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Posts Tagged ‘Great Lakes’

Great Lakes. Great Beer: A Tale of a Pub and a Christmas Ale

December 14, 2010 2 comments

Oh how I yearn for you - my sweet sweet holiday love.

***This is a reposting of an article I wrote last year, shortly before my yearly bounty of Great Lakes Christmas Ale appeared in my mailbox. This year, I have been slighted by my Ohio beer shop, who promised to have my package here last week – WHERE IS IT!? Each afternoon, I scurry to the mailbox like it was Xmas morning, hoping to see my Xmas passion. Nothing. This morning, I had to read back at what once was – and what hopes to show up today. Enjoy!***

 

I will go ahead and clear this up – I have an Ohio bias. I hail from the great Canton, OH region, home of football, wings and crappy beer.

But over time we have seen some good ones pop up. Hoppin Frog, out of Akron, OH, is probably the best critiqued in the beer world. Check out their RateBeer ratings here. We will rate them later, but as a teaser – get the BORIS (oatmeal imperial stout – theres a barrel-aged version too!).

And now to return to my favorite – Great Lakes. When I fall in love with a brewery, its for several reasons:

 

(1) beer quality

(2) list quality

(3) pub aura

(4) historical connection

(5) the crew of the brewery

 

Great Lakes Brewing excels here in all respects. Though they do not have the most amazing of beer reviews historically, they are typically respectable around the board. For instance, their stouts are damn good (Blackout is a 100), their porter is above average, their specialties (saison and 2x IPA especially) are appealing, and their normal rotation is very drinkable (my father is a Burning River Pale man).

But……its their Christmas Beer that remains fixated in your mid year round. Shockingly, this beer is not immortal in the beer nerd spectrum. It holds an 87 at RateBeer. But after a cursory review I am chalking that up to the 30-40% of reviewers who just said – “I dont like xmas beer.”

Curse you, and curse your palettes. Actually, I can understand that reaction to this beer. The beer holds an incredible smack you in the face aroma of X-mas packed into the bottle. Nutmeg, cinnamon, spice and ginger make you feel as if you are ten years old again, sipping hot cider with mittens on singing deck the halls in 12 feet of snow, below a 30 foot christmas tree, with 1000 wrapped goodies beneath. I love it.

But what is best about this release, is that Great Lakes Brewing has recognized the cult following and really made a bi-annual ritual out of it. In July, they do a “Christmas in July” promo at the brewery, where they tap a few kegs for a few days and Clevelanders black out in unconscious glee. Again in October, the begin the real seasonal release at the brewery with a one week tap-only period and then they begin distributing.

The brewpub at Great Lakes is amazing. They are located on West side of Cleveland, very close to downtown in the “Westside Market” area. As I remember, the Brewpub was the first non-smoking establishment in Cleveland and has always offered a full locally-produced food regimen. (Note: the sausages are amazing)

On top of the food and grog – the Brewery also offers tours and a hefty gift shop where you can pick up pub exclusives (im looking at you Lake Erie Monster, the 2x IPA) and other garb.

If you are stuck in the NW – or elsewhere outside the nether-regions of the Midwest (i dont blame you), you likely cannot get Great Lakes beer. Thats ok because there is a heck of a shop in Cleveland, that can help you out. Rozi’s Wine House carries an amazing selection of beers. They will ship to wherever. Call them up and make an order.

The luscious x-mas grog can be purchased at your local (Midwest only – damn) beer shop, up until about January 10. Do not wait, because at the rate I am moving now, I will have bought out all beer stores and it will be stored in my Seattle basement.

 

52 Weeks: Fathead’s Brewery and Saloon, Cleveland, OH

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Damn that's a fat head!

33 out of 52

(so close to being caught up. So close, I can taste it!)

Fathead’s Brewery

24581 Lorain Rd.

North Olmstead, OH 44070

440-801-1001

Rank: 3.5/5

Type of Establishment: Brewery, Family Restaurant, 2010 GABF Award Winning Beer Making Facility

Visit: Ohio. A place I visited often as a child. A place where many family members live. A place I went to college and a place I met my husband. This visit I had mother, brother, sister and brother-in-law in tow. Of course we found all of the beer bars around Elyria, Ohio where my grandma lives and convinced the family to venture out for dinner, to a place with epic guest beers, award winning beers on tap and massive (seriously massive) sandwiches. I present to you, Fathead’s Brewery and Saloon.

Beers on Tap- so many, but here are some highlights (FH= Fathead):

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Flying Dog Raging Bitch

Petrus Aged Pale

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

FH Head Hunter IPA

FH Koko Head Chocolate Coconut Cream Stout

FH Hop JuJu Imperial IPA

Bottles: I honestly do not recall if they had a bottle list. With all those taps and in house beers, it wasn’t necessary or a focus of ours at the moment.

Food Options: Wings, Sandwiches, Pizza, Wings, Sandwiches, Pizza and some salads for you health nuts. Smoked wings, full wings for an intense, dedicated wing eater. For the main course, a term coined by Fathead, a “headwich” is a really massively large sandwich. Seriously, the size of your head. Delicious cheeses, vegetables and meats on soft, fresh bread. Its heaven on a plate, next to a beer, among family, in Ohio. The Southside Slope was voted #5 Best Sandwich in America, just sayin’. This place is receiving a ton of good press!

BAR OPINION: When we visit Ohio, we aim to eat some damn tasty wings, indulge in other hearty foods and drink, what us West coasters consider, “rare beers.” Here at Fathead, all of our needs were met and then some. The space is rather large. We walked in the front entrance with a small merchandise shop next to the hostess – one pint glass, Check! The hostesses wear uniforms consisting of black pants and blue polo shirts with Fathead icon (which is a big fat guy head, pretty sweet) printed on them. The hostesses and our waitress were very patient, accommodating and willing to take the time and answer our long line of questions.

Our family of 6 walked past the bar area, light wood glistened with a glass backdrop behind the bar. We sit down and I dive for the beer menu. What, oh what does this brewery have to offer. Petrus Aged Pale ON TAP!!! Granted the keg was kicked during my pour, but I walked away with a half of a Petrus for free. Such a great beer. One of my favorite Belgium beers. The beers were impressive, both the Head Hunter IPA and the Hop JuJu Imperial IPA were absolutely stunning. A flavor explosion followed by a lingering sweetness and a well balanced experience. Congrats to Fathead’s Head Hunter for taking the Silver at GABF this year for best American style IPA.

Due to our party size, we were seated in the back. This brewery can accommodate the best of them: beer buddies out to knock a few back as well as the family of six (plus small children if we had any). It could use a little more ambiance, but their beers, their epic sandwiches, smokey delicious wings and hilarious brand make Fathead’s Brewery and Saloon a must visit in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Take the whole fam!

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