The East Side gets its own brewery with the newly opened 2 Tones
Although 2 Tones Brewing Company has been brewing since 2016, it just opened its Whitehall taproom to the public in early May. The brewery takes its name from its owners, Anthony McKeivier and Tony Hall. The two have been craft beer aficionados for more than a decade, first meeting as roommates at Ohio State University in 2008.
“About 10 years ago Tony got me into craft beer,” McKeivier said. “We were still in college then, and we started going around picking up all the local craft beers we could, but there were only three breweries at the time. We started hitting up bottle shops, then driving to Kentucky to buy more beers and beers over 12 percent. We thought, ‘Instead of driving down there, why don't we start brewing it?'”
The two taught themselves how to brew, eventually winning Barley's annual homebrewing competition in 2013 with their IPA.
“After that, we started doing a business plan,” McKeivier said. “With this wave of homebrewers and nano-brewers, smaller systems started getting more affordable. We did some production brewing on nights and weekends for two years, getting our name out there.”
While brewing in their Whitehall facility, the two self-distributed their beers to local bars and restaurants.
McKeivier said patrons have responded positively so far. “Business is good,” he said. “The customers are loving it. They love the fact that we have 12 beers on tap, that we have a wide variety.”
The 1000-square-foot taproom hosts food trucks regularly, and McKeivier and Hall have plans to add a patio soon. The brewery's early-May launch also put it in a good position to participate in Columbus Craft Beer Week, and to be included in volume five of the Columbus Ale Trail.
The duo is currently brewing on a five-barrel system. Flagship beers include the 2 Tones IPA and Uncle Joe's Irish red ale. Other hits include Crumble, a golden ale with vanilla (“It tastes like an alcoholic cream soda,” McKeivier said) and a New England IPA called About a Month, a nod to the typical reply McKeivier and Hall had at the ready when asked when 2 Tones would open. They two have more summer beers coming soon, including a pilsner, a Meyer lemon wheat and double and triple New England IPAs. McKeivier said he wants to start canning their beers as soon as possible.
Overall, the brewery appeals to the beer-drinking crowd on their side of town. “The East Side really needed something with Actual gone and Kindred not brewing their beer,” McKeivier said. “We get people from surrounding areas looking for their neighborhood brewery.”