52 Weeks: Buckeye Beer Engine, Lakewood, Ohio
Week 29 of 52 ( I think we are almost caught up)
Type of Establishment: Beer bar, local hangout, the kind of place that might get rowdy on the weekends
Visit: A stay at grandma’s during the hot, humid Ohio summer, I stop in the Buckeye Beer Engine, with mom in tow for a cold one.
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit):
Boulder Looking Glass Mojo(NITRO)
BUCKEYE 76 IPA
BUCKEYE BEAUCOUP D’HOUBLON
BUCKEYE WHEAT CLOUD
BUCKEYE ZATEK 2010
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite
Great Divide 16th Anniversary
North Coast Red Seal Ale
Ommegang Tripel Perfection
Original Sin Cider
Sierra Nevada Tumbler
St. Feuillien/Green Flash Biere De L’Amite
St. Louis Framboise
Thirsty Dog Irish Setter Red
So many wonderful options- a booklet of densely written type. I was too focused on the tap beers and was in a time crunch after spending an hour picking out beers to bring back from Rozi’s Wine House. For the full bottle list, click here.
FOOD OPTIONS: Its your average bar menu with some surprising twists. Wings graced the menu which is not surprising considering we are in the Midwest, a.k.a. wing mecca. With several flavors including your normal hot, atomic and honey BBQ, the Bourbon BBQ caught my eye. My companion and I settled on the onion rings, soft, flavorful onions engulfed by a crisp beer battered shell with chipotle mayo for dipping. Other note worthy menu items, Adobo Beef Egg Rolls, fried pickle spears and the burger of the day was Chicken Chorizo. If we were there during meal time, I would have done some serious damage.
In a far off land in the “heart of it all” I find sweet corn, several family members and friends, amazing wings and a local beer culture that deserves some praise. Ohio. A place many never visit and many never leave.
From the outside, the Buckeye Beer Engine is bleak and reminiscent of a fast food joint. There is an outdoor seating area and if this place were in Seattle on a hot August day, it would be packed full. Instead, not a person in sight due to the humidity. I step inside and let out a sigh of relief. The inside does NOT match the outside. In fact, the inside is quite pleasant with plenty of seating, wooden tables and a wooden bar. The wooden bar is in the shape of an octagon and hugs the center which is where the magic happens. The wall directly behind the bar is home to the neon glowing tap list. Old tap handles hang from the walls- a tribute to all of the great beers that once graced the list at the Buckeye Beer Engine.
Once home to the operations and production of Buckeye Brewing Co., the BBE represents with 4 of their beers on tap. I order a flight which includes Buckeye Brewing Co.’s ’76 IPA and Zatek 2010. Zatek on both beeradvocate.com and ratebeer.com is listed as a strong ale. At BBE, it is listed as an imperial stout and I must say, I agree with them. It is dark in color with a tan, chocolate colored head. There is a slight bitterness, like the bitterness from coffee followed by a sweeter finish. A great beer. I am kicking myself for not grabbing at bottle to take home with me. I snagged a bottle of ’76 (I purchased bottles from Rozi’s, not from the bar) but was able to taste it today- it doesn’t pack the hop punch I was hoping for and was slightly thin. I ordered a Great Divide 16th Anniversary which in my opinion was way more flavorful and left a lasting impression. Granted we are dealing with an IPA v. an Oak Aged Double IPA, so as far as a single IPA, the ’76 is worth your time!
I also ordered a Founders Cerise for my mom who drinks wine on most occasions. However, today, she happily sipped on this beer and I was a proud daughter. A quote from Founder’s website:
You’ll have a soft spot for this one. Using only fresh Michigan tart cherries, this beauty tantalizes with intense flavors combined with a no hesitation malt bill. Adding fresh cherries at five separate stages of fermentation achieves the ultimate balance between tartness and sweetness.
It reminded me of Cantillon out of Brussels- lambics that are not overly tart or sour, lack carbonation and have a subtle, yet flavorful fruit component without a sugary aftertaste. I really enjoyed this one as it brought me back to a place I adore. All in all a great place with friendly staff, loving patrons, a great bar menu and a showcase of amazing local beers as well as the great beers from around the world.