After our “wild and crazy” Wednesday night in Cleveland at the Rocky River Brewing Co. and The Buckeye Beer Engine, we slowed things down on Thursday. We decided to go to the Cornerstone Brewing Company in Berea for lunch with my parents.
My parents are not the biggest drinkers. As a matter of fact, I never remember having beer in the fridge or liquor in the cabinet. My mom would occasionally have a Bartles & Jaymes, but that was the extent of it. The only beer my dad would drink was Corona, and he averaged about two a year. Despite this inauspicious history, my parents have been pretty receptive to trying all these “crazy” new beers I keep bringing around.
Surprisingly, my mom has liked a lot more of the craft beer that I’ve given them to sample than my dad has. She really enjoys the roasted coffee flavors of stouts and the citrus hopiness of some IPAs. My dad can’t seem to get past the bitterness of hops, but at least he’ll try a sip.
Cornerstone is located in the heart of downtown Berea. It’s a quaint little square and a nice place to sit and have a beer out on the sidewalk. It was a bit sunny and warm, so we didn’t sit outside.
The food at Cornerstone was very good. I appreciated that they used their own beer as an ingredient in many of their dishes. To me, that’s a no brainer for any brewpub, and I would not trust a brewpub that didn’t do that. It shows a lack of imagination, or at least a lack of collaboration between the brewery and the kitchen.
We all enjoyed our meal selections. I had a beer battered hoki sandwich, although I got half way through the sandwich before I realized that I enjoyed the fish more without the bun. The bun took away from the flavor of the batter. Nicole got a tasty beer onion soup that used Cornerstone’s dark lager.
The beer selections that we sampled were good, but unspectacular. Although, I feel that our experience was handicapped because they were out of the Seven IPA and their stout. If you ever read my blog, you know those are my two favorite styles, so my perspective on the beer is incomplete.
Here’s what I thought about the beer that I sampled:
Golden lager with a creamy malt body. It had a bready finish with a tinge of bitterness.
An orange amber Marzen lager. It was much maltier than the Grindstone. It has a sweet, bready aroma with a floral hop character. It finished dirty. I don’t know exactly how to explain dirty, other than it wasn’t bad, just dirty. Anyway, I don’t know what I’m talking about. (A bit of history, Berea was at one time the sandstone capital of the world. Until a couple decades ago, there was a huge sandstone quarry there. Now it’s a lake.)
A “steam” ale. You don’t see much of this style, so I give them credit for branching out. There wasn’t much aroma, but it did have a caramel malty flavor and a bitter finish.
Apricot aroma and flavor in this wheat ale. Not a lot of spices like coriander or bitter orange peel that you often find in wheat beers. It was focused mainly on the fruit profile.
By far the most interesting Cornerstone beer. This one had deep yellow color and a floral, lavender aroma. The flavor was very herbal and spicy. Ginger and lavender were apparent. No bitterness was detectable. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of the gruit I brewed, except not nearly as pungent. This one is much more “pleasant” than the gruit, which will likely knock an unsuspecting drinker on their ass.
Slight blueberry aroma. The flavor had a tart blueberry flavor. It was a sweet beer and was a bit medicinal, almost like cough syrup. The more I try different blueberry beers, the more I find how difficult they are to successfully pull off. A very challenging style.
Biscuit malt aroma. It had a slight roasted toffee flavor and was very sweet. It finished pretty bitter, but the balance swung heavily to the sweet side.