Luke Brevoort (left) and Vaughn Stewart
Vaughn Stewart and Luke Brevoort are old friends who met at college and bonded over similar sentiments about the importance of strong neighborhood hubs, whether they be bookstores, coffee shops or the corner pub.
Four years ago they put pen to paper and began sketching out plans for a neighborhood hub of their own. When Bookhouse Brewing
opens this summer it will be a brewery and taproom, yes, but it will also be a cozy and convivial haven for neighbors to connect and commune over a few pints of fresh-brewed beer.
“We really want to differentiate ourselves in terms of the vibe of the place, to sort of be the calm within the storm,” says Brevoort. “Places can get a little crazy on weekend nights and we want to be a place that’s a little lower key.”
Bookhouse Brewing is currently taking shape on the ground floor of the West 25th Streets Lofts
complex at 1526 W. 25th Street, one block south of Detroit Road. Auspiciously, the 3,500-square-foot space was once the site of Baehr Brewing, which operated here from the 1860s until 1901, later as Cleveland and Sandusky Brewing Company.
“There’s a lot of history in here,” says Stewart. “We like the fact that it was a former brewery, and that it’s also fairly small for a brewery. We look at that as a positive; we feel like we can have real control over our four walls.”
Stewart, who brewed at Portside for the last 18 months of that brewery’s life, as well as at Arcadia Brewing in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will be brewing on a 7-barrel system from Bridgetown Brew Systems in Portland. The brewhouse will be visible but separate from the rest of the pub, which will be broken up into three separate, cozy spaces. There will be the barroom, a room with a small stage for “low-volume live music,” and the “book lounge.” While Stewart spent much of his career minding the brewhouse, Brevoort operated a bookstore. There will be no televisions and seating for 85.
Stewart says that he “likes to brew what he likes to drink,” which runs the gamut from less common ales to crowd-pleasing session beers.
“I like classic English styles and obscure European styles,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with very classic porters and very classic IPAs, but we want to do something just a little different to kind of stretch the idea.”
They hope to have 14 taps pouring mainly their own beers but might plug holes with guest beers. They intend to brew mainly for onsite consumption as opposed to distribution.
There will be no kitchen. Guests are welcome to bring in outside food or order from a very simple menu of snacks.
When it opens this summer, Bookhouse will be located about 1,000 feet from Saucy Brew Works and less than a mile from eight or so other Ohio City breweries. Those numbers have the ring of good fortune to Stewart.
“There’s a lot to be said about being close to competition,” he notes.