I get asked by friends and acquaintances all the time if I'd ever open a brewery. My answer is always "hell, no", because the last thing I'd want is to turn my hobby that I do for relaxation into a business that I run to keep a roof over my family's head.
That said, I've often had the thought that if I had to do it, I'd do something unique to set myself apart. In particular, I'd follow a brewpub model, but I'd go with a Viking theme and make it a meadery instead. The tap list would be mainly carbonated hydromels in the vein of Zombie Killer from B. Nektar, plus a few guest taps from local breweries. There would be a couple of moderate-strength, bottled options for wine drinkers, and a sweet dessert-wine style mead or two. Plus, some non-alcoholic, honey-based beverages for the kids.
Of course, with the price of honey you'd likely go bankrupt with a "Meadhall and Grill" business model. But it would be cool...
I have a similar thought. My experience working in restaurants makes me realistic about starting a brewery: I am not interested in the long hours, hard work, and low pay. And the market is pretty saturated.
I do daydream about opening a meadery with a restaurant even though I know better. I think I could really step up the food offerings over the typical offerings though. I have a lot of experience making things that a lot of places buy from outside like bread, sausage, pretzels, pickles, kim chi, etc. We also have a ton of local farms. So my fantasy is a large selection of meads, some good local beer and cider as well as a small selection of craft cocktails and really great, simple food all homemade and featuring fresh seasonal ingredients. No tomatoes in January. The vibe would be funky and bohemian but rural which suits where I live. It would feature my wife's art work. No TV's but games to play available.
That's the fantasy but I don't want the work and upfront cost. I could see consulting on such an endeavor.
In reality I am checking out if I can fit a meadery into the Massachusetts Farmer Winery law. If so I could start small with a little retail store and most importantly the right to self distribute and sell at farmers markets. Between the Boston/Cambridge area and the Amherst/Northampton area there are lot of foodies who would pay good money. I am already hoping to build a building on our property that would be a commercial kitchen with a brewery/meadery and art studio just to get our pursuits out of our living space. I would also expand my apiary and use a lot of our own honey. Mead has advantages over brewing beer commercially: less competition but a growing market, less labor, cheaper equipment, more stable shelf life, and higher per unit retail price. The idea is build slow while working then if it works go full time then decide to sell it or hire someone to run it when I want to fully retire.
Anyway, to the original question:
Porters (rotate styles)
Stout (rotate styles)
I would serve a big porter with a smaller stout and vice versa.