The recently reopened Canton Brewing Co., with its old-school bricks, barrels and beers, hopes to offer customers a taste of the past.
After being closed for more than 60 years, the brewery resumed production in December on 120 Third St. NW (in the building that housed the Canton Repository in the 1800s).
“We want this to be a modernization of a traditional rathskeller,” explains brewmaster John McGroarty (27), the former barrel-aging manager at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
The spacious, underground tap room—which has an occupancy permit for 320 people—is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m.
Its beers are reiterations of pre-Prohibition brews from the original Canton Brewing Co. and other historic Stark County breweries, the rights to all of which are owned by David Beule.
The most notable example is the Tuscora Pilsner, the flagship brew of the original brewery, a crisp, light pilsner with a grainy sweetness and light corn notes.
Other historic offerings include the Black Jack Dünkel, a dark lager with toasty notes and hints of chocolate, the Tiny Tusc Kölsch, a specialty beer with a grainy sweetness and a very slight herbal hop, and Cascade Pale Ale, with a caramel malt backbone and grapefruit notes.
“You’ll see some styles you won’t normally see in mainstream brewing,” McGroarty says, adding that the brewery also offers a wide selection of modern-style craft beers to satisfy the tastes of everyone “from the novice who comes in asking for Bud Light to the beer nerd who’s reviewing beers on his phone or laptop.”
The microbrewery, which operates on a 15-barrel system, runs seven to eight taps at a time, rotating brews every two to three weeks.
This month’s selections include the Tuscora Pilsner, the Carpe Noctem Coffee Porter, the Bi-Centennial Pale Ale (commemorating the Canton Repository’s 200th anniversary), a Scottish ale aged in bourbon barrels, a dry-hopped, spring saison, the Black Jack Dünkel, a double IPA and a mosaic extra pale ale.
Prices run between $5 to $6 per glass, and customers may purchase growlers to go.
Julian Christian (30), the general manager, plans to open a restaurant just above the Speakeasy in mid- to late-May. The menu will include gourmet pizzas, barbecue sandwiches smoked in-house, salads, appetizers and a full bar with cocktails and wine, he says.
The restaurant will be open on Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.
Canton Brewing Co., one of the many craft breweries to open in Northeast Ohio over the past couple of years, is part of a larger effort to revitalize Canton, Beule says.
“This place is great,” says Pat Nuske (49), who lives and works in Canton and frequents the brewery. “It’s good for the city. We were long overdue for a brewery in this area.”
Canton Brewing Co. distributes to a number of downtown bars and restaurants, including The Auricle, Bender’s Buzzbin Art and Music Shop, Lucca, George’s Lounge, Conestoga Grill, Tapas 218 and Thatsa Wrapp. Their beer also is available at Fishers Foods growler stations and Table Six restaurant.
For more information, follow the Canton Brewing Co. on Facebook.