Theme bars and restaurants seem to me to be popping up everywhere lately. I know that this isn’t a new concept and some theme locations have managed to pull off their themes with huge success – take the Hard Rock Cafe, with locations world-wide. But I think there has been some major reaching lately, at least in Cleveland. Some themes have found success and others; we will have to wait and see.
Yesterday, we went with some friends to a new brewery/bar downtown. The theme of this bar is bicycles and local beer. We’ve been hearing some mixed reviews. People in the craft beer community for the most part seem to be disappointed by this new brewery, whereas people who live near this bar appreciate its endorsement of bicycle riders. The webpage leaves a lot to be desired, however, their Facebook page is full of posts. Many of those posts are about bicycles though.
Their website has some confusing statements on it as well. First, they mention their beer. Here is the exact language, “Enjoy a freshly brewed beer from our 1 barrel brewhouse or any of the other local craft breweries we feature on draft.” This statement leads me to believe that the beers at this brewery will either be produced on location or will be local. False. The first 9 beers on the menu were local, if you count Columbus as local. 2 were from this brewery, one average Amber and one flavorless Black IPA. The remaining 15 tap handles were not local or even regional.
Then the webpage conversation turns to their love of bicycling. There is a, “… Bike Tune-up Station inside the bar. All the bike tools you’ll need to get your two-wheeled steed back on the road are free to all. And there’s a drink rail to rest your brew while you work on your bicycle. Did we mention that your bike helmet gets you half-off your first beer?” First of all, the Bike Tune-Up Station looks like a torture scene from Saw or the Hostel. Second of all, I live way too far away to bike to this brewery, at least safely.
I’m not hating on their catering to bicyclists. That’s fine. Biking is great exercise and safer for the environment. I’m just confused. Is this a bar for “bikers,” or is it a brewery? Currently, it must be a bar for bikers; as it is definitely not a brewery. *There were no bicycle riders while we were there. I’m not sure if the owner realizes that this is Cleveland and the weather is going to impede bike riding for 7 months out of the year. It was 50 degrees and at one point it decided to hail on this late September day.
Enough with the negativity…Really, it was a nice little place and while we didn’t eat other than a few appetizers, some of the burgers looked like they would be tasty. But this is a bar, not a brewery. And it isn’t a local craft beer bar either. It’s just a bar. And I am okay with that. But why promote the brewery or the dedication to local beers if that isn’t the case? Promote the location, the beer garden in the back, the burgers, etc. Theme unnecessary.
Fat Head’s Bumbleberry
After a long Friday night of beer enjoyment, my Saturday morning started off a bit rough. The couch was my best friend for a few hours. But I forced myself to get up, go for a run, eat a greasy egg sandwich and everything would be better. And while I felt a ton better, I still wasn’t ready to hit up another bar. I needed something light that wouldn’t sour my stomach any further and wouldn’t add to the pounding in my head.
Bumbleberry is a local beer brewed at Fat Head’s Saloon in North Olmsted. If you were to order one at Fat Head’s, it would come with some tiny little blueberry floaters. Not so at other locations, but still yummy even without additional fruit added. Yesterday’s version seemed to be more blueberry flavored than ever. I felt like I was eating a crumble-topped blueberry muffin. While I don’t normally enjoy overly fruity beers, this really worked for me yesterday. The sweetness and light body/low ABV allowed me to enjoy a beer without adding to my misery. If you like blueberries or sweet beer, I highly recommend this one. This is a great beer for anyone who is just getting into craft beer and has found lambics or ciders to be their favorites.