I found myself in cold, snowy, icy, and oh, did I mention, COLD Cleveland over the weekend. I don't believe I've ever worn so many layers and was still frozen to the bone. This must be why there are so many pubs in Cleveland, one after the next, all within staggering distance of one another. One of the best, and more popular, pub turned brewery turned restaurant, is the Great Lakes Brewing Company, the first microbrewery in Cleveland. We stopped in for lunch, all 13 of us, and a round of their famous Christmas Ale, a seasonal brew made with honey, with hints of ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Apparently it reached such a level of popularity last year, it was virtually impossible to find.
We sat at a long Colonial style table by a roaring fire, which made the whole meal feel incredibly festive. Our obliging waitress happily brought us round after round of home brewed beers, all deliciously unique. The Christmas Ale lived up to its name, reminding me of all the holiday scents, sweet and spicy. For lunch, I had the Pretzel Chicken, an Amish-raised chicken breast, roasted in a crust of crush pretzels and herbs, with wilted spinach, mashed potatoes, and a creamy mustard ale sauce. My dad ordered the Walleye, a fish you wouldn't normally see on a menu, served pan roasted with lemon caper butter. Both were good, maybe a tad on the bland side, but definitely accented by the pairing of a good brew.
I love microbrews; there's something so satisfying about a hand-crafted beer. After a few pints, we bravely faced the chilly air, only to find it wasn't quite so bad anymore. Who can complain on a full stomach, and an anticipated visit to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame? If you are ever in the neighborhood of this great city, do visit this historic and storied tavern-restaurant. After such a meal, I'm a believer that Cleveland rocks.
Great Lake Brewing Company
2516 Market Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113