If it hadn’t been a stop on my Summit Brew Path Passport, I might not have ever gone to Two Monks Brewing Co., and that would have been a shame. This little brewery almost seems to be hiding over on Akron’s “East End,” just past the Goodyear grounds, on Massillon Road. Just a ten minute drive from Downtown, the Two Monks are lying low, brewing small batches of traditional beer recipes from around the world.
The Two Monks are longtime friends and coworkers Patrick Armstead and Steve Prough, who opened their brewery last September. When I stopped by on a Friday night in May, I couldn’t help but feel guilty admitting I hadn’t been there before when the bartender asked. Turns out that bartender was actually Patrick, one of the Monks, and I got to chat with him a bit.
The brewery is a small, open room with a handful of square tables and an L-shaped bar in the middle. The sun comes through the huge window on the front wall during the day, but while I was there the TVs were bright with the Indians game. There’s a dartboard, jukebox, and games like Jenga and Connect Four scattered around the bar and tables. There are playing cards everywhere. It’s very homey and laid-back. It reminds me of going to a friend’s basement hangout, if that friend also brewed beer for everyone.
When I asked about their brewing system, Patrick told me it’s “basically a big homebrew system.” Patrick and Steve had been homebrewing together for years. They opened Two Monks to produce “Beer for the Masses” – beer that everyone can enjoy. They focus their brewing style on that of traditional recipes in small batches. The dedication they have to quality is obvious – the beer tastes clean, fresh, and true to style. Patrick told me they were very picky about the final product and have had to dump out a couple batches that didn’t turn out quite right.
With 8 beers on tap, they only open their doors to guests Thursday through Saturday. This allows them to keep their production low and they are both able to keep their day jobs. “I don’t want this to stress me out,” Patrick explained. “If we tried to do too much, I know we would end up hating it.”
As I drank my German Schwarzbier at the bar, I noticed there was a waitress taking beer orders from the tables. I asked Partick how many employees were there and he laughed and explained that was his wife, Chariti. When I asked her if she liked working there, she laughed too. She pointed and Patrick and said “Well, I have to go home with him, so yeah, he’s a great boss!”
The Two Monks have no immediate plans to expand their hours or production, saying they like it just how it is for now. I think that’s my favorite part about this spot (besides the beer). They’re brewing for fun. They’re not worried about maxing out profits or mass distribution. They just really enjoy making beer and want to share it with their community. Cheers to that!
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