OUR TOWN: Manchester celebrates 150 years with a local brew

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MANCHESTER, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Every year, KCRG-TV9 features several eastern Iowa towns. We call them Our Town. We start this year off with Manchester, which is celebrating its 150th birthday.

You could celebrate by tossing one back at the Franklin Street Brewing Company, nestled in the heart of downtown.

"We've got the original hardwood floors here, we took the plaster and lathe off the walls, to expose the bricks," said Kyle Sands, who co-owns with his brother Chad. They tried to maintain the historic architecture as they built their taproom and brew house. They even used original brick from the walls and reclaimed wood from the basement to build their bar. To this day, the Masonic Temple upstairs is still in use.

In the back is the brew system: the mash tuns, the boil kettles, and fermenters. This is where the magic happens.

"We've got our Manchester Red right here. He's getting pretty close to being done," Sands told us.

It takes about a month for them to craft one batch, and they can't seem to do it fast enough.

"One of our pinch problems has been not being able to produce enough beer, which is a good problem to have," said Sands.

Sands is around beer all day, which sounds great, but he says there's more cleaning and work involved - and less drinking - than most people think. "I always kind of think of it more as like a janitor who cooks. "

The brew-happy brothers try to keep a variety on tap, like a coffee-infused brown, and a Scottish ale they named "Nice Shoes."

"A little bit of that goes a long way," Sand said of the Scottish beer. "It kind of sneaks up on you if you're not careful."

Sand said they're always rotating their selection of beers, but they try to keep their popular IPA, "Fuzzy Side Down," in the mix at all times.

Sands enjoys this job and said one day, he may go full-time with it. His favorite part of being at the brewery is serving customers and seeing them satisfied.

"Just seeing all the people come in and enjoy the product, and just knowing that people are liking the things we're doing."

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