Lutheran Volunteer Corps Alumni Aaron Schmalzle and Pastor Jared Witt will soon be opening Castle Church Brewing Company in Orlando, FL. Their tag line “brewing community, fermenting love” is one in the same with their mission: to connect people in intentional relationships and partner with others to do the work of Jesus in their community.
In a press release that was shared with LVC, they explain their mission statement like this:
“Ferment v. to incite or stir up (trouble or disorder).
If you are looking for a God who troubles our complacency and stirs up a movement of love in the world, then Castle Church is probably for you.”
Throughout the week, Castle Church will serve as a regular 20 barrel production brewery with a visitation taproom. The destination will be complete with indoor and outdoor seating, and feature live events, keynote speakers, beer and hymns, lawn games and meeting space! But, it will be owned and utilized by a faith community. Castle Church will also offer a great menu of food put together by Board member and Certified Executive chef, Tony Donnelly. While sure to be delicious, the team is focusing on local, ethically sourced ingredients, fair treatment of employees, and funneling profit back into the community.
Aaron quotes, “The goal, along with reviving and innovating on some great historic beer styles, is to provide a truly inviting ‘third place’ for people to connect between work and home. We feel that if we can create an intentional space where we ourselves would want to spend any evening of the week, then others will too.”
Aaron served his LVC year in Milwaukee at Bread of Healing Clinic, where he says that “LVC helped discern my calling and what it meant to live a life of service to others. While in Milwaukee, I was able to get plugged in with some amazing people working for justice, and it was generally a very formative time in my life.” Milwaukee is also, not surprisingly, where Aaron’s love of brewing beer began!
Jared quotes, “For us, God isn’t the ‘thought police,’ constantly making sure that you’re holding the right religious ideas in your head or that you identify with the right denomination. So it really is immaterial, whether you come to us identifying as a believer or a non-believer or a good beer lover or a bad Methodist. We are more interested in this mysterious transformation of love and compassion for the world, which the Holy Spirit incites in us whenever we break bread and drink wine, or simply share and Einbecker Ale together.”
Both Aaron and Jared are truly leaning into LVC’s value of creating intentional community and creating space for faithfully working together for peace with justice. To read more about Castle Church Brewing Company visit their website, check out their blog, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This story originally shared in the July 2016 Leader Letter.