7 Locks Brewing Starts Making Beer

The new Rockville brewery plans to open its taproom in mid-November


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7 Locks Brewing's Jim Beeman, left, brewmaster Thomas Hartman, center, and Keith Beutel, right

The latest brewery to set up in Montgomery County is now making beer.

Jim Beeman and Keith Beutel, the owners of 7 Locks Brewing, said Friday they officially started brewing beer at their Wilkins Avenue location this week after receiving the necessary permits and hope to open the taproom by mid-November.

The 15-barrel system at the Rockville warehouse location is capable of producing about 3,000 kegs per year, Beeman said.

The two owners, who met freshman year at the University of Maryland, brought in Thomas Hartman as the brewmaster. Hartman, who’s from Minnesota, trained at the Siebel Institute, a well-known brewing school in Chicago. He worked as a brewmaster for the past three years in Sweden before returning to the United States to take the position at 7 Locks.

Beeman, 32, said the company’s goal is to make balanced beers with malty flavors, although they’ll also have some hop-heavy brews as well.

The brewery is located in an industrial area. The taproom is still under construction, but once it’s completed it will have about 40 seats, a long wood bar, TVs and views of the brewing equipment.

7 Locks plans to partner with food trucks to offer food. There’s no kitchen at the brewery, as the owners are taking advantage of a 2014 change in state law that allows them to serve beer as a brewery without having to offer food.

Once the brewery opens, it will only sell beer through the taproom for the first two or three weeks, until the owners are confident the process is producing consistent beers. Once they reach that point, Beutel, 32, says the brewery will begin distributing beers in kegs to restaurants and bars in the county. The owners said the goal is to distribute throughout the region over time as production grows.

Beeman and Beutel hatched the idea for the brewery while at a baseball game and then the two friends pursued it due to their mutual interest in beer. Beutel is an engineer while Beeman is an Air Force veteran.

At first, the taproom will be used as a research lab for the brewery to determine what it’s most popular beers are.

“We’re all about having local folks come in and us making beer for them,” Beeman said.

When the taproom opens, 7 Locks plans to offer a red rye, oatmeal stout, session pale ale and an English malted amber.

Brewery location:

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