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The Old Town Sherwood restaurant and pub occupies part of the Sherwood Center of the Arts.

TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Keith Laber, left, and Erin Koenig will run the brewing side of Smockhouse Brewhouse while Shannon Johnson will run the restaurant part in the new business located in the Sherwood Center for the Arts.It's been a long journey since Shannon Johnson, along with the help of Keith Laber and his wife Erin Koenig, began thinking of creating their own restaurant and pub in Old Town Sherwood. However, after months of hard work and planning, Smockville Brewhouse is on the verge of opening.

Located in 3,000 square feet of space in the Sherwood Center for the Arts, the on-site brewhouse and restaurant will be a "full-meal deal," according to Johnson, who also owns and operates Trees Restaurant in Sherwood.

Now Johnson is betting that using fresh, mostly locally sourced ingredients, as well as making everything in house, will go great guns.

"We're so excited," said Johnson about the restaurant's opening.

Johnson says the new brewhouse, which takes its name from Sherwood's original name, will serve elevated pub food. That will include such items as a hot pastrami sandwich, homemade Italian sausage and bratwurst along with smoke salmon and pickle fries.

Meanwhile, the onsite brewing operation will feature the creations of Laber and Koenig (who say starting up the brewery has been lots of fun) and their 12-11 Brewing label, which currently brews exclusively for Smockville and Trees Restaurant.

Some interesting brews will include Courtside Grapefruit Wheat and Sugaz Coco Brown, which incorporates toasted coconut and chocolate nibs in its beer.

"It's awesome," Johnson said of the unusual beer lineup.

Also included in front of the brewing facility will be a rollaway bar with plans to serve dinners inside the brewery itself, which can be concealed if needed via a roll-down door.

The décor includes extensive use of reclaimed rustic wood that came from an old fence in Aurora. That same wood is coated with a thick coat of resin and covers a spacious bar. There are also rustic-looking chandeliers that can be raised and lowered via hand-pulled pulleys.

Other bells and whistles include an open kitchen where patrons can literally sit at the kitchen bar and watch their meal being prepared in front of them.

"I want it to be really open," said Johnson, whose restaurant will include seating for 100 as well as outside seating. "I want it to be airy."TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Smockville Brewhouse takes its name from the original name of Sherwood, and the owners want to make sure it's commemorated on the spacious bar.

By Ray Pitz
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