Ryan Pitman of Eastlake Craft Brewery on setting up shop in Midtown Global Market
This fall Eastlake Craft Brewery will open inside the Midtown Global Market on Lake Street. The brewery will focus on the taproom experience, selling $5 pints of its craft brews and allowing patrons to bring in outside food, an opportunity to pair the beers with various food choices inside MGM -- Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Vietnamese cuisines, to name just a few.
Eastlake brewery will face Lake Street and will be open until 11 p.m. with a separate entry for when the market is closed and its own restrooms as well. The brewery will also be family-friendly, with an array of house-made sodas for non-beer drinkers.
The Hot Dish wanted more information about Eastlake so we sought out owner and head brewer Ryan Pitman to get a few answers about how the taproom will fit in with its neighbors. Pitman is quite busy between his regular full-time work, brewery set-up, and family, but we managed to get hold of him as he was in the process of having his zoning permit approved.
Hot Dish: Where in the Global Market will you be located? Who are your neighbors?
Pitman: We will take up 5 stalls in the southeast corner, along Lake St. Our closest neighbors will be Manny's Tortas, El Burrito Mercado, Sonora Grill, and the soon-to-open Hot Indian Foods. We're going to have an enormous variety of foods available to be brought into the taproom.
What is your brewing capacity and focus? Will you be a taproom only, or are you planning for kegs, cans, or bottles?
We'll have a seven-barrel system and serve beer right out of the tanks, for the most part. The brewing process will be entirely electric, powered with 100% wind-sourced electricity. The plan is to serve only in the taproom, but we'll probably be getting some kegs out to our friends in the restaurant industry on a limited basis. Growlers will be available at the taproom.
What is your brewing background?
Typical story for me: long-time homebrewer who caught the brewing bug, read as much about the process as could be found, and practiced brewing (and drinking!) as much as possible. I've been tinkering with my equipment for years, and designed an all-electric computer-controlled system with a recirculation pump that is very similar to the system that will be used at the market.
Will Eastlake focus on a particular style of beer?
With the location being such a diverse magnet we'll have a pretty wide range of styles. That is to say, there's going to be an IPA, a pils, and a stout, but we also have our own ideas on the post-modern American styles of beer. We plan to have a variety of unique rotations and seasonals.
Additionally, there's going to be a lot of interaction with the multi-cultural aspect of the market. So there's going to be something that pairs as well with a burger or pizza as it does with a burrito, camel burger, or gyro. There's going to be some fun non-alcoholic drinks as well.
How did you pick the location?
I've been driving for Metro Transit for 13 years, so after going past the building 3,000 times, it finally hit me that it would be a great place for a taproom.
Did you meet any resistance? (We're thinking of the brewing process smells.)
The people at the Midtown Global Market have been ideal partners in getting this project going. Our vision of a community-focused family-friendly taproom matched the market's mission, so we're a natural fit.
Because of all the restaurants in the building there is already a robust ventilation system, and there are multiple deliveries per day at two loading docks, so we feel pretty confident that we'll blend in to the area's day-to-day feel. The response from the neighborhood has been overwhelmingly positive.