More space, more beer, Lake Michigan patio views: Algoma craft brewery opens new taproom
ALGOMA – It's a case where, for a microbrewery, bigger is better.
After nine years in a small garage in downtown Algoma, Ahnapee Brewery is opening its new taproom Saturday a couple blocks away from its original location. A grand opening celebration is planned to start at noon with food by local craft barbecue outfit Steel Belly BBQ, serving until it's gone, and two variants of flagship chocolate stout will be tapped.
It's been a dream to expand the Algoma location for Nick Calaway, who helped launch the microbrewpub as its brewmaster and manager in June 2013 and became owner in 2017. The taproom Calaway and his partners opened nine years ago on Navarino Street was an old two-stall garage a couple doors down from the Ahnapee Brewery that Civil War veteran Henry Schmiling opened and operated in Algoma from 1868 to 1886.
That garage covered less than 700 square feet and had capacity for just 30 people, Calaway said. The new place on Clark Street is more than double the size at 1,400 square feet and can hold about 80 people at a time.
"The biggest reason (for the move) was space," Calaway said. "I've been asked many years by customers when we're gonna get a new place. We knew we needed a bigger place, our lease (on the original taproom) was up, so it was the right time."
In addition to expanding the people capacity, the new location will expand its beer capacity. It has a bigger cooler and will allow the pub to offer 16 different beers on tap at a time instead of nine as before.
To offer a relaxing experience for beer aficionados, the new taproom has an outdoor patio overlooking Legion Park and Lake Michigan. It also has twin garage-style doors that will be opened to let in the breeze off the lake on warmer days.
"Having the garage doors is great," taproom operations manager Lindsey Brehmer said about the new building. "It just expands the space. And there's the view, and the 16 taps."
And, perhaps most importantly for a brewpub, the new place has two bathrooms instead of just the one in the old place.
The brewing of the beers will remain in Ahnapee's Suamico location just off U.S. 41, which opened in 2020 partially because the Algoma site no longer had the space Calaway needed to brew them (a taproom also with twin garage doors offering 16 beers is there, too).
Besides being able to host more craft beer fans, Calaway said the new location gives him the opportunity to host live music and other special events the old location couldn't. Brehmer said that's likely to start next summer, after using this summer to settle into the new place.
"We're hopeful the capacity will allow us to do bigger events, really, just events in general," Calaway said. "The older place wasn't big enough to hold any kind of event."
The new Ahnapee Brewing taproom is at 202 Clark St., Algoma. It opens at noon Saturday with food from Steel Belly BBQ, and among the 16 Ahnapee beers that will be on tap are Two Stall Squared, a double-chocolate version of the popular Two Stall Chocolate Milk Stout, and a barrel-aged version of Two Stall Squared.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: More space, more beer, Lake Michigan patio views: Algoma craft brewery opens new taproom