LOVELAND, Ohio -- Narrow Path Brewing Co. is on a divine mission.
The microbrewery, which opened with limited hours earlier this month, is also gearing up to champion community and local causes in its taproom and beer garden, said its owners.
"Our aim is to partner with a handful of local nonprofits and charities to really actively give back financially and expose our patrons to what those organizations are doing," said Chad Powers, Narrow Path's co-founder and chief brewing operations officer.
The brewery, which sits at 106 Karl Brown Way in Loveland adjacent to the Little Miami Scenic Trail, opened with a porter, farmhouse blonde, cream ale, tart cherry and maple bacon porter on tap.
"Right now we’ve brewed our safest beers," Powers said. "Our porter and Belgian farmhouse blonde have been just crushing it."
Powers said Greg Snow, Narrow Path's head brewmaster and co-founder, will add four more beers to the brewery's menu before they host a grand opening celebration in mid-to-late February. The grand opening will also reveal details about how the owners plan to support local causes and the community through proceeds from beer sales.
"Charity is baked in for us," Powers said. "We plan on allowing people to vote where those proceeds go via coasters in the taproom. Then we’ll allocate that portion of sales to that organization."
The importance of community and charity for Powers and Snow comes from the place the two men first met more than a decade ago. They ran into each other in a high school auditorium worshiping at what would eventually become Northstar Community Church.
"We kind of had a conversation about what our hobbies are," said Snow, who started home brewing in the 1990s. "I kind of told him I brewed beer at home, and Chad was like, 'Wow, can you show me how?'"
Soon afterward, Powers was brewing his own beer, and the two critiqued each other's work. They even taught other church members how to home brew, said Snow.
The small group of home brewers then began meeting regularly to taste and provide feedback for each other's creations, he said.
"Someone would text out 'porch' tonight, and we’d just sit there and go back and forth and critique it," Snow said.
As Powers and Snow's home-brewing circle grew, so did Northstar Community Church, which found a permanent home at 11020 S. Lebanon Road in Loveland in 2013. Snow still attends the church, and Powers remains its full-time music director today.
"At church we have several worldwide outreaches," Snow said. "We have a group called Back2Back Ministries that supports third-world adoptions. It’s like part of your DNA when that is what you do."
For the past five years the pair debated whether or not they should open their own brewery.
"We reached a point where we decided we either need to do this or not -- quit talking about it," Powers said.
When the pair signed a lease last April and began working on setting up Narrow Path, the ideas of charity and community stuck with them as they enlisted family and friends from church to help. The brewery's name was not only born out of its proximity to the Little Miami bicycle trail, but also Matthew 7, which discusses the "narrow road" to heaven, and the Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken," Powers said.
"I don’t see us becoming a regional powerhouse," Powers said. "We have no plans of global or regional domination. I think the path forward with craft beer is neighborhoods."
Snow said that not all of the organizations the brewery plans to assist will be faith-based, specifically citing conservancy groups that help maintain the bicycle trail.
"We’ve made it very clear from the start that our first priority is going to be the craft-and-cause part," Snow said. "Once you do that, beer brewing is almost addicting. In all honesty, I don’t like to drink it that much. I like to create it and share it. I like to see people's eyes open."