I assume that by now, you have seen the “hastily made Cleveland tourism” videos that graced the internet last year. They are, unfortunately, a fairly honest portrayal of our fair city on the Lake.
But do not despair and do not fear your trip to the “Heart of Rock N Roll” – we have beer here. And this beer ain’t too shabby, either.
While we are visiting some family back in the good ole Midwest, we decided to take a few trips around the Cleveland airport. I figure that many of you fly to Cleveland purely for business and the short trip might limit you to the airport region. So, lets see what we have here.
First of all, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is stuck in the middle of no man’s land. The airport is buried about 20 miles south of Cleveland’s downtown, in a mostly abandoned industrial portion of Cleveland.
However, over the past few years, we have seen a nice growth spurt in the residential areas surrounding it. Particularly, North Olmstead and Strongsville; while you also are close to the more metropolitan neighborhoods of Rocky River and Lakewood. We found 4 brewpubs that you have to visit!
Fathead’s Brewery & Saloon
In North Olmstead: Fatheads Brewery & Saloon. Fathead’s originated in Pittsburgh and moved to Cleveland in early 2009. We recently visited the place and were floored with the brewery’s ales, the bar’s selection and the amazing food. We will be publishing a full-length article on the pub soon, but I want to take a moment to comment on 3 things:
- Fathead’s IPA - Do not avoid these beers! The Head Hunter IPA hasrountinely garnered medal after medal at big time beer events. It won the West Coast IPA Festival’s gold medal in 2009 and placed 4th this year. Remember – that was West Coast, as in going up against the big boys. Know why they can beat the CA brewers? Tons of Simcoe and Columbus hops, meticulously added to a refreshing malt blend.
- Fathead’s Imperial IPA – Ok Ok, I didn’t veer too far from the hops. But,
why would you!? The Hop Juju Imperial IPA rivals the best imperial IPAs that I have ever had. It borders on the bitterest, most piney that I have ever tasted. Added bonus: this year’s version went up from 8.7% to 9.3%! Get this beer. Seriously.
- Fathead’s amazing food – I’ll be brief about this – check this menu. More than 25 sandwiches, two types of wings (with 10 sauces), pizzas, burgers and several concoctions involving pierogies. Can’t beat it.
The Brew Kettle
If you go South to Strongsville: The Brew Kettle. I love that this place recently started bottling their beers. I just purchased one at the Acme Supermarket in Akron, OH. But, the Brew Kettle does more than brew beer and sell it – they let you brew your own as well.
The Brew Kettle is everything you want in a beer hut. Brew your own, drink their brewed beer or drink from another 20 taps of other amazing beers from around the world. During our visit, we enjoyed Founder’s Red Rye PA, Founders Centennial IPA, New Holland El Mole Ocho, Weyerbacher Old Heathen, and Victory Helios Saison – all were exceptional.
The Brew Kettle also serves some damn good BBQ. We ordered the Big Pig, stuffed with smoked pork, smoked bacon, cheese, several sauces, and tons of veggies. We had to share this monster, along with its sides of beans and slaw. Check out their menu by clicking here.
The Beer Engine
This grog spot was recently showcased on a 52 Weeks article, here on Beer Blotter. Check out the article for more on the great ole Engine.
Rocky River Brewing Co.
Lastly, if you head North to Rocky River: Rocky River Brewing Co. The RRBC is right off the main road through Rocky River, making it nearly impossible to miss.
The RRBC is your classic brewpub, serving their own house made beers, as well as a few offerings from the outside world. Don’t miss their Oompa Loompa Chocolate Stout or their Christmas Ale.
The pub also sports a nice looking menu – though we cannot attest to the food. Regardless, Cleveland brewpubs never disappoint.
So, there you have it – 4 Cleveland brewpubs, all within 20 minutes of the airport. Don’t miss out next time you have a delay or cancellation in C-Town.