Jun 20, 2018

Wandering through the Willoughby Brewing Company

My frequency of blog posts has clearly been lacking lately, so let’s step onto the Watts Wayback Machine for a trip to Willoughby,Ohio and review one of my favorite finds during my working days in the Cleveland area a while back. 

Located very much on the outskirts of Cleveland’s eastern ring of suburbs, Willoughby maintains much of the historic charm you might expect from a lake community founded in 1798.  The downtown area in particular is fun and thriving, helped in no small part by the Willoughby Brewing Company.  And as far as craft breweries go, the one in Willoughby is a veteran of the scene, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018.

Needless to say, the brewery got the attention of my craft beer-loving co-workers, so despite Willoughby being off the beaten path for us, we made repeat visits during our time working in the area. 

What kept us coming back, you ask?

First of all, the brewery itself, which appears to be carved out of an old warehouse, is rather immense.  You can see much of the inner workings from directly behind the bar. 

With as many as ten home brews on tap at any given time, it kind of needs to be. And if beer isn’t your beverage of choice (although if it isn’t, why are you here?), the selection of spirits is also pretty expansive.     

The clear pride of Willoughby Brewing Company – and after tasting it, I must agree – is the award-winning peanut butter cup coffee porter.  But don’t sleep on their Irish red or their kolsch beers.  They all taste even better on Wednesday when all pints are just $3.  At the time, the brewery was also offering select appetizers for $5 during happy hour.  The food here is surprisingly scrumptious.  I can personally vouch for the cheeseburger being excellent quality, and the wild mushroom pizza is top notch and a real steal.  

All of the excellent food, drink and service provide an enjoyable backdrop for unwinding with friends, or just chilling by yourself and watching the large-scale model train roll by overhead.

Yet another draw to the Willoughby Brewing Company is as a live local music attraction.  The stage area is quite accommodating, and there’s plenty of space in front of it for dancing.  These guys seemed to specialize in 60s and early 70s rock covers … a little before my formative years but entertaining nonetheless.   

Business must still be booming since I last visited the Willoughby Brewing Company because they’re set for a 10,000 square-foot expansion this year.  With distribution to many of the nearby bars in downtown Willoughby and the sizable crowds they draw to the brewery every night, it’s no wonder.  If you love beer and you’re visiting Cleveland, or perhaps on your way to Erie, Penn., you owe it to yourself to wander into Willoughby. 

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