The BUZZ: A (micro)-CRAFTY little NOOK

You’d be forgiven if you happened right by Crafties, a micro craft beer bar in Weston, without realizing it was there. Tucked away in the backside of the BP gas station building on Schofield Avenue, it can be a little hard to find, despite a rather sizable sign pointing the way.


B.C. Kowalski/City Pages

Keith Rybacki, right, and manager Maryrose Pries along with their bartender Shayne Fellenz at Crafties, a new micro craft beer bar in Weston. Rybacki says he wants it to have coffee shop like feel.

For the beer snob, it’s worth the search to find this comfy little bar dedicated solely to craft beer. Started by Keith Rybacki, who also owns the BP gas station, the micro bar opened on Nov. 8 and offers eight taps of mostly rotating beers and a cooler of some of the higher-ranked beer varieties in the country.

Rybacki blames Kevin Eichelberger, owner of Red Eye Brewing Co., for his addiction to craft beer. “It’s his fault,” Rybacki jokes, saying the micro-brewery is where he gained his love of craft beer.

“Everyone knows where craft beer is going right now,” Rybacki says. “It’s going through the ceiling. I want to be a part of it.” 

Today’s beer market is quite a bit different from 10 years ago. While a handful of people have, of course, stopped in and asked for a domestic, ten years ago barkeeps there would have been constantly fending off calls for standards like Coors, Bud Light or PBR. But today, very few need to be schooled on the virtues of craft beer, and manager Maryrose Pries is quick to set an MKE Outboard, a pilsner brewed in Milwaukee, in front of a customer asking for a Miller Lite. They’re nearly always satisfied with the alternative choice, she says.

The beers also pair with Crafties’ menu items, which include hot beef sandwiches and pizza. Crafties tries to use local ingredients, Pries says; their beef comes from Townline Market and their onion rolls are sourced from Kreger’s Bakery and Deli, for example.

What kinds of beers will you see there? Think Lagunitas, Surly, MKE, Central Waters, Left Hand, Founders. It’s a beer snob’s paradise. “The Facebook beer junkies of the world are saying to me, ‘nice lineup,’” Rybacki says.

Crafties is still tweaking its hours, Rybacki says, but right now is open from 11 am to 10 pm Tuesday through Sunday. Check out Crafties on Facebook.