Because I get to drink beer for research!! Okay, technically I didn’t have to drink the beer as it that is not the focus of my research. However, as part of my final project for my Food Systems class, I am doing a Commodity Chain Analysis comparing the sustainability of Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, OH & East End Brewing Company in Pittsburgh, PA. Last Saturday a group of us drove out to Cleveland to take the tour of Great Lakes, sample brews, visit the farmers market, and I hooked up an exclusive tour of the Ohio City Garden-where up to half of the brewpup’s produce is sourced in the summer! As we were finishing up dinner one of the chefs came and chatted with us about the garden and how important sourcing local foods is to their restaurant. I love how when I asked the lady in the gift shop where to find the man taking me on the tour of the garden, he appeared from the kitchen. How fitting the “local foods liaison” (his official title) is also one of the chefs! This is the connection all restaurants need. The beet salad I had for dinner was delightful for a reason-the beets I learned were harvested the day before. You wouldn’t expect such fresh, local and organically grown food in a brewpub in the middle of Cleveland.
Anyways, back to the beer. If you are from the Midwest or East and haven’t ever tried the Christmas Ale… you MUST go out and buy some now! This beer is a consistent gold medal winner and only available seasonally (as if the name didn’t give that away). It sells out exceptionally quick! For good reason… it’s amazing. Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and LOCAL honey, it’s a tongue and belly pleaser! Even if you are gluten free- the consequences may just be worth it. Chelsea and I were in love. Warning: sip slowly… it’s 7.5% ABV. We each had one and half and ended up giggling the whole way through the tour… not that laughing is a bad thing :)
After dinner we toured the garden… which was beautiful despite it overlooking the skyline of Cleveland (sorry Cleveland folks). It is on 6 acres and is farmed by local refugees employed through Cleveland’s Refugee Response. Refugees not only are able to make a living but are growing healthy food for the community and themselves. That’s a win-win!
I learned much more on their sustainability practices yet will save this info to share until after I complete my research!