8th Day Brewing Opens Tap Room Doors
November 18, 2021 by Ann Wishart

When Matt Boddy decided to turn his beer brewing hobby into a business, he expected to learn a lot along the way.

When Matt Boddy decided to turn his beer brewing hobby into a business, he expected to learn a lot along the way.

“And, boy, did I,” said Boddy, 53, leaning on a tavern table running the length of 8th Day Brewing Company’s serving area.

By the time he and partner Mike Grifa opened the doors in “downtown Auburn” on Oct. 28, they were ready to raise a tankard or two to the many lessons learned.

Boddy’s education started in 2017. A builder of outdoor kitchens and bars, his back gave out that year.

Although he could still design, he couldn’t do the physical labor and had no luck hiring a field manager, he said.

For a while, he tried being a stay-at-home dad, but his wife, Kristin, bought him a home brewing kit and informed him he needed to get out of the house, he said.

Boddy set the apparatus up in his shop and very soon, he was hooked.

“I instantly became addicted to the process,” Boddy recalled. He spent a couple of years experimenting and researching and in 2020, he and Grifa leased a building on East Washington Street in Auburn Township with a long and checkered past.

“It was an original part of downtown Auburn in the early 1800s,” he said.

The name — 8th Day Brewing Company — came from Boddy’s faith and a strong belief God has a sense of humor. After resting on the seventh day, He asked, “What’s missing?” Boddy said. “God decided we needed beer.”

Boddy, Grifa and some volunteers tore out the old ceiling to expose the hardwood beams and wide planks — very hard wood that broke drill bits left and right.

While they were renovating the building, Boddy bought used, factory-grade brewing equipment from a company in Oregon. The owner apparently took it off the brewery floor, loaded it on a truck and shipped it to Ohio, not refurbished or ready to use, as it was advertised.

“I didn’t get what I expected,” Boddy said. “It was dirty, untouched and unmaintained.”

Cleaning and repairing the filters, mash tun, fermenting vessels and tanks set the opening of 8th Day Brewing back more than two months.

“I spent four 12-hour days just to make it so I’d put it in the building. It was a headache,” he said. “Was the $40,000 I saved worth it? I’m not sure.”

Fortunately, he and Grifa, who runs the business end of the company, had good friends at The Crooked Pecker Brewing Company in Bainbridge Township. Their advice was invaluable.

“Without those guys, I would have had a lot more headaches,” Boddy said.

He sees himself as the public face of the company, tending the taps and visiting with customers as they taste his various brews and meeting people with like interests.

“I’m a people person. I need the social aspect,” he said, crediting Grifa with having the business acumen that is vital to the brewery’s success. “My goal is to be sitting out here and sharing experiences with our customers.”

Boddy dedicates his time Monday through Wednesday to making beer to maintain his inventory, then having the doors open Thursday through Sunday.

His tap menu lists eight types of brew from his pale ale to coffee stout to Mind, Boddy Soul and Belgian witbeir. Each has its own character for beer aficionados who like to taste and compare.

His first customer sat down at the table and received a sample of three beers for tasting — which took longer than Boddy expected.

“He was sniffing the beer. He sat for 15 minutes before he took a sip,” Boddy said, admitting it is funny, in retrospect, but a little nerve wracking at the time.

“It was a test of my personality and patience,” he said.

Now Boddy’s more familiar with the tasting ritual some people enjoy.

“Some people come in and want to know what’s in the beer and some are extra gifted at tasting,” he said.

They also want food to go with their brew.

“Probably 80% of the people who come in here sit down and order food,” he said.

While 8th Day Brewing does not have a kitchen, it does have a good neighbor in the form of Sirna’s Farm Fresh Kitchen that specializes in pizza.

Customers can call in an order and one of Craig Sirna’s staff will deliver it to the brewery, Boddy said, adding he will offer advice on what beer will compliment their order.

“Irish beer pairs well with white pizza, such as a garden pizza,” he said. “If your dinner has a red sauce, like spaghetti, I veer toward porter or stout.”

Come summer, Boddy wants to invite food trucks to park on the patio, which was the township salt shed in a former life. His plans to make the patio customer-friendly for summer fun are evolving, which will give 8th Day Brewing capacity for up to 80 customers, Boddy said, adding he and Grifa have permission to use the lot to the east for overflow parking.

More future plans include a walking tour of the businesses centered around the intersection of East Washington Street and state Route 44 and brewing workshops for the newly-converted.

Bringing life back to downtown Auburn is a long-term goal, he said.

“We want to be involved with the community when the opportunities arise,” Boddy said.