E-Malt.com News article: USA, NE: Roc Hopper Brewing Company to launch in Syracuse on May 28
A Christmas gift almost ten years ago that turned into a hobby is culminating in a new business opening in Syracuse. Roc Hopper Brewing Company, owned by Ben and Katy Biehl, is opening a Taproom at 448 5th Street that will offer beer on tap, wine, cocktails and food. The grand opening is Saturday, May 28, from 2 to 10 p.m.
“Our focus will be on offering ice cold Roc Hopper beers (13 on tap), wine, cocktails, fantastic food and great customer service. We’ve hired bartenders and a chef. It’s a really fun group of people that are really excited about the vision Ben and I have for Roc Hopper. They are all driven to give our guests the best experience possible,” Katy Biehl said. “Chef Kelley Rawlings plans on having consistent weekly specials and changing up the menu often to keep it interesting and fun,” Biehl added.
Ben Biehl received a home brewers kit in 2013 for Christmas from his wife Katy. The couple says he has been hooked since, studying the science and art of brewing craft beer. In 2019, they were approached with an exclusive opportunity to make beer for Champions Run Golf Course in Omaha and Katy says that is when Roc Hopper was born. They opened their brewery, a two-barrel system which is located at their residence, and also started distributing beer to Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island and Kearney. Ben’s a family physician and with his background in chemistry and Katy’s love of food, Katy said they come up with great brew recipes. Their most popular brews are the Coconut Blonde and Turtle Candy Porter.
Katy describes how the idea to open Roc Hopper was born, “It was hobby that continuously evolved. It started with a small kettle in the kitchen, then a larger set up in the garage and finally we built a brewery in our backyard.” She said they enjoyed having home brew to share with friends and family and never imagined it becoming a business.
In March 2020, three days before the COVID shutdown, the Biehls closed on the building on Syracuse’s main street that was most recently the pharmacy. The building dates back to the late 1800s. After buying the building, the Biehls found out it
After buying the building, the Biehls found out it was originally the opera house and where political meetings, plays, medicine shows, and town basketball tournaments were also held.
Katy Biehl said it was amazing to tear down the layers and reveal what it was like back then. She added, “We were able to salvage some of the original tin ceiling and brick walls. You can see where some of the old windows and doorways were and where the stage would have been.” The space has some of Katy’s artwork on display which she thinks gives it a gallery feel. The plan is for Roc Hopper to have other artists, painters and musicians showcase their work there as well.
“The taproom has evolved into a completely different place than we first imagined. We had no idea the history and potential the building would offer us. The ideas grew and changed from start to finish. The simple, beer only, taproom we thought we were building in the beginning is now a 140-person bar/restaurant,” Katy Biehl explained.
The Biehls felt strongly about supporting the local economy, saying Roc Hopper would not be what it is today without any of them, giving shoutouts to General contractor Noah Zahn, Noah’s assistant Ron Zahn (dad), Architect Tim Wurtele, Hemje Plumbing, Kurt Kasten’s electric, Bertie Crook Drywall, Danner Spray Foam, Zeb Kreifels Concrete, Mahoney Concrete, Farley Masonry, FirstBank of Nebraska, Syracuse Ironworks, Beach House Designs, Ryan Ross Carpentry and Syracuse Lumber Yard.
The Biehls have been married for 12 years and have two children, Rocco and Lyla. Katy, who was a hair stylist for 20 years, retired to focus on starting Roc Hopper. Katy said, “The entire journey has been a collaborative effort between Ben and I. Our individual strengths really complement each other and I think we make an incredible team. It has been a very natural progression and we envision it continuing on to new heights.”
Katy concluded, “We are excited to show the public what we have been working so hard on the past two years and share our passions with our community.”
19 May, 2022