Cleveland’s much-anticipated spring season is finally upon us... although it’s true that, this year, it almost felt like it never left. Of course, few things pair better with warm sunshine (or April showers, for that matter -- it's Cleveland, after all) than a cold beer. And as one of the best beer cities in America, Cleveland has an impressive number of breweries serving up fresh batches of award-winning, warm-ish weather brews. Here are eight of the best to stock up on this spring.
Griffin Cider Works After Burner
Ginger cider, 6.5%
Made with fresh Hawaiian ginger and finished with just a touch of brown sugar, After Burner is the perfect mix of refreshment and warmth. Griffin’s British-born cider master recommends serving this not-too-sweet cider over ice. Cor blimey, that’s good.
Platform Beer Co. Hubris
Quadruple IPA, 11%
Not for the faint of heart, Hubris is a quadruple IPA radiating a hazy golden orange hue from the absurd amount of hops. Grab yourself a glass of this uniquely potent brew, head out to Platform’s patio, and nurse your beer under the stars all night long. Of course, we won’t judge if you head back inside for seconds.
Fat Head's Bumble Berry
Honey blueberry ale, 5.3%
Although Fat Head’s Bumble Berry is available almost all year round, this fruity ale truly shines in the warmer months with some farm-fresh blueberries dropped into the bottom of your glass. Be warned: wait times at Fat Head’s wildly popular brewery can be truly insane. Luckily, Bumble Berry can be found at local bars, restaurants, and shops all over town.
Great Lakes Brewing Company Steady Rollin'
Session IPA, 4.8%
Great Lakes’ reputation precedes it, meaning pretty much any brew that comes from this Cleveland institution is guaranteed to impress. However, many of its flavorful brews also come with a hefty ABV. Refreshing and light-bodied, with bright grapefruit and passion fruit aromas, Steady Rollin’ is the perfect option for spring and summertime sipping.
Market Garden Brewery Prosperity Wheat
Wheat ale, 6%
Come spring, Market Garden’s lively patio is one of the best in town, where you can hide away from Ohio City’s main drag. The Bavarian-style hefeweizen blends sweet wheat and pale malts with clove and banana aromatics, transporting you, albeit momentarily, and only in the existential sense, to a German beer garden with each taste. Prost!
Portside Distillery Grapeshot
Few tastes are more evocative of summer than the tang of citrus. Portside’s punchy grapefruit-infused IPA is brewed with a generous amount of Centennial and Citra hops. Downing a glass of Grapeshot is like taking a big bite of its namesake fruit, except way more fun. While you’re at it, don’t miss Portside’s equally great house-made rum (we like the Vanilla Maple).
The BottleHouse Brewing Co. Plum City
Since opening its doors in 2013, BottleHouse has gained a devoted following for its exceptionally enjoyable brewskis. (It is now set to open a sour beer facility in Lakewood later this month.) Visit the original location in Cleveland Heights for a glass of Plum City gose, a German-style beer brewed with wheat, coriander, salt, and plums. With such a modest alcohol content, a few refills won't kill you.
The Brew Kettle Summer Rays
Wheat ale, 5.2%
Summer’s actual rays are almost shining down -- thank God. Until that glorious day, enjoy Summer Rays, Brew Kettle’s take on a Belgian-style unfiltered wheat ale, flavored with coriander, orange, and lemon peel. And what could pair better with a warm weather brew than a nice plate of Cleveland BBQ? Dig in.
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Great Lakes Brewing Company is a microbrewery success story: what started out in 1986 as a tiny, experimental brewery in an industry hostile to anyone but macro-producers became, unto itself, an empire that has come to lord over the Ohio City suds scene. Set in the former Schlather Brewing Company space, GLBC shells out celebrated Midwestern beers like the Christmas Ale, which has earned a cultish holiday following, and the Eliot Ness, named for a Prohibition-era cop who frequented the pub that's now GLBC's taproom.