The Cleveland Brewery is the best hidden brewery in the city (emphasis on the hidden). Tucked away on East 185th St., the brewery blends in with several small businesses in the area, and is easily overlooked.
After locating the brewery, I entered into a packed party. Though it was quiet and dark outside, it was bright and full of cheer inside. I felt like I had come late to a giant house party, where everyone was happy to see me. As I pulled out my notebook, several regulars became my new drinking buddies and were incredibly happy The Cleveland Brewery was going to get some well-deserved attention.
The interior is simple: metallic bar, chalkboard featuring this week’s brew and a healthy amount of free pretzel sticks scattered around the bar. Like many breweries in Colorado or the West Coast, patrons are here for the beer and not new takes on wings, burgers or other gastropub food.
Owner John Fuduric traveled to Germany a few years ago and fell in love with hefeweizens. As a long time American domestics beer drinker, his world was forever changed. His wife Mary suggested he start home brewing. He collaborated with his father (the owner of the building, a former butcher’s shop) to start a small one-barrel system brewery.
Fuduric began brewing at the facility in October 2014 and the tasting room opened the next May. He decided to emphasize the local theme by naming many of his beers after Cleveland landmarks and creating tap handles resembling one of Cleveland’s most recognizable landmarks, Terminal Tower.
The tasting room is only open on Fridays from 6-9 p.m. since Fuduric has a full-time job and family. He is constantly selling out of beer during these packed Friday evenings, and the limited availability to try this beer adds to its allure.
I first tried the Euclid Beach, inspired by Fuduric’s love for hefeweizens. This citrus IPA was orange in color, and had flavors of passion fruit and hints of floral. It was not dry or too hoppy and was an incredibly drinkable 6.7 percent ABV beer.
Next was Fuduric’s double IPA, Rock-n-Roll. This cloudy and unfiltered beer had a bright orange color, more orange than the Euclid Beach, yet crisp and drinkable despite the laundry list of hops added to this brew. As someone who is not a big fan of super-hoppy beers, which usually requires a glass of water to be accompanied to combat the dryness, I greatly appreciated what Fuduric has created. At 10.2 percent ABV, this beer is truly for some serious rock-n-rollers.
My favorite beer of the night was the Six Shooter coffee stout. Brewed in collaboration with the recently opened Six Shooter Coffee Cafe down the street, this beer is made with one and a half pounds of Brazilian roast coffee. This brew had a clear coffee taste that was not muddled down with chocolate or peanut butter like most coffee stouts. The rich black coffee color added to the appeal.
The King’s Porter, a dessert beer with tastes of vanilla and chocolate, was similar in color. This is the brew that beer float fans have been waiting for. Though I enjoyed this beer, due to the sweetness it would be tough to have a full pint of this. The sample glass is a perfect amount to finish up an evening of beer sampling.
Fuduric’s goal is to supply local bars and restaurants with his beer. This way people can try it at the brewery and then experience it with a great meal at a local restaurant with more flexible hours. Fuduric wants to support the East 185th St. area that he has grown to love as much as possible.