In mid-2019, the Brewers Association reported craft breweries numbered 7,480, up four percent from the previous year, with about 1,000 more being planned. The Lake added another microbrewery to that beer boom in June 2019 when the Lake of the Ozarks Brewing Company opened on the west end of Osage Beach Parkway.

In mid-2019, the Brewers Association reported craft breweries numbered 7,480, up four percent from the previous year, with about 1,000 more being planned. The Lake added another microbrewery to that beer boom in June 2019 when the Lake of the Ozarks Brewing Company opened on the west end of Osage Beach Parkway.

Jacob Schuster, Master Brewer and co-owner, began brewing in his garage at the age of 21. Later, Jacob shared his hobby and knowledge with his father-in-law, Rick Weber, who readily “developed a love for craft beer,” he says.

Rick liked brewing as much as Jacob, and soon, the two became brewing partners. They continue to brainstorm recipes, but Weber is quick to tell anyone who asks that Jacob is the man behind the flavors. Jacob “cares about the final product” and strives for “consistency” while delivering tastes that patrons like.

Jacob tries out recipes in very small batches. When he believes he’s created a taste that many will enjoy, he offers it to others. If it’s well received, Schuster makes sure to deliver that exact taste in larger batches every time he brews. One of the winter seasonals, a Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout, made its way onto the menu after a small barrel sold out in a weekend.

While malts and hops receive a great deal of attention for craft beer fans, some might argue the most important ingredient is water. It’s 90-95 percent of every batch so moving from home brewing with well water to commercial brewing with city water was a challenge Jacob overcame. He uses water filtered by reverse osmosis then adds minerals to insure that his brews meet his own high standards.

Another challenge to moving from home brewer to commercial was overcome by Rick. With several decades in construction, Rick oversaw the design and renovations for LOZ Brewing on the Parkway. He built a fine bar of wood with a clean, clear epoxy surface. Imbedded in the wood is a metal insert calling to mind the great blue dragon of the mighty Lake of the Ozarks. Luke Weber, Rick’s son and Jacob’s brother-in-law, added that Lake made of metal. He’s also responsible for a fine metal work logo just inside the entry.

For tasting ,Jacob's Dad, Keith crafted flight boards made of cedar and featuring the same logo. Customers can sample four different brews in five-ounce glasses, and later, take home a T-shirt featuring the LOZ logo.

Luke’s sister Logan is the one who creates monthly event announcements, updates Instagram often, and designs merchandise. The T-shirts celebrate Missouri as much as they do LOZ Brewing. Those tees read, “Drink MO Beer,” a play on the state’s postal abbreviation.

Another of Logan’s contributions in November was a special night devoted to pie and beer pairings. An ongoing event is a showcase for her own craft work, and on January 18, 2020, customers can be present for Hops and Heels, an evening starring beer and specialty food.

Beer Bingo is a weekly event, reflecting the spirit found at LOZ Brewing: sharing. Every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. customers listen for matches to their Bingo boards, hoping to win a five-ounce glass of brew. For every draw, customers also hear a brief explanation about that item’s role in crafting beer. Irish Moss, for example, is an ingredient in some beer.

As a result of sharing, other craft brewers have become patrons. They spend time talking about hops and malts. They can also take a high stool in a nook known as the observation deck to sip and watch Jacob brew. A sliding-glass window allows them to ask questions.

LOZ Brewing has a limited menu, including freshly-popped corn and a meat/cheese tray, but the star is homemade beer cheese and a soft pretzel for dipping. This cheese earns its creamy depth of flavors from the Damsel in Distress Blonde Ale, a light brew that customers enjoy and one that Jacob has been brewing for several years.

Equally light and refreshing ales with modest Alcohol by Volume (ABV) are Gold Nugget Junction Golden Ale and Little Niangua Pale Ale made with Cascade hops to deliver a smooth, lightly hoppy taste.

The names of LOZ Brews are nods to Lake of the Ozarks’ history and enterprise. Gold Nugget Junction Golden Ale recalls an Osage Beach amusement park while 19th W-Hole Wheat honors the myriad golfing options that bring thousands to the Lake year-round.

Lake of the Ozarks Brewing Company is open Thursday through Sunday in the off-season. Spending an afternoon learning a bit about the family spirit in the spirits is a good way to spend time this winter.