Since opening three years ago in Cleveland Heights, BottleHouse Brewery (2050 Lee Rd., 216-214-2120) has continued to improve, grow and expand its offerings. Late last year, the brewery swapped out its makeshift 2.5-barrel system for an efficient 7-barrel system, while adding new fermenters, bright tanks, glycol chillers, keg washers… “The whole nine yards,” says owner Brian Benchek.
And it’s a good thing they did as plans for a second location, this one across town in Lakewood, will have them brewing up a storm to keep up with increased demand. That second location, in the former home of Sullivan’s Irish Pub (13368 Madison Ave.), will allow Benchak and assistant brewer Jason Kallicragas to expand their product line even more.
“Brian and I really want to do a lot more sour beers,” Kallicragas says. “In this facility there’s just no way to make that a priority; it’s just too risky.”
That risk, of course, is of cross-contamination between the sour beers and the others. Sour beers are inoculated with wild yeasts and bacteria that can easily infect other beers in proximity if you’re not extremely cautious.
“We started carefully here, with everything contained in barrels,” Kallicragas says of those sours that he and Benchek already have produced.
The Lakewood BottleHouse will have a 24-tap taproom that will sell eight sours, eight meads, and eight other brews culled from the BottleHouse portfolio. More importantly, the building has plenty of room to store and age the large wooden barrels required to make sours. Depending on the style – fruity and funky to tart and puckery – the beers need anywhere from three months to two years on wood before they are ready to drink.