What’s a European farmhouse style brewery with an odd sounding German name doing on a country road near Potosi?
Booming business, that’s what. Walk into SunnHaus Brewing Project on 344 Clark Road, and you are walking into more than a new business–it’s a whole new experience. The electronic menu features unusual brew names like Red Borschetta, SunnGold, Burro Dorado Saison, and many more. You won’t see Bud, Coors, Miller, or any other store-bought beers.
What you will see is a unique business on the outskirts of Abilene that was the brainchild of husband and wife team, Sam Pugh and Merrie Booe. Farmhouse brewing, which is a one-person sized brewery, has been a dream of Sam’s for a long time. And a lot of area folks are glad he persisted.
“We’re a lot of people’s first introduction to craft beer,” Sam said
The recipe design and brewing process primarily fall to Sam, but one of Merrie’s contributions to the project is evident when you walk through the front door of the taproom. She developed the brewery’s tasteful, understated décor that combines rustic with modern chic . A stained concrete floor and wall hangings made from flooring found in an old house are evidence of an artistic eye. An old piece of sheet metal was refashioned into a bar top. Weathered wooden barrels have found a new life at SunnHaus.
The odds and ends are leftovers from when Merrie’s father had a roofing and construction business that the family relocated from Tyler eight years ago. Both her parents have since died. The
“scraps” that once were used in the family business have been repurposed into a stylish décor.
“I can’t believe how it turned out,” Merrie said.
SunnHaus Brewing Project is the latest brewery to open in the Abilene area. The others are larger and are located in Abilene proper. But there seems to be plenty of business for all of them, and Sam described the brewers as a close-knit group. They are supportive of one another’s efforts and most are members of the Big Country Homebrewers Association, founded by Jeff Bell and Brian Cokonougher in 2007.
Sam and Merrie have added a variety of entertainment options to their taproom and brewery. Special events have been staged, with more to come, like a car show and live music nights. Board games and decks of cards are available. Thursday nights are trivia nights, with a local couple serving as emcees.
“I give them a PA system,” Sam said, “and I just let them run it.”
After their grand opening in July, the owners hosted “Painting and Pints,” an art instruction event with Kristen Balliew as the teacher. A charcuterie workshop was scheduled for September. And, of course, there’s a large screen TV on the wall for football or other entertainment.
SunnHaus Brewing Project also offers some wines and “munchies” such as soft pretzels and a charcuterie board. SunnHaus merchandise also is for sale. But, of course, the big draw is the craft beer, such as the most-requested SunnGold, a “medium body, crisp, golden” draft. Sam keeps about 10 different brews on tap, although he has the skill and recipes to brew many more beers. Servings are in tulip or pint glasses. Growlers can be filled and a flight–a sampling of four beers–is available. Prices and menu can be found on the SunnHaus website.
Sam and Merrie want the SunnHaus taproom to be an enjoyable experience to craft beer aficionados and newcomers. The atmosphere is laid back and comfortable. The taproom and brewery were “packed to the gills” for the July grand opening, Sam said, and business has been good ever since. Nothing makes Sam and Merrie happier than folks laughing, sipping one of Sam’s crafts brews, and enjoying a new experience in their farmhouse brewery.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Sam said.
Location: 344 Clark Road, Space B
Facebook: SunnHaus Brewing
Hours: Thursday: 4-9 p.m. • Friday: 4-10 p.m. • Saturday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. • Sunday: 1-5 p.m.
By Loretta Fulton