If you spend any time over in Columbia Tusculum, specifically driving up and down Eastern Ave, you may have seen some new construction activity over the past few months. Little may you know it’s Streetside Brewing rising up from the ashes of an old building on the corner of Eastern and McCullough St! I’ve been passing the spot since it was just a hole in the ground snapping photos of the build progress from time to time. It must have gained some attention from the folks over at Streetside because they invited me to come check the place out since they have taken delivery of most of their brewing equipment! But first let’s take a look at the progress of the building! It’s not often you get to see a brewery literally start from nothing and turn into something amazing!
Garrett Hickey, the head brewer, reached out to me over the 4th of July weekend to see if I wanted to check out the inside of the brewery instead of being all ninja like taking photos from the outside. I happily obliged! As I arrived at Streetside I was super excited to see new garage doors installed in the front which would allow some amazing open air drinking and access to the patio space. As I entered I could imagine what the taproom space would look like. It’s cozy with a wooden bar and one heck of a overlook to the brewery a whole story below.
Garret took me down to the brewery level to check out their new shiny equipment made by Portland Kettleworks. It’s currently slumbering underneath protective plastic and covers, but it won’t be long until these bad boys are full of delicious beer! Directly under the taproom will be the offices, cooler, and other storage spaces for brewing supplies. Nothing fun and exciting now, but in a matter of months this space will be filled with the raw materials needed to brew their first batch of beer!
The brewery will have plenty of parking in the lot next to the brewery and along the street. And of course if you’re there you will be able to walk to Blank Slate and Bad Tom Smith to check out two other local breweries!
After checking out the inside for the first time Garrett and I sat down to chat about the plans for Streetside. When I asked him why they chose that location for the brewery the answer was simple. His family have been residents of the area for years and he actually grew up in Columbia Tusculum. His family has a lot of pride for where they live and they want to help revitalize the area over time by helping to remove blight from the area as well as attracting people from all over the region to Columbia Tusculum. Garrett likes to think of it as another revitalization of a Cincinnati neighborhood just like Over The Rhine has made huge strides over the past few years. Once breweries like Rhinegeist, Taft’s Ale House and other local watering holes and restaurants moved into OTR the transformation was on its way. The spot where the brewery stands used to be the East End Cafe that was gutted by a fire several years ago. Once the family bought the property they tore it down to start with a fresh new building. Brian and Kathie Hickey, Garrett’s parents and co-owners of Streetside, are a part of the Columbia Tusculum Steering Team as well. All focus on the brewery will not only be directed at brewing great beer, but building the community as well as providing a place for the community to hang out and have a good time!
Streetside plans on brewing a variety of beers, but off the bat they will be focusing on some core beers such as an IPA, pale ale, and a dark beer such as a robust porter. They also are excited to brew a grapefruit wheat beer, a coffee stout or porter and possibly a kettle sour! You will also be pleased to know that within the first month of opening they plan on aging their one year anniversary beer for a true one year celebration! Garrett couldn’t give me exact details on the beer as of yet, but you should be excited! Canning and bottling is definitely planned down the road and distribution to local bars will start slow and will continue to grow with the brewery.
They will have 20 taps behind the bar that will feature their beers along with a few guest taps as well. On top of that they plan to work with Smooth Coffee and Rooted Grounds to provide coffee throughout the day including the morning. Speaking of morning if you are a fan of kegs and eggs this will be the place to be! Every Sunday they will throw a kegs and eggs event with beer, coffee (regular and Irish) and food! You will also be able to get food at the brewery at other times in the form of bar food and sandwiches when there aren’t food trucks in attendance.
The owners at Streetside have their goals and ambitions in the right place. They aren’t looking to become rich brewing beer and they aren’t looking to explode into some super brewery. They want to brew awesome beer, create a great space for locals (and everyone else) to enjoy and they want to help revitalize their home town. They are also keeping as much of their products, materials, and supplies as local as possible in order to support other local businesses in Cincinnati, Ohio and the United States.
When will you be able to check out Streetside for yourself and enjoy the fruits of their labor? Garrett didn’t want to give an exact date as of yet (you know…building, inspections, and government stuff could always be delayed), but they plan on being opened in the fall or early winter of 2016. I, for one, am one excited Cincinnati beer lover! Stay tuned here for more information as it becomes available!