Remarkably, no customers have ever been run over by a forklift at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.

Before you laugh, it’s not that far out of the realm of possibility.

The Thirsty Dog tasting room is smack in the middle of the production brewery and a forklift sometimes beeps on by the bar. But that regular insurance hazard — or occasional charming distraction, depending on your point of view — is now a thing of the past.

The Thirsty Dog Taphouse, a new taproom and kitchen, has opened a few doors from the brewery at 587 Grant St., Akron, in a 3,000-square-foot building that once housed Glen’s Train Shop.

The official grand opening is set for Friday (March 9) but the doors opened on a limited basis last week. As part of the celebration Thirsty Dog will have three-year old Wulver, its bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale available, along with a bottle release at 11 a.m. Saturday of Rubus Dog, a Flanders-style red ale aged with raspberries.

The Taphouse essentially replaces the brewery tasting room, which will remain open only from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturdays, with tours at 2 p.m.

While the production brewery is squeezed into one of the pre-Prohibition Burkhardt Brewing Co. buildings, the Taphouse is more open and has a more modern bar feel.

“It’s a more comfortable environment for sure,” manager Greg Tisch said about the new space.

There are plenty of similarities and differences between the two locations.  Let’s start with the similarities.

No shocker here: Just like the brewery site, the Taphouse offers plenty of Thirsty Dog beers on draft, along with growlers, six-packs and kegs for sale to go. The Taphouse has 20 taps.

There’s also Thirsty Dog merchandise available and the walls are adorned with posters of Thirsty Dog beer labels.

And now for what’s new:

• The Taphouse takes credit cards. That’ll be a big relief to many who wandered into the previous site and realized they didn’t have any cash.

• There’s a kitchen serving pizzas, flatbreads, sausages and snacks such as a cheese plate and hummus. The food menu will showcase local meats and cheeses from places such as Lucky Penny Farm. There also will be chips from the new Hartville Potato Chips in Akron and barbecue sauce from the Winking Lizard Tavern.

• The bar now stocks several scotches and whiskeys, and a couple of wines.

• There’s a party room with dart boards and games.

• The U-shaped bar is topped with gray and black granite and the hanging lights above the bar are made out of green 12 Dogs of Christmas bottles.

• The Taphouse is climate controlled. The brewery isn’t. The brewery, thanks to the age of the building, can be sweltering hot or chilly depending on the weather outside.

• There’s a large flat-screen television behind the bar. There is no television at the brewery.

• The Taphouse will be open much more often during the week. The hours, which go into effect Friday, are: noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It’ll be closed Mondays.

• The bathrooms are an upgrade from the brewery.

• There’s more parking out front.

• Oh, and there are no forklifts.

“It’s very nice,” customer David Muntean said last week as he drank a Labrador Lager during a visit. “The other one was carved out of the brewery. This is more user friendly and the parking is better.”

Thirsty Dog co-owner John Najeway is excited to finally have the Taphouse open. The brewery has been working on the project for about a year.

“We continue to be an economic driver in Akron,” he said.

Thirsty Dog already has scheduled a couple of events at the Taphouse. There’s a small-plate beer pairing dinner set for 6 p.m. March 29. The dinner is $30. The Taphouse also will host a craft beer talk and book signing with me at 7 p.m. March 14. I’ll have copies of my book 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio available for purchase.

The Taphouse phone number is 234-571-1456.