One Stop Brew Shop
Backalley Brewing Specializes in Home Brew Supplies
Larry Barnhart, owner of Backalley Brewing in Kokomo, says the local community has rallied around his business since he founded the home brew supply store five years ago inside of Kokomo Cycling & Fitness.
“I’ve been around Kokomo for quite a while,” Barnhart says. “I’ve worked at Kokomo Cycling & Fitness since 1975. I took over the bike shop from the previous owners in 2005. I’ve really enjoyed working with these businesses. It’s really been great to work with two things I love – beer and bicycles.”
Barnhart’s wife Sue also operates Backalley Art, which offers original art and whimsical gifts, in the same location.
“It’s a lot of fun to have three businesses in one place,” Barnhart says. “We do get a lot of calls from vendors and interested customers that tell us they think it’s cool we have all of these great businesses in one location. It’s unusual, but we love it. We also have a blacksmith, Mike Shult, who has worked here for 19 years. He makes a great bottle opener, among other things.”
The idea for Backalley Brewing stemmed from a local club Barnhart has become familiar with.
“I’m in the Howard County Homebrew Club, which promotes the art of craft beer brewing and was started about 13 years ago,” Barnhart says. “It’s a great club. We’re an educational group, and we help each other become better brewers. We were forced to change when we were told we couldn’t make any more bulk purchases as a club.”
In response Barnhart chose to open a shop, and he now sells kits, supplies, hops, spices and more.
“I had been toying with the idea of opening a home brew supply store for a while anyway, so I thought I should open a business and keep the club alive at the same time,” Barnhart says.
The Kokomo community has been supportive of the shop according to Barnhart, a Kokomo High School graduate.
“It’s really been amazing how supportive the Kokomo people have been,” he says. “There was no advertising about the brewery when we opened, but there has been a lot of positive word of mouth. We have a lot of regulars.”
Barnhart says the Kokomo Humane Society’s Ales for Tails fundraiser with Backalley has been a popular event.
“We have a lot of live auctions and fun stuff,” Barnhart says of the event. “It’s very well received. We are scheduled to have another fundraiser with them on June 13.”
Barnhart’s personal favorites include Kölsch beer, which is pale and highly attenuated, as well as saison beer, a pale ale that is highly carbonated, fruity, spicy and often conditioned.
“Kölsch beer is a white ale that is fermented like a lager, and saison beer is delicious,” Barnhart says.
Backalley Brewing is located at 1500 East Boulevard in Kokomo (inside of Kokomo Cycling & Fitness). You can call them at 765-452-7110 or visit them online at backalleyart.com/brewing.htm more information.