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Unique brew pub makes welcome addition in Shepherdstown

By Staff | Sep 11, 2015

If the inside of the long-awaited Town Run Brewing Company looks like a great place to bring one’s family, it’s because owners, Todd Cotgreave and Jessie Shanholtz designed it that way.

With a focus on community and history, the atmosphere at Town Run Brewing is quite unlike anywhere else.

Want to grab a beer with your kids in tow? This is the place. The owners encourage people to come in with their kids for a nice evening out without having to worry about a babysitter or an inappropriate atmosphere. Youngsters will have fun with pinball and video games, or they can play in a cozy nook, outfitted with bean bags, kids’ books and games. Grab a beer for the kids too—root beer, that is. There will be house-made sodas designed with children in mind.

“We actually had baby races the other day,” said Cotgreave, “and other kids who were in here built a fort under their table. That kind of thing doesn’t bother us in the least. We welcome it.”

Thanks to friends who taught him how to brew his own beer, Cotgreave applied that knowledge to his particular skill set of working in local eateries and distribution and jumped at the chance to buy the business when it came up for sale.

The warm, rustic interior has a charm and style that pays homage to the nostalgia and history of the building’s former occupier, Knode’s Southern States, and also includes bits of Shepherdstown’s other iconic establishments.

They even have town legend, Clifford Branson working with them, well-known from all his years at the Yellow Brick Bank.

“About one-third of our bar is from Ed’s Beer and Wine,” said Cotgreave. “Ed’s was a culturally significant business, so to be able to have [his bar] means a lot. People actually recognize it—they run their hands along and recognize the feel of it.”

The windows to the kitchen, back patio door and sink are from the Yellow Brick Bank. There’s an ice cooler from the Mecklenburg, and the owners have kept many of the furnishings from Knode’s.

Cotgreave explained, “We could have just put in a drop ceiling and fluorescent lights, but it didn’t seem right. We wanted it to be the warehouse that it was.”

In keeping with a local vibe, the beer and wine menu features local and regional brews, in addition to some other favorites, but after the licensing process is complete, Cotgreave plans to have 25 of his own brews on tap as well, with a goal of having 50 brews on tap at all times.

“There should always be a beer on tap that you haven’t tried. That way, there’s always a reason to come in,” Cotgreave stated.

In addition, Cotgreave has a nice selection of fortified wines in stock, like sherry, madeira and port. Local scotch expert, Pat Lowry, will lend his expertise in the scotch selection, and if that’s not enough to draw patrons, the eclectic cocktail menu will definitely pique interest.

Again with a nod to history (and alchemy), the mixed drink menu starts in the era of the 1800s and goes up through prohibition, incorporating a wide variety of bitters, fresh herbs and other assorted oddities.

Cotgreave explained, “We are putting a lot of thought into our drink menu. The drinks are classics from long ago, then we basically skip the mid century and pick up again with modern cocktails inspired by high end metropolitan bars world wide.”

Open for lunch at 11 a.m. and serving dinner until 10 p.m., the lighter fare menu incorporates fresh, locally sourced foods, carefully selected for quality.

“We want to be farm-to-table as much as possible,” said Shanholtz, “using as many local and regional foods as we can. And of course, this is a great time of year for that.”

Cotgreave and Shanholtz have been long time residents of Shepherdstown, and desire to pour back into the community they love so dearly. Cotgreave said his goal is to cater to the people of Shepherdstown. Although still a work in progress, their vision is for the Town Run Brewing Company to be a community center of sorts, offering events, space rental, good food and drinks, and art gallery and of course, a place to hang out.

“We couldn’t have opened our doors if it weren’t for the community’s help,” said Cotgreave.

“We’ve had dozens of people show up and help us with a lot of hard, manual labor. Some people I didn’t even know—and they didn’t want any payment in return. They just believed in this place and wanted to be a part of it. We are so thankful to everyone who lent a helping hand,” he said.

Located at 202 E. Washington Street, Town Run Brewing has ample parking–another unique quality in Shepherdstown. Call 304-841-1194 for more information, or visit them online on Facebook and at townrunbrewing.com.