Barberton, Ohio, affectionately called the “Magic City,” is known for being a hardworking town with an industrial history and a huge selection of dive bars. People of Barberton have a strong sense of community and take pride in their culinary specialties, annual festivals, and historic attractions. They were, however, missing one crucial hang out: their own brewery.
Answering the call, Magic City Brewing Company (MCBC) opened last summer and has since been providing the city with the perfect combination of community togetherness, heavy metal, and a beer drinking cult.
The taproom, right next to the beloved Al’s Corner Market, was once the home to the famous Silverman’s clothing store. It’s a simple space, and my first impression walking in on a snowy Thursday night is that it looks lively and busy. And well lit. The 13-seat bar along the right wall is almost full. There are more people at picnic tables on left side of the room, and more playing the skee ball and pinball machines near the entrance. We grab the last seats at the bar. The music isn’t too loud, but it’s definitely metal. That’s when I notice a theme—the walls are covered with flags and posters of metal bands and artists, along with some Barberton memorabilia and local tattoo art. The badass in me felt right at home.
MCBC is owned by homebrewer Jay Graham, his wife Erica, and their friend Brian Burmeister. They raised money with a Kickstarter in October, 2016 and opening day was July 6, 2017. The community responded very well to the brewery’s metal theme, and loved the beer. When a regular following developed almost immediately, the hashtag #MCBCISACULT took off and has become a motto for the brewery and its supporters.
Graham’s cousin, Becca, was serving 12 house beers on draft the night I visited. She told me she’s been working with her uncle since before the brewery opened, and “practically grew up on Jay’s homebrews.” His years of homebrewing, by the way, definitely paid off. MCBC has a wide variety of beers, all of which are fresh, clean and delightful to drink. I love that one brewery is able to successfully execute everything from blonde ales to Belgian styles to double IPAs and imperial stouts. The beers are all cleverly and comically named, many with references to Barberton history and the Big Lebowski. My favorites were “DILLIGAF” and “A Stout has no Name.” There really is a little something for every beer drinker here.
While Jay is busy brewing, Erica handles the community outreach side of the business. She makes sure the brewery is always bringing the community together with events for local businesses, live music, food trucks and fundraisers. On April 6 they are hosting a fundraiser for the Josh Miller Memorial Scholarship and HEARTS Act. HEARTS Act aims to establish a program that provides all elementary and secondary schools with defibrillators, potentially saving lives of children who experience cardiac arrest.
While MCBC has already earned a spot in many local’s hearts, they will no doubt continue to grow their following. They’re looking forward to extra business with the warm weather and from being a stop on the 2018 Summit Brew Path. If you like good beer, do yourself a favor and go see why #MCBCISACULT.
Magic City Brewing Company
161 2nd St NW, Barberton
Lady Beer Drinker had to take a hiatus, but she’s back!