Welcome to the first installment of Scene's new Cleveland Craft Beer Report. This recurring feature will provide news as it relates to Cleveland and Northeast Ohio breweries, including new beer releases. As always, this news is best read with a cold craft beer in hand.
Portside Distillery can now claim the title of "Cleveland's Newest Brewery" after delivering its first kegs to the local marketplace. "The reception we have received in releasing our beer and rum has been wonderful," says owner Dan Malz. "We are the first brewery/distillery in Ohio, and the community has given us great support. Being the first distillery in Cleveland since Prohibition has also been exciting." So far, Man O' War, a 9 percent ABV Double India Pale Ale, and Hop Death, a 6.66 percent ABV "hop bomb" have surfaced alongside an Imperial Maple Stout and Session Ale. Look for Portside to open their restaurant and bar by mid-summer, complete with 6 house beers and 18 rotating guest taps.
Fat Heads keeps cranking out world-class, pub-exclusive beers. Recently, the monstrous IBUsive IPA was tapped, and while the name is recycled from brewer Matt Cole's Rocky River Brewing days, the beer is anything but a retread. This new-school, West Coast-style "experimental" IPA features the mighty Mosaic hop, an offspring of Simcoe and Nugget with even more citrus (think intense mango and stone fruit with less of Simcoe's signature cattiness). The beer is juicy, dry and delicious. Try this: Arrange a side-by-side tasting of Fat Heads' IBUsive and Great Lakes' new seasonal brew, Alchemy Hour, which also features Mosaic but in a double IPA with a bit more alcohol.
Why is Lent Doppelbock season? While the name literally translates to "double bock," perhaps a better historical translation would be "liquid bread." German monks used to brew this strong, malty beer as their only means of sustenance during the 46-day fast leading up to Easter Sunday. There's not a lot of festivity during times of fasting, but that won't stop Akron's Hoppin' Frog from celebrating the release of its own version of strong bock. With Karminator Imperial Doppelbock, named after founder and head brewer Fred Karm, Hoppin' Frog will be filling mugs and bellies across the state and beyond with a massive malty lager so filling you might skip dinner. Look for 22-ounce bottles at your favorite craft beer shop right about now.
While Ohio can't claim as many breweries or national accolades as California or Colorado, we do have a great craft beer community with a strong online presence. Stone Brewing Co. from Escondido, CA agrees. That's why they're shipping Ohio the next batch of Enjoy By IPA, which features the freshness expiration date right in the name. Enjoy By 04.01.13 will be driven in a refrigerated truck straight from the Stone bottling line to an Ohio warehouse and will be on shelves less than three days after bottling. That's some fresh beer! If you're not lucky enough to snag a bottle or a pint on tap, you can still help Ohio "score points" with the brewery by using the hashtags #OH and #EnjoyBy.
As always, drink craft beer responsibly, preferably with friends and family! Prost! Send feedback to [email protected]. @BobbyLikesBeer