The Quiet Success of Bull and Goat Brewery
In a parking lot tucked away in Centreville, a lone “BEER” sign with an arrow points to Bull and Goat Brewery, 204 Banjo Lane, suite E. Inside, customers arrive for Friday happy hour.
Jake Heimbuch is swapping out a keg, reconnecting lines, and taking orders from a few customers who have arrived in time for opening.
As he works, more customers arrive. They sit in the plush leather seats around a coffee table, facing a bookshelf stocked with games, such as Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, and Cards Against Humanity. Others find a spot near the farm table toward the back of the brew pub, where a dart game gets started.
People fill in the seats around the bar, which Heimbuch spent hours styling. Heimbuch’s grandfather collected pennies, and Heimbuch spent hours soaking them in baking soda, vinegar and water, later sorting them by color and arranged them in a “B” and “G.” Each of the 2,560 pennies is individually glued to the bar.
As more customers arrive — both to enjoy beer at the tasting room and to fill growlers to take home — the tasting room begins to act as an English pub, albeit with a decidedly American feel. People in different groups enter conversations; some play games. Few have come for a quick visit, but most to spend time relaxing.
Thursday nights are the busiest at Bull and Goat. Heimbuch’s partner, Jeff Putman is an avid cycler and has attracted the attention of a group of cyclists who bike 20 miles each Thursday. After their ride, they head to the tasting room.
Bull and Goat is a side project for Putman and Heimbuch, whose primary jobs are selling military-grade inflatable boats. Because their jobs allow them to travel all over the country, they visit as many breweries as they can to learn new techniques and see what others are doing and how they are doing it.
Brewers like to help one another, Heimbuch said. It’s a very supportive community with great camaraderie, and people enjoy sharing tips.
The duo started as home brewers about five years ago. After they got the hang of it, they decided to start a business. They put a budget together, and Bull and Goat opened in a 300-square-foot garage in May 2016.
They swiftly outgrew that space and moved much of their operation to their current location in June 2017. They still use their original space, although it is not part of the tasting room.
The tasting room is housed in an old grain warehouse with 100-year-old wooden floors. In addition to being a tasting room, customers can have growlers and kegs filled there, and Heimbuch and Putman deliver their brews to three counties.
Each beer on tap is well-thought-out, and it is difficult to pick a favorite from the tasting flight. The FRANK Amber Ale was one of their first brews, and it has stood the test of time. The County Seat is their new pale ale, a fitting title for a Centreville brewery. They use Maris Otter malted barley, which Heimbuch maintains is the best malt.
“We spend a lot of money on malt to make good beer,” Heimbuch said.
The company is growing steadily. They soon will outgrow their brewing system and have plans to get a bigger system and possibly, a bigger tasting room.
Bull and Goat Brewery is open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.bullandgoatbrewery.com.
WHAT'S ON TAP?
FRANK: An Amber Ale, malty and sweet, heavy in flavor and light in feel. With 5.5 percent alcohol by volume and 29 on the International Bitterness Units scale, this amber’s mellow front is followed with a mildly floral finish.
RAFT UP: Witbier, a lovely wheat fermented with a Belgian yeast, with undertones of coriander and citrus. This crazy yeast produces pleasantly exotic flavors with simple barley and a heavy dose of malted wheat. This dry and easy to enjoy beer has an ABV of 4.9 percent.
FRONT STREET: Named after the porters who worked Centreville’s small port, this porter is hearty in flavor. It starts with hints of chocolate and coffee, and finishes smooth with a balanced barley feel. Front Street Porter has an ABV of 5.4 percent and 30 IBU’s.
67: This IPA is mashed for 67 minutes and with 67 IBU’s and 6.7 percent ABV, it’s perfectly balanced. Hopped with only citra several times throughout the brewing process, the nose and taste have hints of pine and grapefruit. A small amount of Gambrinus honey malt gives “67” its exceptionally smooth finish.