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Christmas Ale And A Pittsburgh Invasion

Not to be left out of the holiday hoo-ha, Willoughby Brewing (4057 Erie St., 440.975.0202, willoughbybrewing.com) is cooking up a batch of its popular Wenceslas Christmas Ale. Named after Good King Wenceslas, the spiced brown ale features aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Also on tap for a very limited time is their Imperial Oatmeal Stout, a veritable pork chop in a glass.

Cleveland, get ready for a Pittsburgh invasion - and no, it isn't Bill Cowher. That city's popular Fat Heads Saloon, a South Side institution, has exported its first franchise. Scheduled to open by the end of this year, Fat Heads Brewery & Saloon is located in the former Danny Boy Farm Market (24579 Lorain Rd. in North Olmsted.) The sprawling complex will feature indoor and outdoor seating, including a bar that accommodates 40, a game room and parking for hundreds. Like the original, the C-Town version will serve "Headwiches," overstuffed sandwiches bearing geographically relevant monikers. But unlike its sibling to the east, this one also has a Southern Pride pit that will turn out hickory-smoked wings, ribs, pulled pork and brisket, and a brick oven for hand-tossed pizzas. The kitchen will be in the hands of chef-partner Derek Wilson, who cooked for years at Great Lakes Brewing. But perhaps the biggest draw will be the suds. Partner and brewmaster Matt Cole, an 11-year alum of Rocky River Brewing, will pour about a dozen of his own creations, as well as another two dozen quality guest beers. Cole is banking on a win right out of the gate. "We got good brewing equipment, a good team of guys, a really great build-out happening, and Fat Heads is a recognizable brand, so we should hit the ground running," he says.

Chef Joshua Montague has left his post at the Tremont Tap House (2572 Scranton Rd., 216.298.4451, tremonttaphouse.com) to work full time with his wife Amanda at Lilly Handmade Chocolates (761 Starkweather Ave., 216.771.3333, lillytremont.com). "We're doing so well here [at Lilly] that my wife needed the help," explains Montague. His replacement at the Tap House is Dan Cassano, formerly the executive sous at Blue Point Grille. "You'll start to see some subtle changes to the menu," says partner Jason Workman. "We will add some sushi, for example." In other Tap House news: The upstairs renovation is nearly complete. When done it will house a main dining room and lounge area with cocktail service for longer waits. dining@clevescene.com

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