Cleveland Beer Week: Friday

by Renee on October 23, 2010

With just one more day of Cleveland Beer Week to go, I wanted to be sure to hit as much as possible on Friday. Since it was Friday, I threw caution to the wind and had a beer at lunch. I know, crazy. I headed over to the Warehouse District and wandered off the sunny October street to the dark warmth of Gillespie’s Map Room. There were a few patrons having lunch at small tables and a few at the bar. I joined them there. The long wooden bar was very warm and inviting. The bartender handed me the list of their Cleveland Beer Week specials and I decided on a Bell’s Lager of the Lakes. It was described as refreshing as a morning swim in the Great Lakes, something I don’t really want to try in October. But it was refreshing. The beer was light and the Pils and Munich malts were nicely balanced. Perfect with my chicken Philly sandwich.

And since I was trying to squeeze a lot into my day, I headed over to Lilly’s Chocolates where owner Amanda Montague was pouring beer floats. If you’ve never been to Lilly’s, it’s a gem in the Tremont area. You can find craft beer, fine wine, and beautiful handmade chocolates all in one stop. Now that’s all kinds of awesome. The day’s choices were varied: Lindeman’s Framboise with Mitchell’s Vanilla Bean, Vintage Stone Russian Imperial Stout with Handel’s Double Chocolate Chunk, Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee stout with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream’s Cherry Lambic Sorbet & Trappist Rochefort 10 with East Coast Custard’s Buttered Pecan. Each garnished with truffles.

I went with the Southern Tier and Jeni’s ice cream, served with a chocolate Amanda called a Boozy Suzy. I’m not a big cherry fan, so the ice cream was my least favorite part of it, but the pretty dessert was absolutely delicious. I loved the creaminess of the stout paired with the chocolate truffle, and if I’m ever going to like cherry ice cream, this is how I’ll eat it, thanks. My husband Paul was with me, and he tried the Vintage Stone stout over the double chocolate chunk ice cream. Wow, that was an explosion of chocolate in a cup!  Paul and I will be doing dessert at our dinner club this month, and I see us putting together some special beer floats for our group. Thanks for the idea, Amanda!

Later that evening, after a little Tiger football and watching my daughter play her saxophone with the marching band, I headed over to Parnell’s Pub in Cleveland Heights to meet up with my friend Rebecca, bartending to raise money for the APL. Appropriately enough, the guest brewer was Thirsty Dog Beer from Akron. The small Irish-themed pub was the perfect place to warm up after a chilly night in the stands at the game. I’d heard that they’d already tapped their 12 Dogs of Christmas holiday beer, so I started with that. The spices were just right–and the beer not quite as big as the Great Lakes Christmas Ale (which is being tapped on Monday). Dare I say I think I liked it a little more than Great Lakes? I may have to do another taste test, with GLBC Christmas Ale at the table.

My next pint was their Pumpkin Ale, and so far I’m ranking it second (after the Pumking). Tom, the brewer from Thirsty Dog, spent some time at our table, and he told us that they hand roast 120 pounds of pumpkin in small batches for each of their batches of the seasonal brew. And he said, all the pumpkin they use comes from local patches. It was delicious–and went down too easy. If I wasn’t driving I would have had another.  I really like the Thirsty Dog beers so far, and must make a trip down to Akron for a brewery tour.

Now there is just one day of Beer Week left to go. It starts in the morning with a judging of home brews and Son of BREWzilla, and ends with the BREWzilla event. I’m thinking nap somewhere in the middle!

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