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POWERED BY HISTORY - Beard Engine Brewing Co. brews up a little British history in southwest Missouri

Jul 25, 2023 09:39AM ● By BENJAMIN STANGE
In a 103-year-old building in the small town of Alba, Missouri, (population 544), you will find one of the most unexpected and unique beer experiences. For three decades, this building was home to the Old Miners Inn French Restaurant, once known as “Paris in the Ozarks.” But in 2020, the space was transformed into a steampunk- inspired beer destination: Beard Engine Brewing Co

Beard Engine Brewing Co. feels as if an entire pub has been transported from another time, or maybe even another world. Old fashioned elements such as the antique brass bar and the replica 1920s British phone box are balanced with more creative and fantastical touches that feel like a science fiction experience in Victorian London.



Beard Engine has become a beer destination, but it started rather small. A dozen years ago, Nate and Tiffany Artinger brewed their first batch of beer in their garage. At the time, Nate was in outdoor advertising and Tiffany was a massage therapist. Once the brewing fire was lit, however, it quickly grew into a fascination with brewing and the history of beer. “My wife was the first person to say, ‘You should consider doing this full time. People need to taste your beer,’ ” said Nate, describing Tiffany as his biggest supporter and partner in a dream that took seven years to achieve. 



Named as a play on words that high- lights the quintessentially British manual beer engine for cask ales, Beard Engine is a place where you are meant escape devices and screens. Wi-Fi is available, but there are no TVs in the taproom. The goal is to encourage conversation and community, according to Nate.

“Our goal has always been to create an unplugged experience for patrons. It’s a good feeling to see strangers enter the taproom but leave as friends,” he said.

In addition to this unplugged environment for patrons, Nate created a more hands-on feel for brewing the beer, too. “We are a steampunk inspired English brewery. We felt it showcased our artistic style as well as our brewing processes. It’s very hands on and mechanical in form,” he said.

To accentuate the steampunk inspiration, the traditional 4-vessel brewing system is clad in Missouri Black Walnut staves (though the actual system is stainless steel, of course), and there are very unique features that capture a visitor’s eye.

“First time visitors usually get excited when they walk in and see the archways, British phone box, and the overall inviting English aesthetic you would find in a pub. The eyes are always wandering as you see my coppersmith work in the taproom,” Nate said.



Working continuously to acquire and assemble equipment, Nate and Tiffany focused their brews on traditional ales, old ales, English milds, and stouts. To this day, you can typically find 5 of the brewery’s 10 taps occupied by what Nate described as “English flagships.” These include Just a Bit ESB, Balderdash Northern English Brown Ale, and Queens Guard London Lager. You also may see some less traditional beers, such as the Penny Dreadful, which is a poblano and serrano-infused amber lager. 


The focus on historic beers is accentuated by a weekly Firkin Friday event. Sometimes, the special cask holds a traditional real ale, but Nate also uses the opportunity during Firkin Friday to try something new and fun.


True to the sci-fi elements of steampunk, Nate is always experimenting with his beers in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. In addition to the historic styles on tap at Beard Engine, you also will find some more unusual beers.

“We definitely think outside of the box and always want to show what craft beer can be. We’ve made some wild beers,” said Nate, listing a pickled beet sour ale, a dirt cake milk stout (brewed with Oreos, chocolate pudding, and gummy worms), and even a salted watermelon cotton candy beer. “We love to pave a way for brewers.”



While the beers are the main attraction for this destination, it’s clear that Beard Engine has much more to offer.

“We are known for being one of the most inviting taprooms for live music, and our musicians always fall in love with our crowd involvement. We rotate traveling or local musicians every weekend. We have Bingo on Thursdays [and] Trivia Sundays, but our biggest event we bring is our Hot Wheels Races monthly. Patrons and children can bring their favorite non-modified Hot Wheel, and we race them in our 6-lane, 24- foot long track,” Nate said.


When they are not brewing or pouring the beers, Nate and Tiffany can be found enjoying their favorite Beard Engine beers. Tiffany prefers the Penny Dreadful, and Nate goes for the Balderdash brown ale. While they always enjoy trying something new, it’s nice to have a comfort zone to come back to, and that is what Beard Engine feels like to many. It’s a comfortable place to return for a visit. 

Beard Engine Brewing Company 208 Main St.
Alba, MO
(417) 483-0709