The brewery has two bocce ball courts, dart boards and a projector.
After four years of planning, searching for a location, name changes and renovations, Joaquin “Joe” Baez and his wife, Maryn, opened Lemonstreet Brewing Co. last week in the Rail Yard District, west of Downtown.
Baez signed a lease in March for a 20,000-square-foot building at 2100 Dennis St. With more space than he needed, Baez installed two bocce ball courts, dart boards, several seating areas and a projector for eventual media use. Baez invested $1.1 million to start the brewery.
The building was a former book bindery, paper manufacturer and warehouse space.
“This place was an old warehouse in disarray, and it took forever for us to get it into shape. Plus, we were doing it,” Baez said. “We’ve put in a lot of sweat equity into it to save money because we couldn’t afford to do this if we didn’t.”
Baez said he will offer “just about everything,” with a focus on lagers and beers with lower alcohol content. The tap list ranges from 2.5% alcohol by volume to 5.5%, but Baez said he’s fermenting a 10% imperial Russian stout, which will be available soon.
“We wanted to try the low ABV beers so that people could get used to trying different things,” Baez said. “A lot of the breweries in town go towards the hoppy side, which I love. But we wanted to fill holes where there’s no market share, especially with the lagers.”
On the tap list so far, there are a pilsner lager, extra pale ales, India pale ales, a passion fruit wheat beer, and a brown ale.
Lemonstreet also sells a Congaree and Penn cider, PBR and a kombucha on draft, as well as bottled beers and canned seltzers. Baez said the tap list will continue to change.
The venture won’t serve food yet, but will feature food trucks and pop-up restaurants throughout the week.
Later on, Baez said he would consider canning and distributing the beer.
Originally, Baez wanted to call the brewery Keen Brewing Co., a tribute to his father whose nickname was Keen. But they ran into trademark issues with a brewery in Texas, and decided to name it Lemonstreet Brewing, since the brewery sits at Lemon and Dennis streets.
Moving into the Rail Yard District was intentional. Baez said he knew he wanted to move into an economically depressed area to help revitalize the neighborhood, like he had seen other breweries do in Charlotte and the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami.
“Breweries have always been known as catalysts of change in neighborhoods,” he said. “That same thing can happen right here.”
Lemonstreet Brewing will host a three-day grand opening event Sept. 26-28 called GrandToberfest, a mix of Oktoberfest and the brewery’s grand opening.
The brewery is open 3-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1-9 p.m. Sunday.