If beer heaven had a name it would be, “The Beer Keep.”
This new kind of beer bar is set to open its doors come fall at 1002 Elmwood Avenue, after months of renovation to the former Ashker’s Juice Bar. Founded by Cory Muscato, Patrick Galante, Aaron Ketry, and Breezy Burrito Bar owners Briana and Daniel Hunter, this bar offers a fresh and unique perspective to the world of beer here in Buffalo. The vast and carefully curated selection of beer will be available both for to-go and on-site enjoyment from multiple “trophy case” reach in coolers set throughout the space as well as on tap. The real eye candy being the case cooler set behind the bar that, when filled to capacity, will hold 192 different SKUs.
“With the keep being the safest part of the castle, that was kind of how we decided we wanted to curate the beer to be. You can’t find the beer we are going to sell here just anywhere,” says Briana.
Upon entry, it’s clear that this isn’t just a bar and restaurant. The space also features a designated merchandise and self-serve section cleverly called, “the keep.” While the offerings in this bar are plenty, the space itself will be unmatched in its attention to detail. From the Tiffany-style chandeliers bedecked with color changing lights to stone facade pillars that cast a medieval look, there are surprises around every corner that showcase the eclectic style of the owners. But don’t think that The Beer Keep will be dark and menacing, as medieval castles tend to be – rather it’s going to have vibrant, colorful murals throughout, designed by a number of the city’s most notable artists.
While the beer selection and direction is unique, the ‘delivery’ incorporates a new concept for Buffalo. The ten draft tap tower will feature two taps dedicated to Czech-style ‘side pour’ taps that create a faster and creamier pour (specifically designed for lagers). Not sure which beers to try? Then consider a curated flight! And for those looking to take their beers home with them, there are a plethora of options, from building a custom can-pack to purchasing a 32-ounce crowler (there is an in-house crowler system for efficiency).
“Make no mistake, the products we have both on draft and in package format are going to blow people’s minds because nowhere else in the city has the ability to bring them in in the way we do – traditional methods included. It’s more so the direct relationships we have with the breweries. A lot of other bars do have impressive selections, but we are going above and beyond with our outreach,” says Muscato.
For non-beer geeks, the beverage program will also include craft and familiar seltzers, hard kombuchas, cidres, an all natural wine list, and a wide array of non-alcoholic offerings. In addition, Buffalo chef Will Petersen will lead the food program. The menu will be ‘small but mighty’ with each item having a vegan counterpart. The food concept will revolve around “familiar favorites and forgotten bits.”
This group is excited to bring something exceptional to this up and coming part of the Elmwood Strip, bookended by like-minded neighbors Breezy Burrito and Jack Rabbit. With each can cracked and draught poured, their efforts will further advance (and strengthen) the ‘hearth’ of the Queen City.
“A phrase that we are embracing and embodying here for the betterment of not just our community but the whole brewing industry as a whole doesn’t just apply to the diversity of inventory we are going to carry but also the entire community as a whole,” says Muscato, “more beer, more better,” exclaimed the team in perfect harmony.
As for the overall atmosphere, the owners say that they are looking to create a vibe that is akin to a European-style café, built for beer nerds (complete with patio). The general consensus from The Beer Keep team is that they want to bring something to Elmwood that will elevate the mood, unify fronts, and provide an upbeat atmosphere where people can relax and socialize, while imbibing a flourishing craft beer culture.
While the opening date is still up in the air, fans of the concept can stay up to date on progress at www.thebeerkeep.com.
Lead image: Photo by Eric Tronolone