You've had their beers, now get to know the folks making the mad science of zymurgy happen and how they got to do what they do.
Fat Head's Brewery
Years at Brewery: 4
Previous experience: Baltimore Brewing, Great Lakes Brewing, Rocky River
Brewhouse capacity per batch: 10 barrels at the brewpub, 25 barrels at the production facility
Annual output: 14,000 barrels total. 2,000 at the brewpub and 12,000 barrels at the production facility
Brewing philosophy: "I go back to the origin of the source, meet brewers, tour their breweries and implement the things I learn into our beers."
Gateway craft beer: "Baltimore Brewing Co. DeGroens Pils. It was one of the best pilsner's in the world. Sadly, it has since closed."
Favorite beer to pour at events: "Head Hunter IPA, 'cause I'm hop stoopid."
Brew Kettle Production Works
Years at Brewery: 4 ½
Previous experience: Medina Roadhouse, Willoughby Brewing Co.
Brewhouse capacity per batch: 20
Annual output: 4,500 barrels this year; should be knocking on 10,000 barrels next year
Favorite beer to pour at events: "Besides one-offs (because it's fun to bring out something new) I will have to state the obvious answer and go with White Rajah. I still love to see the reactions of local hopheads who haven't had it. I'm not seeing as many of those people anymore, which I guess is a good thing!"
Gateway craft beer: "Sam Adams Cream Stout and Theakston Old Peculiar got me into home brewing. I was a dark and malty guy back then."
Years at Brewery: 7
Previous experience: None, other
than home brewing in my kitchen
Brewhouse capacity per batch: 15
Annual output: 495 to 530 barrels
Brewing philosophy: "If at first you don't succeed, well, at least it's beer!"
Gateway craft beer: "My go-to beer is anything produced locally. But the beer that got me brewing was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale."
Favorite beer to brew: "My favorite beer to brew is the next weird concoction that I have never brewed before. There are so many styles and variations that when a new one pops up in my head I can't wait to make it."
Willoughby Brewing Company
Years at Brewery: 2 ½
Previous experience: Home brewer
for 20 years
Brewhouse capacity per batch: 15
Annual output: 1,560 barrels
Brewing philosophy: "Flavorful, stylistically accurate beers that are well-attenuated and free of defects. Whether I'm making a hop-forward or malt-forward style, I like to be sure the appropriate character stands out."
Gateway craft beer: "I have become a huge fan of lambic-style beers. When I'm at a beer store, I often pick up a bottle of a gueuze to enjoy. The style is so unique and complex that I savor every sip."
Favorite beer to pour at events: "Without a doubt, the most fun I have at beer events is watching the faces of people who drink Peanut Butter Cup Porter for the first time. They're not quite sure what to expect. Some think it's a gimmick, others say there is no way they will like it. But then they drink it and you can see their eyes widen and they enthusiastically run to a friend to give them a taste."
Garin C. Wright
Buckeye Brewing Company
Years at Brewery: 16
Brewing philosophy: "I've always based recipe design on a combination of books and style guidelines. To aid in brewing batches consistently, I use a spreadsheet. When it comes to experimenting, I pick up on ideas from home brewers. I'm currently trending towards brewing quaffable beer using fruit and spices."
Go-to craft beer: "I don't really have a go-to beer. I remember some of the hip beers we drank at fests in the early '90s such as Sam Adams, Sam Smith's and Newcastle Brown. But the one that left the biggest impression on me at that time was Pete's Wicked Ale. It was a unique flavor to me. That's what got me into home brewing, and later professional brewing."
Favorite beer to brew: "My favorite beer to brew is always the one I've never brewed before. It's also the one I like to pour at events. There is nothing better than brewing something different for the very first time."
Indigo Imp Brewery
Years at Brewery: 5
Brewhouse capacity per batch: 7 barrels
Annual output: 600 barrels
Brewing philosophy: "I try to brew beers based on traditional methods as they may have been brewed originally 150 years ago, not 15 years ago."
Gateway craft beer: "I love to drink Saison DuPont. It's flavorful and refreshing with just a touch of sourness."
Favorite beer to brew: "Gatekeeper Porter. The large amounts and variety of dark and roasted malt smells wonderful."
Owner / Director of Brewing
and Distilling Operations
Years at Brewery: 1/2
Previous experience: Great Lakes
Brewhouse capacity per batch: 7 barrels Brewing philosophy: "Brew great beer. Understand traditional styles yet don't be confined by them. Be creative, push limits and set yourself apart from the rest. Be confident and take pleasure in making beer (or spirits) that people love."
Gateway craft beer: "Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier was my first great beer. I had it about 20 years ago when I was a student in Germany. It still remains my go-to beer on these hot summer days."
Favorite beer to pour at events: "216. It's a great local dry-hopped pale ale, very sessionable and great for this warm weather."