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.
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.