Meet one of Cleveland’s youngest breweries
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In the heart of Cleveland’s financial district lies one of the city’s newest breweries, Masthead Brewing Co. This large and industrial-chic brewery boasts a 20-barrel brewing system, which is much larger than most Cleveland breweries. Masthead opened in January this year, making it one of the youngest breweries, but Masthead beer can already be found in 56 different Cleveland locations, including Barrio and Mabel’s BBQ.
I was shocked at how large this brewery is, especially for one in Downtown Cleveland. The progressive, industrial look is evident with exposed pipes adorning the ceiling and a large concrete bar consuming a hefty chunk of the 16,000 square foot brewery. A large Neapolitan-style pizza oven looms over the kitchen and churns out some of the best pizza I have had in Cleveland.
Jeff Draeger, general manager, explains that the brewery is named after the origins story of the city’s spelling of “Cleveland” instead of “Cleaveland”. As many Clevelanders know, Moses Cleaveland founded the city in 1796. In 1831, a new newspaper was forming, The Cleveland Advertiser, and could not fit the entire spelling of “Cleaveland” in the masthead. The newspaper decided to boldly change the spelling of the city to “Cleveland” in order to fit it on the masthead and the spelling has stayed that way ever since.
Masthead’s brewing goal is to stay true to whatever style of beer they are making. Most of the beer on draft did not have any “fun” names and were instead named after what style they are. Masthead does not want patrons ordering a beer just because they thought the name was catchy.
My favorite brews were the Doppelbock and the Coffee Stout. The Doppelbock was the perfect balance of sweet yet strong at a 7.3 percent alcohol by volume. The Coffee Stout tasted like a fresh pot of coffee and a great beer to start a weekend morning to or end a Saturday evening. Brewed with local coffee, the beer was dark as night and 7.3 percent like the Doppelbock. Many of the other beers on draft were very drinkable and prime examples of their respective style of beer.
The pizza at Masthead is simply amazing. I struggled to pick just one, because I wanted to try them all. I decided to go with an Italian classic, the Prosciutto. Filled with tender prosciutto, mozzarella and mushrooms this traditional pizza is best eaten with fork and knife. Though one order could easily be two meals, I devoured the whole pie.
Masthead offers several craft cocktails along with several guest beers. Draeger mentioned they hope to age some new brews in Woodford Barrels, which will be an excellent experience for any beer lover. As one of Cleveland’s youngest breweries I look forward to new and exciting pizzas and beers to come.