Justin Fox Burks
Kellan Bartosch, who directs sales and marketing at Wiseacre, and his brother Davin, head brew master, swing from a bridge made from a repurposed shipping container near the brewery’s new Chautauqua event space.
Chautauqua, a popular educational movement for adults that peaked in the 1920s, brought entertainers, musicians, and speakers to rural America. Oftentimes, groups gathered together in tents in out-of-the-way places.
A century later, the movement has found a new home in the Broad Avenue Historic Arts District with a newly constructed pavilion in Wiseacre’s back lot. Called Chautauqua like its namesake, the brewery’s outside venue includes a permanent tent and a wooden stage sandwiched between two 70-foot grain silos, relics from the site’s forgotten bread factory. Varnished wooden strips from the brewery’s reclaimed beer barrels add structure and detail to the venue’s fencing, trash cans, and high-top tables.
“Chautauqua focused on appreciation of music and the arts,” says Wiseacre co-founder Frank Smith. “Here, we’ll have both.” Smith, who helped build the addition, said Chautauqua is a logical extension of the brewery’s unorthodox setting. “We’re surrounded by train tracks, next to a ditch, under an overpass,” Smith says, chuckling. “We’ve grown faster than we ever thought possible.”
The taproom’s scheduling and space constraints spurred the idea for the all-season pavilion, which can comfortably accommodate 200 people. “Chautauqua allows us to offer events we never could before,” says Brittney Andres, the event planner at Wiseacre. The venue’s first event, for instance was an invite-only party for local event planners, followed by a grand opening community day with music and beer the following weekend. Private parties already are scheduled for the fall, along with springtime wedding receptions.
While the space is well-suited for celebrating, Wiseacre education director Rebecca “Crebs” McQuary also envisions Chautauqua as a hub for education, specifically related to the history of beer and the unique science behind brewing it. “People like to drink and learn,” McQuary says, “and that will never go out of style.”
2783 Broad Ave.