I have been working on the tentative inside of R.Shea Brewing ie., where the equipment is going to go, the bar, tables, etc. But before I go into it, I would like to talk about my theme for the place.
Now close your eyes…
You will be walking in the door to the right of the building, immediately your nose will fill with the smells of mashing grains and boiling hops – the smell of a brewery. The bar will be right in front of you running left to right. You see a small group of people playing chess to the left of the entrance. It’s a small alcove with a leather couch and love seat and a big coffee table. They seem to be having a good time.
You pull up a chair at the bar. Behind the length of the bar is the entire brew system including fermentors. There is a lot of action going on. There is a guy with a big stick stirring and another guy, the tall one, pouring grain into a large stainless steel tank. They say, “Hi” and another comes over to discuss the beers on tap. You decide on a flight. Once the brewers finish with the grain mash-in, they come over to introduce themselves and proceed to tell you what’s going on and what beer is being made.
The head brewer, Ron, tells you that all beers get made during opening hours so that the customer can be part of the process and interaction. He tells you that most times he goes to a brewery with a taproom, the brewery can’t even be scene, or is totally inaccessible except for tours. He doesn’t like that. He loves the Thirsty Dog and old Ohio Brewing setup and wanted to expand on that theme…to kind of make it like a homebrew day with friends.
You then hear an excited cheer coming from the far left room. You pick up the Amber that you got in the flight and mosey on to that room. You pass a large refrigerator with 22’s and growlers for sale. You must remember that on your way out. Walking into the room, you then see a large TV against the wall with the Tribe on. There are about a dozen people watching it from a U-shaped sectional and some circular bar tables around the perimeter. Santana just hit another home run against the Royals. And then you remember that you forgot to set you DVR to record it. Rats! Good thing you are here to catch it.
After your flight is done, you go back to the bar to get a pint of the Stock Lager. Jesse, the assistant brewer asks if you want to try some of the ‘spent grain’ from the recent mash. He goes on to explain that it’s the leftover after all the sugar is extracted from it. If the mash is not sweet, then it was a good mash and the brewer’s did their job. You try a teaspoonful of it. It tastes like oatmeal…that needs a lot of sugar! Well done gentlemen!
You look around some more and the brewers are back at work with the next step, explaining some of the process along the way. You like the fact that there are no TV’s right at the bar, but if you want to watch a local game, you can.
You’re getting a little hungry and grab the menu. It’s fairly simple. Brats, pulled pork sandwiches and nachos with the works. You get the pulled pork as you love barbecue. Everything is near the bar for easy access by the bartenders. It seems to work and it keeps everything simple. There is no need for a kitchen or kitchen staff at the outset – these are beer makers that are focused on beer, but realize that people need decent food.
After your lager is finished you say goodbye. Jesse let’s you know that there will be filtering going on tomorrow and a double batch being brewed on Saturday. And those people playing chess when you arrived? They are still there in the alcove. Apparently the brunette girl is unbeatable tonight.
Not being big on ‘the bar scene’, you like this place. You feel like part of the process and there aren’t a million TV’s assaulting your senses. And since you like Ohio sports, you can watch the game here in the laid-back atmosphere.
You’ll be back. Even if it’s not to stay, to refill your growler of the freshest beer on your way home.