Brewery Showcase | Narrow Gauge Brewing
Forget the Hollywood hoopla, this is brewing award season! In a recent Porchdrinking.com piece, it was noted that Narrow Gauge Brewing Company won the RateBeer award for Missouri’s Best New Brewery. With so many new breweries coming to life in Missouri, one couldn’t help but wonder what it was about Narrow Gauge that electrified the local beer loving public. We recently got the chance to interview brewer Jeff Hardesty who shed light on Missouri’s new hot brewery.
They Narrow Gauge team made their mark brewing hoppy pale ales and IPAs. However, with the addition of new fermenters, Hardesty plans to expand the beer portfolio:
“Imperial Stouts are in the works and I currently have two fermenters full,” said Hardesty. “One batch will be making its way into some barrels. I am most excited to get some wild beers going. I’ve brewed a good amount at home and can’t wait to make some production batches.”
At the heart of Narrow Gauge is three cornerstone brews: Fallen Flag, Old Town Porter and O.J. Run.
ABV: 7.0% | IBU: 50
A dry hopped American IPA relying on Citra and Mosaic hops, Fallen Flag is inspired by some of the best IPAs brewed, notably Focal Banger from The Alchemist. Intended to be a flagship IPA, Hardesty began brewing trials for it at home while working towards receiving final brewing approval for Narrow Gauge from the federal, state and city governments.
“At that point I had no idea that the demand for our hoppy beers was going to be where they are today.”
Old Town Porter
ABV: 5.7% | IBU: 45
A traditional American Porter, this was the very first beer ever brewed by Jeff Hardesty and it was inspired by Founder’s Porter. “The first time I had a sip I was amazed by the flavor and body and that is what fueled my desire to make a porter like that,” said Hardesty. Old Town Porter was Hardesty’s first real attempt to hone in on a recipe for an original beer of his own. Countless iterations of this recipe were created to finally achieve what is enjoyed today.
ABV: 8.6% | IBU: 70
This beer holds a special place in Narrow Gauge brewing history as it was created with zero pilot batches. Inspired by Tree House Brewing’s Juice Machine, Hardesty says he just put together a recipe, decided to give it a go and then brewed six barrels.
OJ Run made a big splash publically when it poured at Zwanze Day last October. “Side Project asked us to have a keg at Zwanze Day,” said Hardesty. “Cantillon is one of my favorite breweries and being able to contribute to the participation of their world wide celebration was fantastic.”
Needless to say, OJ Run was a huge hit, cementing it as one of Narrow Gauge’s flagship beers.
2017 Outlook for Narrow Gauge Brewing
With the addition of the new fermenters, Narrow Gauge aims to have more beers on tap, such as imperial stouts and wild ales. However, New Gauge hopes to keep Fallen Flag and Old Town Porter as staples. “We’d love to have all our beers available year-round but hop sourcing can be crazy, so trying to keep beers like OJ Run and Cloud City on year-round would be very tough until we get the proper amount of hops through contracting,” said Hardesty.
At the heart of this operation is the zest to create something special for beer lovers, no matter what the style.
“I have always been of the mentality that I want to brew beer for the beer enthusiasts not to just push beers through the tap,” said Hardesty. “So a lot of our beers are very aromatic and flavorful without being harsh while pushing the style guidelines.”