Dining With Denise Neil

Younger customers don't recognize the rock stars watching over hot new Wichita brewery

It's your brewery and you can have a Beastie Boys mural if you want to. Nortons Brewing Company owners Dan and Becky Norton post in front of their south wall.
It's your brewery and you can have a Beastie Boys mural if you want to. Nortons Brewing Company owners Dan and Becky Norton post in front of their south wall.

When you dream about opening your own brewery for years and then you finally do it, you can put anything you want on the wall.

So when Dan Norton and his wife, Becky, opened their hot new Norton's Brewing Company a few weeks ago at 125 N. St. Francis, they revealed a cool feature on the south wall — a giant mural of Dan's favorite band, the Beastie Boys.

The mural, which features the faces of all three of the band members, is a tribute to Adam "MCA" Yauch, who died of cancer in 2012.

"I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys, and music influences us in our daily lives," Dan Norton said. "It's definitely influenced a lot of my beer recipes, especially the Beastie Boys and their music. I crank up the music when I'm brewing. "

When the Nortons opened the bar, they were excited to see what people thought of the mural.

Customers are always posing for pictures in front of it, Norton said.

Well, most customers.



"Apparently, I've dated myself, because a lot of the younger crowd is like, 'Who is that on that wall?'" he said.

The Nortons, who bought rights to the photo featured in the mural before a local artist put it on the wall, have had a busy couple of weeks.

Their brewery has been packed since it opened on April 20, and it's standing room only on weekends. And the star of their menu — a thick candied bacon with maple syrup, honey and brown sugar called "bacon crack" — is so popular that the couple is having trouble keeping bacon in stock.

They're busy working on their outdoor patio, which will include a stage, a shipping container seating area and a hexagon of porch swings. Norton predicts it will be open either this weekend or next.

Norton said he's had many tearful moments during the past two weeks.

"Five years, ago, it was just me and Becky sitting out on our front porch talking about what our brewery was going to look like, and then where we are now," he said. "It's been emotional, man."
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