Last Wednesday, after our happy hour stint at Rocky River Brewing Co., the crew moved on to our dinner stop, the Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood. The Buckeye Beer Engine is a restaurant and pub, and while they don’t brew on site, they are affiliated with Buckeye Brewing, which is their production facility.
The Beer Engine featured three selections from Buckeye Brewing on draft, as well as over 20 other draft and 100+ bottled craft beer selections. In a sense, it’s the best of all worlds. You get the brewery’s selections as you would in a brewpub, but you also have the variety of the rest of the craft beer world.
By the time we arrived at the Beer Engine, I had successfully worked up an appetite. It took about 6 hours to digest the chicken aglio e olio I had at Dadonna’s for lunch. (By the way, I literally got four meals out of that lunch portion. It’s no wonder we have a weight problem in America! But I digress…)
I naturally ordered the Buckeye Brewing sampler. To accompany my beer, I went with the schnitzel dinner. Not only do I search for beer I have never had, but I often look for the most rare and interesting food on the menu as well. It keeps life interesting. Since it’s rare to find schnitzel in South Carolina, it seemed only appropriate that I order it.
The schnitzel did not disappoint. It was delicious! It also came with potato pancakes, sauerkraut, applesauce and Martian Lager mustard. I love it when restaurants add fruit to dishes. When paired well, it always adds an unexpected sweet twist to a dish. The applesauce was a perfect contrast to the salty, fried schnitzel. (Try adding strawberries or blueberries to a salad. It always takes it up a notch.)
I also want to mention Nicole’s meal. She ordered the fried bologna sandwich on a pretzel bun. 5 ounces of bologna. That’s a third of a pound! Of bologna! As you can see from the picture below, she was beside herself. It was glorious!
Here are my thoughts from the Buckeye Brews that we sampled:
Buckeye Wheat Cloud
The cloudy yellow color lived up to the beer’s name. This wheat beer had spiced fruit character in the aroma and palate. Unlike Rocky River’s wheat beer, which finished sweet, the Wheat Cloud had a tart finish. It reminded me of an orange sweet tart.
Amidst the IPA hop explosion we’ve had over the past few years, English bitters have been brushed aside, so I was happy to see this on tap. There wasn’t much to the aroma, but true to the style, the Yuppie finished tart with a moderate bitterness. The flavor was bready with caramel malt.
A well-done IPA. The hop aroma was great. It smelled like a bowl of fruit loops. The strong citrus hop character was balanced out by a sweet, candied malt flavor.
Beer Engine Strong Ale
This was a cask ale selection on tap. I never got a clear answer as to where this beer came from, if it was one of Buckeye’s own, or another brewery’s strong ale, but either way I had to mention it. For one, I love cask conditioned beer. It is so velvety smooth, without all the CO2 bubbles getting in the way, the flavor explodes from the beer. This selection was no exception. Dark amber and menacing, it was a hoptastic beer, with hop aroma and flavor abounding throughout. I don’t know what the gravity was, but it had a very sweet malty body. It was well-balanced and big. It was definitely my favorite beer of the night.