The internet went a bit crazy for a little while there when Streetside brewery was announced. As always seems to happen when a new brewery is announced in Cincinnati, there was a combination of reactions that ranged from extremely giddy joyful clapping, to that all to familiar stick-in-the mud “If they don’t have beer yet, I don’t care yet.” I hope that once you start to see who Streetside is, and what they want to do…you might care a little more and end up with the giddy joyful clappers.
Who is Streetside?
It’s easy to say what Streetside is going to be… in fact there are a couple articles that were published before that tackle that very well from before, and I’m sure if you chug down every bit of Cincy beer media like I do you’ve probably read it already. Although I’ll still talk about it a little bit later, you can read those here:
- Cincinnati.com (Shauna Steigerwald) – Streetside Brewery in works for Columbia Tusculum
- Soapbox Media (Caitlin Koenig) – Columbia Tusculum residents investing in the neighborhood with new brewery.
Where I’m going to start first though, is with the Hickey family. I sat down with Kathie, Bryan and their son Garrett a while back for a beer (or two) at Blank Slate, their future neighbor, to hopefully get an idea of not only what this brewery was going to be about…but why we should rally behind what might be one of Cincinnati’s next breweries.
The Hickey’s made it clear that this wasn’t just a couple parents, who were building their son a brewery for him to wing it…and see what happens. Garrett has just as much skin in the game as his parents do with this venture…but that being said- This is most definitely going to be his baby. When the idea to start this venture originally came up, “Streetside” was an unnamed beer bar. The family wanted to open a taproom that showcased some of the craft beers that they had come to love, in the city that they call home. As plans start to develop…they shift, change and grow as we’re all aware, and Garrett and Brian’s love for homebrewing eventually brought up the question… “why not brew?” After heading off to school in England to study brewing, Garrett came back with knowlege that cemented the idea, and put him on a track that will hopefully benefit all of us beer geeks in the years to come.
I think this is the nut of who Streetside is…if you can personify a brewery. This is a family, looking to do something they love… with the people they love… in the community that they love.
Streetside is not going to be mind-blowing when you walk up to it from the street… it’s going to look like it belongs in the neighborhood that it sits in. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be special, though. The brewery is ground up construction… the space that it will occupy was once home to the East End Cafe, which after a devastating fire left a gaping hole in the neighborhood emotionally as well as physically. The Hickey’s want to fill that hole with something that feels right to what the community wants and needs.
The space will be unique in that the brewing operations will be a floor below the taproom space, occupying the back half of the building and open to the taproom. This means that the taproom itself will offer a unique view of what we all like to see while we’re drinking… the brewing. You’ll be able to look down on the brew system from the taproom above, something that’s not available at many places. You usually find yourself in taproom, looking through a forest of fermenters towering above you. When you walk in the brewery, you’ll find a space that is warm and inviting… with industrial touches. Big garage doors will be open in the warmer months, really making the taproom feel like it’s part of the community around it.
I think this is the big part of what Streetside is going to look like that isn’t easy to describe. They want this brewery to become part of the east end, where along with their neighbors in Blank Slate and Bad Tom Smith they’ll be able to reinvigorate that part of town… where a smaller brewery district of sorts might have the opportunity to thrive. But more than anything, they really want the people who live in their community to feel like Streetside is a place of their own… a community center of sorts.
It’s obviously a little early to talk about what the beer is going to taste like, but it’s safe to say that an ‘Eclectic’ tap selection is the best descriptor. From the the get-go, the brewery plans on offering guest taps to other breweries around town to help fill the gaps while they build their line-up. Once running at full steam though, you’ll see most everything pop up on the Streetside tap handles, with talk of Grapefruit Hefewiezens, and Ciders… IPAs and Barrel Aged masterpieces. It’s going to be a “something for everyone” philosophy.
When can I get some Streetside then, Gnome?
Soon…ish. Look…you’ll hear people try to guess dates when they are opening a brewery, and then you’ll hear people get all upset when the timelines aren’t met. I’m not going to set you up for disappointment.
What I will say is that they hope to break ground this winter… and again hope that the build-out of the new building will take somewhere around 6 months. After that…it takes time to get a brewery up and running, and get some beer stocked.
The one thing that I can promise you, though is that you’ll hear about it all right here. I’ll keep you up to date on their progress. Or, you can skip the middleman and follow Streetside on their social media (Twitter, Facebook) – They should be able to keep you as up to date as I can!