Not long ago, late one evening (or was it morning?), an Iowa State biology graduate (Jeff “Puff” Irvin) and Ames bar owner (Scott “Griff” Griffen) sat — as many of us have — dreaming over beers. This was no far-fetched fantasy. After much discussion the dream came into focus. If Puff enrolled in the master brewer’s program at the University of California at Davis, Griff would have a brewpub waiting for him upon completion of his studies. The deal was sealed that night (or morning?) with a cheers and a handshake.
Shortly thereafter, Puff emerged from the wilds of California with a degree, a tan and some real nerdy beer science knowledge. True to his word, Griff made good on his pledge to provide the brewpub. He purchased an old bicycle shop on Main Street in downtown Ames and immediately hired Puff as his head brewer. The dream became reality on Oct. 4, 2004, when Olde Main Brewing Company & Restaurant opened its doors to the public.
What has occurred since then has been nothing short of astonishing. Puff started his operation with a 15 barrel brewing system that he put together using his patented beg, borrow and buy-off-the-internet approach. After a little tinkering and a lot of experimenting, Olde Main’s signature brews began to take shape.
Word began to spread across Iowa. Iowa State students went back to their hometowns with stories about Olde Main’s offerings. People began to ask questions. Why can’t everybody in Iowa enjoy Olde Main? Why can’t I buy it in the store? So, for the first time in 2008, beer lovers from all corners of Iowa were introduced to Olde Main via distribution in grocery stores and bars.
And to think, it all started late one night (morning?) with a handshake and a cheers. The results were unpredictable, the future is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: beer is only as good as the word of the men who make it.
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