It's hard to believe that Cleveland -- recently dubbed by GQ magazine as one of America's top five beer cities -- doesn't have a homebrew shop. There are plenty surrounding Ohio's second largest city, but none in Cleveland itself. That will change in November when The Cleveland Brew Shop opens in the Tremont neighborhood near downtown.
Tremont, a once scary area (at least when I was going to high school nearby in the mid 1980s), has become a hot spot for young nightlife and restaurants. It's also around the corner from Ohio City, where you can find Great Lakes Brewing Co., Market Garden Brewery and Nano Brew Cleveland.
"I like the idea of being part of Cleveland and being in that Cleveland beer scene," owner Paul Benner said. "We're the only [homebrew shop] in the city of Cleveland. We're very proud of that and we're trying to really tap into being Cleveland's brew shop."
The 30-year-old Benner, a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University and current Berea resident, started homebrewing about four years ago. "I knew after my first batch that this is what I want to do for a living and I'm going to figure out a way to make money doing this," he said.
The Cleveland Brew Shop will be a full-service supply shop, offering beer and wine-making ingredients, equipment and kits for all homebrewing skill levels. For example, Benner expects to stock at least 40 grains and 25 hop varieties for all-grain brewers.
He also plans to offer beer- and wine-making classes once a month, tastings and special events. The Cleveland Brew Shop won't brew or sell its own beer.
Benner is working with Brimfield Township-based LD Carlson, the largest wholesaler of beer- and wine-making equipment in the country for the retail industry, to launch the business. The opening date hasn't been set yet, but Benner expects to open in November.