Kichesippi Beer Co. has now opened the doors to its new Bells Corners location. The 10,000-square-foot brewery and taproom, which can seat 70 and boasts an outdoor beer garden, has kept Kichesippi owner Paul Meeks busy for months.
Now he’s thrilled to open the doors and see the bright space become a new community hub, welcoming friends and families for a beer or soda and snacks.
Indeed, the whole endeavour has a true community flavour — Meeks credits friends at Big Rig Brewery and Cheshire Cat for sharing their knowledge and helping to brainstorm ideas for the new space. He calls this summer the first phase of an ongoing Kichesippi project: “We want to get open, get a few snacks going — fresh pretzels, and sandwiches, and pizzas — and then get a feel for the community and what they want going forwards.”
The food and drink plan
Meeks says Kichesippi will follow the KISS principle to start — pretzels (Nat’s Bread Co. is providing custom pretzels poached in 1855 beer) and great sandwiches with chips and pickles, as well as pizza. Once they get a feel for the crowd, they’ll extend the menu in the fall, possibly with comfort-food dishes such as chili, soups, and grilled cheese.
“Phase one is to get open, get a few snacks going, and talk to the customers about what they want,” says Meeks, adding that they’ll also be looking at some lighter fare as they hope to see hikers and bikers stopping in on their way to the adjacent Trans Canada Trail.
As for beer, all the favourites are on the menu and there’s now more capacity for seasonals and a bit of experimentation
Forget that typical taproom look with dark walls and lots of barn board. The site of a former car dealership, the building features 20-foot windows, so Meeks opted for a clean and bright vibe. They have also incorporated a series of colourful vinyl wall murals behind the bar that tell the ongoing story of Kichesippi brewery and its signature beers. The murals are set up so they can be ever-changing, allowing Kichesippi to add pieces as their story evolves. Sit at tables, at the bar (which seats 12), or in the cozy corner with couches and lounge chairs.
The beer garden
One word: Massive. Meeks envisions planting a tree as a centrepiece and making the giant outdoor space warm and lush with lots of plants, including, obviously, a wall of hops. The beer garden will take shape over the summer months.
Meeks says he’s eager to welcome regulars and meet an extended Kichesippi community. Some 24,000 cars pass by the new spot daily so he’s confident the brewery will be discovered by new drive-by customers, as well as surrounding suburban community and office crowd. The active-lifestyle community is also on the radar as the brewery is right beside the Trans Canada Trail.
“I don’t see this as a party place. If it becomes the community hub we envision, we will have done our job.”
Find it: 255 Robertson Rd.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Hot Tip: Bring the kids! The patio is a great place to hang and, if all goes according to plan, Carp Custom Creamery will soon park a trailer on the patio to serve up milkshakes and soft serve.
Hot Tip #2: Make a day of it. The brewery is on the Trans Canada trail so you can pedal up and down the trail before or after a drink and food (or tour) stop at Kichesippi.
Hot Tip #3: Sign on for a brewery tour. $5 gets you a tour and four tasters, with $1 going to Ottawa Riverkeepers.