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The gospel of Good Shepherds is spreading.

Garrett Shepherd, owner and brewmaster of The Good Shepherds Brewing Co. in downtown Auburn, recently began contract brewing for the Boathouse Beer Garden in Romulus.

Shepherd, who opened his own brewery in September 2014, will produce about 60 gallons every couple of weeks for the Boathouse, which owner Peter Arena opened in April 2015.

First up for the Boathouse Brewing Co. label are the Tell Tail Pale Ale and Double-Ender IPA. The Tell Tail should be available at Boathouse within the next week, Arena said, with the Double-Ender following shortly thereafter. A third beer, Come About Imperial Stout, and a fourth fruit-based wheat beer should be on tap there by the Fourth of July.

Arena developed the nautically named recipes with Ithaca homebrewer and Cornell nanochemistry Ph.D. candidate Tom Derrien. A homebrewer himself, Arena had wanted Boathouse to serve its own house beer, but he lacked the license and equipment. Meanwhile, at 10 barrels a batch and up, most area brewers would have given him much more beer than he needed. 

In Shepherd and his new 2.5-barrel system, however, Arena saw a contract brewer with whom he could set sail comfortably.

"Garrett is a really talented and ever-improving young brewer in the area," he said. "I've personally noticed that his quality and the character of his own brews have risen noticeably in a very short period of time. He's working extremely hard to make this a viable economic enterprise."

Arena also praised Shepherd's ability to replicate a beer's taste from batch to batch. He wants Boathouse customers to be able to expect the Double-Ender, for instance, to taste the same when they come back in three months, he said.

Shepherd, who made the arrangement with Arena in January, sees it as mutually beneficial. Good Shepherds' own Sheps Blueberry Pilsner is now being poured at the Boathouse, which spotlights mostly Finger Lakes beers on its 30 taps.

"I think (Boathouse Brewing Co.'s beers) are a little different than what I do — a little different ingredients," Shepherd said.

The Boathouse arrangement also fits into Shepherd's greater business plan for his Auburn nanobrewery, he said. After going full-time earlier this year and adding two more five-barrel fermenters to his system, he has the time and the means to meet his Boathouse commitments while continuing to make Sheps beer more available.

Boathouse joins Moondog's Lounge and Prison City Pub & Brewery in Auburn, Elderberry Pond in Sennett, Oak & Vine at Springside in Fleming and Finger Lakes Sausage & Beer in Geneva on the list of places that have poured Sheps. 

"For us, it's a nice opportunity to do something with another business, and promote and cross-promote," Shepherd said.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


Features editor for The Citizen.