Metroparks Meetup: Beer and coffee coming soon to Oak Openings

HEAVY Beer Company, Black Kite Coffee serving different types of brews beginning in November
Heavy Beer Company and Black Kite Coffee will take up residence this November in Oak Openings Preserve, with a planned year-round operation.
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Beach Ridge area at Oak Openings Preserve is best known for its mountain biking and treehouses, but now the Metroparks have another project brewing.

“There’s a building called the Wheelhouse,” says spokesperson Scott Carpenter. “We’ve had our eye on that for a while as the potential site for our first food and beverage operation.”

HEAVY Beer Company and Black Kite Coffee will take up residence this November, with a planned year-round operation. “They will be putting a nanobrewery and coffee shop in that building,” explains Carpenter, “which will service the Treehouse Village guests and serve as a place to gather for people coming off the mountain bike trail.”

Dave Ayling, head brewer at HEAVY Beer, says their Metroparks partnership is a natural fit for developing their HEAVY Wheelhouse location. “Our parks are voted #1 in America... so awesome, such a great organization,” he says. “[Beach Ridge] was a space they needed to activate more, and we wanted another place to bring our product and share what we’re about... it’s a perfect partnership.”

HEAVY Beer’s only been open for a few months on Summit Street -- with plans to expand to the corner of Adams and 13th -- and they’re already giving back as a sign of their early success. “Part of the proceeds from [Loop beer] goes to the Metroparks. It was the original beer that we concepted, with “Loop” being the actual loop you go on for the mountain bikes.”

Metroparks Police will of course be monitoring the area, though the smaller location should cut down on any rowdiness. “We’ve approved alcoholic beverages in our event spaces for a while now without incident, and can have them at your treehouse,” says Carpenter. “We don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior that takes away from other people’s enjoyment of the parks, and that won’t change.”

Cleveland Metroparks has already established a proven track record with nearly 20 food and beverage operations there. “We’re not exactly trying to emulate that. We’re going for our own unique thing here, but it’s nice to know that it’s worked well elsewhere,” Carpenter says. “Part of our strategic plan is to be financially sustainable, and look for business opportunities so the funding for the parks can be spread out and not just rely on the taxpayers.”

Whether your choice is on tap or freshly brewed, everyone involved hopes to blend education and nature with a good time.

Metroparks officials are already eyeing expansion of their own, with another food/beverage location planned for the opening of Phase 2 of Glass City Metropark in 2023.

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