flats-based brick and barrel brewery to open before end of october

Brick and Barrel, a new brewery, winery and taproom at 1844 Columbus Road in the Flats, is finally set to open its doors after months of delays. The tentative opening date is Tuesday, October 21st, the same day the new Columbus Road bridge is expected to open to traffic. Partner Jason Henkel promises that at the very least, the venue will roll up its garage doors and start pouring pints by the end of the month.

That's good news for Cleveland beer fans, who will soon be able to quench their thirst at yet another new brewery. The venue will no doubt prove popular, with a new taproom that is airy and comfortable, a location offering views of iconic bridges and the downtown skyline, and easy access to Rivergate Park.

The squat, one-story building was a machine shop and coal processing plant in its former life. It was "a complete mess," says Henkel, when he and co-founders Mike Dagiasis and Karl Spiesman leased it from owner Mid-State Restoration. The partners have renovated it from top to bottom and installed a 3.5-barrel brewing system, a seven-barrel fermenter and a seven-barrel conditioning tank. There will be a new front patio.

The minimalist interior furnishings are made from reclaimed materials that were procured from Old School Architectural Salvage. A church pew and 19th century barn wood were used to build the bar, and the bartop is made from an old chalkboard. Tables were constructed using old warehouse carriages once used by industrial businesses in the Flats. The taproom seats about 35, but can hold up to 150, and patrons have great views of the beer and wine production areas.

"We wanted to give people a feel for the neighborhood, and bring some of the outside inside," says Henkel of the decision to use reclaimed materials.

Spiesman says that Brick and Barrel will offer traditional styles such as German Kolsch and English ales. There will be no pasteurization or flavoring. Brick and Barrel will sell kegs to individuals and distribute them to restaurants and bars. The brewer eschews some of the eclectic, ultra-hoppy beers that are popular these days, preferring simpler styles and doing a few things well.

"There are other people doing beer and doing it well," says Henkel simply. "We want to be another one doing it, and make the rising tide lift all boats."

The winemaking operation is still in the works, but the partners already have experience with importing grapes and making their own wine. The rear of the facility will house a wine press and crush that will be used to produce whites and reds. Brick and Barrel expects to sell wine onsite by the glass and bottle.

Phase II of the brewery will involve a beer garden out back. The owners have to work out plenty of details with the city, including purchasing a vacated alley, but Henkel envisions a group of picnic tables with a cool outdoor chandelier hanging overhead. The location offers views of Rivergate Park.

Lee Chilcote
Lee Chilcote

About the Author: Lee Chilcote

Lee Chilcote is founder and editor of The Land. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks The Shape of Home and How to Live in Ruins. His writing has been published by Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt and many literary journals as well as in The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, The Cleveland Anthology and A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City. He is a founder and former executive director of Literary Cleveland. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland with his family.