Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz afterwards. However, we do have two questions for you. Do you like beer and do you like learning about beer? If you’ve answered yes to both of those, then Ohio Beer Garden’s Beer Exploration Society is for you.
Speaking of beer, it’s no mystery that we at It’s Always Ohio like beer…and in fact, we like learning about beer. The Rail and Ohio Beer Garden have this sweet little class dubbed the “Beer Exploration Society,” which is exactly as it sounds. Top breweries from around Ohio come in, produce an awesome lineup of new beers, pour them for everyone and then chat about what makes them so tasty.
One session has us particularly fired up this month and that’s because one of our favorites, Market Garden Brewery, is rolling in to the Ohio Beer Garden on April 19th with a ton of awesome brews. They’ll be featuring Hellamango IPA, Prosperity Wheat, Citramax IPA and Progress Pilsner.
We’re not sure about you, but we’re getting a little thirsty just looking at those bottles. If you’ve never been to a Beer Class yet, the cost is a meager $12/person and with that you get plenty of beer tasters and appetizers to go along. The easiest way to book a seat is by calling (440) – 979 – 1001.
If you can’t make it to the Ohio Beer Garden on April 19th for Market Garden, there are three others you can meander to:
Beer Exploration Society at The Rail Strongsville – Jackie O’s Brewery
Thursday, April, 20th @ 6:00 pm
Beer Exploration Society at The Rail Canton – Columbus Brewing Co.
Thursday, April 27th @ 6:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Beer Exploration Society at The Rail Fairlawn – Four String Brewing Co.
It’s pretty evident nowadays that Cleveland, Ohio is pretty much the LeBron James of beer towns. I mean this place has deep, deep roots when it comes to concocting the nectar of the gods and has truly been an integral cog in the wheel of the craft beer revolution. Every neighborhood you walk into and seemingly every street you walk down has a great place to sit down and sip.
So we thought it’d be useful if we pointed out some of our favorites. Now with that in mind, let it be known that this list could’ve just as easily run 50 deep because let’s face it, Cleveland has more worthy beer joints than the Browns have injured quarterbacks…for the last ten years.
The Bottlehouse Brewing Company — Their motto is “Good beer for good people.” Simple, but right on. While this spot is certainly considered a craft brewery, it’s really so much more. In addition to the eight house beers on tap, they always feature six house meads as well (Our favorite is the City Mead). Go on the right night and you’ll most likely see a food truck serving up local grub too. Be sure to try out Trivia night and bingo night — Oh yes, and they have pinball.
The Rail (Various locations) — We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The Rail is awesome. Locally sourced, tastebud-melting burgers at a place that takes great pride in everything Ohio. And if you couldn’t tell, we love Ohio. If you haven’t already, check out their Beer Exploration Society — Monthly events held at various Rail locations where studious, hop-minded folks get together and chat beer.
Tremont Tap House — This bustling beer bar located on Cleveland’s Southside of historic Tremont boasts more than 100 craft brews, 48 of which you can get on draft. Let’s say that again. 100 beers with 48 on draft. That’s an insane amount of beer. You won’t feel overwhelmed though, because every person that works there can give you cliff notes on every one. Just one thing to remember, the place is always busy and for good reason. Get there early and stake your claim because if you don’t, you’ll be standing and drinking beer. Which now that we think about it, is perfectly fine too.
Great Lakes Brewing Company — If you’re talking beer and you’re talking Cleveland, you have to be talking Great Lakes. While the entire brewpub is a wonderful place, the basement beer cellar is our favorite. If you can snag it, grab the standing barrel table that’s perched above the room in the back left corner. The perfect spot for surveying the scene and sipping one of the coveted pub exclusives. Last time we had the chance to sample the crazy delicious Belgian Stout called Dark Stone Waters…and by sample, we mean polishing off four to five beers.
La Cave Du Vin — When you’re rolling with a group of friends, some may be dastardly wine drinkers and for them, you have a solution — La Cave Du Vin. If you’ve ever caught a show at The Grog Shop, than you’ve undoubtedly stopped into this small, almost secretive basement gem. As you might’ve guessed by the name, La Cave is all about wine, however, it’s huge selection of bottled beers says otherwise. So much so that I can almost guarantee they’ll have a bottle of something that will surprise the most seasoned hop head.
Hofbräuhaus Cleveland — If swinging around a Bier Stein the size of your head filled with glorious Bavarian brew while munching on schnitzel sounds like a good time, then this place is for you. Seriously though, this place is unbelievably awesome. Recreated to look exactly like the original establishment in Munich, Germany, Hofbräuhaus is like a vacation. I mean c’mon, their beer has to follow the 500 year old Bavarian Beer Purity Law, so you know it’s good. Bottom line: Some of the most fun you can have in Cleveland. Prost!
Happy Dog (Various locations) — First off, and this has nothing to do with beer, try to say “Happy Dog” without smiling. You can’t do it. Second, beer tastes so good with tubular meat and that’s why this place is so special. Just imagine a topping for your hot dog and I can almost guarantee they have it — And they’re all made in house. And on top of that, their beer selection is very good. Combine that with the vintage neighborhood vibe, great live music and boom, you’re one happy, well fed pup.
Mcnulty’s Bier Markt — For the beer purists out there, there’s Mcnulty’s. Easily one of Cleveland’s leaders in the craft beer revolution, this spot is serious about Belgian beer and you can tell from the litany of beer advice and info you’ll get. Ohio’s only Belgian beer bar has more than 100 craft beers to choose from and 30+ rotating drafts, which means there is a zero percent chance you’ll walk out without finding something to tickle your fancy. Plus, Mcnulty’s is dog friendly, so bring your best buddy along.
Have another great spot that one of your favorites? Let us know!
If you’ve ever popped into The Rail for a burger or the City Square Steakhouse in Wooster for a mouth-watering steak, you’ve probably noticed whoever owns these spots has a particular affinity for everything Ohio. We really like that. That gentleman is Mike Mariola, restauranteur, beer lover and founder of a new joint in North Olmsted dubbed Ohio Beer Garden. Much like The Rail, the Ohio Beer Garden will share that same love of the state of Ohio…just in liquid form.
Ohio Beer Garden, the newest Mike Mariola Restaurants concept located next to The Rail – North Olmsted, is bringing a unique sense of brewing camaraderie to northeast Ohio with a communal gathering place. Ohio Beer Garden will feature 24 limited-edition beers on draught, Ohio spirits and wines, weekly live music, a shuffleboard table, board games (yes, board games and a shuffleboard!) and TVs for catching the game in this relaxed indoor/outdoor space. The fun, casual atmosphere is reminiscent of a brewery tasting room/German beer hall.
The fast and simple menu offers pizza and snacks for sharing, and guests are also encouraged to bring in food from home or from their favorite take-out spot. A small retail area will accompany a mix-and-match bottle selection and lucky for all of us, all draft beers will be available to-go in growlers.
The Grand Opening kicks off Friday, October 14 with an official ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. followed by a Growler Giveaway at 6 p.m.
Ohio Beer Garden is open everyday at 3 p.m. and located at 402 Great Northern Blvd. You can reach them at 440-979-1001 or by visiting www.ohiobeergarden.com.
No doubt you’ve seen a few Valentines’s Day posts pop up in your FaceBook feed a month or two ago, yet dismissed them with a procrastination that’s unfortunately present in most of us. This is precisely why I decided to come up with a few ideas four measly days before because let’s face it, we’ve all waited until now anyway.
Fly by the seat of your pants and road trip to an event
Celebrate your last minute creativity and pop on down to Wooster, Ohio for their 10th annual Chocolate Daze. Since this event runs from Friday, February 12 to Saturday, February 13, you’ll really have to beat feet. The event showcases 25+ merchants offering up confectionary specials during their regular business hours. And as a bonus you get to explore the streets of Wooster, which are undeniably sweet.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to involve chocolate and wine. How about the tasty tunes of a Los Angeles-based Journey tribute band collaborating with the Columbus Symphony? Time-defying power ballads are always romantic, especially “Faithfully.” Showtime is 8:00 pm on Saturday and tickets range from $25 – $68.
Playing games together can be really romantic. Leaning over your loved one while you gently direct the pool cue in the right direction or taking ahold of a bowling ball at the same time during a moment on the lanes — yikes, it’s getting hot in here. The Punch Bowl offers billiards, bowling, ping pong, old school arcade games, board games, darts and shuffleboard. Combine that with a locally sourced, organic ingredient driven menu at the GastroDiner and you’re looking at a date night hit.
It’s tough to find something more romantic than a Valentine’s Day riverboat cruise on the Ohio River. Like the folks at B & B say, let the captain be your cupid. While I don’t usually condone buffets, the menu includes chocolate short ribs, which I’m thinking can’t be bad. Act quickly though as Sunday is the last weekend boat available. Total price for two is around $110.
Much fresher than your old pickup lines, one thing will stand out here: ingredients. One of the best new restaurants in the area, The Orchard creatively prepares phenomenal dishes that are focused on natural and locally grown ingredients. Visit their FaceBook page to check out their long list of Valentine’s Day specials, which span the length of the entire weekend. I’ll put my money on the lobster-stuffed portabella mushrooms. Make sure to check out there tremendous specialty cocktails as well.
A burger and a beer may not seem like the most romantic thing ever, but c’mon, their burger of the month is called The Heartbreaker — A blend of Ohio beef & Ohio andouille sausage topped with sweet roasted red pepper cream cheese spread, lettuce and tomato. Then of course you must wash it down with a rare Cincinnati beer, which are cameoed on tap for the special month-long FeBREWary event. Painstakingly focused on all things Ohio, it makes perfect sense to celebrate Valentine’s Day Ohio-style here. Plus, who want’s to dress up anyway? Just one more suggestion, try the Truth IPA from Rhinegeist.
Now this one could go one of two ways. It’s either “Wow, that’s such an ridiculously unique and fun idea,” or “Wow, you’re dumb. Let’s go eat somewhere and get chocolate afterward.” But of course you know whether or not your significant other is a beer drinker/runner, so it’ll most likely be a fairly educated decision. The race does come with a box of locally made Kilwin’s chocolates and a cold beer, so that makes it quite a bit more enticing. The 10K starts at 3:00 pm and the 5K starts at 3:15 pm. There’s also a costume contest so be sure to dress up and then head over to Brixx Ice Company for the afterparty.
There’s a reason chocolate is the unrivaled Valentine’s Day king and Tre Sorelle is the perfect example why. Consistently ranked very high among the Ohio confectioner elite, these ladies really turn out the tasty truffles. Alliteration aside, I’m serious, these things are unbelievable. Merlot. Apple Pie. Raspberry Champagne. Ice Wine. Take your pick, you will not be disappointed. Or just go for the chocolate-dipped strawberries, because those always work.
Is there a place in Ohio that just has be on this list? Please share below, on Twitter @ItsAlwaysOhio or on FaceBook!