My tour of the Thirsty Dog brewery in Akron on Feb. 25, 2012, served a twofold purpose: to tour the brewery and to visit the site of the original Burkhardt Brewing Co. I feel a special connection to Burkhardt beer because for many years I played music at the reincarnation of the Burkhardt company, Burkhardt’s brewpub in Green, from 1992 to 1999.
I learned several years ago that Burkhardt beer was brewed on South Grant Street in Akron, after seeing the faded Burger Beer sign on the south side of what I assume was headquarters. That building still bears the Burkhardt name on the front, west, side, facing Grant Street . Burkhardt beer was brewed on Grant Street until the 1950s, when Burger Beer bought the business. See http://www.ohiobreweriana.com/library/holdings/burkhardt.shtml for a history of Burkhardt Brewing.
The Thirsty Dog tour guide naturally concentrated on Thirsty Dog’s brewing process and gave mention to Burkhardt’s only in passing, so I was delighted to find portraits of company founders Wilhelm and Margaretha on glass panels in old wooden doors leading, respectively, to the men’s and women’s bathrooms. and I enjoyed just being on the site of the original brewery.
That was part one of our Burkhardt day.
My friends Rick and Dave and I completed our day with supper at Menches Bros. in Green, occupying two large rooms in the Shops of Green, the plaza on Massillon Road (state Route 241) just south of I-77 whence dwelt the 1990s incarnation of Burkhardt Brewing. Menches (http://www.menchesbros.net/Green_Location.html) operates the original Burkhardt pub, a cozy room decked out in ornate, dark woodwork, as Frank & Charlie’s Pub, a side room off the two main dining areas. The main doors give entrance to Menches in the right-hand dining room, the left-hand dining room is the room into which Burkhardt’s expanded, and Frank & Charlie’s is to the left of that dining room, a door from the dining room giving access. Entrance to that pub is also gained inside the lobby of the Shops of Green, as in the Burkhardt days, and seeing the doors from the lobby to the pub recalled vivid memories of squeezing past customers waiting in line for tables while carrying large pieces of sound equipment on St. Patrick’s Day.
Our waitress at Menches, we discovered, had been a waitress at Burkhardt’s and recognized Rick and me, Rick because he was a regular patron and me because I played music.
Those days of playing music at Burkhardt’s are gone, but the pub retains for me grand memories, and herewith I present some souvenirs from Burkhardt’s part two. Mayhap Burkhardt’s part three will find life some day.