Nick Dallas’ toughest sales pitch in his bid to open a brewery in Sylvania was to his father, Mark, who has owned J&G Pizza Palace on Main Street since 1979 with his wife and Nick’s mother, Jill.
The Palace is a beloved establishment in the community for its pizza, but Nick thought it could also be a launching point for the city’s first brewery and a natural fit for customers to pair a beer with a pizza.
“My dad is not a big guy for change,” Nick said, chuckling. “He’s kept things just about the same for almost 40 years.”
He took an online class at Chicago’s Siebel Institute about the economics of starting a brewery and introduced his dad to craft beer.
“He won’t go back to regular beer now,” Nick said.
About six months ago, Upside Brewing was born inside the J&G Pizza Palace. Nick uses a one-barrel system. The brewing containers are on the main floor, and the fermentation system is in the basement.
Mr. Dallas typically has seven of his beers on tap, although the holiday season rush has him down to four temporarily: Palace (cream ale), Bavaricana (wheat), Ten Mile (red ale), and Division Street (IPA).
At the end of this month, Mr. Dallas is expecting his new Crowler machine to arrive. A Crowler is a 32-ounce can that customers can take home with them. His long-term goal is for people to be able to order a pizza and a Crowler for pickup.
“I love the brewing process and creating recipes,” Mr. Dallas said. “I try not to go into anything blind, but this is turning out better than I thought. We’ve had more customers coming in to drink the beer than I thought.”
There may be a taproom or a brewpub down the road if the right opportunity comes along, but for now, Mr. Dallas is happy working out of his family restaurant.
“My dad said, ‘I guess I’ll be saying good-bye to you.’ He didn’t think I wanted to work at J&G’s anymore,” Mr. Dallas, a 1998 Northview graduate, said. “I live in Sylvania, I grew up here. I just want to bring something a little different to the city. This area is really coming around and waking up.”
The third annual Winter Brewfest takes place at Toledo’s Fifth Third Field on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
There will be 250 craft brews available, and tasting stations will be located on the field.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 on the day of the event. They include 15 taste tickets and a souvenir cup. A VIP ticket is $55 and includes 20 taste tickets, an all-you-can-eat buffet, live music, and the souvenir cup.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 419-725-4367 or online at mudhens.com.
5th Street Pub on W. 5th Street in Perrysburg will have a Hopslam Ale release party beginning at 11 a.m. on Jan. 16.
Incredibly flavorful and aromatic, Hopslam from Bell’s is a Double IPA with an ABV of 10 percent.
Toledo’s Black Cloister Brewing will host a Robert Burns night on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. The event will celebrate the Scottish poet with unique music from choral group whateverandeveramen. Tickets are $15 and include a drink ticket for any Black Cloister beer.
The Glass City Mashers, a Toledo home-brewing club that has more than 60 members, has named Jon Sicotte its new president. He replaces Scot Yarnell, who recently opened Earnest Brew Works on South Detroit Avenue with fellow Masher Keefe Snyder. The Mashers have spawned several other local breweries, including Black Frog, Upside Brewing, North River, and Black Cloister, which was opened by Tom Schaeffer, the founder of the Mashers.
The meeting schedule for the Glass City Mashers can be found on their Facebook page.