For our 26th and final Bar League get together of 2016, we met in Ohio City at Great Lakes Brewing Co. Great Lakes is known for their Christmas Ale, so it just felt right to meet there days before Christmas while the ale is still on tap!
Great Lakes has called Ohio City home since 1986, long before the area was as trendy and popular as it is today. Their brewery was the first to open after the city's final brewery closed its doors earlier in the 80s. The Conway brothers were pioneers that since founding GLBC, have won numerous awards for their beer which is now distributed across the country. Craft beer is incredibly popular in Cleveland today, especially in the Ohio City area, thanks to the Conways who paved the way.
Great Lakes covers three floors, and an outdoor patio, so you have several bars and seating areas to choose from. The bar in the basement beer cellar is very cozy and warm, and feels like a hidden cavern underground. The main bar in the taproom has distinct character and is one of the most beautiful bars in Cleveland, in my opinion. One of my friends even had a couple of wedding photos taken here on her rainy wedding day! Upstairs, there is additional seating. They host "Geeks Who Drink" trivia there on Tuesdays. Lastly, there is a lovely beer garden complete with a cobblestone patio that is usable year-round, thanks to the retractable roof.
The brewery at Great Lakes is a living piece of history. Stop by for a tour on the weekends to see how it is made, and stick around after do enjoy a few brews with friends. Everyone has their favorite GLBC beer. Dortmunder Gold is a crowd pleaser. If you go during the holidays, you've got to have a Christmas Ale. If you love a particular beer, stop in their gift shop and pick up a six pack! In 2017, GLBC will be releasing five new brews.
GLBC also has an impressive restaurant. There is something on the menu for everyone. Not only is the food delicious, but it is locally sourced. Some of it is even grown down the street at Ohio City Farm, which may be one of the largest urban farms in the country. GLBC incorporates sustainability into their brewing and restaurant operations. They even use french fry oil to fuel their "Fatty Wagon," an energy-efficient shuttle bus that guests can take from the brewpub to the Tribe & Cavs games downtown!
It feels good to support local breweries that are as dedicated to their people, environment, and community as Great Lakes is. Out of all of the bars we have toured in 2016, this one is surely near the top of the list. Take a Saturday afternoon to tour their production facility and enjoy a cold pint with friends this winter!
PS... Still deciding what to do for New Year's Eve? How about Brew Year's Eve at GLBC? Tickets are $75.