwerk Brewing Systems, fabricated from Detroit steel and built in Michigan. When the brewpub opens, it will feature several of its own beers as well as guest taps for ciders and other offerings.
For more information, visit Switchyard Brewing Company on Facebook and Twitter.