Tap and Screw: Father, son open new brewpub in Westwood

CINCINNATI -- The West Side's first craft brewery will officially open Friday in Westwood.

The team behind the new Tap and Screw Brewery announced their plans to the world in July.

The new microbrewery and restaurant will take over the space previously inhabited by Tom & Jerry’s Sports bar at 5060 Crookshank Rd. It officially opens to the public at 3 p.m. Friday.

The brewery includes a 7-barrel electric brewhouse, and three 15 bbl fermenters with a 15 bbl brite tank. The brewery takes the place of what was formally the club’s dance floor. The team said they are planning for expansion and will have room for refrigeration and more fermenters.

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The management team includes Elder High School alum Adam Lorenz as brew master, Tom Lorenz (Adam's father,) as assistant brew master and operations manager, and Chuck Fritsch as general manager.

“He (Adam Lorenz) been brewing for nine years, and we’ve tested the beers and everything. Thankfully they’ve come out as we’ve expected even as we’ve scaled them up to a production level,” Lorenz said.

Lorenz said part of the idea for the brewery came from his son’s passion for home brewing.

“As he got more experienced, his kit started getting more and more elaborate. Now it’s all electric and automated,” Lorenz said.

In addition to the big brewhouse, the family also purchased a new test batch brewhouse that will housed in the brewery. Lorenz said his son’s background in IT, engineering and programming will be put to the test as they work between the systems and scale up the recipes they deem worthy.

When discussing what styles of beer the brewery will predominantly shoot for, Lorenz said they will serve “balanced, approachable” beers.

“We’re not going to often going to do extreme styles. For instance, the IPA is heavily hopped but it won’t be a hop bomb. We want to have beers that you don’t have to be a beer connoisseur to appreciate,” Lorenz said. “That doesn’t mean they won’t be flavorful. We just want to serve a wide spectrum of customers.”

Tom and Jerry Lorenz have owned restaurant for several years and the pair said they started talking about creating a microbrewery about six months ago.

The brewpub used to be a neighborhood sports bar, club and concert space. Even before the family decided to open a brewery, Lorenz said they were gradually converting it to a casual restaurant rather than a bar.

“We wanted to get away from being a ‘band bar,’ and more toward a nicer restaurant,” Lorenz said. “We also wanted to get more into fresh, locally sourced food and craft beer.

Lorenz said he’s always wanted to open a business with his son as well.

“He’s always been passionate about beer, and we wanted to bring something nice to the West Side as well. With fresh food, fresh beer and working with your son -- what more can you ask for,” Lorenz stated.

The brewery’s name is a nod to the old Cincinnati Screw and Tap Company, which was the original name of Cincinnati Milacron. It’s also an homage to Cincinnati’s wine history. Fritsch said the brewery is something “the West Side hasn’t seen yet.”

The brewery will have four beers to start Friday and they plan on having six beers on tap at any given time. The starting beers will include: “Funnel Hat” kolsch, “Dr. Kool” IPA, “Jacked” mocha porter and “Irony” double Belgian ale.

In addition to the four beers, the brewpub will also have growlers and T-shirts for fans to buy.

“We just want people on the West Side to have a place to have good local beer, fresh food and good times,” Fritsch said.

Fritsch said they will match the local wines and beers they serve with what beers they make themselves. Since the bar stayed open during construction, Fritsch said they made the switch to only serve craft beer months ago and haven't heard many complaints.

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Fritsch said they hope to distribute eventually but most of the beer will be sold on premise.

“One of the things we don’t want to do is grow too fast,” Fritsch. “The idea is to be able to be serve the community we’re in and make sure our locals can get served.”

In addition to fresh local beer, the owners decided they wanted to bring fresh food to the West Side as well. Fritsch said he has completely revamped their menu and will focus on locally-sourced ingredients and will feature fresh takes on classic pub food. He is particularly proud of their self-created goetta balls and chilis.

Fritsch said he plans on not just serving fresh-to-order and locally sourced fare, he always wants to get the community at large on board too.

“The stuff we do ourselves and make ourselves, sells the best. People are more receptive to the new dishes we’ve tested as well. Customers can tell if you’re serving them something that’s made fresh versus a frozen item. The flavors are just more intense,” Fritsch said.

The brewpub is also pairing with Servatii’s Bakery for their bread and pretzels. They also source their meat from local farmers and butcher shops.

“We don’t want this to be run of the mill food. We also wanted a more focused menu,” Fritsch said.

He said having a smaller menu for a variety of reasons. The practice helps with training his staff and making sure the dishes are correct, and he notices that customers aren’t overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a dish.

“When they see that menu, they know they’re getting something good – something that’s worthy of being ordered,” Fritsch said.

Tap & Screw will also feature local wines and bourbon. Lorenz said they plan on hosting tastings for both to promote local vineyards and craft distilleries in Bourbon Country.

In addition to brewing their own beer, they will also make use of a full liquor license. The organizers said they will serve other craft beers, local wines and a full selection of liquor.

In the end, the entrepreneurs also want to dispel some notions about the West Side.

“People sometimes think that West Siders don’t want upscale or boutique options. They think they’re not willing to spend money and that’s simply not the case,” Lorenz said. “We want good beer and good food and we’re willing to pay for it.”

Fritsch said when they switched over to only craft beer months ago he never heard anything bad from customers. In fact, he noticed that he has had to cycle out his taps faster because of demand.

Lorenz said that in addition to the community, they’ve also had strong support from the local brewers. He said several brewers and employees have come by to offer support, technical tips and advice as Tap & Screw got closer to opening.

Tap & Screw is also looking to hire several new workers for the bar and kitchen staff.

Fans can find Tap & Screw online on Facebook page and their website.

For the latest Cincinnati beer news and entertainment, go to wcpo.com/beer or follow Jesse on Twitter at @wcpojesse .

You can take part in the conversation at our #9beer Facebook page too!

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