Grand Junction Brewing Co. to open in the spring

Something’s brewing in downtown Westfield – literally. Co-owners Jon P. Knight of Westfield and Charlie Wood of Fishers are working to update 110 S. Union St. from the former Keltie’s restaurant into Grand Junction Brewing Co. Officials said the business plans to open at the end of March or the first week of April. 

“The key compound is passion. You have to be extremely passionate about brewing. You have to be adamant about producing the best product possible,” Knight said.

 Community connection

The naming of Grand Junction Brewing is a nod to Westfield’s history and future. Knight said the railroad-themed name is derived from the city’s connection point of the Monon and Midland railroads and the rich Quaker history that helped establish Westfield.

“We have the actual physical railroad and the underground railroad,” he said. “In the future – in a year-and-a-half to two years – we’ll have Grand Junction Plaza. Grand Junction Brewing seemed like a good fit.”

Just across the street from the business is where Westfield will create the civic plaza community gathering space, which is intended to become the “gem of the city.”

“We hope we are going to be a part of the renaissance. Westfield is at the beginning of some cool stuff happening,” Wood said. “We’re naming it Grand Junction to be a part of it.”

Knight said the brewery is working with the Westfield Washington Historical Society to place historic photos of the city in the pub.

“We’ll have old photographs dating back to horse and buggy days,” he said.

Grand Junction Brewery also will have current photos of the city as Knight is working with Westfield High School’s AP photography class.

“We’ll have framed pictures on display. We’ll rotate them and it provides a modern connection – part of the growth that has already started in Westfield,” he said.

Knight said the building, which was built in the 1860s, has had no dramatic changes since Keltie’s closed to “preserve the historic setting.”

 The owners

Knight, who was born in England, said he has always wanted to open a proper English Pub.

“I love the environment and culture,” he said.

While Knight got into home brewing only two years ago, Wood has 41 years of experience, including a second-place finish at the Indiana State Fair last year.

“I got into it and loved it – got bit by the bug,” he said.

In addition to having fun, safety and quality are also priorities of the business.

“Nothing is more important than sanitation,” Knight said.

“We will not put out anything that doesn’t meet our standards,” Wood said.

To ensure the product is its best, Luke Kazmierski has been hired as the pub’s brew master. Kazmierski has a degree in biology from Purdue University and spent the past six years honing his craft at Mickey Finn’s in Chicago.

“We’re very lucky to have him on board. He is meticulous on the nature of the process,” Knight said. “Beer is half science and half art.”

 The operation

Grand Junction Brewing has seven barrels that hold 31 gallons each or 217 gallons combined. Wood said one tank can hold approximately 1,700 pints.

Knight said the pub offers eight beers on tap, and after the five foundations, that leaves three guest taps, which will be rotated among local breweries. Grand Junction Brewing will have a unique tap system. Knight said traditional pubs use a gas delivery system when dispensing beer, which is traditionally CO2-heavy with a concentration of 75 percent CO2 and 25 percent nitrogen. Grand Junction Brewing will use a high nitrogen content when serving its stouts and pilsners.

“Nitrogen has smaller bubbles than oxygen, which makes (the beer) a creamier consistency,” Wood said, adding that some will think the beer “tastes flat” until they get used to the new system.

The microbrewery also has a one-barrel “pilot” brewing system that will be used for small batches of unique beverages. The owners said those possibilities include bourbon beer, barley wine, chocolate chili pepper beer, chocolate beer, blueberry beer and Belgium triple or quadruple.

“We’re going to serve specialty beer you can’t get in other places,” Knight said. “We’re going to wow them.”

There are no plans to bottle its product at this time, but Grand Junction Brewing will offer growlers for takeout.

“People can grab a pizza or sandwich and a growler on their way home,” Wood said.

“We will be a very popular destination,” Knight said, adding that because the pub brews its own beer, it is allowed to sell growlers on Sunday.

The pub’s kitchen includes typical fare but “a cut above with reasonable prices,” according to Knight. The restaurant side will serve sirloin burgers, pizzas, French fries, salads, wings, soft pretzels, fried pickles and sweet potato nuggets.

“This isn’t a gourmet restaurant but high-quality food,” Knight said.

Because the space was formerly a favorite eatery among locals, Knight said Grand Junction Brewing will serve Keltie’s bread pudding.

“She was known for it. It gives a nod back to her,” he said.

The pub has a seating capacity of 90.

Meet the owners

Jon Knight

Age: 40

Birthplace: Dewsbury, England

Residence: Westfield

Family: Wife, Dawn, and children, A.J., Taylor and MacKenzie

Job: Mortgage broker at Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.

Years homebrewing: 2

Favorite beer to brew: IPA

Favorite beer to drink: Oatmeal Breakfast Stout

Most looking forward to about opening Grand Junction Brewing Co.: “The satisfaction of seeing the public happy with our products.”

Charlie Wood

Age: 57

Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Mich.

Residence: Fishers

Family: wife, Barbara, and children, Andrew and Lauren

Job: IT consultant at Heartland Computer

Years homebrewing: 41

Favorite beer to brew: Scottish 80s

Favorite beer to drink: Imperial Stout

Most looking forward to about opening Grand Junction Brewing Co.: “People being happy and enjoying what we’ve got. I really want this to be a happy place.”

The founding five

Grand Junction Brewing Company has not publicly announced the five “foundation” beers it will craft and have available when it opens – until now. Here are the beers the microbrewery plans to offer when it opens this spring:

Squirrel Stampede – Nut brown ale

1520 – Hefeweizen (German wheat beer)

The Mulligan – Scottish 80

One with Nature – IPA

The Imperfect Backside – Oatmeal Stout

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