Schnitzel with potato pancakes, sauerkraut
and apple sauce at the Buckeye Beer
Engine. It was damn good.
I spent the past week in Cleveland, Ohio visiting family. It started out as a whirlwind. I think I saw every one of my living relatives within three days. Fortunately for the beer geek that I am, the Traveling Road Show slowed down by Wednesday and I had the opportunity to take some time to visit a few brewpubs in the city.
Turns out, Cleveland is more than the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, three cursed sports franchises and dreary winters plagued by lake effect snow. Like many large mid-western cities, Cleveland also has a lot of good ethnic food and good beer. While I was up there, I got to have plenty of both: paprikash, perogies, halusky, kielbasa, schnitzel and pastries. Then there’s the Italian food…
Potato and cheese perogies sauteed in butter, onions and garlic. Perogies are essentially Polish ravioli and can be filled with various fillings: dried cottage cheese, cabbage, meat, fruit, etc.
By the way, did I mention the pastries? I don’t know why they don’t have great bakeries down south, but they just don’t compare to the ones up north. One morning we bought an amazing spread of pastries and doughnuts from Fragapane Bakery in North Olmstead. Holy smoke! Bear claws, cannoli, strudel, danish and the best doughnuts I’ve probably ever had. The custard-filled doughnuts were actually filled with custard, unlike Dunkin which puts a little squirt in the middle. Pshaw! (And by the way, that entire spread to the right was $6.70!)
So I’ve gone on long enough about the food. What about the beer??? Rest assured, there was good beer to be found.
If you find yourself in Cleveland, the place to start is Great Lakes Brewing Company. They are the biggest brewery in the city and they make genuinely good beer. They have 5 year-round selections and several seasonals.
On my last trip to Cleveland in 2004, we had dinner at the pub that accompanies the brewery. I don’t remember much about that experience, but I do remember that I really enjoyed the Elliot Ness Amber Lager, which I believe is their top seller. This trip I grabbed a six-pack of the Commodore Perry IPA at Giant Eagle (or was it Great Eagle?). Excellent IPA. Hoppy, aromatic and citrusy, it hit all my hot spots.
We didn’t make it to Great Lakes this time around. Rather, we focused on finding local brewpubs, trying to get a more complete picture of the Cleveland beer scene. Each day this week, I’ll be posting a review of the four brewpubs we hit on our trip:
- Tuesday: Rocky River Brewing Company
- Wednesday: Buckeye Beer Engine
- Thursday: Cornerstone Brewing Company
- Friday: The Brew Kettle