What do you get when a guy who brewed his own beer in college befriends a pastor and then recalls he has a college buddy with marketing skills and the three of them put their minds together over a beer?
You get a place called Steeple Brewing Co.
That’s the story in a nutshell of how Thomas Kluver, Damen Heitmann and Anthony May launched a brewery at 717 W. First St. in downtown Hastings.
May, co-founder and creative director of Steeple Brewery, said he had always thought that Hastings could use more fun and cool places to go, and opening a micro brewery in the downtown area with Kluver and Heitmann seemed like the right thing to do.
The roots of Steeple Brewing can be traced back to 2006, when Kluver brewed his first batch of beer in a Hastings College honors house. And while May said the college’s administration frowned upon the practice, Kluver’s knack for brewing beer was ignited.
When Kluver later met Heitmann, who was attending seminary school, in Minneapolis, they bonded over a beer. The two of them kept in touch after Kluver left Minneapolis.
In 2014, Heitmann accepted a position as the chaplain of Hastings College and the two of them reconnected in Hastings.
They started tossing around the idea of bringing a craft brewery and tap room to Hastings. They eventually brought May, a college friend of Kluver’s, into the mix.
The trio brainstormed and eventually created Steeple Brewing, a micro brewery that May said created a place for people to gather and enjoy a beer.
He said they were encountered by an “extremely supportive” community, which made it possible for them to find success.
May said that everyone they came across when they first were starting the project was receptive of the idea and often asked how they could help.
Steeple Brewery opened in August 2017.
It is located in a building that was originally The Pioneer meat market where customers can see the building’s original black-and-white marble tile flooring and brick walls. Other features include a number of relics you would expect to see in a church, including a pump organ and communion rail.
“It offers a quiet, unique and historic atmosphere,” May said.
He said that Steeple Brewing is a place where people can go to enjoy a local brew, but, more importantly, share a moment with friends and family.
“The stars of the show are our brew tanks,” May said. “You can see them through the large windows across from the bar. You might even get to see the brewmaster at work.”