Crossing the threshold of Euclid Brewing Company (21950 Lakeshore Blvd., facebook.com/EuclidBrewingCompany), owned by Doug and Kim Fry, you immediately notice that the startup venture feels a bit like a diner inside. The dark blue laminate on the tables and brightly painted trim bring to mind a no-frills workingman's hangout — a place to grab a bite, or in this case a beer, with regulars after a long day on the job. This rainy evening, however, a third of the clientele is visiting all the way from Los Angeles.
"Most recently it was a BBQ restaurant; before that, it had been a bakery, a kabob shop, a chicken and waffle place ... I've forgot what else," Doug Fry says of the modest storefront, which seats 30 at a handful of tables and a small bar. "Everybody remembers it when it was Back Alley Pizza."
Since April, Fry has presided over a two-barrel brewing system and taproom that, despite the diner decor, looks and feels a lot like a laboratory. From the flasks and beakers serving as centerpieces on each table to the "Periodic Table of Beer Styles" poster displayed on the wall, Fry's love of science and his background as a pharmaceutical engineer shine through.
"I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry," he says. "Setting up this facility was just like setting up a pilot plant. I move liquids around, heat and cool things. Making beer was an extension of what I did."
Currently on draft you'll find a Cherry Christmas Ale, Sims Beach Blonde, Moss Point Pale, an Isosceles IPA, GDGB Amber and a Chocolate Milk Stout, as well as housemade root beer. You can execute a taste test of your own by ordering a flight of all six for $9, or drink them by the pint for $6 each. You can also fill a growler — one of theirs or your own — for $16.
Tired of the companies he previously worked for constantly being sold (and the job insecurity that came with it), Fry decided to turn his home-brewing obsession into a profession by opening his own commercial brewery with the help of his wife, Kim. These days, the only lessons the one-time professor teaches are centered on beer. A blackboard hangs in the taproom describing alcohol as an organic compound and its atomic makeup.
The brewery will launch a series of seminars in the future for people interested in the science behind beer, with topics like yeast, malt and hops along with community based lectures that will return on Thursday evenings in February.
In the fermenters now are the first batches of the "Beyond the Pale" series, ales that feature assorted types of exotic hops. The first brew is made with Mosaic hops and will be available in about two weeks, enough time to sanitize, mix, boil, ferment, carbonate and package in kegs for sale.
"We went to Germany and visited a bunch of cities and every city seemed to have their little brewery," Fry explains. "That's the model we've emulated. If you want our beer, you will need to come here to get it. We don't have plans to bottle or distribute."
The taproom is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.