Pulling up to this brewpub and brew-your-own spot, we were skeptical. The place has a cramped, unremarkable façade, and it’s stuck at the end of a lackluster strip mall. But inside, we found the narrow room was packed — families, young couples and the after-work crowd sat elbow to elbow along the bar. Many turned down tables so they could chat up the bartenders as they dined on the famous BBQ Spaghetti and sipped Ringneck favorites such as the 4 C’s Pale Ale, filled with citrus and pine flavors, or the Dunkelweizen, a dark, German-style wheat with smooth hints of banana.We weren’t the only cynics turned believers. “I live down the road and never knew this was here,” one diner told us. “Now I need a weekly fix.”
Take it home: Bottles of Ringneck can be bought to go, and the brewpub hopes to get it into area stores soon.
Brew Kettle Production Works/Ringneck Brewing Co.
How long he’s been brewing: He’s been home brewing since 1996. He started brewing professionally in 2003 and joined the staff of the Brew Kettle last November.
Before he went pro: Before brewing full-time, he worked as a computer animator, graphic designer and brewed part-time at a Wallaby’s restaurant, where he worked for about six months. When a position opened at Willoughby Brewing Co., Kephart decided to switch careers entirely. He applied and got the job.
What he likes most about brewing: “The creativity and making something people enjoy.”
Favorite type of beer: IPA
Least favorite: Spiced beer and fruit beer. “Unless you’re brewing Belgian beers, you shouldn’t be adding spice or fruit.”
Common brewing mistake: “Not keeping things clean.”
Favorite food-and-beer pairing: Smoked prime rib with a dark porter or stout
What he wishes more people knew about beer: “The variety of beers that are available; there’s more out there than just fizzy, yellow beer. If more people would be open to try something new, I’m sure they’d find something different they’d appreciate.”
Mug, bottle or can? mug
Top 3 places to have a beer: 1. Brew Kettle Works 2. Cornerstone Brewing Co. 3. Willoughby Brewing Co.
Why not wine? “I do like wine. I really should learn more about it, because I do enjoy it.”
— Brandon Petitto