Beer Man

Twelve Degree Brewing opens tonight in a former temperance hall in Louisville

Twelve Degree Brewing, which opens tonight in Louisville, is rewriting history.

Not only is it the second craft brewery to open in the former headquarters of the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery chain (the company, now owned by Craftworks, has since moved to Broomfield), but it is doing business in a former temperance hall.

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"People used to go there specifically not to drink," says owner Jon Howland.

Not anymore. Howland's seven-barrel brewhouse and pub takes up the basement and ground floor of a 120-year-old building in downtown Louisville, and comes complete with a patio, room for nearly 100 people, and a focus on Belgian-style beers.

"Brewing is a challenge...but I think the space works," he says. "We have a lot of community tables and a real social layout, which goes well with craft beer, because people love to talk to each other and to talk about beer. It creates a nice vibe."

Once the kitchen is up and running, Twelve Degree will also have a limited menu of flatbread pizzas and Belgian-style frites, along with a guest tap of two Belgian beers. (The brewery will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. today through Thursday, but will have extended hours on Saturday, when it will hold a grand opening.)

"I describe it as a brewery with the food truck parked inside," Howland says. "We're downtown, so we can't have food trucks pull up here like you can in an industrial area, so we'll have food, which will make us more family-friendly as well."

The beers are based on Howland's own recipes. They include a biere de garde, a hoppy Belgian golden ale and a witbier. "We have a dark strong ale planned, as well as more saisons," he says. "That's a favorite style, so that's where the focus will be."

Since half of the brewery, including the fermentation tanks and the walk-in cooler, is in the basement, brewing is a two-man job. So Howland has hired experienced brewmaster Ryan Thompson, formerly of Goose Island and Ska, to help.

"We are definitely on the same page as far as flavor profiles go and how to coax flavors out of yeast," Howland says. (The name "Twelve Degrees" is a reference to the European Plato scale, which measures the density of beer before fermentation.)

Twelve Degree joins Gravity Brewing, which opened in Louisville last fall.

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