For Immediate Release
Second Chapter Brewing Selected as Official 2023 Nebraska Passport Stop
Renovated former library now open as microbrewery and taproom
“We are so grateful for the opportunity presented by the City of Ogallala in purchasing and repurposing the building, which has so much character and history.” Kraus said. “We could not have completed this project without the community’s support or without the assistance of the Community Redevelopment Authority and LB-840 Economic Development Act.”
This business represents a “Second Chapter” in several ways. Not only is this a new chapter for the building and for the business owners, but this is a new chapter for the Kraus family, which has a pre-Prohibition brewing legacy. Kraus’ great grandfather, Louis Kraus, was the majority owner and head brewer at Hastings Brewing Company, prior to the enactment of Prohibition. Furthermore, the owners have also sought to apply creative and adaptive reuse of items throughout the project, and share stories about those elements.
The building was originally constructed as an American Legion Hall in 1927. In subsequent years, it saw use as a roller-skating rink and an elementary school during the construction of Kingsley Dam and Lake McConaughy. In 1954, following the failure of a ballot initiative that sought to purchase the building for use as city hall and a public library, the building was purchased by Robert and Clarice Goodall and gifted to the city of Ogallala for use as a library. The 2020 opening of the new Kathleen Lute Library in Ogallala led to the public sale of the former library space.
The renovation has restored the original maple floors, full-sized windows, and tin ceiling. It has also reestablished the main entrance at the south end of the building.
“We were inspired by the investments and improvements in the downtown area over the past several years,” Gibson said. “We hope that our building renovation and new business will encourage others to continue that trend.”
The brewery has 12 taps and features a five-barrel brew system. Gibson, who learned to homebrew when the couple lived on the east coast, has developed commercial recipes in collaboration with other brewers. They currently include a number of old-world classic styles, such as the Bavarian Brothers (German Pils), Witty Librarian (Belgian Wit), and Czeched Out (Czech Dark Lager). With nods to local history or local ingredients, the Goodall Golden (Golden Ale), Drunken Sentinel (American Pale Ale), and Good Beer-y Farm Sour (Aronia Berry American Farm Sour Ale) are styles that have been made popular in the American craft brew movement. The local favorite, a gluten-free seltzer called Trashy Romance (Apple Cider Seltzer), is served with a cinnamon sugar garnish.
Second Chapter Brewing guests are invited to order food from the food truck based on site, or bring in their own food. Light snacks are also available in the taproom.
Second Chapter Brewing is grateful to the community for their support and invites everyone to visit the craft brewery taproom and participate in its upcoming grand opening celebrations on March 23-24. The schedule of grand opening activities is available at: https://secondchapterbrewing.com/blog/grand-opening-celebrations.
Second Chapter Brewing is located at 203 West A Street in Ogallala, Nebraska. The taproom is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-8pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11am-10pm, and Sundays 11am-6pm. More information is available at www.secondchapterbrewing.com or on Facebook and Instagram.
On a Tuesday night back in January 2021, we stood before the Ogallala City Council and made a pitch. We were there in response to a call for proposals about the "best use" of the former Goodall City Library building.
With our sweaty palms, face masks, and heightened nerves, it felt like we had been called to report the principal's office (something Rick is familiar with from his youth!).
We presented our idea to turn it into a microbrewery with a family-friendly environment, enhancing downtown and becoming a destination for both tourists and residents.
We knew at that time that it would be a challenging project to complete, but in our optimistic ignorance, we thought we'd be open by the end of the year. Turns out, it would require several more months to finalize the public sale and a full nine months before we would even obtain a building permit.
Over the past two years, we haven't gotten much better at estimating timelines, but we have finally brought the renovation project to completion.
This Wednesday, we will finally open our doors to the public for regular business.
Our bar is just about ready for craft beer to be served across it, and we are currently hiring taproom servers! (https://secondchapterbrewing.com/opportunities.html)
The bar top is made of Douglas Fir that once spanned the Keystone Canal here in Keith County. The base of the bar includes some of the bookcases that were custom built for the Goodall City Library and repurposed here.
Here's the story of how these elements got their Second Chapter...
***long-winded post warning!***
In case you were wondering, yes, we are still working on those floors!
A first coat of finish was applied this weekend, with more to follow in order to withstand the inevitable craft beer spills! Refinishing these original hardwood floors has certainly not been quick or easy, but we hope you'll agree that it's worth the effort to give them a Second Chapter.
On a related note, several long-time Ogallala community members have told us stories about getting to roller skate here some time before it became a library in 1954. We hope that 70 years from now, these floors will still be telling stories!
Several of the bookshelves that had been in the old library are getting a "Second Chapter" as our custom-built card catalog flight boards. Wonderful local craftsmanship by Justin Miller. Thank you!
We received our first shipment of grain Wednesday morning. That also meant we got to try out our slide here at Second Chapter Brewing! That's right, our grain moves down into the basement for storage courtesy of the former Sutherland City Park slide and gravity. It beats taking the stairs!
Huge thanks to Lisa's cousin Tim Kraus for helping out for the day. If only we could have convinced him to try the slide himself...
Lisa & Richard
Second Chapter Brewing Co-Founders