With final inspections passed and the finishing touches on decorations in place, Eastern Market Brewing Company is set to open its lofty, new beer hall to the public tonight during Eastern Market After Dark. The brewhouse’s opening preview — note that an official opening will happen in mid-October — marks a return of breweries to the historic district that was once home to places like Eckhardt & Becker Brewery and Stroh’s.
Partners Dayne Bartscht, Devin Drowley, and Paul Hoskin began developing Eastern Market Brewing Company in July 2016. The group quickly tapped into the local food and beverage industry, securing an experienced head brewer in Hazen Schumacher (formerly Atwater, Bell’s, and Brew Detroit).
The brewery is located inside a two-story former meat packing facility just around the corner from BB’s Butcher Inn at 2515 Riopelle St. Big windows and high ceilings give the brewery an airy feel. Modeled after a German beer hall, the space is outfitted long, communal wood tables. It features contemporary touches too such as garage doors and hanging plants alongside nods to the previous meat processing occupant of the building. A heavy and miraculously still functional industrial scale flanks one side of the bar. It took a jackhammer free the heavy object’s feet out of the concrete, according to Drowley. Meat hooks and a meat rail found within the building during renovations now hang on the walls.
The brewery is aiming to offer both true-to-style beers and “bastardized” versions that utilize market ingredients. Eastern Market Brewing will initially open tonight with a preliminary run of five to six beers on tap for the event — a hefeweizen, an IPA, a Belgian Pale Ale, an Oktoberfest beer, and a sweet stout — as well as market-sourced snacks. Proceeds from the snack sales will be donated to charity. The partners then plan to close for several weeks to replenish their stocks of beer and return more officially by mid-October with a lineup of 9 to 12 beers sporting more specific names inspired by the Eastern Market.
While the main taproom may be complete, Eastern Market Brewing’s partners are also looking to the future with expansion plans. The group is already beginning to develop designs for the second floor and rooftop area. They also recently acquired an additional 1,300-square-foot building next door to the current taproom. That venue will likely house additional brewing equipment, a canning system, a food truck prep kitchen, and a retail storefront facing Winder Street. If all goes well those expansion projects will be completed by 2019.
Likewise, Hoskin and Barscht are in the process of developing a separate food truck called the Elephant Shack (a nod to Eastern Market Brewing Co.’s pennant-hoisting elephant mascot) with Eastern Market area chef Jonathan Kung. The street food project will feature bar food with international influences. The finished truck was delivered today but still needs to undergo inspections and licensing before it officially hits the street, according to Barscht.
Photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard recently received an inside look at the new brewery. Take a peek around the Eastern Market’s latest attraction and stay tuned for more updates on the official opening.
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