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OH Beer Travels: Willoughby Brewing Company (Willoughby, OH)

Our recent mini-venture into Northeast Ohio allowed us an opportunity to visit some of the area's breweries, starting with our first stop a half-hour outside of metro Cleveland in the form of Willoughby Ohio's long-standing craft beer haven.


First Impressions: "The pictures didn't lie; this is one large space."

Reality: Located in a former trolley car repair company building, Willoughby Brewing, which opened up in 1998, has helped anchor a bit of a renaissance of the downtown area of this Lake County town of roughly 22,000 people. Within its space, one can sneak a peek at the building's former life by looking overhead as the mini-trolley model wends its way around the tracks.




Not surprisingly, Willoughby is one of the larger brewpubs we've wandered into in the state, making it ideal for large group gatherings. It was definitely more than enough room for our evening meetup with a couple of friends who lived nearby.

The brick-walled interior, which tends to be on the dimly lit side, can also get rather loud - regularly scheduled live music resonates well throughout the space. Even the outdoor seating areas were affected to some degree - the TVs were turned up so folks could hear the sports-related programming being broadcast. As it turned out, the conversation among us four was generally doable with only slightly raised voices.




Food: Willoughby offers a wide array of brewpub standards, including pizzas, burgers, appetizers, and the trending food of the moment in Nashville-style Fried Chicken. On the night we visited, the brewpub was a little understaffed, so it took a little bit of time to get our food order in.

Once we got our food, we learned that Willoughby does not skimp on their portions - our build-it-yourself Mac-N-Cheese (a very tasty combination of buffalo sauce, chicken and crispy shallots) and my Love The Pork specialty pizza (with chorizo, pork belly, bacon, red onion and a nicely sweet-savory BBQ sauce) easily could have fed all four of us, much less our two lonesome selves (our companions ordered the Brewer's Platter, a collection of appetizers that was also group-hunger friendly.)



Beer: A collection of nut-based beers has garnered Willoughby awards in the annual World Beer Cup the last couple years, so we made sure to enclose those in our flights. Indeed, it was easy to see why the Nutsmasher (a very peanutty Imperial Stout that hides it's double-digit ABV well) and the Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter (like a hint of coffee tossed into the very end taste profile of a Reese's) have hit it off well with many beer drinkers. Another favorite this warm humid night was the Railway Razz, which had a pleasant amount of raspberry tart without being medicinal in nature.




Willoughby Brewing Company 
4057 Erie St. (Google Maps)
Willoughby, OH 44094

(440) 975-0202
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Willoughby Brewing Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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