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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Italian
17 May, 2022

Brewing news USA, OH: 77 Brew House already open in Navarre

Clint McIntyre and Marshall Boivin's friendship began as coworkers and then grew once they discovered their mutual appreciation for craft beer, the Canton Repository reported on May 16.

Their hobby evolved from a homebrewing kit to purchasing a tank system. A couple of their early concoctions also were good enough to be carried at a Northeast Ohio brewery.

The duo's hobby got out of control, Boivin and McIntyre admitted with shared laughter. So they took a big step in their beer adventures – opening 77 Brew House on May 5.

It was a long road to opening day. COVID-19 presented obstacles and delayed their timeline. For a while, the pals questioned the future of their project.

With all that behind them, 77 Brew House is off to a promising start at 21 Canal St. W in downtown Navarre.

During opening weekend, business was strong. Three of their brews sold out – a pale ale flavored with sweet orange peel and coriander; a small batch test run IPA; and Mudd Flaps, an imperial milk stout with cocoa, hazelnut and peanut butter.

Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Craft beer on tap includes Main St. Pale Ale and Valknut Red Ale, which features peat smoked malt. Other varieties include Flow, a blonde mocha stout made with coffee and cocoa nibs, and Brimstone, a honey chocolate porter incorporating Ohio honey.

Beers come in five ounces for $2.50 and 16 ounces for $6. Flights are $10.

77 Brew House has the capacity for making up to 10 varieties. Seven types of beer will be kept on tap while supplies last; seasonal styles will vary.

New upcoming beers include a honey pilsner. A standard IPA is also under consideration.

"Hopcentric would be the theme of most of our beers, McIntyre said. "We love IPAs and double IPAs, so all those will never stop."

This is Navarre's first brewery since one that closed in 1876.

The microbrewery's property was formerly used for feed storage, a farmers market, beauty salon, pizza shops and a flower business.

77 Brew House has its own personality. Scores of old license plates decorate a wall and the middle of the ceiling.

Removing a drop ceiling opened up the space. A large sliding door connects the back to a deck and patio area overlooking a large parking lot.

Whiskey barrels were repurposed as the base for round tables emblazoned with the brewery's name in blue and orange. Large windows in front offer a view of Canal Street.

Custom stoneware mugs are sold, made by Yost Pottery in the Akron area. Each mug holds more than 20 ounces and is individually numbered and varies in texture and color.

"You go to some breweries and everyone has the same mug," Boivin said. "And we didn't want that."

77 Brew House is next to Navarre Village Hall and close to the post office and an antique business. The microbrewery is at Canal Street and Sisterhen Court.

Capacity is about 50 people inside the 1,000-square-foot space, and 50 people in the outdoor area.

77 Brew House isn't large enough for a kitchen, the co-owners said.

However, Main Street Deli in Navarre will be providing meat and cheese boxes for sale. Food trucks are also planned.

Customers also can bring food, including from Breakaway Sports Pub & Grill and Kraus' Pizza, both in Navarre.

Navarre was picked as the location because McIntyre and Boivin are both from small towns.

McIntyre, 44, is from Ritchie County in West Virginia, less than an hour from Parkersburg. Boivin, 45, is from Arizona.

Both are engineers and found jobs in Ohio. McIntyre also has family in the Canton area. Their friendship goes back 14 years.

About 10 years ago, Boivin received a home kit as a Christmas gift and started making beer. He invited McIntyre to give it a try.

"I had so much fun with it," said Boivin, of Jackson Township.

For McIntyre, crafting beer "fit right into my way of thinking — the engineering side; it clicked."

"That work dynamic transferred to the craft of beer as well," he said of both working in engineering with Boivin and making beer together.

Boivin said the partners are not professionally trained in brewing. After joining a beer club through a brewery in 2014 or 2015, their knowledge and skills improved.

And "the brewery allowed us the freedom to see how the operation side of a small brewery worked," Boivin said.

Validation came when the brewery served two of their own creations. McIntyre and Boivin soon were envisioning owning and operating their own place.

Other small communities were considered before they decided on Navarre.

"I think we always kind of felt we're a better fit in a small town," Boivin said.

Boivin and McIntyre both saw potential in Navarre to attract more visitors. Routes 21 and 62 make the village easy to access, Boivin noted.

"We wanted to give people a reason to stop," Boivin said. "But if they stop for us, we can be a catalyst (for visitors) to stop at other businesses in the area."

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail also connects to Navarre, attracting bikers and hikers.

"Actually, our first couple of customers came off (the Towpath Trail)," Boivin said.

Boivin said he doesn't consider himself a professional in the beer trade. McIntyre agreed: "For us, we're still small time."

77 Brew House has room to add more beer-making capacity, McIntyre said. Production now comes from two three-barrel brewing systems.

Boivin and McIntyre will continue working their engineering jobs. And despite the time and effort it took to open the brewery, "when we come here, it's work, but it doesn't feel like work," said McIntyre, of Perry Township.

Their goal is simple: Running a successful business, helping the community and sharing their beer with the public.

"We really didn't set out to set the world on fire," McIntyre said. "We just wanted the hobby to pay for itself."

Letting his own words sink in, McIntyre paused before laughing.

"Time will tell."

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