Handcrafted beverages from the finest local ingredients
As his name suggests, Keston Helfrich’s heritage is German, but the founder of Carolina Bauernhaus has created a culture that thrives on locally sourced ingredients. In 2020, he and his partners will bring that spirit of synergy and some award-winning brews to Greenville’s West End.
Helfrich got his unofficial start over a decade ago with a simple home kit. He admits to more than one botched batch, an apparent hallmark of home brewers, but his inventiveness soon became a way of life.
“A can of malt syrup, some hops…I thought it would be fun, and then I wondered how far I could push this,” Helfrich said.
Initially, Helfrich continued to work remotely as a web developer for a New York company before taking on the “dubious distinction” of head brewer full time. In addition to Helfrich, two others helped build the Bauernhaus (German for farmhouse). Together, they set the scene for a classic joke: “A brewer, an engineer and a lawyer walk into a bar…” In this case, they walked into a successful partnership.
Helfrich met David Thornton, a bioprocess engineer, at a home brew competition. Neither recalls who won, but approximately five years later, they were in business. Thornton has constructed numerous biodiesel and ethanol facilities, launched breweries and grown ingredients for many. They met attorney Brad Thomas, whose practice covers issues affecting alcohol producers, retailers and distributors, at a home brewers’ club meeting.
For their second location, the Bauernhaus owners have chosen a part of downtown some call the Wild West — but they won’t be braving the frontier alone. As neighbors in the Poe West development, the Greenville Tech Foundation’s Center for Culinary & Hospitality Innovation, LaRue Fine Chocolate and Unlocked Coffee Roasters will enhance the creative process.
“This is an amazing opportunity to collaborate,” Helfrich said. “We’ll have a one-barrel system designed for experimentation. It always start with ingredients, like the coffee and the chocolate, and how to integrate them. It’s an old-world style people don’t see anymore, enhanced by these fantastic elements.”
Greenville’s Bauernhaus will feature an ample outdoor beer garden and an array of European-style pub ales. Helfrich says their award-winning Farmhouse Rye IPA (FRIPA) will be in the rotation and is a standout for him; however, his favorite beer “changes on the regular” with new experiments inspired by new ingredients.
2020 (Greenville, SC – coming soon!)
556 Perry Ave.
Suite B118, Greenville