KALIDA — There are a lot of places to have a beer in Putnam County.
Now there’s a place to have a beer from Putnam County.
The 1820 BrewWerks will officially open its tap house with a three-day grand opening starting Friday night. Behind the bar are the magnificent mash tun, hot liquor tank and fermenters, that make it a microbrewery and, as far as the USDA is concerned, a factory.
The brewery gets most of its hops from Frogtown Hops, in Glandorf. Barley Five Malt House in Columbus Grove harvests, malts and roasts the grain for the beer. Then it’s up to 1820 BrewWerks, 107 W. Main St., Kalida, to turn it into a tasty beverage in the family business run by co-owners Andrew and Tessa Wehri and Butch and Amy Brinkman.
“We’re all from Kalida, Ottoville and Putnam County in general. And it’s what brings us back home. That’s why we use local everything,” Andrew Wehri said. “Tessa and I, we lived in Dayton, Columbus and Toledo. It’s fantastic to be back.”
Tessa Wehri added, “If we don’t have that local support, we don’t survive.”
Even the name 1820 BrewWerks plays off the county’s heritage. It’s the year Putnam County was formed.
According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, it’s the first microbrewery in Putnam County and one of the few in the region, joining two in Findlay, and one each in Celina, Coldwater, Maria Stein, New Bremen and Rockford, although plans are in the works for brewers elsewhere.
Its beer offerings have plenty of range. The founders are particularly proud of their Otter, a blonde ale with locally grown winter barley, on the lighter side with an International Bitterness Units rating of 12.
“We had some people over that we knew really liked their domestics,” Andrew Wehri said. “And we asked, ‘How is it?’ About two hours later, they said, ‘It’s still great!’”
He and Bruce Brinkman, his brother-in-law, have been brewing beers at home for a decade. Over that time, they’ve developed 25 to 30 recipes. Now, instead of making 10-gallon batches, they can make 210 gallons over a few hours, which equated to about seven keg barrels.
“The time and the process is the same, just on a larger scale,” Butch Brinkman said. He prefers brown ales while Andrew Wehri likes India pale ales. Their differing tastes result is a range of beers on tap to suit any beer drinker.
For instance, Raspberry Rockstar is a light blonde ale with a sweet raspberry finish and an IBU of 12. On the hoppier end are the Putnam IPA at 48 and the Alt, their take on a German alt with hints of peppery and floral hop aromas and a rich nutty flavor, at 51. In between are midrange options such as the Route 65, a dark brown ale that Bruce Brinkman favors with a 25 IBU, and the Pink Tawa, an American wheat beer with a light pink hew at 20 IBU.
“People come in, and it’s like they’re looking at a box of assorted chocolates and just trying to pick out what flavor they want,” Amy Brinkman said. “It’s just something totally different than what they’ve had in other places in the area.”
They acknowledged getting a lot of curious looks, especially on the day the mammoth tanks arrived in Kalida. Now they’re excited to share their product with the region.
“There were people just pulling over, stopping and looking. Isn’t it impressive?” Butch Brinkman said.
There are also “guests on tap” at the tap house such as the Curmudgeons Better Half ale, Festivus holiday ale, Not From Concentrate New England IPA, Hog Wild American-style amber ale and Papaya Jawaw American wheat.
Beyond the beer, there’s also a restaurant, which opened in October 2019. It serves oven-baked pizza, wings, subs and pretzels. Its appetizers selection includes a variety of fries, breadsticks and nacho selections. It tries to distinguish itself from other pizza eateries with both a 30-inch pizza it calls the largest in the county and a handful of unusual flatbreads, including that chicken, German and Korean beef. Most of the menu items are locally sourced, just like the beers.
The restaurant also offers a pizza buffet and salad bar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.