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House Beer Brings Unique Bottle Shop / Ale House Hybrid to The Short North

Walker Evans Walker Evans House Beer Brings Unique Bottle Shop / Ale House Hybrid to The Short North
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When is a bar more than just a bar? The answer lies inside House Beer, a new concept opening soon at 843 North High Street in The Short North. House Beer will serve as both a retail carry out for those who want to enjoy drinks at home, as well as a watering hole with a serious craft beer focus for enthusiasts who want to taste the latest trends.

We spoke recently with House Beer co-owner Steven ‘Walt’ Walter to find out more about what we can expect when the doors open on August 10th.

Q: First things first… is House Beer considered a bar or a carry out or some combination of both?

A: We are a hybrid of a bottle shop and ale house. You are free to grab any beers off our shelves, get them to go and/or drink them in house with proper glassware provided. We will also have six rotating taps open and will do growler fills, which is a true venn diagram of the two.

Q: So what can you tell us a bit about the folks behind House Beer?

A: House Beer is the brainchild of Columbus childhood friends Curt Edwards and Steven ‘Walt’ Walter. Curt began his restaurant career in Chicago, owning and operating several pizza/carryout joints. Walt is the owner of waltphoto.com and is a professional photographer focused on documenting music culture. Our manager Patrick Walter has been a bartender and bar manager for over twelve years. Our guests may be familiar with him from his time spent with Figlio, and with various local bands. He offers a unique insight into the evolution of craft beer from a veteran bartender’s perspective. We are home brewers and have been brewing beers for over 15 years. This is the backbone of our education and interest in brewing and enjoying craft beers. We are excited to build a culture and community around advocacy and education of all that craft beer has to offer.

Q: How did the concept for House Beer come about?

A: While living on the west coast, we frequented bottle shops that share a similar hybrid bar concept, and figured that we would up the ante a bit. We took a month long road trip across the United States with The Great American Ale Trail book in hand, sampling beers and assessing what successful bottle shops across the US were doing right. We gained valuable insights along the way that have contributed to our operation. For instance, instead of the typical carryout with warehouse lighting, neon signs, and rock bottom prices for America’s ‘most drinkable lager’, we opted for a low lit, artfully designed bar where beer is the star. During our research phase, we discovered the important history that Columbus had in building the anti-saloon movement, which would later become prohibition. The good part is that in spite of strict laws against brewing, some folks continued to carry on the tradition in their own homes. Or in their barns, as was often the case. We were lucky enough to get our hands on reclaimed wood from an Ohio barn that was used by a prohibition bootlegger. Interestingly enough, he was arrested and did his time even though it was his wife who was the primary brewmaster. We wanted to keep his story alive, and built our bar around the centerpiece of his brewery. Our friend and amazing craftsman, Sean with RAS Construction, hand crafted the bar around this historic wood with stunning results. All this in connection with our time spent with countless friends and family brewing around our house really helped finalize the concept of house beer.

Q: What types of beers will be found at House Beer?

A: We will focus on the best beer we can find with an eye toward current and future trends within the beer community. We will honor those friends and artists of beer who have helped us along the way with tribute handles handpicked by some of the best in the business. We aim to keep you guessing and hope you do the same.

Q: What types of special events will House Beer host?

A: This is truly where we took the basic bottle shop concept and infused it with our own style. We are working on putting together a calendar of events from beer education sessions, where we bring in brewers to speak about the art in crafting their beers, to hosting our ‘arts and craft’ event where we will showcase both a visual artist, and a brewer for gallery hop in the Short North. Additionally, we will be hosting home brew challenges to involve those of us who feel that the only thing better than great beer is your own great beer.

Q: How does the exploding microbrew scene in Columbus affect the launch of House Beer?

A: These are exciting times in Ohio, especially Columbus. Craft beer and brewing in general are on the rise here, and we are excited to work with these brewers to make a huge impact both locally and at the national level. Brewers are our people. As home brewers, we are ecstatic to have a local community that is actively involved in such a fun craft. That includes the local brewers who we celebrate daily, by providing an environment to promote and enjoy their beers. We aim to celebrate our hometown heroes and enthusiastically look forward to sharing stories over home brews.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: For food options, we decided to keep it simple. We kept with the historical connection to beer and Ohio, and working with Omega – a North Market Bakery – we will provide an authentic german style pretzel knot to compliment any of our beers. We can’t give away all of our secrets though, so come in and share a pint because we have much more to share.

More information can be found online at www.myhousebeer.com.

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17 Responses to House Beer Brings Unique Bottle Shop / Ale House Hybrid to The Short North

  1. Jason Powell
    jpizzow July 30, 2012 1:21 pm at 1:21 pm

    Very excited for this concept. Just curious, anyone know how big the space is? I imagine something around the size of Whit’s.

  2. mbeaumont July 30, 2012 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm

    This place sounds pretty badass. Wish they had a less literal name and more refined logo. But I’m always bitching about that. Other than that, it sounds like they really did their research and the interior design sounds great. Can’t wait!

  3. MFRONE July 30, 2012 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm

    Cleveland has had something like this for a few years now. Winking Lizard has their Lizardville shops that is a beer/whiskey shop and bar and has a large selection of cigars as well. Hopefully this doesn’t deter them from possibly bringing a location to Columbus.

  4. chadderosu July 30, 2012 4:07 pm at 4:07 pm

    Excited to have a new neighbor here in the Dakota Building!! Welcome House Beer – I’ve had the pleasure to get a few sneak peeks along the way (a bonus to being located right next door) and I can tell you this place is Bad Ass!! Now I just need to figure out how to trade Whit’s for Brews!! Welcome to the Short North guys and best of luck. Can’t wait for the opening.

  5. Kahiki
    Kahiki July 30, 2012 4:08 pm at 4:08 pm

    Sounds great, but the name could be problematic. People may assume it is associated with House Wine, when it is not.

  6. FoodFort July 30, 2012 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm

    Yeh – If I owned House Wine – I might be mildy bummed about a business with such a similar name.

  7. buckette13 July 31, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am

    Personally, I don’t see the name issue if these places are going so generic. It really is lame ‘food club’ nomenclature…

  8. Polis July 31, 2012 9:15 am at 9:15 am

    Ooooooh! I’m excited.

    The naming issue isn’t a big deal for someone “in-the-know”; however, for the general public, brand confusion can be a big deal. If House of Beers does poorly, or House of Wine, then it could reflect on the other business despite the lack of relationship.

  9. Snarf
    Snarf July 31, 2012 9:22 am at 9:22 am

    If I owned House Wine I wouldn’t whine about a beer business with a similar name at all, ever.

  10. meltsintowonder
    meltsintowonder July 31, 2012 1:48 pm at 1:48 pm

    I’ve seen the comments in this and a previous thread about the name of our business (House Wine) as well as of House Beer, and I thought perhaps I should weigh in myself. We’ve also had discussions with House Beer concerning the similarity and potential for confusion between our businesses as we’ve had many people come to us thinking that House Beer is our business, including those in the wine and beer industry. As mentioned by several posters, our name is very straightforward and simple, which is how we approach educating and helping consumers find their own “house wine” based on their budget. In addition, we have a large offering of American craft beer by the bottle and a few on draft. House Beer is going with a similar approach with beer.

    Honestly, we are concerned about confusion with the names but we’ve operated a successful wine and beer business for almost five years now and we’re established in the wine and beer community in addition to be a community partner for a number of local organizations. We’ve actively been in discussion with a couple business/property owners in The Short North about a location in the area so if that comes to fruition, we’d be concerned that it could create even more confusion if we’re neighbors but also for them starting out as a new business.

    In the end, we know it’s difficult to launch a new business and commend anybody who goes out on their own, especially those who want to strengthen the wine, beer and spirits community around Columbus. We hope they’re able to get past any bumps in the road as far as launch, name confusion and beyond, and that they can experience the success we’ve experienced in our first five years.

    Cheers,

    Donnie Austin
    Owner & General Manager
    House Wine

  11. Walker Evans
    Walker July 31, 2012 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the input, Donnie! ;)

  12. mbeaumont July 31, 2012 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm

    Donnie, I would love to see you guys in the Short North! Best of luck with your search.

  13. michaelcoyote August 1, 2012 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm

    Once again Donnie shows what a class act he is. Hope to see you next time I’m in town…

  14. ntn
    ntn August 2, 2012 8:50 am at 8:50 am

    Not the greatest name, but those barstools look incredible

  15. MrFox August 3, 2012 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm

    The concept has my attention but frankly I am unintrigued by the branding and the name. Furthermore this rendering is off-putting. I do understand the direction of the aesthetic but the execution of showing that to the public, who may not be as open to interpretation, is just awful.

  16. Walker Evans
    Walker August 4, 2012 9:02 am at 9:02 am

    They’ve been adding construction photos on Facebook here, if you can’t translate a rendering into reality in your head:

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.436085993079484.96412.425874104100673&type=3

  17. Anne Evans
    Anne August 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm

    Update! from their Facebook: we are happy to announce that prohibition is officially over! we will be pouring beers this FRIDAY for our OPENING PARTY at 2pm-1am, SATURDAY 2pm-1am, and SUNDAY 2pm-11pm. hours for next week will be announced this weekend. come play!

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