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Caston and Main Brew Yard Brings Latest Trends to Portage Lakes

Eric Dubois, Ron Robinson, Sharon Robinson, Chelsea Thornsle. 

RICHARD WEINER
Legal News Reporter

Published: September 29, 2015

The July, 2015 Nielsen beer survey is in, and Cleveland and Cincinnati rank in the top three American cities in percentage growth of the craft beer market. In fact, nearly a third of all Cleveland beer dollars goes toward craft beers.

The folks at the new Caston and Main Brew Yard (Facebook link here) have just followed those facts up by opening a contemporary take on a rustic country roadhouse, featuring Ohio craft beers, top-level scotch and bourbon, Ohio wine, mead and cider and a from-scratch menu.

Owners Ronald (Ron) and Sharon Robinson, head chef Eric DuBois, and general manager Chelsea Thornsley converted a low, grayish “dive bar” into a distillation of both the traditional and modern Ohio tavern experience.

The name gives away the address, but the “Brew Yard,” part of the name was intended to be unique, said Ron.

“I was trying to think of a different kind of name (other than ‘pub’ or ‘bar’ or ‘tap house’),” said Ron. He said he started picturing places that accommodate groups of people, like “a shipyard or a lumber yard.” And so “Brew Yard” was born.

Although the Robinsons had always wanted to own a bar, Ron said that the building just came along with another piece of property he had purchased. So they just “went for it,” stripping everything out except for the long, horseshoe-shaped, thick, wooden bar in the structure that had been known as “D&B Nimisilla Gardens.”

Brewery hopping has, perhaps, now become the modern version of bar-hopping, but a place like Caston and Main can let a patron experience offerings from a multitude of Ohio breweries without leaving the table.

“We are bringing breweries and distilleries to people who want beer that is not so well-known,” said Thornsley.

On one given week, the tap/bottle selections included offerings from hard-to-find Cellar Rats (Madison, connected to Debonne winery), Akron’s internationally recognized Hoppin’ Frog; the brand-new Scenic Brewing Company (Canton); Columbus Brewing Co., Homestead (Heath, Ohio); Millersburg (Ohio, an Amish-owned brewery); Elevator Brewing Co. (Columbus); Fat Head’s (North Olmsted); Jackie O’s (Athens, Ohio), Brew Kettle (Strongsville); Spider Monkey (Westlake); Maumee Bay (Toledo); Great Lakes and Four String Bass (Columbus), among other breweries.

Thornsley also pointed out that people who do not drink beer will have a variety of good whiskeys (including Oyo from Columbus), scotches and Ohio wines to choose from, as well as ciders and mead (both produced in abundance in the state). She added that she is out to prove that Ohio wines are better than people think they are.

The cozy interior is split between a spaciously appointed dining room and the smaller bar area, with plans to expand to include a bourbon tasting room and a patio with a fire pit. The ambiance is comfortable and filled with decorations like real whiskey barrels and found metal pieces. A planned bike trail will pass close by said Robinson.

It is definitely, “not a sports bar,” said Robinson. In the several weeks that Caston and Main have been opened, the clientele has been large in number and, “very nice,” he said.

The food is all “fresh and from scratch,” said Dubois, a graduate of Pittsburgh’s late Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute. Dubois has extensive cooking and kitchen management experience throughout the state, including creating the menu for a 15-location Irish pub chain in Toledo.

“I was brought in here at the beginning,” said Dubois. “I fell in love with Ron and Sharon and started designing the menu and getting the systems into place.” He said he expects to be able to expand the menu offerings shortly as the kitchen is expanded, and is seeking out locally-sourced meats and produce.

The Caston and Main menu is, “Rustic American,” said Dubois, which goes along with the décor, and includes a number of originally-developed items, particularly sauces and a candied bacon that has to be tasted to be believed (and which will appear in several dishes).

The current menu includes a Dubois-developed “brewschetta,” a unique-tasting, handmade guacamole, numerous “shareable” dishes, and specialty sandwiches.

“This is a step up from average bar food,” said Dubois. “I don’t want one dish to be anything other than the highest quality and there is an art to that.”

The Caston and Main Brew Yard is located at 5010 S. Main St. in Green just south of Caston.


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