On the outskirts of town in Cleveland’s westbound Rocky River district, ROCKY RIVER BREWING CO. opened in 1998 and remains a neighborhood sportsbar fave. Sticking to proven stylistic formulas with its standardized mainstream fare, the sizable freestanding joint sidles individual malls and family restaurants.
Upon entering, the prominent marble-topped 25-seat wooden bar with two blackboard beer menus and several draught taps welcomes patrons. A wraparound outdoor deck surrounds its rustic gray-paneled red brick edifice and multi-leveled oak wood tables, chairs and booths dominate the sterling interior.
Rocky River’s brew tanks take up a separate front section and the glass-encased area behind the bar.
On a friendly Sunday afternoon jaunt, April ’17, tried all eight offerings with famed Cleveland scribe, Chris Parker (whose King James book documents the Cavaliers 2016 NBA championship year).
Smooth macrobrew-styled blonde ale, Rocky River Pirate Light, rubbed popcorn-like maize astringency and tepid white rice neutrality against soapy lemon-bruised souring.
Sweet ‘n sour blueberry tartness could’ve been heightened for Blueberry Ale, as its influence lost luster over pasty pale wheat malts, grassy hops and honeyed lemon wisps.
Mild lemon musk and mineral-grained pale malting moderated unassuming alt-styled Cooper’s Gold Kolsch.
Mild citric-spiced Boondock Spring Ale gained a musky hop graining and lemony carbolic spritz.
Bettering the above samplings, dry-hopped Firelands Pale Ale drifted beyond its staid styling as honeycomb-like malts gained wispy nutmeg-cinnamon spicing.
Flagship West Coast-styled Hop Goblin IPA enjoined floral grapefruit, orange, peach and pineapple tang with light hop bitterness.
Candi-sugared Belgian yeast sweetened Titan Triple Belgium Strong Ale, an 8.6% ABV medium body with tangy sugar-spiced orange peel contrasting sour lemon and herbal lemongrass.
Muddled Black Pirate, a black-malted coffee stout, needed a deeper freshly milled peppercorn influence to perk it up.