HOLLAND (13abc Action News) - We close out Black History Month today with a story about a man who's a pioneer in his own way - beer.
"To me, beer is first and foremost," Chris Harris said. "I want people to think about my beer, before they think about the color of my skin."
Chris Harris is the brew-master and owner of Black Frog Brewery. He even makes a hip hop themed series of ales.
"That's what we do. We talk about craft beer. And have a great time," Jim Kimerer said.
Jim and his wife are members of the Black Frog Army, a fan club (of sorts) for Chris. They mingle at the bar, which they compare to a modern-day Cheers.
"Of course we came here to check them out. Then found Chris and met him, great guy," Kimerer said.
"I just started this craft beer, drinking the craft beer. And I like his style. He has unique tastes that goes down pretty smooth," Damon Walker said.
Damon set up shop at the end of the bar. After trying craft beer elsewhere, he says relating with Chris got him deeper into the hobby.
"You don't see that. He's the only one I know," Walker said of other black brewers. "I'm definitely here to support. And he makes good beer, so that's a double bonus."
"Craft beer just hasn't hit into urban areas yet," Harris said.
No one knows just how rare black-owned and operated breweries are. But Harris is convinced he's at the start of the wave. He just isn't sure about being its champion. He doesn't want race to define him.
"Everybody wants to know 'how do you feel about being a minority in the craft beer scene?' So yes, I am kind of sick of it," Harris said of attention on his being a beer pioneer in Ohio.
Harris works two full time jobs: one here and one down the road at SSA.
"Anytime I'm not working at the Social Security Administration, most of my time is probably spent here,".
And because Chris has that other full-time job, Black Frog Brewery is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. You'll find him at the corner of Angola and McCord.