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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gentle Ben’s tanks move to downtown brewery

    Gentle Bens employees help unload a 2,800-gallon brew tank into the Barrio Brewery, the new location where all of Gentle Bens beer will be brewed, yesterday afternoon in downtown Tucson.
    Gentle Ben’s employees help unload a 2,800-gallon brew tank into the Barrio Brewery, the new location where all of Gentle Ben’s beer will be brewed, yesterday afternoon in downtown Tucson.

    Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company, a popular local restaurant, took out its brewery tanks to move them to a new location downtown and will replace them with a pizza oven.

    Barrio Brewing, located near East 16th Street and South Toole Avenue, will house the kegs, along with several “”mega-kegs”” that hold about 2,800 gallons, said Gentle Ben’s manager Tauna Arnold.

    Despite moving the brewery equipment, Gentle Ben’s, 865 E. University Blvd., will not go without beer and will begin brewing at the new location as soon as possible, Tauna Arnold said.

    It was Dennis Arnold, owner of Gentle Ben’s and Barrio Brewing, who decided to install a large stone-deck pizza oven in place of the brew tanks in the Gentle Ben’s kitchen.

    “”We wanted to do pizza because it is a very communal food. You don’t go out and share a hamburger,”” Dennis Arnold said.

    Barrio Brewing will feature a larger brewing area, which will allow brew master Steve Onofryton to create more beers.

    “”We will still have our standard beers, such as Red-Cat Amber,”” Onofryton said. “”We will also start new beers, such as barley wine and saison, which is a Belgium farmhouse ale. I want to call the barley wine ‘Old Hippie’ if I can get the name registered.””

    Onofryton said it will be another month until he can start brewing beer in full force.

    “”One of our new tanks will be a lagering tank filled with Tucson Blonde, which I can also turn into Raspberry Blonde,”” Onofryton said. “”The other tank will be filled with cold water to refrigerate the beer. That’s 2,800 gallons of chilling power.””

    “”We have tanks that have been with us all along,”” said Dennis Arnold, who added the brewery to Gentle Ben’s when he became its owner in 1990. “”Some of our tanks we bought have been around since the 1960s, and they don’t have a dent in them because they made them so heavy back then.””

    Dennis Arnold said he has planned to move the brewery since 1998, and he bought the warehouse that will house Barrio Brewing in 1999.

    “”When it came out that we were going to ship beer back to Ben’s, though, the city required that we had 300 parking spaces,”” Arnold said. “”We got a variance to have about half the parking, but it took us seven years to go out and lease the parking.””

    Employees from nearby businesses will hopefully become customers at the new restaurant and brewery, Dennis Arnold added.

    “”We think we will go well with the working-class men, and we are all of two minutes from downtown,”” Dennis Arnold said.

    Steve Chard, a management information systems junior, said he is a regular customer at Gentle Ben’s.

    “”I used to be really into their (India Pale Ale), but I would love it if they made a barley wine,”” Chard said. “”Stone makes one and it’s awesome. It gets you drunk.””

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