Platform Beer Co. was named one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the U.S. last year.

The Cleveland-based brewery isn’t pumping the brakes anytime soon.

Platform plans to open a brewery and tasting room in Pittsburgh — and said its new Cincinnati location will host its grand opening Feb. 2. The new sites will add to an empire that already includes two production facilities and a brewery/taproom in Cleveland, and a brewery/taproom in Columbus.

Platform is targeting a summer opening for the Pittsburgh location. The brewery is finalizing a lease for a two-story, 8,000-square-foot space in the Bloomfield neighborhood. It will feature the same look and feel of other tasting rooms with brick and a warehouse style, the brewery said.

The Pittsburgh site will feature a 10-barrel brewing system, canning line, barrel-aging, more than 100 seats, more than 24 taps, kitchen and private events space.

Co-founder Justin Carson cited several reasons why Platform chose Pittsburgh for expansion.

“Existing distribution, consumer drinking trends, geography, location of the space and the desire to engage with the local community are just a few reasons why we are so excited to call Pittsburgh our next home,” he said in a statement.

Platform, which opened in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood in 2014, is eyeing even more expansion down the road.

“This is it for 2019, but I would not rule out additional locations in the future,” Benner said in a follow-up interview.

Platform has identified some other potential cities, he said, but declined to say where. Platform was named the 35th fastest-growing brewery in the country last year by the Brewers Association.

As for the Cincinnati site, it’s being branded as LOCOBA by Platform. LOCOBA is short for “Local Coffee Barrels.” The brewery will open the week of Jan. 28, but the official grand opening is Feb. 2.

The 1,700-square-foot location is on the corner of Main and 12th Street in the city’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. It will focus on barrel-aged beers and include a full-service coffee shop open during the morning and a kitchen serving lunch and dinner.

“It is a very attractive proposition for us to have a retail location in all three of Ohio’s major markets,” Carson said.

Meanwhile, Platform also expects to open its Cleveland wild and sour facility called Phunkenship to the public in the spring. There are about 2,000 barrels of beer aging there. The brewery is building a tasting room and event space.

 

Plum beer

Hoppin' Frog Brewery, 1680 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, will release Plum Tuckered-Out Double Double Porter on draft and in 12-ounce bottles Thursday at the brewery.

The beer, which is 16.8 percent alcohol by volume, was made with plum puree. Bottles will sell for $8.99 and be available at select retail markets.

"We know that people love when you put fruit in beers and we just felt that putting this plum into a porter would make the perfect combination of flavor," brewery founder and brewmaster Fred Karm said. "We were right. I'm blown away at how tasty it is. It's super smooth and it helps smooth out the roughness that would otherwise be there from the high alcohol."

 

Garrett's dinner

Garrett's Mill & Brewing Co., 8148 Main St., Garrettsville, will host a six-course beer pairing dinner at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23.

Tickets are $35. For reservations, call 330-527-8080.

 

HiHO pizza

HiHO Brewing Co., 1707 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, is adding a brick pizza oven.

Co-founder Ali Hovan said there was a demand for more food at the brewery "and we thought pizza and beer is perfect." The Marra Forni pizza oven should be up in running in six to eight weeks.

 

Lockport update

Lockport Brewery has received a state brewing permit for its new brewpub and is set to brew its first batch of beer at the facility this week.

Lockport is opening a seven-barrel brewpub at 10748 Wilkshire Blvd. in Bolivar. The taproom is now under construction and expected to open in late summer. Meanwhile, the original Lockport brewery at 10891 State Route 212 is open.

 

Beer school

Collision Bend Brewing Co., 1250 Old River Road, Cleveland, is offering a four-week series of "Beer 101" classes in February.

Tickets are $30 per class or $100 for all four. Each talk will include a beer tasting and appetizers. Here's the lineup:

• Feb. 6: Leslie Basalla, co-author of "Cleveland Beer" and co-owner of the Cleveland Brew Bus, will talk about the history of Cleveland breweries.

• Feb. 13: Bookhouse Brewing brewmaster Vaughn Stewart and Hansa House brewer Corey Miller will talk about their beers.

• Feb. 20: Barntalk Hops co-owner Mike Napier will sit down with Fat Head's brewmaster Matt Cole and The Brew Kettle brewmaster Jack Kephart to talk about hops and beer.

• Feb. 27: West Branch Malts owner Randy Thatcher and Jolly Scholar brewer Aaron Wirtz will discuss the malting process.

 

Royal Docks

In case you missed the front-page story last week, Royal Docks Brewing Co., which has a production brewery and separate tasting room in Jackson Township, is looking to open a pub and small brewery in downtown Akron as part of the $42 million Bowery project. Read more at https://bit.ly/2TQQZd8.

 

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.