3rd Turn Brewing draws crowds, eyes larger brewing system in historic church-turned-pub

3rd Turn interior crowd 1

It’s hard to believe that as recently as last summer, the cozy space that is now 3rd Turn Brewing was an abandoned Moose lodge.

Now a full-blown craft beer destination, the former Calvary Church of Christ built in the late 1870s in Jeffersontown still maintains a vague chapel feel, but also has taken on a pub vibe thanks to the renovation.

On a recent Saturday night, the place was hopping, with all eight of the large tables in the main taproom occupied by large groups, and the two black leather couches in the middle of the space occupied as well. The square bar at the center of the building (where the baptismal font once was) also was full, and the bartenders barely had time to breathe.

The original hardwood floors and high ceiling, which reaches probably 30 feet at its apex, is exposed, and the entire place is trimmed with what looks like reclaimed barn wood. There is a glaring absence of TVs and even ambient music, leaving the sound in the place to the echoey buzz of people talking and clinking glasses.

This figures, as the intent from day one was not to open a bar but rather a pub-style gathering spot that focused on beer. With 20 taps, that much has been accomplished. While only two 3rd Turn beers were available during my visit — a Lacto Coffee Porter and a Vanilla Porter — the range of guest taps was wide, from an APA by Akasha Brewing to an IPA from Cumberland. Other guest breweries included Tin Man, Hammerhead and plenty more.

3rd Turn is about to turn up the brewing. After launching with a 20-gallon system, co-owner Greg Hayden says he and co-owners Ben Shinkle, Dale Shinkle and Brian Minrath are working toward installing an electrical four-barrel system that will enable more production. (There are 31 gallons per barrel of beer.)

3rd Turn exterior nightIn addition, plans are in place to build out a beer garden adjacent to the brewery, and the hope is to have everything ready by Derby time as an opportunity “to do kind of a grand opening for our beers,” Hayden says.

While so far the limitations of the original system have held them to only a couple of house-brewed beers on tap at a time, the new system would theoretically allow them to fill six of those 20 taps with some ongoing 3rd Turn offerings. The 20-gallon system could then be used for small-batch beers and experiments.

In other words, there will be a variety of 3rd Turn beers available at any given time when all this happens. All four owners are brewers and all four come from different angles, style-wise. Expect an IPA or two. Expect Belgian beers. Expect the unexpected.

Hayden says in addition to recent lacto vanilla and coffee porters, they’ve done hazelnut, orange and chocolate orange versions, with a lacto espresso varietal coming soon. There also was a saison, a cucumber saison, and a Bavarian hefe gerste. Look for a pepper saison and a stout coming soon.

And so far, the wide variety of house beers and guest taps have been well received.

“We at first thought in J-town, it would be difficult to get people’s palates acclimated to experimental beers,” Hayden says. “But people out here are experimental as hell. It is insane how busy it has gotten from time to time.”

It’s a small sample size, but both porters I tried show plenty of promise for what’s to come. Both are 3rd Turn’s base porter, one finished with coffee beans and the other with vanilla beans. Both have a medium body with chocolaty tones, but the coffee version balances that with heavy roast tones and a coffee bitterness that balances malt sweetness. The vanilla version is smoother on the palate and makes for a creamy winter warmer.

Those who aren’t into craft beer can get ciders and other alternative beverages in cans and bottles, as well as wine and even bourbon. There also is a signature bourbon smoothie that is fruity and sweet. Several restaurants deliver food to the brewery, or visitors can bring their own or munch on beer cheese and pretzels for $5.

Similarly, most pints come in at a reasonable $5, while the smoothies are $7. Five-ounce beer tasters are $2.50 apiece if you want to mix and match. The brewery is located at 10408 Watterson Trail and is open Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, noon-midnight, and Sunday, 1-8 p.m.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Old Jeffersontown Moose lodge to become 3rd Turn Brewing

3rd Turn logoMost recently a Loyal Order of Moose lodge and originally a small church built in the 1870s, the little white chapel at 10408 Watterson Trail in Jeffersontown has begun making its transformation into a brewery.

The owners of 3rd Turn Brewing hope to be open by September in time for the city’s traditional Gaslight Festival. The transformation will not only include a brewhouse but a taproom, deck and a beer garden in a spot that has for years been a cut-through.

But first things first: The building’s interior still needs a lot of work.

“We’ve been trying to de-Moose it,” says Ben Shickle, one of the four owners including his brother Dale and friends Greg Hayden and Brian Minrath.

3rd Turn will brew on a four-barrel system with four fermenters and a bright tank; a smaller, auxiliary brew system will be onsite for small-batch beers and experimentation. There could be a lot of that. Both Ben Shinkle and Hayden say all four owners are brewers and all four come from different angles, style-wise.

Hayden and Dale Shickle attended Bellarmine University together and studied chemistry — which is to say they did plenty of experimenting back in the day.

“We’ve been mixing our own drinks for a while,” Hayden says. “It started off with some apple wine in the beakers and grew from that. When the four of us got together, we just pulled ideas and did quality brewing together.”

3rd Turn 2 tap handles FEATURE“We’ve got a good handle on flavors,” Ben Shickle says. “I’ll put it that way.”

Interestingly, there’s not a specific plan yet as to what might be the initial offerings at the brewery, in part because the ideas are so diverse. Also, sometimes they brew beers they aren’t sure are any good, and others will love them. So, the jury is still out until they are certain they can scale their recipes for the new brewing system.

“When you have your chef and he goes in and makes his one dish on one plate and someone says, ‘That’s great, you need to make 100 of those,’ then you’ve got to get into the kitchen and learn how to make it in mass production,” Hayden says. “Right now, we’re ramping up our recipes for mass production.”

But the guys behind 3rd Turn (which is a horseracing reference) don’t feel pressured to pick a lineup now. Hayden says they have been “floored” by what the people in the East End have said about their sample beers, and they plan to let taste buds decide.

“We do lot of different styles,” Shickle says, “and each one of us has a different specialty. Once we find things that catch on in the East End, we’ll keep doing those.”

“You don’t have to have a flagship,” Hayden adds. “You don’t have to have one beer that you’re going to lean on or even one style. Being outside of I-264, it’s a good question as to what people like out here. We have such varying palates ourselves, we thought we could have a number of beers to try out and find out what the flagship is for the East End.”

The quartet shared some beers at the recent Jeffersontown Craft Beer Fest and got good reviews. And product specs have all been created, along with renderings of how the brewery will be laid out: The front part of the building will be the main taproom, and the bar will be constructed where the baptismal tank used to sit back when the building was a church. A sitting room in back will lead to the back deck, and the brewhouse will be adjacent.

3rd Turn exteriorAnd the goal is simple: to be a good local brewery for Jeffersontown first and foremost. The audience, by and large, is within walking distance. 3rd Turn hopes to work with local restaurants to provide food, while they offer good craft beer and ambience.

While all four have been home brewing for years, they’re also inspired by the many other breweries they’ve visited across the country, taking cues from each one in terms of product, brand and atmosphere.

“We spend so much time in breweries when we go on trips or whatever,” Shickle says, “that we thought, ‘We really want to do this.’ More importantly, we wanted to be the first ones in the East End to do this. That was it for sure.”

But, he adds, “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t want to open a brewery.”

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.