Our third stop on our recent mini-venture into Northeast Ohio brought us into metro Cleveland to kept us in the ever-growing craft beer destination that the Ohio City neighborhood has become, where we got to sample the small batch creations of Nano Brew.
First Impressions: "Now that looks like a nice patio area!"
Nano Brew's initial space had been that of the former Garage Bar, but more space to hunker down within was happily accepted by owner Sam McNulty when their former neighbor The Black Pig restaurant relocated just up the road. The existing bar now curls around into both spaces and the added kitchen capacity helps Nano Brew handle those who are there for some beer and grub.
One thing that did not change was the presence of Nano Brew's signature moose head, which stood steadfastly perched on the northern wall. In addition, the bicycle portrayed in Nano Brew's logo is no accident - through collaboration with the nearby Joy Machines Bike Shop, the brewery houses a bicycle tune-up box with all the requisite tools (and brews) you could need inside.
Food: We still had full bellies from our big breakfast earlier, so food would not be in the offing for us at Nano Brew. A glance at the menu did seem to show a more creative bar food menu than normal, with intriguing selections in its burgers like the Acid Trip (featuring cheddar cheese, pickled onions, balsamic reduction, slaw, and spicy mayo) and the Hoppin' John (a creation consisting of a black-eyed pea patty, pimiento cheese and pickled green tomatoes that we had first tasted in South Carolina.) Bonus points get added to our book for waffle fries options and a weekend brunch menu.
For us, though, it was Nano Brewery's on-site brews we were eager to try out. For us, the standout was Gustavo, a Black IPA that doesn't mess around with five varieties of malt and five varieties of hops creating a enjoyably complex malty/hoppy mix in the mouth. Not far behind was the cask version of the Fair and Balanced Red Rye Ale (the creamy texture helped blend the malty and bitter elements better than the original brew) as well as a couple the mother brewery Market Garden's own flagship brews in their Prosperity Wheat Hefeweizen (a perfect beer for summer) and a good solid West Coast-style IPA in the Citramax.
Last Call: Bonus brewery visiting is just a block away - the expanded production facility for Nano Brew's mother brewery, Market Garden, celebrated its official grand opening on August 20.