Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Still Hopping

I went to a media gathering in honor of Great Lakes Brewing Company's 20'th anniversary. The socially and environmentally conscious local beer maker has crafted about 50 varieties of sudsy goodness since 1988. To mark their double-decade shelf life, six new brew tanks were installed.

Easier said than done. Their historic building on Carroll, off Lorain and West 27th, already cramped, doesn’t offer much room for maneuvering. To get the three-story steel cylinders in place, holes were cut in the roof. A sky-high crane was positioned on site and some seriously skilled guys hoisted what looked like space capsules up and then ever so carefully and slowly lowered them down into the tank farm. It was a pretty dramatic way to deliver the message that GLBC is growing better and bigger and doing it right there in Ohio City. My pro photographer husband Barney captured the moment with a cell phone. There was definitely a happy vibe rippling through the crowd of invited onlookers. But things definitely got even more cheerful when our brewery tour guide and host Pat Conway, who co-owns the business with his brother Dan, announced “Time for some beer.”

We raised seven (not so big) glasses of lagers, ales, and stout to toast the occasion, each one paired with menu favorites from the past including pretzel chicken and chocolate torte made with Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. It was a great night of eating and drinking (sensibly of course). But don’t assume the fun is for professionals only. Tomorrow, September 4, Happy Hour lasts all day and into the evening until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday are designated Customer Appreciation Nights, and on September 9, there’s a special brewmaster’s dinner, open to the public by reservation.

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