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Worth Brewing Company
826 Central Ave.
Northwood, IA 50459
1-641-324-9899

brewer@worthbrewing.com

The Brewery  
 

Building, 1886, 1935
The building was constructed for the Worth County State Bank in fall 1886, with the ground floor occupied as a bank for 20 years until the new bank was built on the lot adjoining on the west. Butler Land Co. moved into the storefront after the bank vacated around 1907 and remained through the teens, but utility companies owned the building from 1921 until 2006.

 The first utility was the Northwood-Kensett Electric Company, which severely altered the building in a major “modernization” in 1935. A one-story addition doubled the length of the structure but the most dramatic work was on the building front. The old ornate metal cornice was removed, as were brick arches over the second story windows that were replaced in straight lines. New backlit stained glass panels replaced the former stained-glass-trimmed transom windows. Black vitrolite and aluminum were used in the construction of the new front of the building to the second floor line. The floors of the offices and merchandise room were covered with heavy, noiseless cork linoleum in green and black.

 Lawyers had offices on the second level. The building takes its historic name from People’s Gas and Electric, which later became Interstate Power Company and, finally, Alliant Energy, in the late 1990s. Peter Ausenhus and Margaret Bishop bought the building in November 2006 and Worth Brewing Company opened its doors on St. Patrick’s Day 2007.

 Rehabilitation
Worth Brewing Company has been rehabilitated to its 1935 “modernization.” On the building front, the 1935 blue and white flash-glass panels were a pleasant surprise underneath a plywood sign. A bricked up front was removed and replaced with one of the largest panes of glass in Worth County. The retractable awnings replicate those of mid-century. Inside, most of the rehabilitation involved removing late 20th century remodeling. A false ceiling, walls and interior rooms were removed, exposing the hand-crafted plaster walls and ceiling molding. The innovative 1935 cork floors in the bathroom/kitchen area were restored. The only obvious remnants of the 1886 bank are the tile and wood floor in the front of the tap room, which were buried under layers of plywood, linoleum and carpet.

 The Bar
The Bar was most likely the original bank teller cage, which was moved to the basement of the new bank next door in 1906-07. It was used by a veterinarian there and in the stables, later Chevrolet garage, on the site of the current fire station. It spent several years in the garage of Gary and Nancy Hengesteg before they donated it to the Worth County Historical Society. The Society had no permanent space large enough for display and decided to loan it to Worth Brewing Company. It was moved inside by forklift just before the new storefront window was installed. Ann Johnson and family spent several weeks refinishing the teller cage. The cage was raised, supported by old bookshelves salvaged from another historic building on Central. The bar top and supports are new.

 The Northwood Central Avenue Historic Distric
Our building is one of about 50 in the Northwood Central Avenue Historic District. Most contributing buildings have historic plaques and we hope you’ll tour the district on your next visit.   

Our Process:

Worth Brewing Company may be the smallest licensed brewery in the country, making beer in 10-gallon batches for local consumption.

The brewery’s workhorse is the Sabco recirculating mash system. This three-vessel brewhouse on a stand includes the sparge kettle, a mash tun and boiling kettle. Malted barley is milled, mashed and lautered (strained) into the boiling kettle, where hops are added in at least three additions. After boiling, the sweet wort is pumped through a plate heat exchanger to 27-gallon cylindro-conical fermenters. Yeast is added and the wort is allowed to ferment at controlled temperatures. 

After fermentation the young beer is transferred to serving kegs and kept at 35 F until tapped for consumption in our Tap Room.

Tours

We give informal tours whenever it’s convenient, but don't schedule formal tours.