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Cloud 9 Opens, West End Food Park in the Works

A new North End nanopub

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The North End's newest nanopub, Cloud 9 Brewery, hosted its soft opening at 1750 W. State St. on St. Paddy's Day with a special Irish-themed menu, including corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, vegetarian shepherd's pie and corned beets and cabbage.

Cloud 9's regular menu will feature the usual pub grub suspects--burgers, fries, mac 'n' cheese--along with some more North End-y fare.

"We have a lot of patrons in the North End that want vegan, they want gluten-free and they want alcohol-free, so we're totally going to cater to them," said co-owner Jake Lake.

The 1,350-square-foot pub will utilize local and seasonal ingredients, including grass-fed ground beef from Homestead Natural Meats, buns from Gaston's Bakery and cheese from Ballard Family Dairy.

Cloud 9's four-barrel brew system--which is encased in a glass room adjacent to the hand-poured concrete bar flecked with recycled beer bottles--only cranks out eight kegs per batch, so Lake hopes to rotate through seasonal beers every three weeks or so.

"Right now we've got the blonde, the pale ale, the IPA, the double IPA, the porter and the stout," said Lake. "Those are our staples, so those will be the ones we always have on. ... Then we've got six random beers. We've got an Irish Black Lager, the Winter Warmer is 9.4 percent and the Aphrodite Ale, which has a 'sex'tet of aphrodisiacs--there's damiana, there's maca, there's ginseng, there's honey, there's alcohol and there's some herb that's similar to horny goat weed."

The pub will normally be closed Mondays and open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays until midnight and Sundays until 9 p.m. Cloud 9 also plans to open a patio section in about a month.

"Once we get the patio up and running and the kitchen can keep up with essentially double the seats, then we'll start to offer brunch on Saturday and Sunday, too," said co-owner Maggie Lake.

For more info, visit cloud9brewery.com.

And in food truck news, a food truck pod is finally in the works at 2419 W. Fairview Ave. The proposed 1.5-acre West End Food Park will provide food truck vendors with electrical hookups, gray water dumping, access to city water, portable toilets and hand-washing facilities. The park also plans to offer consumers a covered communal seating area, outdoor heaters, free Wi-Fi and a screen for viewing football games and movies. Organizers eventually hope to erect a produce stand and a wine and beer garden, as well.

The West End Food Park is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for the venture. For more info, visit westendfoodpark.com.

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