What started as a 1 1/2-barrel nanobrewery in an Elyria backyard pole barn has now grown into a small-time underground commercial brewery sensation.
After being a homebrewer for more than a decade, Aaron Schickel teamed up with former bandmate Howard Ross in 2013 to build the original system that could churn out a Kolsch and amber pale ale. Since then, they’ve expanded to a 110-gallon system that includes a jacketed fermenter to double their production.
“The beer rests in big fermenters and the ingredients work together to solidify the flavor,” says Schickel, whose Franklin Brewing Co. is named after author, politician and inventor Benjamin Franklin.
On Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., Schickel’s garage has been turned into a growler fill station where guests can sample the America’s Gold ($20 includes growler, $10 refill), a crisp, clean light ale with hints of fruit, or the Milk St. Stout ($20 includes growler, $10 refill), a frothy, dark brown chocolaty coffee stout.
Although prohibited to sell more than 2-ounce samples at his home, Schickel has distributed his brews to Lakewood’s Pier W and World of Beer, Gunselman’s Tavern in Fairview Park and the Rail locations in Fairlawn, North Olmsted and Canton — making a name for the small brewery that could.
When looking to the future, Schickel envisions opening a brewpub under the same moniker, but for now he’s content selling his brews prohibitionist-style, following in the steps of old Franklin.
“By day, I work at a print shop, which is where Ben made his fortune,” says Ross. “We’re both a fan of [Franklin’s] wit and humor.”
1345 East Ave., Elyria, 216-262-5110, facebook.com/franklinbrewingcompany