Most of Ohio’s craft breweries offer guests a peek at production, but Thirsty Dog might be the only one to put a bar right in the center of the action.
The tasting room is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings, and Thirsty Dog offers free tours Saturday at 3 p.m. But even without a guide, guests can get a look at how the magic is made. The tasting room is just feet away from where the beer is brewed and fermented, and it’s not uncommon to see brewers at work.
“You get to see everything that’s going on,” said owner John Najeway.
The (cash only) tasting room has about 19 rotating taps and usually includes some unique offerings, such as a one-off beer or a limited release. It also offers Thirsty Dog merchandise and growlers and bottles to go.
The once weekly tour is open to the public, and reservations are only required for a group of 10 or more. The tour takes you through the brewing process, including a look at Thirsty Dog’s new bottling line. It also offers a look at the brewery’s extensive sour program, in which beers are barrel-aged for years before being served.
The tour includes a history lesson or two. Thirsty Dog is housed in the former Burkhardt Brewing Company, a massive facility built more than a century ago that takes up about two city blocks near the University of Akron. The brewery was the first to be operated by a woman in this area, Najeway said.
Margaretha Burkhardt took over her husband’s brewery business when he died in 1882, renamed it the M. Burkhardt Brewing Company and expanded it into an extremely successful operation.
Since taking up residence in 2007, Thirsty Dog has grown in the Burkhardt space, but it also has preserved Akron’s brewing past. The tour includes a look at a 100-foot-long cave, chiseled out of limestone, that was built around 1900 and used to divert water from a nearby creek before the advent of indoor water lines, Najeway said.
“It’s neat,” he said.
Similar places: Aqueduct Brewing
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
R. Shea Brewing
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