Middletown residents Nikki and Wes Heupel and Beth O Harra, of Lebanon, have created five craft beers for N.E.W. Ale Brewing. They plan to open the business by next spring in the same space as All About You Catering at 1521 First Ave. in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided

New Middletown brewery: How trivia trips led to this trio’s big ideas

A new brewery in the works for Middletown already has created a handful of beers and is working to develop more.

N.E.W. Ales Brewing aims to open in the same space as All About You Catering, 1521 First Ave., by next spring.

The trio behind the new business are Wes and Nikki Heupel, of Middletown, and friend Beth O’Harra, of Lebanon, and they have already developed five craft beers.

The “N.E.W.” in the company’s name stands for Nikki, Elizabeth and Wes, with Nikki Heupel helping with the business side of things, O’Harra helping with the flavor profiles and sales side and Wes Heupel handling the brewing.

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O’Harra said the trio met several years ago through mutual friends and, over the last couple of years, started playing trivia together at a local brewery one night a week.

Discussing various beers and flavor profiles, the three friends would laugh and say, “We could do this. We should do this,” she said.

“ One night we decided to take ourselves seriously,” O’Harra said. “I’ve had a love of craft beer, and flavors for years and was just looking for the right opportunity. With Wes’ experience and Nikki’s ease of social media it just felt like the right fit. And honestly it’s gone much faster and smoother than we expected.”

Brews created so far include a Hoppy Amber called Country Dreamer; Flippin’ Fruit Tart Strawberry Lime Gose; a saison called Saison of Love; and a black plum sour named Flippin’ Fruit Plum Sour. They are in the process of making a pumpkin beer, OMG Becky Look at that Pumpkin.

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“Right now we are in the process of waiting to hear back about our permits but we are hoping to be up and running by spring if everything goes well,” said Nikki Heupel said.

The business is “constantly coming up with new ideas,” she said.

“We really like trying to find new flavors we can play with and make them come out in our beer,” she said. “As far as number of beers, we have the capability to have several different beers at one time, but it will just depend on the season and what else we have going on. It will vary.”

The business will only make its own brews available for purchase, Heupel said.

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N.E.W. Ales Brewing will start out having half of the building at All About You Catering, but has been discussing options for the future as its grows, Wes Heupel said.

Production will be in a small room near the back of the building, he said. The business also will be occupying 400 square feet of the basement as a storage area for finished product and raw materials, while the brewhouse will be in a smaller area at about 150 square feet.

“Middletown is a central area for all three of us, and we have a lot of people who can support us in that area,” Wes Heupel said. “We want to be known for having approachable beer that can be liked by people who don’t see themselves as craft beer drinkers.”

N.E.W. Ales Brewing’s food options are “still being ironed out,” he said.

“We have discussed teaming up and having food and beers available on some days, but starting out will only be distribution,” Heupel said.

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