The countdown for the first brew at John G’s Taproom in Downtown Washington has begun.

Brewing operations will begin this Sunday, Nov. 11, with the blond ale to be ready for consumption in about two and a half weeks.

Visitors are invited to stop in and watch the brewing process from an observation rail beginning at 9:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day.

The microbrewery is located in the old Droege’s Supermarket. Renovations have been ongoing for about one year, transforming the 150 year-old grocery store into a restaurant and taproom.

Beginning brew operations on Veterans Day is significant to owner Terry Heisler because he served in the military for 32 years. Heisler owns the business with his wife, Jeri.

Sunday also is the birthday of Shawn Herrin, the restaurant's master brewer.

New brewing equipment arrived on Labor Day weekend. Since then, employees have been working to get it installed, said Heisler who still needs to get the cooling system and heat exchanger up and running and do a clean and do a dry run with all of the equipment.

Herrin will brew about 60 to 70 times per year, he said, adding that with the new equipment, he will be able to brew three to four times what he could at the old facility, which is being phased out.

Before, Herrin would brew about 780 barrels per year. Now, he will be able to brew 2,400 barrels of beer per year.

“I’m looking forward to increasing the capacity and streamlining the brewing process,” he said. “The consistency and quality should increase quite a bit with the (new) system.”

Heisler said a chalkboard in the restaurant will let visitors know when brew days are, so people can visit and watch the process.

Eventually, Heisler plans to do tours of the brewery operation.

“Our hope is to get to the point where we can make small batches for consumption on the premises,” said Jeri Heisler.

“We can have fun and be a little more creative,” Herrin added.

The Heislers plan to bottle two brands of beer in six packs in local markets. Bottling won’t begin until after the first of the year, Terry Heisler said.

Expanded Menu

An expanded menu in the restaurant will be introduced this Friday.

“It’s our favorites plus a few more things,” Jeri Heisler said.

The menu includes sandwiches, salads, steaks, seafood and various specials.

Happy hour takes place every Tuesday through Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.

Upcoming Events

John G’s Taproom will host several events as business expands.

Sara Jane & the Blue Notes will perform Friday, Nov. 9, 6 to 10 p.m.

Dueling pianos will be Friday, Nov. 16, 6 to 10 p.m.