In case it wasn’t wildly obvious from our Twitter timelines (which were more like Untappd timelines), last week was Cleveland Beer Week – and wow, did they put on a good show! It was great to see so many Cleveland bars and restaurants going all out for the week long celebration, from simple – yet awesome – beer specials to event nights with tastings and vendor meet-and-greets.
During the week, we stopped by our favorite spots like World of Beer, Lizardville, and Buckeye Beer Engine where we picked up some sweet brew gear, from stickers and buttons to glasses and koozies. We went out especially for the Chicago Tap Takeover at XYZ the Tavern not only because we love the food there (*cough* their amazing BBQ ribs and the Big Zac burger *cough*)…
…but also because Johnny has recently become a fan of 5 Rabbit Brewery, the first Latin microbrewery in the United States. We’re admittedly picky about our craft beer loyalty but 5 Rabbit is the first brewery that has ever wow’d us beer after beer after beer. It’s kinda huge – for any beer drinker, I think – to love every single beer from one brewery but 5 Rabbit doesn’t disappoint, whether it’s one of their fruity Paletas or the Vida y Muerte (their version of an Oktoberfest). Each one just delivers a full blast of delicious with hints of flavor in all of the right places. It was really cool for John to have the opportunity to chat with the brewery reps and we’re definitely going to stop by and see them when we’re in Chicago.
We also hit up the Stout Brunch at TownHall; I went with the OHC Benedict and added some salty prosciutto (which was a great call, if I do say so myself). I also tried the Founders Brewing Company Breakfast Stout, which is very aptly named! The waves of coffee made it the perfect beer to go with a midday brunch. John discovered a new cider – Vander Mill – and was pleasantly surprised by its sharp, crisp taste.
The brunch was a necessary preparatory meal on Saturday because we were lucky enough to win tickets to BREWzilla, the culminating event of Cleveland Beer Week, thanks to a giveaway from 106.5 the Lake. Admission included 25 tickets for 2 oz. pours from something like 70 breweries (although, truth be told, by the end of the night the brewers were more concerned with sharing their tasty brews than collecting tickets). It was overwhelming at first because that’s A LOT of breweries in one place! We hit the local section first to try some Ohio brews and our favorites included Market Garden Brewery, Fat Head’s Brewery, The Brew Kettle, Griffin Cider Works, Willoughby Brewing Company, Cornerstone Brewing Company, and Rocky River Brewing Company.
Upstairs, we saw some more familiar names. We chatted for quite some time with New Holland Brewing Company; they’re really such good people – we’ve run into them before at Lizardville events – super friendly and always down to chat and talk beer. We tried their Four Witches Black Saison for the first time and were blown away. It’s definitely not a typical saison and yet, appropriately named, it’s the perfect beer for the Halloween/fall season. And speaking of Halloween, a lot of people showed up in costume and we were happy to find that Jesus is a huge fan of craft beer! 😉
A Twitter friend of ours put us in touch with a great guy named Zach that was working the VIP food gathering (brought to BREWzilla by Market District Solon) and he was kind enough to chat with us and give us some samples, which was neat! We also ran into an instagram friend of The Bison, @nateofamericans! It was actually kind of awesome because he spotted us in the crowd and called out, “Blueberry Bison?!” so we felt like small-town celebrities for a split second, ha. But in all honesty, the interaction with Zach and Nate really signified the power of social media for Johnny and I; that’s the way it’s supposed to work!
So anyway, long post longer, here’s the rest of breweries we tried (again or for the first time) during Cleveland Beer Week that weren’t mentioned above: Stone Brewing Company, 21st Amendment Brewery, Ace Cider, Kiuchi Brewery, Smuttynose Brewing Company, Tröegs Brewing Company, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, Crooked River Brewing Company, Fox Barrel Cider, Rust Belt Brewing Company, Unity Vibration, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Three Floyds Brewing, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Hungry Bee, Brasserie Dupont, Cellar Rats Brewery, Great Black Swamp Brewing, Crispin Cider, and Hofbräuhaus Chicago.
Phew! What a week!