There’s no lacking in local brew options for beer lovers in Rock City and Arkansas at large. In fact, the number of new breweries just keeps growing, and the beer scene has finally reached the perfect pose for – wait for it … yoga.
Yoga and beer, a combination that just makes sense. Or at least, if you don’t think so, hear husband and wife team Caleb Looney and Alisyn Reid out before making your final decision.
Looney and Reid plan to bring the one-part studio, one-part beer venture they’re calling Asana Ale House to North Little Rock’s Park Hill neighborhood, with a goal of sharing their compassion for yoga and beer with Central Arkansas. This can all be made possible with a little community backing of Asana’s kickstarter.
But, first up, the brews.
Looney has been home brewing since he turned twenty-one, in fact, he and his good friend Drew saved up their funds, planning to make their first batch directly after their 21st birthdays. Now that he’s been creating brews for seven years, Looney feels it’s time to take it to the people.
“We had that classic two-guy conversation – we should start a bar. Once we got good at brewing it turned into, we should start a brewery,” Looney says. Last summer he and Drew got serious about creating Asana Ale House, but plans changed as Drew had to move to Kentucky to follow his job. Looney wasn’t ready to give up just yet, and turned to his wife Alisyn to keep the ball rolling.
Currently, Asana has four mainstays named after yoga poses: The Warrior, a lavender IPA; The Crow, a caramel stout with coffee notes; The Bridge, an elderflower wheat that is light and an easy-drinker; and The Cobra, a fiery ginger beer containing ginger, citrus and cayenne pepper.
At the moment, Looney manages the brewing on his homemade system. “This whole one barrel system that I built – it’s really homemade. There’s a Looney family saying, if it looked perfect, nobody would believe that I did it,” he laughs.
The kickstarter, then, aims to raise enough funds – $15,000 by July 4 – to purchase a three barrel system that would, in turn, help make brick-and-mortar a reality for Asana. “I would keep my four staple beers and probably expand on that with the three barrel going constantly … and then do monthly specials, as well,” he explains.
Don’t forget about the yoga.
Three years ago Looney became a certified yoga instructor, and, over time, he saw how he could pair his passion for yoga with his passion for beer. He says, “We’ll have weekly if not more frequent classes that are loosely tied to the beer on draft.” Reid adds, “You take a yoga class and then you have a pint afterwards – it’s included in the price.”
This wouldn’t be a sporadic thing, but a staple in the ale house. From beginner yogis to the more experienced, everyone would reach relaxation after a class, beer in hand.
Although the two don’t have anything nailed down permanently in terms of a location, the neighborhood of choice is Park Hill. The couple lives there, Looney grew up there, and they really feel that the area would do well to have its own brewery. “It’s becoming more of a walkable neighborhood, stores are popping up here and there,” Looney explains. “A lot of people our age are moving into that area,” Reid adds, “people in their late twenties and early thirties, and we just think a brewery would do really well there and have the support it needs.”
The two hope to collaborate with Blue Yoga Nyla, the yoga studio currently located in Park Hill. Run by Stacey Faught, one of Looney’s yoga mentors, a partnership could very well be in the works with Asana offering classes led by guest instructors.
So far, the couple has been ecstatic at the community’s response. Looney says, “We’ve gotten donations on our kickstarter from other breweries around here, and a lot of other breweries have already talked with us about doing collaborations and sharing keg space at each others places.” Reid agrees, saying, “I’m excited to be a part of the brewing community because a lot of those guys are really cool with how they support each other – plus they all have really great ideas.”
Currently, though, they are short of their goal to make this all happen.
The Asana team’s enthusiasm, passion, and excitement is nothing short of contagious. If this all sounds awesome, interesting, or like you need to try a brew yourself, head down to Asana’s Final Kickstarter Tasting Party on Thursday, July 2, in Idlewild Park. Starting at 6:00 p.m., you can taste the brews and talk to the couple to find out just how a realized Asana Ale House would look (and taste).