Tag Archives: CLEVELAND OH

MASTHEAD BREWING COMPANY

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Occupying a cavernous cement-floored warehouse at the east end of downtown Cleveland, MASTHEAD BREWING COMPANY opened its doors at the historic Bryant Building, January ’17.

Providing the perfect sportsbar atmosphere for local fans, its massive reclaimed wood 100-foot bar, ample seating, widespread community tables, sizable sidewalk patio, multiple tap handles, strewn barrels and TV’s in every direction create a natural blue collar rusticity to complement Cleveland’s Industrial working class city.

The steel-furnished Masthead (with a huge company insignia along the back wall) crafts some serious elixirs in its rear brew tanks and the left side open kitchen offers fine pub fare including wood-fired red and white pizzas.

One of Masthead’s newer brewers, government marine biologist-turned-brewer, Chris Spann, shared beer thoughts as I settled in on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April ’17.

 

 

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Light lemon-peeled curacao orange tang, sweet coriander spicing and subtle banana tones surround tart candied center of dainty Belgian-styled Wit.

Springtime-readied Doppelbock conveyed bittersweet fig-prune conflux to toffee-like caramel malting.

Mildly creamed rye wheat malting underlined Rydaho Rye Pale Ale’s wood-dried Saaz hops and zesty lemon spicy.

Mild IPA brought orange-peeled grapefruit tang to grassy hop astringency to contrast light sugar spicing.

Despite its feral moniker, Brute Force Double IPA retained mild hop bittering for its balanced peach, pineapple, orange and melon tang sweetened by sticky sugar malts.

But today’s best offerings could damn well be the three stouts.

Sweet-toothed Stout set the tone with its chocolate-roasted cocoa bean and vanilla sugaring gaining a black cherry rasp.

Mild Coffee Stout utilized Six Shooter coffee to lightly embitter milk chocolate and vanilla tones in a friendly dessert manner.

Better still, creamy Poblano Chili Stout left mild chili peppering upon coffee-sugared black chocolate malts, vanilla bean subtleties and oats-flaked molasses snips. 

mastheadbrewingco.com

BUTCHER AND THE BREWER

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Inside a cavernous 19th century warehouse, BUTCHER AND THE BREWER is an exquisitely detailed beer hall opened during autumn 2014 in downtown Cleveland’s thriving East 4th Street promenade. Just blocks from national sports franchises including the Browns, Indians and NBA World Champions, the Cavaliers, its olden Prohibition atmosphere gets fully captured by the rustic wood furnishings, ancient metal ceiling fans and overall Industrial setting.

Ably combining upscale cuisine with a diverse array of beers, Butcher And The Brewer is a worthy choice for noontime nips, fine dining and sports tailgating. An open kitchen behind the 60-seat 30-tap bar and the rear brew tanks service the barrel-topped barroom tables and expansive right side dining area.

The enlightening food menu included shucked, cured and cultured delights alongside flatbread pizzas and original meat dishes.

Original head brewer, Eric Anderson (now at local Hingetown neighborhood pub, Saucy Brew Works), handed the torch to fellow Siebel Institute grad, microbiologist John Mc Groarty, in 2016.

On Saturday evening dinnertime journey in April ’17, enjoyed six elixirs alongside fine Smoked Lamb Ribs and brown-buttered Mac And Cheese while watching Indians game with wife and youngest son.

Mild lemon souring gained dank earthen musk and vegetal wisp for easygoing Noble-hopped moderation, Repeater Kolsch.

Piney grapefruit and orange pith bittering picked up sour lemon pungency for Belgian yeast-induced Positively E 4th St Farmhouse Ale, a tart blood orange-spiked medium body with plenty of spunk.

Sour lemony grapefruit tartness inundated Barrel Talk #1, an oaken wine barrel-aged ‘bier de miel’ utilizing wild saison yeast for its mild brettanomyces acridity and rustic farmhouse funk.

Boldly pine-hopped The Sturdy Pine brought raw-honeyed orange rind dryness to tangy red apple, peach, pineapple, grapefruit and tangerine sweetness.

Spicy black chocolate confronted oats-dried earthen dankness for Belgian Chocolate Stout, The Count, leaving burgundy wining at the bitter black-malted finish.

Smoothly creamed Midnight Oil Imperial Oatmeal Stout let oats-smoked dark chocolate malting enjoin mild peanut-almond-hazelnut cluster over mellow hop char.

www.butcherandthebrewer.com

ROCKY RIVER BREWING CO.

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

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.

rockyriverbrewco.com

PLATFORM BEER CO.

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Open for business since the Fourth of July, 2014, PLATFORM BEER CO. is arguably Cleveland’s best brewpub (with a second site now operating in Columbus). Utilizing a large, raw space just west of downtown Cleveland at  the Gordon Square Arts District in the Ohio City district, Platform delivers a plethora of wide-ranging brews and allows dedicated brewing apprentices to sharpen their craft through their Incubator pilot batch program sponsored by owner Paul Benner’s Cleveland Beer Shop across the street.

Inside a defunct meat packing warehouse, Platform’s red brick-walled interior, Edison bulb lighting, black ceiling and exposed ducts provide an Industrial setting while the dog-friendly rear patio offers further seating. The 25-seat central bar contains 2 cornered TV’s, 24 tap handles and several brew tanks. Two community tables, an electronic bowling game and a satellite kitchen at the front complete the score as my wife and I settle mid-bar to sample some of the best suds this town’s got to offer in spades during a March ’17 sojourn.

For a soft-toned starter, City Boy Sour retained a pinkish champagne hue and flavoring as raspberry-pureed souring reigned upon sugary Sweet-Tart spicing and spritzy lemon salting to its straw wheat base.

Dedicated to Cleveland’s hard-working blue collar souls, New Cleveland Palesner Pilsner engaged its dried barleycorn musk with earthen Noble hop herbage, cracker-like pale malts and floral snips.

Hopped-up Vienna-lagered Taube Brau brought caramelized barley malting to floral-dusted hops and desiccated orange-fig illusions in a spritzy manner.

The Project -Eldorado Pale Ale, a light-bodied sweetener, loaded tangy strawberry, melon, lemon, canteloupe and pineapple brightener upon its honey-spiced Graham Cracker base.

‘Complex’ Winter Wit layered polite Christmas spicing atop mild lemon-soured orange peel bittering, herbal lemongrass perfuming, distant banana-clove sugaring and neutral white wheat graining.

Brisk tropical fruiting picked up sharp hop spicing for excellent flagship offering, Speed Merchant White IPA, where floral orange-peeled grapefruit, peach, pineapple, mango and lemon illusions brightened the soft white wheat base as its dry piney bitterness increased tension.

A veritable citrus hop bouquet wafts its way thru medium-full-bodied Warrah Imperial IPA, framing its bittersweet orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and tangerine tang as well as its dried-fruited black cherry, fig and date nuances with caramel malt sweetness.

Smoky meat-cured beechwood subtleties affected Noble Dragon Porter, a black chocolate-based dark ale with maple, caramel and vanilla sweetness contrasting earthen pepper spicing.

Possibly today’s best choice, High Brow Barista Pale Ale let rye-spiced malts propel dry-beaned medium roast coffee bittering above its zesty lemon rind tartness and wispy grapefruit tingle in a crisply clean-watered setting.

platformbeerco.com

 

MARKET GARDEN BREWERY

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CLEVELAND, OHIO

Just across the Cuyahoga River from downtown Cleveland in the newly gentrified West Side Market section of Ohio City, capacious sports-barred brewpub MARKET GARDEN BREWERY features a front patio and community-tabled beergarden to sidle its Prohibition Era-styled interior. Opened November ’15 and initially visited March ’17, this multifarious pub was transformed from its dilapidated state to become the centerpiece of a proudly reconstituted market district.

Occupying a cavernous warehouse facility and a few doors down from the owners’ still-thriving sister brewery (the smaller-sized Nano), Market Garden’s custom-built walk-thru brew system, manned by experienced former Dogfish Head and Great Lakes brewer, Andy Tveekrem, allows patrons full access to witness the brewing operations.

Meanwhile, olden chandeliers, decorative railroad-tied walls, marbled slate table tops and cornered leather booths provide sterling antiquity for the centralized 30-seat curved bar. Downstairs, the low-ceilinged Ohio City Room adds a separate bar and plenty of seating while a backroom dining space keeps kids happy.

The worthy pub menu included 30 items such as the delicious Brisket Burger and equally fine Truffle Mac & Cheese. Four chalkboards list 20-plus homemade brews.

Market Garden’s most popular beer, perfectly streamlined Prosperity Wheat, brought mild banana-clove-bubblegum sweetness to lemony orange zest and wheat-sugared pale malts above sourdough breading.   

Fine strong lager, Illuminator Doppelbock, stayed sweet as caramel-spiced toffee malting picked up mild dried fruiting.

Dewy peat malts soaked Wee Heavy Wallace Tavern Scotch Ale, leaving toffee-spiced caramel sweetness upon brown-sugared molasses wisps.    

“Intense tropical fruiting” deluged brilliant Citra Max IPA, a zesty Citra hop-spiced medium body gathering grapefruit and orange rind bittering alongside tangy pineapple, mango, papaya and tangerine illusions. Dank piney hop resin increases its bold bitterness.

Sharp IPA-derived fruit spicing glazed Retro Hippo Barleywine (2017), a floral-wafted middleweight with tangy yellow grapefruit, navel orange, pineapple, peach, mango and tangerine tropicalia picking up fig-sugared sweetness and delicate butternut-pecan-praline undertones.

Then came the terrific dark ale selections.

Splendid Midnight Vorlauf Coffee Porter raised its cold-brew coffee roast above black-brown chocolate malts and mildly charred hops for a fine morning wake up call.

Nitro Saint Emeric’s Stout retained a mildly creamed black chocolate moderation and dry nutty swipe above musky earthen wood tones.

Blending bittersweet chocolate-malted cocoa nibs with mild chipotle and cayenne-peppered habanero heat, Barrio Mole Stout lingered on with a smoky mocha resonance. Quite inspiring.

Even better and richer, oak-barreled Irishman’s Enforcer Imperial Stout layered Tom’s Foolery bourbon vanilla subtleties atop black-malted cocoa nibs and dark chocolate for comforting warmth.

Due to heavy drinking, I missed out on Chinook Strike Pale Ale and Progress Pilsner, two lighter mainstays.

Upon April ’17 retreat, discovered three diverse hop-forward offerings.

Citric-hopped IPA fruiting and resinous pine lacquering girded the glutenous wheat spine of celery-watered Mirv Hoppy Wheat.

Brusque Particle Accelerator, a sharply embittered Imperial IPA, brought tangy orange-peeled grapefruit rind, pineapple and mango tropicalia to pine-lacquered alcohol esters.

Soft-toned Hellamango IPA received a lemony mango twist over mild Citra hop grassing as musty earthen pining and misty sea salting contrasted mango-sugared cornbread malts.   

marketgardenbrewery.com

NANO BREW

CLEVELAND, OHIO

A few doors down from its bigger business partner, Market Garden Brewery, in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City Market Square, friendly neighborhood joint, NANO BREW, features award-winning burgers and a few promising homemade elixirs by experienced brewer Andy Tveekrem.

Utilizing a two-sided bar broken up by a red brick wall, Nano’s signature bike handles, old wood floors, stage lighting, exposed pipes and rear open kitchen give it a rustic aura. A dog-friendly patio, oaken community tables and front cornered booths provide ample seating. The 24 draughts include three original Nano brews plus a fine assortment of Ohio microbrews.

On this sunny Saturday afternoon, March 2017, the place is packed to the hilt. So I grab my samplers and stand along the central corridor. Someone here must have a druggy sense of humor since the Wake ‘N Bake and Acid Trip burgers provide a happy snicker.

First up, sharply sugar-spiced Namber Amber Ale brought red and orange fruiting to minor hop astringency for a decent moderate-bodied opener.

Next, Fireside Wheat Winter Hefeweizen enlivened sweet Christmastime spicing (cinnamon-clove-ginger) with fig-sugared dried fruiting.

Before heading off to Market Garden, Nano Porter contrasted coffee-stained walnut bittering against hazelnut-glazed sugaring and black chocolate malts.

nanobrewcleveland.com

WILLOUGHBY BREWING COMPANY

CLEVELAND, OHIO

After several trips to watch Indians baseball games (one high-scoring, rain-filled game versus the Yankees had to be finished the next day!), I located wonderful Christian Moerlein, Crooked River, and Great Lakes brews in ‘97. Post-X-mas ’03, found nice selection at outskirts Backdoor Beverage (Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper Porter and Goose Island Christmas Ale) before going East to WILLOUGHBY BREWING COMPANY.

Located in a restored railcar repair depot, this suburban Cleveland restaurant-brewery in the town of Willoughby was so packed at dinnertime I decided to buy fine Razz, Wheat, Pale, and Wild Irish Red ales in growlers for the road (reviewed in Beer Index).

While in the heart of Cleveland, quaffed mild headless copper-toned cereal malt-sweetened Coop’s Poison Ale on tap across Jacobs Field at downtown sports bar, Alice Cooper’stown after visiting Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

More importantly, nearby Strongsville houses the almighty BREW KETTLE TAPROOM & SMOKEHOUSE, a unique nanobrewery specializing in homemade brews as well as a tremendous selection of microbrewed tapped beer and an endless array of daily specials.

www.willoughbybrewing.com

www.thebrewkettle.com