North Suffolk craft beer spot moves ahead

Published 10:26 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

Craft beer lovers have something new to look forward to in Suffolk.

A building plan review has been purchased for the Decent People Tap Room, according to Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink. The planned tap room and kitchen would be located at 5140 River Club Drive in Harbour View, with a target opening of late 2017 to early 2018, according to co-owner Eric Langhorst.

It is an enterprise between Langhorst and longtime friends and co-owners Todd Walsh and Wesley McCullough. The trio initially discussed opening a brewery before deciding on a tap room with a name based on an inside joke.

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“It started as kind of a joke, and then it turned into the name,” Langhorst said. “It just morphed into the fact that we are decent people, and part of that is we want to give back to the community,”

The 3,400-square-foot space would have a wall of at least 44 beer taps at opening, with an end goal of 60 total, Langhorst said. Local craft brewers would make up the majority of their selection.

“We want to keep it as local as possible and expand regionally,” Langhorst said. “We definitely feel like we have a good pool to work with in the Hampton roads area.”

The establishment would use PourMyBeer company technology to allow patrons to set up a tab with a credit or debit card, then go to one of the craft beer taps to pour their own drinks, with limits based on Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations.

Patrons would enjoy a menu of “American fusion” cuisine that would pair with each kind of beer.

“We want a menu that pairs wells with beers, like this pairs well with a lager or a stout,” Langhorst said.

He said the trio decided on the Harbour View location because of the surrounding growth in residents and business, combined with a lack of locations for craft beer drinkers.

“It’s kind of an underserved area, and we feel like this gives them a good spot to go and have a craft beer,” he said.

The city’s approval of the building plan comes after Virginia breweries received high praise from the governor.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced in a June 15 press release that Virginia ABC reported 206 active brewery licenses in the Commonwealth, a 468 percent growth since 2012.

“The beer industry is a significant economic driver that spans several sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and tourism,” McAuliffe said. “I am proud of the success we have had making Virginia a premier destination for craft brewers and consumers from all over the world.”

As a craft beer consumer himself, Langhorst welcomes more options.

“I don’t look as other breweries or tap rooms as competitors,” Langhorst said. “I think having choices is good, especially for someone like me that loves craft beer.”