Last week I told you about the Cleveland Brewery Passport, a fun little book filled with Cleveland-area breweries to try out and check off for prizes. Sometimes, though, the prizes are the new places you find, and one of the best so far has been Forest City Brewery.
Tucked away in Ohio City, just around the corner from the West Side Market, this brew pub boasts the oldest beer garden in Cleveland. They also have a fine selection of beer, mead, and cocktails all crafted on site (though yes, they do have some staples you can find anywhere else, if you’re so inclined). Just be warned, they do not have a fine selection of parking. They opted for the beer garden instead of a parking lot, but believe me, it. is. worth it. Park on the street (or take a Lyft) and walk through the quirky Duck Island neighborhood.
We actually got to speak with one of the owners, Jay, who told us a lot about the history and the vision behind the reborn brewery. Forest City hearkens back to a time when community was everything. That’s why they purchase from their neighbors and rent out their spacious beer hall for all kinds of events, including yoga, live music, comedy, and trivia. Their beer garden is also furnished by pieces that often just show up in the yard. The rustic decor inside is also reminiscent of the past, with everything done up in wood– including the old fashioned coolers!
Oh yes, and the beer. The beer is very tasty. They had a pancake porter the last time we were there that tasted like breakfast in the best way– mostly coffee, with just enough sweetness from a pancake coated in maple syrup. They also have a very mild and pleasant saison and some delicious IPAs (and I am not an IPA person).
I recommend going to Forest City Brewing for the beer and staying for the atmosphere– good music, corn hole, and patio furniture under the trees, just like your favorite drinking buddy’s back yard.