Sisters Susan and Carol McLeod have created more than just a microbrewery in Springfield, Missouri; they’ve carved out the perfect place to relax, reflect and connect with friends.
Housed in the former Fire Station 1, Hold Fast Brewing has preserved the building’s rich history by keeping some of the firehouse’s original elements, including the yellow subway tile on the wall, truck markings on the ground, the doors and heaters and the hose tower and ladder – but no climbing, please.
In winter, sit near the windows for glimpses of Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque and the top of the Hammons Tower. But when things warm up again, spend the night on the patio under strings of twinkling lights with your favorite brew in hand.
What encouraged you to open Hold Fast Brewing? A midlife crisis. [Laughs.] After our dad died, my perspective changed. I didn't want to keep climbing the corporate ladder; I wanted to do something with my family. One day it just kind of came to me: I thought, “I like beer. We should open a brewery.” So I told Susan my idea and she didn't laugh at me. She just said, “Maybe we should brew beer first.” So we started homebrewing and then every domino kind of fell our way. I got into the American Brewers Guild, landed a job at Dead Armadillo Craft Brewing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and here we are today. We actually brewed our first beer ever on our dad’s birthday. It was such a special day because it was Thanksgiving – exactly six months after his passing. –Carol McLeod
3 Must-Try Beers from Hold Fast Brewing
Carol and Susan constantly experiment with new brews. Some of their favorite ingredients to play with are Munich malt, El Dorado hops and Fuggle hops; the results have to pass a strict taste test before hitting their taps. “To be honest, Carol and I are more critical of our beers than our customers have been,” says Susan. “I believe in learning and improving, which is why I like the beer industry.”
What distinguishes Hold Fast Brewing from other Springfield breweries? I think mainly our focus on family and community. Our dad was a believer in doing what you love and making sure you support the community you live in. Our drive is to work together and bring people together, which beer does naturally. That’s why we have such a large patio with a beer garden and space for live music. I know other breweries offer similar things, but we’re in a good location where we can attract people from all walks of life. Everybody has a place here. –Susan McLeod
Why did you choose the historic Fire Station 1 for Hold Fast Brewing’s location? Old fire stations have been used for breweries before. They have high ceilings and great big garage doors to bring the outside in. We even have a display of items on loan from the Springfield Fire Department to honor the firefighters who called Station 1 home. We are also gathering photos to display on the wall, showing the fire station through the decades. –S.M.
I knew we needed this location when we toured it. I fell in love the moment I walked in. I think reminding people it was a fire station is important because it’s part of Springfield’s history. Plus it’s a great way to say thank you to the men and women who protect our city every day. –C.M.
Hold Fast Brewing, 235 N. Kimbrough Ave., Springfield, Missouri, 417.761.2318, facebook.com/HoldFastBrewing