ROCK ISLAND — Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Rock Island got you a present: Big Swing Brewing Company, the newest restaurant-brewery to hit The District.
Big Swing will open Friday in the building formerly occupied by the Blue Cat Brew Pub at 113 18th St.
“It still will feel very much like a brewpub,” said co-owner John Timmer. He and co-owners Shane Scott and Jon McAtee opened Backyard Bowl in Milan last year.
The Blue Cat closed last August when owners Dan Cleaveland and his sister, Martha Cleaveland, decided to sell it. The pub first opened in 1994.
But when one door closes, another opens. Timmer said he wants Big Swing to continue the local brewpub tradition.
“We want to build on that history, and to bring some new energy to it,” he said. “People will really like the new direction and energy we’re putting into it.”
Timmer and partners will retain Blue Cat brewmaster Dan Cleaveland at Big Swing, Timmer said. Last year, Cleaveland told the Dispatch-Argus that the new owners “want to try and keep the legacy of the Blue Cat going with different things, so they have all the recipes.”
According to Timmer, the opening weekend will feature 10 beers on tap. In-house brewing won’t be ready until licensing is approved in the coming weeks. The Big Swing menu will have upscale gastro pub fare, with a “beer theme” and “comfort food,” he said.
“It’s a little bit of an adventure. There’s a lot of moving parts,” Timmer said. “It’s exciting. We’re excited to be in downtown Rock Island, in The District, and to bring back energy to a business that Dan and Martha did a lot with for a lot of years.”