The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 10, 2013

Brewed to perfection

ALBIA – What started out as a fun hobby for an Albia native has grown in recent months into a bubbling business breathing new life into a historic building on the Albia Square.

Shortly after Brian and Barbara Lindberg were married, Brian decided to try out a new hobby, making handcrafted beer.

He brewed up his first batch back in 1981 using the old-fashioned crock and cheesecloth method. That first batch was a little too strong; in fact, Barbara said it wasn’t very good. However, Brian continued to experiment with it, gradually perfecting his craft and increasing from single 5-gallon batches to double 15-gallon batches. With over 30 years of experience, Brian now knows how to brew up a variety of delicious beers.

Over time, he realized he would need more space and that he would really like to get all that equipment out of his home. He began watching for a building. After the beautiful Skean’s Block Building sat empty for nearly a year, he decided “to kick up a notch” and share his hobby with the public.

“The Skean’s Block was built in 1889 by Elmer Skean. It first served as a grocery store and boot and shoe store. This is one of the first and most decorative buildings in the district,” boasts Brian’s menu.

The Albia Brewing Company opened in December of last year, serving up dinner and a variety of house-made microbrews Wednesdays through Saturdays from 4 p.m. to close.

Each brew is aged to perfection, taking anywhere from two to six weeks to prepare.

“It doesn’t hurt for it to sit and age; it just gets better and better,” Brian says.

Using a 150-gallon, five-barrel system, the Albia Brewing Co. is able to offer seven to eight different house-made brews on tap at any one time. Most microbreweries only have two or three at a time, Brian says.

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