Big Ugly has it’s roots in home brewing. Jim Lantry became interested when his wife gave him a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas more than 12 years ago. He moved on to brewing with malt extract before switching entirely to grain.
Brewing was a social event in the neighborhood, and Jim and Shawn Childers began formulating different beer concepts for future brews. After an understandable learning curve – and also having the experience of collectively sampling more than 4,000 different beers through a neighborhood tasting club – improvements started to show in the beers to the point the two idealized about opening a brewery.
In February of 2015 their ideas came to fruition, and they opened Chesapeake’s first brewery, which is garage-centric due to Jim and Shawn’s collection of vintage vehicles. The brewery’s namesake comes from Shawn’s 1955 Chevy panel truck. The space was designed with exposed equipment so guests know they are in a working brewery.
Shawn’s British motorcycles are scattered about, including two mounted to the floor as seating. Jim’s Volkswagon bus serves as a private-seating area with a custom-made tabletop made by a neighborhood friend. Most nights there are as many as 10 “Big, Bold, Beers” guaranteed to please on tap, including a number of popular sour beers.
They have also started barrel-aging beer and look to release more than 10 different varieties during the upcoming year.