Proof that Clevelanders aren’t souring on the craft beer trend, Platform Beer Co. is set to launch Phunkenship, a barrel souring facility, this spring in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood.
Less than two miles away from Platform’s flagship space in Ohio City, the 12,000-square-foot building will feature an open-top fermentation process.
“We wanted to commit to having this space offsite somewhere [where] we could dedicate to doing nothing but wild, fermented and sour beers,” says co-owner Paul Benner, “so that we could experiment all we want and not have any risk of contaminating our production facility.”
The Sackett Avenue building was also a draw for Benner and his partner Justin Carson. From 1902 to 1919, the space was occupied by three different brewing companies. “We’re kind of suckers for old buildings,” Benner says.
While it may look like an industrial warehouse on the outside, Phunkenship’s tasting room will have a very different vibe, with all white-painted brick and bright, natural light piped through solar tubes. Pops of color will come from live plants and moss walls.
“We want it to be a very different experience from an aesthetic feel, but to have the same type of warm, inviting atmosphere like we have on Lorain,” Benner says.
Open to the public on weekends, the tasting room includes a full-size indoor bocce court and a shuffleboard table and will also be available for rental as an event space.
The top floor of the four-story building houses Platform’s custom-built Coolship, an open-top fermentation vessel for inoculating beer with wild, native yeast and bacteria.
“It’s a really fascinating method of brewing,” Benner says. “It really goes back to the roots of Belgian beers, almost like coming full circle.”
All beers produced here will be branded as “Phunkenship by Platform,” a brand-within-a-brand that builds on Platform’s existing name recognition. Benner says about 30 gallons are brewing right now in 200 individual barrels — and beer-lovers can expect lots of fruit- and spice-heavy combinations.
“This is our opportunity to have a next-level innovative space to focus just on wild fermented beer, souring beer and beers that take advantage of local fauna and flora,” he says.