Hot Spot: Ignite Brewing Co. lights up Barberton
The Magic City continues to conjure up relevant nightlife for lovers of craft beers and cool hot spots.
Within the last year or so, downtown Barberton has managed to prestidigitate two good microbreweries. We’ve already covered Magic City Brewing Co., but just down the street and around the corner sits Ignite Brewing Co., a family-owned, family-friendly place with a healthy variety of tasty brews and a pleasant atmosphere.
Ignite is owned by three couples who went from impressing each other with their beers to wanting to share the malty, hoppy love with the public.
Ignite opened in September in a big, boxy, 5,000-square-foot building with a high ceiling and wide-open floor plan that once housed a B.F. Goodrich tire shop; though tires are certainly necessary, beer is a lot more fun. The openness allows patrons to see in the back where the beer is made, and there are plenty of tables for groups.
Despite its cavernous look, the noise level in the room is pleasant even when crowded. The cement bar is long and roomy, there are a few large HD screens behind the bar that don’t demand your attention, and the big bay windows near the street conveniently have drink rails for those who like to sit, sip and watch the world go by.
Outside, there is a large patio that probably won’t get much usage in the next few months even with its outdoor heaters, but it should be a relaxed place to hang come the spring and summer seasons.
Ignite touts its family-friendly atmosphere; kids are welcome and dogs are OK out on the patio.
“We’ve been here quite a few times and their beer is exceptionally good, better than a lot of other breweries,” said Adam Brantner, a recent Barberton transplant, while sipping with friend Heather Sepelak.
Brantner has been coming to Ignite since its opening (see, his friend from high school’s sister is married to the brewmaster Adam Reinhart, so he had an “in”). “I haven’t had a bad beer yet,” he said.
“I really like the atmosphere. It’s just cozy and friendly. You can come here and hang out and relax,” said Sepelak, a longtime Barberton resident.
She admitted that she wasn’t much of a beer drinker before she started hanging out with Brantner, who said he “won’t turn down a beer. Even if it’s horrible, I’ll drink it.”
The company and the atmosphere have opened Sepelak’s taste buds. She’s now a fan of Ignite The Lights (a tasty, not-too-spicy take on a Christmas ale), as well as the people, both patrons and the employees.
“Everyone’s friendly here. Sometimes you go places and it’s not … always friendly. But everyone is just relaxed and themselves,” Sepelak said.
In addition to Ignite The Lights, the 14 other brews on tap include three versions of the requisite IPA, but there's a good variety of styles: two kinds of stouts (the high-octane Carpe Noctem Russian Imperial is quite smooth), a Belgian and some easy-drinking safe red ales. I’m generally not a fan of fruit beers but the Cherry Blonde is quite refreshing, not too fruity and a silver medal winner at the most recent Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
You can get flights of four 5-ounce pours for $11-$13, and if you want to take some home, there are 64-ounce growlers and 16-ounce crowlers (that’s a big can) as well as kegs.
Ignite has no kitchen but does offer a few snacks, including bottomless bowls of cheese popcorn, and customers are welcome to bring in their own food.
Ignite is still building its event calendar, hosting regular Wednesday night trivia and a Holiday Toy Drive for Toys for Tots that runs through Dec. 12.
The craft beer market is surely crowded, but Ignite is worthy of joining any beer lover’s taproom circuit.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.