Some bars are just conducive to relaxing, savoring a tasty, fermented, hopped beverage, and conversing with friends or the equally relaxed person parked on the nearest stool.

Sure, all bars have booze and most have stools, but every regular bar-goer has been to a few places where for various reasons (music and/or patrons too loud, lights too bright, bartenders too jerky, every surface looks and feels infectious), they didn’t feel especially comfortable.

Akron’s Thirsty Dog Brewing opened its Taphouse in March at 587 Grant St., just a bit down the street from the brewery. Anyone who visited the makeshift taproom at the brewery will be glad to know that you will no longer feel as if you’re hindering the brisk business. You don’t have to look both ways to avoid industrious brew assistants as you head to the restroom. And there’s no more need to frequently check your fresh, tasty beer for the tiny carcasses of suicidal, alcoholic, fruit flies.

The new space doesn’t have an especially fancy, unique, hip or kitschy design. There are two brick-walled rooms, the main room being a big square with some tables and a U-shaped bar at one end. The walls are painted a nice, soothing “dark” and the only things on the walls are old Thirsty Dog plaques. There’s a popcorn machine that’s kept reasonably fresh and full and one — that’s right, just one — TV screen above the bar.

Why does the room and atmosphere feel inviting and relaxed? Well, the taproom feels like a grown-up bar, but not in terms of the patron’s ages. There’s just little chance of walking in and seeing some rowdy folks doing body shots on the bar or excitedly yelling despite being seated right next to each other.

It’s just … chill.

Of course, Thirsty Dog beers are on all of the 20 or so taps and, thankfully, it’s not just another IPA party. There’s a little something for everyone, be they pretentiously serious beer imbibers (“Oh, the mouthfeel of this bourbon barrel-aged, free-range raspberry quad is simply luxurious!”) or folks who just enjoy a fresh, good-tasting beer.

All of Thirsty Dog’s current hits and national craft beer trends are available, some of which are not currently in stores: big, heavy, Russian imperial stouts; light session ales and lagers; sours, gose and quads, oh my! The bartenders are friendly and, vitally important in a tasting room, knowledgeable about the beers they serve.

Beers are available in 5-ounce glasses, full pints and flights of four. Plus, if you aren’t prepared to commit, they’ll let you taste anything.

If you’re not a beer drinker, there’s a decent stock of liquor and the cooler also contains that sweet, sweet, yummy Mexican Coke. (To be clear, that’s Coca-Cola manufactured in Mexico, where they still use real cane sugar as opposed to corn syrup.)

Once you get a few brews in you, you can try something from the small menu of snacks and appetizers, ranging from basic chips and dip or tortilla chips and salsa under $5, to a bit more substantial fare such as the $7 slider trio (bratwurst, Italian sausage and meatball) or a $5 plate of potato, cheddar pierogis from local favorite the Pierogi Lady.

Friends and beer lovers Mike Sharpe of Hartville and Jim Nezbeth of Akron were chilling at the bar talking, tasting and drinking. The fraternity brothers were getting another stamp on their Summit Brew Path 2018 passports.

(Adroitly recognizing low-hanging, beer-infused fruit, the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau has concocted a “brew path” that takes beer lovers to 18 craft breweries throughout the county, where you can get a stamp for each visit. Upon completion and verification, you get an “I Completed the Summit Brew Path” growler. It’s definitely not the sexiest or most creative slogan, but, hey, it’s one more vessel to hold your beer!)

Sharpe and Nezbeth are nine breweries into the path and ranked Thirsty Dog among the best of those they’ve visited so far.

“It’s up there, it’s definitely in my top two,” Nezbeth said. “This is definitely an improvement over what they had before. Their hours were a little limited.”

“You actually feel like you’re in someplace you can stay and you’re welcome. You’re not in the way and there’s not a forklift driving by. The environment here is nicer than, probably, anywhere else we’ve been,” Sharpe said. “Good selection of beers, a lot of beers. I would absolutely bring someone here. It’s casual, the atmosphere is great, good service.”

Any visitors of the old Thirsty Dog tasting room will be pleasantly surprised (and gloriously fruit-fly free) at the simple, low-key, chilled-out new spot. And if you’re just someone who wants to try some good beer in a different, clean and friendly place, go get thirsty.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at or 330-996-3758. Follow him on Facebook at or on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.