What do you suppose a brewery does when it's on the road, visiting a new market? Go and see other breweries, of course! Our trip to Cleveland, OH has been an interesting ride so far. Monday was spent traveling and preparing for Fernson's debut at the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland. After sharing our Farmhouse Ale and IPA with hundreds and hundreds of people, we retired back to our hotel by 1:00 a.m. What a great night of meeting people, introducing Fernson to people from across the country, and enjoying Turnpike Troubadours and Better Than Ezra from the HOB stage.
Today, as we awoke from our slumber, we had a goal in mind; let's explore Cleveland's craft brewing scene. As a brewery, we love to see what other breweries are doing and brewing. After meeting with our distributor in Brecksville, OH, we had the pleasure of visiting some key accounts in the Cleveland area (and even getting some draft lines!) Then it was off to see some breweries: We were able to meet the owner of Great Lakes Brewing Company as we had lunch at his place and were able to taste through a flight of his beers. Situated on a side street paved with bricks, this brewery/brew pub was established in 1988 (that's almost 30 years ago!) and has moved most of its production across the street in a formidable sized building.
A newer and impressive brewery that we visited was Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland. The brew pub here had a weird charm about it, the ceiling cluttered with medieval-looking chandeliers. This small brewery has exploded onto the scene, producing over 20,000 barrels annually. We peeked into their original brewery in the back of the pub. It almost looked like they took a carwash and turned into a small brewery. Nonetheless, it accomplished the job of producing beer; in fact, they produce so much beer that they just finished renovating an old building to house their new, giant mash tun, lauter tun, boil kettle, and fermentation tanks. Very impressive to say the least.
We've been told that Cleveland is the 5th largest craft beer market in the country, and after seeing only some of Cleveland in a few hours, we believe it! We are grateful to be here for the House of Blues events this week, and we look forward to representing South Dakota in the craft beer arena that is alive and well in Ohio.
Well, back to the show. Looks like Big and Rich will be taking the stage soon! Better get them a Fernson Farmhouse Ale and IPA!!