Aug
30
2016

Craft Beers and Microbrews in Cleveland

by Mae Williams for Food and drink, Lakewood

Craft Beers

Craft beers photo courtesy of www.craftbeerandkitchen.com

Beer. Just that one word can conjure up a variety of images from enjoying a nice cold beer on a warm summer evening to celebrating the holidays with a Christmas Ale. Cleveland is the home for many local microbreweries who have created their own signature craft beers. The city has been at the forefront of the microbrew industry for decades. Cleveland craft beers are poured in restaurants and sold in stores all over the country. We already know that Cleveland is the home to many great restaurants, bars and places to enjoy being social and enjoying microbrew beers with friends and family.  Thrillist put together a list the best bars, pubs and restaurants that serve craft beers from around the country.

What is Craft Beer?

Craft beer has become very popular in the past few decades. People are brewing their own beer in their basements or garages or enjoying the unique tastes at the many microbrewery pubs in the area. Consumers changing beverage tastes have created a huge industry around the world. What exactly is a craft beer and how is it different from mass produced beer? According to www.craftbeer.com, the Brewers Association has defined craft breweries as:

  • Being Small: Craft brewers have an annual production of six million barrels of beer or less.
  • More Independent: A crafter brewing company is independently owned with less than 25 percent of the brewery owned by a beverage alcohol industry member what is not itself a craft brewer.
  • Following Tradition: The beers from a craft brewer has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.

There are many different styles of craft beers  from pale ales to heavy stouts and every flavor in between. Most brewers create beers for each season including lighter wheat or fruity beers for the summer beers and thicker more robust beers for the winter months. Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale has been a holiday favorite for over 25 years. It’s release every season is celebrated by beer fans throughout the city. This week, local craft brewers will be able to make beers with higher alcohol content. Before the change, brewers were limited to creating beers with an alcohol content below 12%, which is lower than other states. But, as of September 1st, breweries can make beer and stores can sell beer with higher alcohol content. This will only help the craft beer industry in Ohio by making them more competitive with out of state brewing companies.

Cleveland’s Microbreweries

Cleveland’s micro brewing community has been growing over the last decade. More craft beer breweries have been popping up throughout the area. Listed below are just a few breweries to check out. Most offer beer tastings and food at their breweries.

  • Great Lakes Brewing Company: As mentioned, Great Lake Brewery Company’s  beers have been a favorite for over 25 years. Their brewery, restaurant and pub, located in Ohio City, near the Westside Market has been a vital member of the West 25th neighborhood and its resurgence.
  • Platform Beer Company: The Platform Beer Company , also located in Ohio City, was founded just two years ago, but has already built a reputation for producing a great variety of craft beer styles. Platform beers are served in many local bars and restaurants and are sold in local stores.
  • Bottlehouse Brewing Company: The Bottlehouse Brewing Company  just recently opened its taproom and mead hall location on Madison Avenue in Lakewood. The original brewery is still located in Cleveland Heights. The brewer focuses on small batch releases with an artistic beer barrel aging approach.
  • Market Garden Brewery: The Market Garden Brewery is located next to the West Side Market on West 25th The brewery is expanding to a larger space in a building next to the West Side Market parking lot. There is a restaurant and pub where you can taste the many different styles of core and seasonal beer created by the master brewer.
  • Fat Heads Brewery: Fat Heads Brewery  is not a locally grown microbrewery, as there are two locations in Portland, Oregon and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but the beers are brewed here and have become quite popular in restaurants, bars and stores. The brewery in the Cleveland area is located in North Olmsted on Lorain Road with a smaller tap house located in Middleburg Heights. The brewery is known for its Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry and Goggle Fogger beers.

Lakewood Beer and Wine Festival

One of the great things about having so many microbreweries in the area is that many participate in craft beer festivals. If you can’t make it to the breweries, you can taste the beer at the festivals. Once such festival is coming up in Lakewood on Saturday, September 10th. The Lakewood Beer and Wine Festival, presented by Lakewood Alive,  is a very popular event that takes place in a parking lot on St. Charles Avenue just south of Detroit Avenue.  Attendees can sample wine and beer selections from over 32 wineries New York to Michigan and 44 breweries from Michigan to Maryland. There will be food from local Lakewood restaurants.  Get your tickets now as the event sells out! Men’s Cuts is proud to be part of the Lakewood community.