After years of online research and making brew out of the garage, Chris and Carrie Case have finally turned their love of craft beer into a business.
Located in Lake Ozark Fire Protection District's old station No. 2, the Horseshoe Bend Brewing Co. is producing more than 100 gallons of beer a week but they expect to step up their efforts as the summer season draws near.
Chris and Carrie opened the microbrewery in September 2012 after several years of working on a business plan and testing out recipes. As the brewmaster, Chris has more than 20 years of culinary experience, and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Carrie has a business degree and while she has a day job with a local real estate office, she contributes to the marketing efforts of the microbrewery.
In 2011 the couple started a crowdfunding campaign to help raise money to get up and running. Contributors were given certain reward and perks for making a donation.
Chris renovated the 1970s firehouse and built the entire brewery by hand, down to the boilers and the walk-in fridge that ferments the beer.
It was a trial-and-error process that Chris says has resulted in a few fun experiments. His years of being a chef makes him strive for freshness, and to use quality ingredients when mixing different flavors and combinations. He even gets a daily water analysis to make sure that no outside factors might effect their brew.
There are usually around seven beers on tap. Their flagship beer is the Howling Hef, a Hefeweizen and Chris' personal favorite. All of the beers are Ales and they range from a refreshing, light beer to a robust stout.
"I spin my own yeast strains for every batch," Chris said. "That way every flavor of my beer will be different."
You will have to visit often to try the changing supply of beers. Chris makes different batches to keep each one fresh and incorporates seasonal beers into their offerings.
Visitors can taste the beers free, or order more generous portions including the beer flight where you will get your choice of any three.
While no food menu is available, the couple encourages guests to bring their own picnic or even have food delivered. They do offer the occasional Brew Bites like Chris' homemade pretzels with mustard.
Once a month, the microbrewery offers a seasonal dinner and food pairing where participants will receive a 5-course meal and a selection of beers.
Carrie says one of the things that was important to them as they developed the business was to incorporate some of the local history. You will find vintage photos and creative labels for their beer hanging on the wall. Their logo incorporates the famous zig zag that makes up the Lake's shape.
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1. Howling Hef
2. Cherry Mashup
Belgian Ale with cherry puree
Purchase the 64 ounce growler filled with your choice of beer for $15. Wash it out and return for a $9 refill.
How it works
A 10 gallon test batch is performed and then the recipe is scaled up to make larger quantities.
Chris grinds the grains fresh to keep the oils in so they do not get stale. Different styles of grains are used depending on the recipes.
The grains are put into a mash tun to make a starch to sugar conversion and transferred into a boil kettle where hops are added. From there it goes into a heat exchanger to cool it down and placed into the fermenting tanks where yeast is added. After two weeks, the brew is force carbonated and ready to drink.
Horseshoe Bend Brewing Co.
Where 96 Bittersweet Road, Lake Ozark
When Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 2-8 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Check Facebook for summer hours.