Cousins Colin Cook and Joe Karpinski recently opened Lock 15 Brewing Co. along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. According to Colin, part of the brewery’s mission is to sell artisanal pub grub crafted from local sources, promoting other community members’ stories as they write their own.
Per John Taylor, executive chef, they also want to reuse and recycle as much as possible. This dual focus has led to a partnership with Cleveland-based Bloom Bakery, a socially driven operation. Each brewed batch of Lock 15 beer leaves behind roughly 800 pounds of spent grain, most of which is given to a local hog farmer from whom the owners plan to source their pork. The brewers allocate about 15–20 pounds of spent grain to Kristina Clark, Bloom’s general manager. She dries the grain in a kiln, then re-grinds it into flour, which she uses to make bread products for Lock 15. Depending on the beer used (so far, Bloom has used grain from Lock 15’s porter, pilsner, and hefeweizen), each baked good takes on a unique character—a porter will give a soft pretzel a dark, savory flavor, whereas an Oktoberfest will lend a brioche bun a delectable malty tang.
Lock 15 frequently serves the same product with spent grain from different beers. “You go one, two weeks with a pilsner and then bam! The next week . . . the buns are little darker [from a porter]. You never know what you’re going to get,” John says. The spent grain products pair exceptionally well with Lock 15’s seven draft beers. John suggests juxtaposing a rich porter-grain soft pretzel with a crisp Cascade Pale Ale.
Lock 15 Brewing Co., located at 21 W. North Street in the Cascade Lofts apartment building in Akron, is open 11am–11pm Tuesday– Thursday, 11am–1am Friday and Saturday, and 11am–9pm Sunday. For more information, visit Lock15Brewing.com.