“I like to say we play around with church culture and the weird little things that happen in church communities,” said Heitmann, who, when not brewing beer, continues to be a chaplain at a local college and an associate pastor at a nearby church.
If you’re thinking of stopping by the Steeple Brewing Company for a drink just don’t expect to endure a religious ceremony or a long sermon. Sure, the business used crowdfunded money to equip itself with old pews, ornate communion railings and hig- angled wooden beams that give the effects of a vaulted church ceiling. But the Rev. Heitmann leaves the robe and stole at home.
He doesn’t want people to feel that their faith is being trivialized while at the same time he wants to attract those customers who consider a delicious beer to be its own kind of religious experience. So Heitmann and his partners designed the restaurant to be focused on “the human element of the church experience and not the religion itself” with a drink menu that playfully pokes fun at churchgoing archetypes, he told the Kearney Hub.
For example, Steeple offers the There’s the Wayne Fell Asleep (Again) Porter that honors a guy from Heitmann’s home church who was “bold enough to fall asleep every week” during services. Another popular item is the Lighten Up, Keith Pale Ale, which is “inspired by the guy who sits at the back of the room every week with his arms crossed, upset about one thing or another.”
It’s all in good fun. And the restaurant is carries with it a minister’s influence as a place to meet, bond, appreciate life and drink. “We call this place a Fellowship Hall. That’s what we’re here to do: to offer a place of fellowship,” he told the Kearney Hub.