Chris “Longhair” Vargo arrived at Staas Brewing Co. for its one-year aged English barleywine Friday evening.
Vargo has been a regular of the drinking establishment, 31 W. Winter St., for about three years. He comes out for the beer, obviously, and the sports.
“The beer is so good and fresh,” he said.
“It’s like an old-school tavern.”
Staas Brewing Co. was crowned the best brewery in Ohio by Buzzfeed last week. The online news site based its rankings on Yelp reviews. Liz and Don Staas appreciated the recognition after more than three years of hard work and wearing multiple hats on the job.
“It feels good as the brewers and the owners,” Don said.
“It’s good for Delaware.”
The Staas opened the roughly 2,000-square-foot business in July 2013. Liz grew up on the east side of Cleveland, while Don grew up in Lima. The two met at the Ohio State University in Columbus where they started home-brewing.
“My dad had been brewing since the ’70s,” Liz said.
The couple felt disillusioned with their career paths and decided to ride the wave of breweries that started to open in Columbus. But they differentiated by visiting rarely tapped neighborhoods. They visited Delaware in April 2012.
“We really just loved it here,” Liz said.
At the time, Delaware had a fraction of the drinking venues that included 1808 American Bistro and Barley Hopsters. The Staas secured their new home for the brewery in November, the same year.
“It kind of all fell in place,” Liz said.
“The city here is a big reason why the downtown the way it is.”
The Staas strived to make their business a public house, featuring English and Belgian-style beers intermixed with about 20 seasonal selections. On staff is a part-time brewer that comes in once a week and two part-time brewers that help out twice a month, Liz said.
Thursdays’ and Fridays’ business are driven by the local regulars, Don said, while people from out-of-town visit the venue on Saturdays.
Don likes the fact that brewery forms new relationships. He remembered how two Delaware couples met for the first time at his business about three years ago and became friends. The group recently went to a concert together earlier this month instead of hanging out at his brewery, ironically.
“I really enjoyed that,” he said.
Aside from becoming part of downtown’s drinking culture, the brewery has given out a variety of donations to the community such as the schools and charitable organizations. The business raised $1,291.75 along with items for Common Ground Free Store Ministries on Saturday.
“The community takes care of us and we try to take care of them,” Liz said.
“We’re pretty happy with how our life is now.”
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.