Cleveland Beer Week: Wednesday

by Renee on October 21, 2010

I’ve heard several people remark that “Every week is Beer Week in Cleveland.” And while there is always a good beer to be had at your local pub, or at one of the downtown hot spots, the special offerings put together this week in celebration of hops has just been amazing. I’ve really enjoyed the tappings, the food and most importantly, the conversations around good beer that I’ve been having this week.

My Wednesday evening of Beer Week began with a seat at the bar at the Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood. My friend Sally has been raving about the place, and this was my first time there. She was right–the Beer Engine is awesome! They had a great selection of beers on draft, and as part of my October pumpkin beer tasting agenda, I started with a Heavy Seas Great Pumpkin. It had a nice spice to it–more than the Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale, but not as much as (my favorite) Southern Tier Pumking. I probably should have taken a photo, but I looked down and it was gone.

Because it’s always a good idea to have something hearty to eat while beer tasting, I ordered the homemade potato pancakes. They came from the kitchen hot and perfectly fried–with sour cream and warm applesauce right on the plate. They were delicious, and went perfectly with the pumpkin brew. While I enjoyed my beer and pancakes, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the founders of the Ohio chapter of Girls’ Pint Out beer club–Lauren Boveington. She spends her days working in the marketing department of Great Lakes Brewing Company, and has been working to get this new venture going in our area. Lauren says there has been a lot of interest, so look them up if you’re an angel of ale! You’ll find the group on Facebook and Twitter as well as their own website.

My next stop was at the very busy Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th Street. For $18, Chef Jonathon Sawyer offered some nice pairings with Saison style beers. The flight (pictured in this order) included Buckeye Brewing Cask Conditioned Saison de Maison, Victory, Stone and Dogfish Head Saison du Buff. My favorite was the Buckeye Brewing Cask.

Those came paired with pork cracklins, a crispy hominy with pickled red onions and lime juice, and a paté. All excellent. While I sat at the bar enjoying my fare, Chef Brian Goodman came out from the kitchen to chat. He said the Beer Week events had been very well-attended at the Greenhouse so far. A little later into the evening he sent a fantastic taste of Devils on Horseback to me. Bacon-wrapped dates with bitter chocolate and red pepper. Unbelieveably good, thank you, Chef!

So with all the talk about excellent craft beers, I have to mention one of my favorite conversations of the night. A young man sat down next to me at the Greenhouse, and without hesitation the bartender brought him what was obviously his regular request: a Blatz beer in a can. I couldn’t help but smile. Heath introduced himself as a sous chef at a nearby restaurant, and we got to talking about our first beer memories–his was having that Blatz or a Black Label from out of his grandmother’s refrigerator. I recalled sipping the foam from the lip of a can of beer at neighborhood crab feasts when I was growing up in Maryland–and while craft beers are certainly wonderful and have their place, there is nothing wrong with a trip down memory lane with the occasional can of cold PBR or that Blatz. I know Heath would agree.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

joe October 22, 2010 at 1:04 am

I was weaned on Stroh’s, the only beer my dad drank. He referred to it as “Passion Beer,” as it was fire brewed. He also called it SHORTS, as that is Strohs spelled backwards. Great memories.

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Renee October 22, 2010 at 1:38 am

Love those kinds of beer memories, Joe. Thanks for stopping by.

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