Written by: Jaii Fredregill
Destination: Cleveland, Ohio
Visited: April 2018
As the popularity of craft beer and brewing has exploded across the United States, Ohio has certainly not lagged behind. The number of breweries in the state of Ohio has grown to more than 200 and the Ohio Craft Brewers Association was founded in 2008 to organize craft beer makers across the state. The association currently publishes an annual magazine, “On Tap," and has developed an app by the same name to help thirsty patrons find beer, breweries, gastropubs and all things beer related anywhere throughout the Buckeye state.
When I was recently passing through the fine city of Cleveland, OH, I decided to ask around about local breweries and even downloaded the On Tap app. Truthfully, the options were overwhelming for my limited time frame, but I was able to make it to 4 breweries, all of which I would wholeheartedly recommend to any beer enthusiast.
Butcher and the Brewer flights, pints and meat.
I tried a lot of great beer at Butcher and the Brewer, but the Stop Hop Kaboom IPA and Repeater Kolsch were the standouts in my opinion. The Albino stout is described as a "full bodied white oat ale with chocolate and coffee overtones." It was a tasty ale, but I'm not sure it registered on my palate as a stout. It's gold in color and doesn't have the same richness as a dark stout, but it does deliver chocolate and coffee overtones as advertised. It's one of those beers I would like to go back and try again, and I always find a brewer particularly clever when they make something I have to think about. In this case, the Albino Stout.
Beer and meat lovers might just find their portal to heaven at Butcher and the Brewer, where the brewery's public house does indeed connect to a butcher shop, thus the name. Open Tuesday-Saturday; the butcher, like the brewer, has become a favorite amongst hungry local crowds for its sandwiches piled high with meats like pulled pork and smoked brisket prepared homemade in-house.
East 4th Street, Cleveland
You can find this busy gastropub and butcher counter on East 4th street, a charming walking street lined with bars, restaurants and a bowling alley that is just minutes from Cleveland's ballpark, Progressive Field.
Butcher and the Brewer
2043 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115
Noble Beast Flight: 666 Conducer, Murder Ballads Porter, Evil Motives IPA, Smoked Kellerbier
Noble Beast Brewing Company is just across the street from the FBI offices at the north end of Lakeside Avenue. The brick storefront opened last Spring and quickly made it onto the 2017 Thrillist of Cleveland's best restaurants. Judging by the crowd that turned up, Noble Beast is a very welcomed addition to the neighborhood, so we were glad we showed up early.
Noble Beast Brunch
Head brewer, Shaun Yasaki, had some creative options on rotation. His Belgian-styled Smoked Kellerbier was my first smoked beer, a perfect concoction for scotch and mezcal fans, and ideal for creative bartenders fond of making fancy beer cocktails.
Yasaki is also a deft hand at brewing IPAs. I took a sample of his Evil Motives IPA down without stopping for air, and our flights soon led to pints and a hearty brunch too big to finish. Growlers and doggy bags are available. Visit the website for a list of draft beers.
Noble Beast Brewing Company
1470 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH
Terrestrial Brewing Company Tasting Flight: Blazin Blue, Terra Buena and Barrel Aged Star Seed and Infusion Tower
Located in Battery Park, this dog-friendly brewery has quickly developed the cozy vibe of a neighborhood pub since its recent opening in 2017. Terrestrial does sell tasting flights, which is my favorite way to be introduced to a brewer. New beers are added to the rotation regularly by Head Brewer, Ralph Sgro, as well as variations, or "installments," of beers that have already been on tap. For example, Infusion Tower, a New England IPA, has become a staple at the brewery, but Sgro alters each batch by infusing the beer with different fruits.
Dark beer on a cold day is one of my not-so-guilty pleasures, so the Barrel Aged Star Seed stout was the pint I selected based on my flight. Aging in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels gives this stout a rich malt flavor and smokiness that made it the perfect accompaniment to the frigid April afternoon when I happened to be at the brewery.
Terrestrial is also helping conservation efforts to save spotted turtles, with their "I Love It When I Save the Turtles Porter." Spotted turtles, native to the Cleveland area, are currently listed as threatened due to water pollution, habitat loss and an increase in natural predators. We all drink for good reasons, but now we can drink for a good cause with $1.00 from every pour going toward this very worthy cause.
Terrestrial Brewing Company
7524 Father Frascati Dr., Cleveland, OH 44102
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Opened in 1988, Great Lakes Brewing Company was the first microbrewery in the state of Ohio. Located in Ohio City, owners, Patrick and Daniel Conway, are often credited as leaders in the restoration of Clevland's west side.
They have maintained their focus on community over the past 30-years with a particular emphasis on the environment. Protecting nearby Lake Erie is of extraordinarily high-interest for a company that produces a water-based product, and Great Lakes continually works to keep their water usage as low as possible. Solar panels help power the brewery and brewpub, offsetting Great Lakes C02 emissions, and spent grain is used as compost and feed for the livestock on the farm where Great Lakes grows hops for the limited edition beers sold only in their brewpub.
I spend most of my time in a warmer climate, so I appreciated light bodied Holy Moses White Ale, which is brewed and distributed year-round. There were no small batch pub exclusives available when I stopped by, so my second and final beer was a Chillwave Double IPA. In all honesty, it is not my favorite IPA in Cleveland, but it is a solid beer, and I certainly didn't struggle to finish it.
After 30-years of brewing Great Lakes has far too many beers to list here. Visit their website for what's on tap. Crowlers and Growlers are for sale at the bar.
Great Lakes Microbrewery
2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
Thank you Cleveland, Ohio for your warmth, your hospitality, and your incredible beer. You made freezing my ass off in April totally worth it.