We drove into Cleveland in a rainstorm, but were pleased to meet Great Lakes Brewing Company on a sunny, tree-lined side street (actually, we found the brewery and tasting room (designated for private events) first, but an employee redirected us.)
Established in 1988, it is clear why Great Lakes has been in existence for 20 years. All of the beers we had were bold and true to style. We knew most of these brews from bottles, but this was our chance to have them on tap!
The place was really nice – a little outside eating area that needed to dry up a bit, and inside on the first floor, a nice bar and dining area overlooking the brew works area. On the way downstairs, it looks like they are modeling a Tuscan garden seating area (indoor and outdoor with a wood-fired oven on display), and the Beer Cellar area has rustic beauty with lots of stone accented by wood beams (we didn’t visit the 2nd floor.) Best of all, every seating area, including the bar and the outside dining, was non-smoking!
I started at the bar with a 12 oz of Holy Moses (they were out of their pub exclusive hefeweisen – Market Street Wheat – a German style hefe with hints of clove and banana.) Holy Moses on draught is even better than the bottle. This Belgian-style Wit is 5.4% ABV, and has a gorgeous milky golden yellow color in the glass. The smell of citrus and flavor of chamomile made this a light, pleasant choice for a sunny summer day starter beer.
D started with a pint of our favorite “every day” beers – the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. From the nose right through the finish, roastiness prevails with this beer! Sweetness and smokiness are paired in this perfect porter. A wait staff person noticed our cracked glass, and immediately brought another pint out – very attentive!
We moved to a sunny table by the street for lunch. The menu is as impressive as the beer choices. A nice selection of creative foods to please vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters. The lunch menu includes Butternut Squash and Tomato Risotto, Bratwurst and Peirogi, Sweet Potato Pork Pie, Taro Burger (vegan) and a section of Tuscan wood-fired pizzas. I ordered the Vegetarian Chili Rellenos – Anheim chili peppers stuffed with tempeh, garlic, cumin and cheese, served with black bean salad and tomato coulils. D ordered Grilled Halibut Filet Sandwich (Alaskan halibut on a Zoss ciabatta roll). The presentation was absolutely beautiful!
My nest beer would have been Moondog Ale (an English Best Bitter at 5.4% ABV),, but it was unavailable, so I had the Burning River American Pale Ale (6.0% ABV.) The nose was citrusy with excellent hop bitterness. It was an excellent suggestion for pairing with the bold flavors of my meal!
D had a pint of the pub exclusive draft Commodore Perry IPA. At 8.0%, we assume this would not be available by the pitcher (the menu said beers with 7%+ are not available in pitchers!) He was really pleased with it, while I thought it lacked hoppiness in the aroma. The flavor was not disappointing.
We finished the meal by sharing an Edmund Fitzgerald Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream, made exclusively for
Great Lakes by Mitchell’s Ice Cream. It pulled the roastiness of E.F. into a refreshing cold treat with sizable smooth chunks of dark chocolate. I decided that I if I lived in Cleveland, I would live at this place! The pints were reasonably priced at $3.75, and the menu, atmosphere and service were terrific!
Things we didn’t drink…
Dortmunder Gold (Golden Lager; ABF Gold medal winner; ABV 5.8%)
EliotNess (Ambeer Lager; ABV 6.2%)