Local Beer Friday (aka Monday): Rusted River Irish Red Ale

3 05 2010

My much anticipated post is back four days early… or three days late if you’re a pessimist.  This is the first of three beers I picked up at Warehouse Beverage on Mayfield Rd.  Go there some day.  You won’t regret it.  So, here goes…

Brewery: Rust Belt Brewing Company, Youngstown

Beer: Rusted River Irish Ale

ABV: 5.5%

Rating: ★★★

Rusted River Irish Red… doesn’t sound too palatable.  Though, few things from Youngstown do.  But, I say trust in the post-industrial brewing cities.  I think the economic depression adds to the flavor, or at least they can make a cool looking bottle label.

Upon the first pour, the beer was a deep amber.  It was a tad bit darker than I expected, but its smell wasn’t as strong as the color.  I had some light caramel hits, but I nearly had to inhale the beer to grasp them (but maybe its those damn allergies).  The initial taste was reminiscent of a mild stout along with the bitter bite and mouth-feel from the dark roasted malt.  As my tastebuds became acclimated to the rusty bite, the sweeter caramel tastes came out with very little hoppiness.  The finish left a pleasantly bitter taste on the palate.  Overall, it was not my top Irish red and slightly underwhelming, but it was at least satisfying and the taste grew on me as I downed the pint bottle.  It would be worth ordering a pint while watching the Gaelic Games… or at least a Irish Springs commercial.

Hurling... don't know what that is? Spend more time at Irish bars watching Sentanta


I’m Back!!

3 05 2010

Sorry to all of my loyal readers out there… I know my mom at least reads this.  I have been unable to keep up with my blog due to school work.  The past couple weeks have been crazy with exams and papers, and they are finally winding down.  I know I left everyone on the edge of their seats since my last review of Melt (Yes, I did link to the entry directly below this one. That’s how I roll).  At the moment, the Eastside location will be opening in 17 days and 19 hours… I plan on being there for the grand opening.  I may be drugged up and on crutches after my knee surgery, but maybe melty cheese and beer taste that much more amazing on Vicodin (prescribed Vicodin or course).  There will most likely be a post as soon as I recover from the food coma/drug stupor.  I got a secret preview of the inside of the restaurant when I interviewed for a bartending position (which I didn’t get, of course) and it looks awesome… especially the 30+ taps!

In other news, I volunteered to be on the fundraising committe for the Cleveland Greenhouse Project, which is a venture started by Tim Smith (he’s the guy who wants to build a “really big greenhouse” from the CIFF trailer @ 0:42.  Basically he wants to put a huge greenhouse in an unused lot in Cleveland in order to bring fresh produce and fish (they will have fish tanks for irrigation, heating, etc.) to an urban food desert, as well as promote agricultural education and create jobs.  It’s a bold plan and I’m excited to see it get off the ground!

In other agricultural news, CWRU started a garden at the University Farm that is providing produce by Bon Apetite for campus cafeterias and cafes.  Its about time!  It seems like an obvious activitiy for a farm owend by Case.  The farm has always povided educational opportunites for the campus and now the education will include viable production.

A few things that I will have coming up in the near future:

I will be making up for the two Friday’s I missed for local beer reviews.  I stopped by Warehouse Beverage (aka beer heaven) over the weekend and picked up some good stuff to try.  As always, I’m always open to suggestions.  I hope to see you more this week as I roll out some (hopefully) good posts. 

Thursday starts Senior Week and I will be reporting on a few thing from my adventures; including an Indians game, Put-In-Bay and the Goodtime III.

Finally, I am planning a whole week of eating only local food.  I’m still working out the guidelines.  I’ll get back to you when I figure things out.

Thanks for reading,


Melt Bar & Grilled

19 04 2010

Rating: ★★★★★
Price: $

So what’s the big deal with grilled cheese?!  Since the moment I read Melt’s description in a Cleveland travel guide (I know… I was surprised to find it too).  This crazy concept restaurant caught my eye right away… they had me at “Parmageddon” (a grilled cheese stuffed with perogies and kraut).  After that, it was almost impossible for Melt to live up to my expectations, but it did more that that.

My stop at Melt was unanticipated… I just happened to be taking the scenic route back from the opening of the North Union Farmer’s Market in Crocker Park two weekends ago.  It was fate that led me there (a.k.a. my girlfriend saying “let’s go to MELT!”).  The famous West Side establishment has been pumping out crazy concoctions between two slices of bread and smothered in cheese since 2006 under direction of   Matt Fish, one of Cleveland’s most interesting people.  The concoctions, fit for the loony bin, include the Corny Dog (my first adventure), the Paramgeddon (my next adventure), the Godfather (Annie’s first adventure… and my late night drinking snack), and over 20 other mind bending ingredient combos.  And these aren’t some shady snack shack garbage sandwiches made by 4/20 inspired munchies seekers, they are balanced and thoughtfully prepared works of art… food edifices, one could say.  Check out the Menu… it will blow your mind! Read the rest of this entry »

Local Beer Friday: GLBC Blackout Stout

16 04 2010

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland

Beer: Blackout Stout

ABV: 9%, IBU: 85

Rating: ★★★

Taken out of context, Blackout Stout sounds like I should be waking up tomorrow morning on a park bench in my boxers cradling a 40.  And at 9% ABV, there’s a good reason they only sell them in 4 packs.  But, Blackout Stout recalls the infamous Blackout of 2003, which affected the Northwest, Midwest and Ontario, CA for two days… a minor inconvenience.  After a couple years of cowering in fear of the darkness, I finally tried out the Blackout… Read the rest of this entry »

The Tavern Co.

10 04 2010

I’ve been to my share of dive bars… and the Cedar-Lee district definitely has its share.  But the TavCo (as those on the “in” call it), was not what I was expecting.

Yesterday, I was surfing the interwebs looking for a new place to grab dinner.  My stomach was empty (besides about a gallon of coffee) and I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted… that I could afford.  A cursory glance at a the Gayot’s review (an interesting site I found off of Urbanspoon) about TavCo offered little insight with the statement

“A neighborhood bar with hearty pub food”

Also,  I caught some other mumbo jumbo about big TVs and liquor.  So I thought nothing of it.  I actually remember thinking, “I’ve seen that bar (with its plain green/white sign).  I don’t really see myself going there… I’ve never even heard anyone even mention it.”  So, I settled on Dewey’s pizza.  One of the few chains that I admit to liking… and they have some decent taps.

I guess it was fate, because literally a few hours after dismissing TavCo, I found myself walking down Lee Rd. with my girlfriend, hungry and unguided, after we found out that Dewey’s had an hour waiting list.  All of a sudden she said, “let’s go to TavCo!”  Convinced I would just be getting an average burger and fries, I agreed. Read the rest of this entry »

Local Beer Friday: Thirsty Dog Raspberry Ale

9 04 2010


Brewery: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, Akron

Beer: Raspberry Ale

ABV: 3.9%, IBU: 7.5

Rating: ★★★

I was wary about buying a raspberry beer after my dreaded encounters with Abita Purple Haze.  Since the Haze, I have avoided fruit beers like the plague (aside from delicious Belgian lambics).  I am just not a fan of that grossly sweet flavor that seems to try to mask the flavor of the beer, rather than balance it out.  Not to mention Man Law #10: “Don’t Fruit the Beer.”  You can’t say no to that mustache… But, the dog with raspberry spots just called to me and I was looking for something summery and refreshing to remind me of last week’s heat wave (note: it hit 85 degrees last friday… today it snowed).  So, I picked up a six pack at my local Giant Eagle (Warehouse Beverage was closed) and tried it out. 

"Don't fruit the beer"

The initial smell of the brew was promising (yes, I sniff my beer first… that’s how I roll).  Though the raspberry was obviously the dominant scent (surprise!), it was not unnatural or overpowering, which was promising.  Still skeptical, I was surprised after my first swig.  The light  ale had a semi-natural raspberry taste and a clean, slightly sour finish with a hit of dryness.  Most importantly, it didn’t leave that  funky “Hazy” aftertaste.  Though the bottle professes to use “freshly picked raspberries” that were “naturally infused” into the beer (which I could believe… but it had to be fortified with some kind of syrup), the beer lacked the complexity which might come from steeping whole berries (with the seeds) in the brew.  But what it lacked in complexity, it made up for with refreshingness and it would be a perfect pairing for a summer cookout or desert with a chocolate cake… mmm I wish I had some.

Overall, my endeavor into the world of forbidden ingredients was worthwhile.  (Maybe Burt will forgive me)  And although this was a detour from my normal beer taste, its always good to try something new. 

Reminder: Opening Day of the North Union Farmer’s Market TOMORROW!

9 04 2010

9am-1pm @ Crocker Park.  Come see…


And not to mention fresh veggies, awesome baked goods, local meats and spring flowers!!