RICHLAND — Three Richland men are turning their love of home-brew and barbecue into an old-school brewpub.
Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery in Richland will offer traditional barbecue and craft beer with a hint of smoke.
We are into barbecue, said Kyle Roberson, who is creating the business with Steve Maiuri and Kevin Miller. We are into brewing.
The trio plan to open in September at 2000 Logston Blvd., Suite 122, as Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery joins Ethos Bakery and White Bluffs Brewing in the Port of Bentons Tri-Cities Enterprise Center.
Maiuri, Miller and Roberson are members of the Mid-Columbia Zymurgy Association, a group dedicated to using yeast to make everything from beer to cider. Maiuri and Roberson also are barbecue hobbyists.
Roberson ran Cirque Brewery for a few years on Port of Benton property in Prosser. The brewery closed in 1999, and Roberson said he learned developing a pub was critical for the brewerys success.
Maiuri said he began brewing and barbecuing as hobbies and has experimented on family and friends.
Miller said his wife didnt know what she was in store for when she gave him a home brewing kit for Christmas.
Their idea for a brewpub started fermenting about four years ago, but Maiuri said the timing and location is right.
The brewpub will be more of a labor of love, Roberson said. All three plan to keep their day jobs. Roberson is a mechanical engineer and does consulting work. Maiuri is a millwright at Hanford and Miller is an electrical engineer for Meier Architecture and Engineering.
They have acted as their own contractors for the smokehouse and brewery, doing some of the work themselves.
Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery will offer eight beers brewed by the owners, and Roberson said they plan to provide two taps for guest homebrews.
While they consider Pilsner-style lagers as their specialty, look for India pale ales done in a West Coast style. And some of the beers will feature smoked malt as a signature flavor, Roberson said.
The brewery has two 15-barrel fermenters. It can take about seven days for ales to ferment and nine days for lagers, Roberson said.
The main difference between ale and lager is the type of yeast used, he explained. With lager, the yeast settles on the bottom, while with ales, the yeast rises to the top.
Once the beer enters one of the six 16-barrel serving vessels, it is already fermented and ready to serve, Roberson said. The carbonation process likely will be finished in the tall stainless steel cylinders.
One serving vessel will contain about 3,500 glasses of beer, Roberson said.
The taps in the pub will serve straight from the serving vessels, although Roberson said they probably will serve some from kegs.
The beer wont be the same every time a customer comes back, but Roberson said thats part of the charm of a brewpub.
And what they brew will be influenced by customer comments. Customers will get a peek at the brewing process through windows that will be installed.
Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewerys owners hope to see lunch and dinner traffic from Hanford tour attendees and commuters, with the brewpub being next to the B Reactor tour office.
They also will sell kegs of their beer, primarily to those who bring in their own keg, Roberson said.
The pub menu will change daily but focus on brisket, sausage, pulled pork and basic sides. In addition to the beers brewed by Roberson, Miller and Maiuri, bottled beer and wine also will be available.
The brewpub will include an outdoor beer garden and enough seating inside for about 50 people. The business plans to start with hiring 10 full-time and part-time employees, Roberson said.
Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewerys opening date and operation hours will be announced on its Facebook page and website.
For more information, go to www.shrubsteppebrewing.com.