It sounds like the setup for a bad joke:
An attorney, a bioprocess engineer and an information technology specialist walk into a bar — well, in this case, not just a bar, but also a craft brewery, tasting room and spacious outdoor gathering area all in one.
Despite their disparate backgrounds, those three friends came together to start Carolina Bauernhaus Greenville, a new brewery specializing in crafting beers made from wild yeast and regionally grown ingredients.
David Thornton (the engineer), Keston Helfrich (the IT specialist) and Brad Thomas (the attorney) met about eight years ago in a homebrewing club in Anderson.
“With our different areas of experience, we’re able to do just about everything ourselves,” Thornton said. “Although it would’ve been nice if one of us had been an architect — would’ve made things a little easier.”
The new brewery and gathering space just opened its doors at 556 Perry Ave. in the new Poe West development. Designed in a style that combines the rustic with the industrial, the brewery features an indoor bar and tasting area, with craft beer on tap, bottled options, wine and mead.
The wide outdoor area offers seating that includes elevated bar tables, picnic tables and even numerous hammocks — with more than enough space for those trying to properly social-distance. Cornhole and bocce ball recreation is available, and a drive-up spot allows food trucks to pull right up. The outdoor area will also offer live music on weekends.
The new Greenville spot marks the second Carolina Bauernhaus location, following the original in Anderson, which opened in 2015. Bauernhaus is German for “farmhouse” — and is pronounced “bow-urn-house,” although its founders don’t mind that most think it’s pronounced “barnhouse.”
“That’s pretty much what everyone calls it now,” Helfrich said, laughing.
Carolina Bauernhaus has won multiple awards for its handcrafted beers, including the Gold Medal in the Experimental Beer Category at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.
With the new location, Thomas said they were trying to adapt their style and the types of beer they’ll be offering as a complement to their Anderson location.
“Our emphasis with the Greenville location is really on outside space, with more European-style beers,” Thomas said.
For the next few weeks, Carolina Bauernhaus will only be open on weekends, although its owners said they plan to extend hours soon.