Last November the first brewery in my hometown of Mentor, Ohio, opened. Little Mountain Brewing Company is a small three-barrel brewery with a lot of heart and a lot of potential to grow.
Brewmaster, Bob Weber, started home brewing in the early 1990’s before eventually becoming the main brewer at Little Mountain, which was originally in Kirtland, Ohio. The bar was rather small and could only seat seven people at a time, which led them to a bigger space in Mentor.
Considering that the brewery is hidden behind a Wendy’s and a carpet store, it’s a good idea to map out your travels before departure. The inside consists of a simple wooden bar with a large stage.
Red and greens walls represent the city’s two big high school rivals. The red represents my alma mater, Mentor High School, and green is for Lake Catholic.
As I sat at the bar I was handed a extensive and descriptive beer menu. This menu not only described the types of beer on draft but all of the beers the brewery has had in the past, which they may bring back. The bartender gave me delicious, garlic-flavored popcorn as I read.
On the opposite side of the bar were several small batch brew kettles. Similar to other breweries, you and a group of friends can brew any of Little Mountain’s signature beers. However, Little Mountain also allows you the option to bring your own beer recipe and will help you brew this beer.
Little Mountain had twelve different house beers on draft. The Two Fisted Mister IPA is brewed with Perle, Columbus and Cascade hops, according to the extensive beer menu. This IPA had a rye taste that was not overpowering, which made this beer a lot lighter and more pleasant than most rye beers.
The Bock was rather strong at eight percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and was deep brown in color. It had tastes of chocolate and biscuits and was flavorful and delicious. The #6 porter was a solid beer with a deep brown color and a coffee taste, like most porters.
My favorite beer at this brewery was the Winter Storm. This Belgian Cream Ale was rich in vanilla and butterscotch flavors. It was sweet and light despite being a winter beer, making it a good alternative to the heavy, winter ales most breweries produce.
The Nine Tails IPA was an exceptional IPA. Despite having a seven percent ABV, this ale was not too dry or hoppy and was brewed with Chinook, Cascade and Columbus hops. This beer was immediately a winner in my book as it is the only beer I have ever had that shares a name with a Pokémon.
I enjoyed drinking the Octoberfest in the spring. Like any good October beer, it was light and malty and did not have too much flavor but, of course, would have been perfect to drink out of a beer boot. The Chocolate Stout was a good stout but did not have too strong chocolate or coffee tastes.
After ruining my palate with the stout I took a break and sampled the food. The chips and cheese dip were great bar food. The chips were nice and warm and not too salty. The cheese was hot, gooey, and made from Gouda cheese and their KGB beer. The dip also had pieces of bacon in it, instantly making it even better.
The chicken wings were phenomenal. They were large, full wings and according to the server weighed 1.5 pounds. I believed this, as there were more than enough wings to share with two people. I chose the Maple BBQ flavor which was a perfectly sweet and spicy wing sauce.
My second favorite beer at Little Mountain was the Mad Hornet. This American Pale Ale had a sweet honey taste. Like the Winter Storm, this beer was not too hoppy or dry; I wish I had some of this beer for porch drinking.
The Irish Red was one of the best red ales I have had. It was a classic red ale with a sweet caramel taste. The Rampant Lion was one of my favorite Scottish ales with a roasted barley flavor. It was rather light and did not have too much flavor, but also did not have an overpowering scotch taste. The Nut Brown Ale caught me off guard. At first it does not have much flavor and is rather tasteless, but after a few seconds it has an intensely nutty aftertaste.
I finished with the unusually named Craft Lager. Most lagers are usually light, not too flavorful and unoriginal; thus they do not get as much attention as their ale brothers. This lager was very flavorful and actually had a hoppy taste almost as if it was an ale. This beer however keeps true to its name and is still light and malty.
If you’re in the mood for entertainment, Little Mountain has an open mic night every Thursday and live music every Friday and Saturday. If you prefer wine to beer, Little Mountain also offers a variety of handcrafted wines under the Newell Creek label.
It’s not too hard on the wallet, either: A flight of six beers is $10 and pints are $4.75.
If you ever want to check out my hometown and enjoy a small and affordable brewery, then I highly recommend visiting Little Mountain Brewing Company.
Warm sunshine streams down upon my laptop while an orchestra of birds singing around me fills my ears. I sip a light colored Helles Bock from my pint glass at the Short. Sweet. Film Fest.; porch drinking weather is finally here!
My favorite summer activities include attending music festivals, going to the beach, and of course traveling, which often times includes brewery exploration. But one of my favorite summer activities is simply sitting on my porch and sharing a beer with a friend. Time slows down and for that moment all your cares are centered on beer, sunshine, and most importantly, friendship.
For me, having a beer has always been a ritual of companionship. It is a great way to pass the time with anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I love drinking beer, but I equally love just taking the time out of your busy day to chat with a friend, relative, or a stranger sipping a brew by his or herself at a bar.
Many of us have intentionally or unintentionally participate in what I like to call “overly-serving yourself.” I would be lying if I said I have not partaken in this myself. But at the end of day, many of my favorite memories have been having only a few beers with someone who has been close to me for a long period of time. I have made wonderful long-lasting friendships this way.
After reading my articles for the past semester I ask that you take the time to slowly sip and appreciate beer. People put a lot of time and energy in making what you are sipping. I also ask you try to drink local brews instead of large, commercial, American concoctions. That goes for food, too.
Local, craft beer is often more expensive than the typical American domestic, but quality always trumps quantity. It is often more valuable in the long run to spend a little more for a better product. As Case Western Reserve University students, I’m sure you were tempted to pursue cheaper education, but instead you pushed for higher quality.
Porch drinking weather means the end of the school year, and the end of this series of articles. With two breweries opening in Ohio City this summer, Hansa Import Haus and Platform Brewery, and the Hofbrauhaus opening soon in Playhouse Square there may be more articles to come over the summer or the fall. I know of a few other breweries opening within this school year, but I have been sworn to secrecy.
And with that I leave you with my final brewery review of this school year.