Birdboy taproom lands in former Roanoke factory

January 31st, 2018

By Megan Knowles | KPC Media - Northwest News

Birdboy Brewing Company continues to grow as it opened Roanoke’s first taproom in late December.

Birdboy was founded in 2015 in Fort Wayne. Its name is an homage to Arthur Smith, the “birdboy” who built his own airplane and became influential in the aviation world.

“The owners of Joseph Decuis, [Pete and Alice Eshelman] they really liked our beer and the story behind it, and so they came to me and asked if I’d be interested in putting a brewery in Roanoke,” Birdboy brewer and owner Ben Thompson said.

Alice Eshelman said she and Pete liked Thompson’s beer palate, adding one of his beers, Farm Girl IPA, is made from hops from the Joseph Decuis farm hop garden.

“We really liked [Ben’s] beer and thought the more reasons people have to come to Roanoke the more reasons they have to visit all the shops,” she said.

Thompson wanted to keep the main brewery in Fort Wayne, he said, but then the idea arose to put a taproom in town instead.

Birdboy found a space in the old coil factory building next to the Roanoke Public Library that was being used as storage. It took about nine months to clean up the room and get it ready for a taproom, Thompson said.

Birdboy hosted a soft opening for the taproom on Dec. 28, with the “big grand opening” on New Year’s Eve, Thompson said.

“It’s been really good so far, everybody seems to love it,” he said.

The food at the Roanoke taproom is provided by Joseph Decuis, Thompson said. “It’s all made by them, it’s stuff that we can just have on hand,” he explained.

The menu includes bar snacks like chips and salsa and chili-lime fried peanuts, as well as pretzels from ted’s market.

“The wagyu tamales are a huge seller,” Eshelman said.

Birdboy is also in the process of opening a restaurant and bar with food truck Sol Kitchen on Dupont and Lima roads.

That project is still in the works, Thompson said, adding they hope to open sometime in February.

The Roanoke taproom is located at 314 N. Main St. and uses the same main entrance as the library. It is open Tuesday-Friday 5-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.