Temple will soon see the setting up of a fire base right in the heart of the downtown area.
Instead of providing support for troops out in the field, this fire base will provide support for soldiers and veterans at home.
The Temple City Council voted Thursday night to unanimously approve two ordinances that would allow for a new micro brewery to come to the downtown. Fire Base Brewing Co. is a veteran-owned and -operated company started by two Temple residents.
Ordinances approved by the Council included the rezoning of the brewery’s land and the permitting for the business to sell alcohol.
Owners of the brewing company plan on converting the Monarch building, 8 S. First St., into a brewery that serves a variety of locally made beers and wines. JD McBride, owner and head brewer, said he plans on starting out with six staple beers and a rotating set of four seasonal and experimental beers.
“Typically, a microbrewery has a set number of beers that they brew consistently, then the goal is going to be to have at least four other taps so we can do seasonal or test batches,” McBride said. “In the beer world, there are a ton of (varieties) out there. So just being able to experiment with those, and share that with other people, is really what we are really excited about.”
Each year the company plans on producing around 1,000 barrels, or around 30,000 gallons, of alcohol, with plans on expanding if the business does well.
Although there are other small breweries in the area, fellow owner and assistant brewer Duane Dockstader said his travels have shown him this business can succeed.
“In the cradle of breweries in Germany, in a town called Bamberg, there are 100 breweries in a town smaller than Temple and they are all successful,” Dockstader said. “So, if they are all able to do it, I don’t see why we can’t.”
For McBride and Dockstader, who both served more than 20 years in the military, the military and the service of themselves and others is important.
The two said they see Temple as home after years moving around in the military, and wanted to create a space where others would be able to feel the same. They hope veterans and civilians alike will be able to come sit down, tell stories and relax with one of their brews.
“I moved out here in December of last year, and I noticed that Temple didn’t really have a traditional community craft brewery,” McBride said. “With (my) travels around the world, one of the things that is really nice to go to is that community-based brewery concept that a lot of places have. We wanted to bring that here to Temple and help support that veteran community as well.”
Community is a big deal for both men, with their hope being the brewery will be a force for good for Temple and not just seen as a place to get drunk.
Helping support local businesses is one of the ways McBride hopes to help locals, with the brewery looking to also stock local wines made in the surrounding area. McBride and Dockstader also hope to provide the leftover grains that are used in the brewing process to local farmers for free so they can feed their livestock.
“Once you are done with the brewing process all the grains, as long as there are no hop particles in the grain, you can feed that to livestock,” McBride said. “Starting, we are going to have two batches a week so those farmers that we’ve talked to, it will be free to the farmer, we don’t need it anymore and we don’t want to put it into the landfill.”
Being a good neighbor to other local businesses can even be seen with how the two want to open the business. The current plan is to open on the first Friday of March or April so they can coincide with the city’s first Friday activities, bringing in an additional group of people that might not otherwise come to downtown Temple and see what those businesses have to offer.
For McBride, who has been home brewing for seven years, and Dockstader, who just recently has tried his hand at it, spreading their craft is important.
McBride said he hopes to hold classes in brewing at the new business, showing locals who are interested how to take up the craft. Taking on local interns who are veterans or are currently serving is another way the two hope to spread their love of brewing.
The two men, and McBride’s wife, Stacy Zemp, hope the opening of this brewery will not only help themselves but Temple and the people living here.