May 21, 2013 10:04 AM by Samantha Ptashkin
TUCSON- It's an unusual combination, but three local firefighters are now splitting their time between battling blazes and brewing beer.
In the Fall the trio plans to open Sentinel Peak Brewery, which will be located next to the PetSmart on Grant and Swan.
Firefighter Jeremy Hilderbrand got the idea a couple years ago, after his wife gave him a beer-making kit for Christmas. "What basically happened is I was making it, inviting some friends over and they started liking it," Hilderbrand says. "Then we started making more and people said you should open a brewery."
Two years later the firefighters are in the middle of renovating a 2,000 square foot store, which used to be a sandwich shop.
It has been quite the process, considering the firefighters didn't have much experience in making beer when they started the project. "When I started I didn't know how to brew beer one bit," says Firefighter Taylor Carter.
"It's kind of crazy," says Firefighter Matt Gordon. "It sort of snowballed into this new business. I do like drinking beer, but never really thought about going pro with it."
Hilderbrand says they plan to have five beers on tap. Three will be constant and two of the beers will rotate throughout the year. "Our pumpkin ale is really good," Hilderbrand says. "It uses fresh pumpkin and pumpkin spices. Our Christmas beer uses cardamom and cinnamon."
They hope to create an atmosphere similar to the bar in the hit TV show "Cheers", a place where you can kick back and enjoy a few beers with your buddies.
The firefighters also wanted to make sure to help their community in the process. They have teamed up with the Tucson Alliance for Autism as the charity they will be supporting through proceeds from the brewery.
Also, "Sentinel Peak Brew Chews for Dogs", which are dog biscuits made from the spent grains of the brewing process, will be going to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
Sentinel Peak Brewery is trying to raise $27,500 by May 31st to help fund renovations. To find out how you can help, head to: www.kickstarter.com/projects/547985313/brew-tucson
You can also "like" Sentinel Peak Brewery on Facebook: "Sentinel Peak Brewing Company"