Dude that was the Head Brewmaster at Dogfish Head for the last five years, and the Head Brewmaster at Great Lakes when the Christmas Ale was created - opening his own microbrewery right around the corner from Great Lakes Brew Co!
In November, rumors in the microbrew community started bubbling up. Certain sudserati had spotted legendary master brewer and former Akronite Andy Tveekrem sipping a few brews around town. Was he back visiting for the holidays? Or was something bigger brewing?
Tveekrem is back in Cleveland. If all goes according to plan, there will be a new microbrewery and beer garden on West 25th Street come June. Tveekrem is joining Sam McNulty to create the Market Beer Garden directly across from McNulty's Bier Markt, just north of the West Side Market. McNulty also owns Bar Cento and Speakeasy, both of which are adjacent to the Bier Markt.
McNulty feels that landing Tveekrem for the new brewery project was destiny.
"I was backpacking in Thailand," McNulty said. "I stopped in a bar in Bangkok that had Wi-Fi. I happened on a blog that said Andy was leaving Dogfish Head. I e-mailed my business partners right away and told them we have to get this guy. He does amazing things in the brew house."
Tveekrem, 46, has moved back from Delaware, where he was the brewmaster for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for the last five years. He and his wife, Vickie, who was a waitress at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. when he began his brewing career there, are renting in the Tremont neighborhood for the time being.
"What is really exciting is the opportunity to see this through from A to Z, to design the brewery, install the equipment, formulate all the beer recipes, and then put them all out there for folks to enjoy," said Tveekrem.
"I've formulated and brewed a variety of beers over the years, but never had the chance to do all of the beer list from scratch."
He began with Great Lakes Brewing Co. in 1991 and was brewmaster when he left in 2000. During his time there, Great Lakes went from producing 850 barrels a year to 18,000. Pat Conway is one of the founders of the company.
"Andy is a talented brewmaster," said Conway. "He helped us transition into our ales and some other different beers than we had in the very beginning. We wish him well and hope things work out for him."
After leaving Great Lakes, Tveekrem worked at Fredrick Brewing Co. in Maryland for four years, then moved to Dogfish Head. He is formulating his beer menu for the new brewery right now.
"I tend to gravitate toward IPAs [India Pale Ales] and hoppy ales, although I'm also quite fond of hefeweizen and porters," Tveekrem said.
"We'll have 10 all the time, with some of them being seasonals and novelties that come and go throughout the calendar year. So, eventually, we'll have 20 to 25 beers through the year. Maybe more as time goes on."
Matt Cole is a partner and brewer at the Fathead Brewery and Saloon in North Olmsted. Tveekrem hired Cole when they both worked at Great Lakes.
"In this business, it's lead, follow or get out of the way," said Cole. "Andy is a leader. He's creative and not afraid to try new things. He's been a beer ambassador for a lot of us in this business for a long time."