Cleveland’s Growing Microbrew District

More beer is coming to Ohio City. Sam McNulty, the owner of Market Garden Brewery has plans to open Ohio City Nano Brew in the former Garage Bar space. The brew house will be very small, brewing one barrel at a time. The idea is to be able to experiment and create new kinds of beers with unusual flavors and more spices. There will also be beers on tap from other small Cleveland area microbrews. Think of it as a craft beer incubator of sorts. Ohio City Nano Brew will also have a restaurant and a large beer garden.

This follows the success of Market Garden Brewery, located next to the West Side Market. The small brewery opened last June and impressed with its high quality crafted brews. The head brewmaster is Andy Tveekrem, formerly of Dogfish Head Brewery, a nationally renown craft brewer. Market Garden is in the process of obtaining a distiller’s license, which will make it the first micro-distillery in the area.

Of course Great Lakes Brewing Company is the foundation of craft brewing in Cleveland. Over the last two decades it has grown to the 18th largest microbrew in the country, and the 27th largest brewery overall. They are still growing at a 20% annual rate too, driven by sales throughout the Great Lakes region. That success has brought jobs and investment to the neighborhood, as a recent $7 million expansion now allows them to bottle 10 cases of beer per minute. Despite the growth, they’ve managed to maintain the same high quality that has made their beer so popular.

The Great Lakes patio, with views of St.Ignatius in one direction and a bustling West Side Market in the other, is one of the best places in Cleveland to sit and have a beer. Market Garden is just a short walk away, thankfully guided by a well marked pedestrian cross walk. And when Ohio City Nano Brew opens, you’ll be able to sample dozens of hand crafted brews in one stroll. USA Today has already called Ohio City one of the best places to bar hop. Its now becoming one of the best places to microbrew hop as well.

***Update 8/21/2012***

The Plain Dealer is reporting that the Hansa Import Haus in Ohio City has plans to build a new brewery alongside their remodeled store and a new restaurant. They are still waiting for approval from the city, but plans call for a full scale brewery near their current location, across from Cigar Cigars in Ohio City.

Hansa is working towards getting permission to brew Lasko, a popular Slovenian beer. Their plans would are to expand sales outside of the Cleveland area, exporting throughout the country. Brewing on that scale would likely bring additional jobs and money into the neighborhood. A full scale brewery would also strengthen the neighborhood’s reputation as a true brewery district.