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Our Story

Meet Bill, Our Founder

A guy walks into a bar and says to the guy next to him, “I’ll bet you next round you can’t retire from your day job, plan and build a brewery during a pandemic, and brew an Italian Pilsner better than this one.” The guy answers, “Hold my beer.”

That guy—the “hold my beer guy”—is Bill Schirmer, founder of Bridge’s End Brewing Co. Bill has lived life with a simple credo: don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying. It’s a life philosophy that has served him well, like when he applied to medical school after only two years of undergrad – and got in. To Johns Hopkins, no less. Taking that leap, without fear of failure, set Bill on a path to a decades-long career as a gastrointestinal surgeon. And while he devoted his life to medicine, Bill began to realize he had also, unknowingly, devoted his life to hospitality. Though the stakes may be very different, the goal of the two industries is the same: to make people feel better.

Oh, and did we mention Bill has been an avid home brewer for over 30 years? His wife, Karen, will tell you (with a loving eye-roll) how he transformed their home’s kitchen into a brewery, shooing away the dogs and kids so as not to disrupt his efforts at striking the perfect balance between malt and hops. Bill found brewing to be a major stress-reliever, and it gave him the creative outlet he needed to explore the tension between art and science. In brewing, as in medicine, there is a thin margin between doing something just okay and doing it exceptionally well. The surgeon in him was trained not to do anything unless you are going to do it well. The brewer in him is no different. The COVID pandemic, and the accompanying mandatory six-week hiatus from performing elective surgery, forced Bill to think about his retirement. His Grandma Albert always used to say, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”: How right she was. During that break, an idea was hatched. Bill and Karen talked it over (and maybe had one or two fights), and after a long and satisfying surgical career, four kids, eight grandkids and forty-plus years of marriage, Bridge’s End was born. At the end of the bridge, a new journey starts. And so, they embark on their lives’ next phase - a craft brewery in none other than Shawnee Hills.

You may have heard the pun, “Beer cures all ale-ments,” but has it ever been more apropos than for this surgeon-turned-brewer? Bill and Karen cannot wait to share their highly drinkable beers with family, friends, and everyone who walks through the Bridge’s End door!

Hometown: Ashland, OH. (It’s also Karen’s). Ashland is dubbed “World Headquarters of Nice People.” And if you’ve met Bill and Karen, you know it’s the truth.

Favorite Beer: Patersbier, or Father’s beer. It’s a blonde ale, lower in alcohol than traditional abbey beers, brewed by Trappists monks in Belgium. It is not sold outside of the monasteries; rather, it is consumed by the monks as part of their Lenten sacrifice. Clever monks!

Places of Brewing/Culinary Influence: Colorado, Santa Rosa, New Orleans

Favorite Local Brewery: Gemüt, who have been so welcoming of Bill’s foray into the local craft brew scene

Favorite Restaurant Experience: Willy T’s, BVI. (Google it)

Favorite Day of the Year: The last day of school. Bill admits that he’d like to experience that “last day of school feeling” every day of the year. We haven’t come up with a beer name for that yet but might plan a fall release for the parents after classes resume: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”


Our Story...

A labor of love that has been in planning for over four years (30+ if you count the dream phase, and how long we’ve been brewing). We can’t wait to share our easily drinkable beers and our equally easy environment. We hope that when you step through our doors, it feels like you’re stepping into our home; and that, when you enjoy our beers and thoughtful food pairings, you feel like you’ve truly had something unique. For over 30 years, our family has been brewing and sharing our creations with close friends and family to celebrate special occasions, or to just kick back and enjoy after a hard day's work. We hope you’ll come to Bridge’s End to do the same. But right now, we’re working hard to create your second home, so make sure you sign up for our Newsletter, or follow us on social media, so that you can stay up-to-date on developments, pre-opening events and of course, our Grand Opening!


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