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Microbrewery could come to Worthington next summer

WORTHINGTON -- Local brewmaster Brent Droll plans to open his very own microbrewery in Worthington by the summer of 2018. Sexy Beast Brewing Co. would serve a dozen locally-brewed beers on tap -- four stable beers that will always be available, f...

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Brent Droll sits behind the four ingredients needed to make beer: water, hops, grain and yeast. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Local brewmaster Brent Droll plans to open his very own microbrewery in Worthington by the summer of 2018.

Sexy Beast Brewing Co. would serve a dozen locally-brewed beers on tap - four stable beers that will always be available, four seasonal beers and four rotating craft-style beers such as stouts, porters and IPAs.

Learning to brew Droll has become renowned among friends and family for his brewing proficiency. He held his own “Oktoberfest” two years ago at his house, located east of Worthington and south of Okabena. Forty people showed up to enjoy his homemade craft beers.

It’s when Droll expanded the event for its second year and opened it up to the public that he witnessed the demand for a microbrewery firsthand - 170 people flocked to the small farmhouse to enjoy his homemade brews.

He wasn’t always a master brewer. Having previously enjoyed Bud Light and Coors Light for many of his years, Droll didn’t know how much he liked beer until he visited Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii 10 years ago. The microbrewery’s delicious macadamia nut brown ale changed everything.

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“I felt like, I can’t get that beer here ... so I need to make that,” Droll said.

Droll, a computer programmer by trade, started brewing as a hobby in 2011 when his wife and kids bought him a beer kit for Father’s Day.

His first effort, in his own words, tasted horrible. So he went back to the drawing board, which in this case meant getting new equipment and spending a lot of time on Google.

After extensive research, Droll managed to brew beer he actually liked on his second try. And in the tradition of craft brewmasters, he has since spent quite a bit of time trying new recipes, and tweaking and modifying them to perfection.

“You can’t beat it,” Droll said.

One of Droll’s wildest concoctions is a spicy beer that uses roasted jalapenos - stems, seeds and all - as an ingredient. His friends dubbed it “Paycheck,” after the often-explosive feathered King Turkey Day racer. Droll also purchased two pounds of macadamia nuts at Hy-Vee to recreate a version of the brew he tasted in Hawaii.

“Fifty dollars later, and the cashier said ‘Holy smokes, he must really like making cookies,”’ Droll said.

In Hawaii, Maui Brewing Co. sources its macadamia nuts locally. In the Worthington area, that isn’t possible, but Droll still wants to get most of his ingredients locally - such as barley (he’s currently growing a few of his own plants) or honey (which he uses in many of his wheat beers).

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“When we get the opportunity to source something locally, that’s what I want to do,” Droll said. “What better business plan than to buy your honey from a local guy and when his friends and family come down to visit, he says, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta try the beer they made with this honey.’”

The taproom Droll envisions a welcoming, relaxing taproom that would provide a venue for live performers and fun events.

“I would love if there were people in the community who would want to come out and sing songs for the night,” Droll said. “If they’re a country singer, bluegrass or jazz, it takes all kinds; there’s gotta be something for everyone.”

The microbrewery won’t serve hot food, but it will offer snacks such as nuts, pretzels and pre-packaged nuts. Local restaurant menus will be available for delivery, and food trucks would be welcome to camp outside. Root beer will be offered for those who don’t want or can’t have an alcoholic beverage.

Like with most microbreweries, customers will be able to take home 64-ounce growlers of their favorite beer. Droll also said he would like to have waiter or waitress service, an uncommon feature in the growing microbrewery industry.

The company name was inspired by his son Austin’s high school nickname, “Sexy Beast.” Why was that his nickname? Droll still can’t figure it out, but nonetheless the name stuck.

The logo, which depicts a bull surrounded by a barrel and barley leaves, was inspired by the Droll family’s love for professional bull riders. The logo has already been printed on shirts and drinking glasses.

Droll is still looking for a suitable location within the city - the building would likely be 6,000 square feet, but it could be smaller. He’s also had to deal with zoning and licensing issues, slowing the process down.

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“The city has done a great job of working with me and helping me out,” Droll said, acknowledging that he can’t just Google the specifics of Worthington zoning ordinances.

Droll is confident the microbrewery will get done, and in an era where it’s easy for people to stay home on their phone, he hopes the store will bring people together.

“When you’ve got something like this, it gives people the opportunity to get out see their neighbors, to socially interact with people and sit down and enjoy some entertainment and a good drink,” Droll said.

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