Sunday, September 25, 2011

Little Mountain Brewery

It goes without saying that we enjoy breweries of all kinds, from big to tiny. I have to admit, though, that we have a special place in our hearts for tiny local operations... and they don't get much tinier than Little Mountain Brewery in Kirtland, Ohio.

We discovered the place almost by accident. We were visiting the east side for our good friend Justin's birthday, and were thinking about making the long trek to Chardon Breworks. The timing just didn't pan out, and we were considering just going to Willoughby Brewing Company when Rob noticed that there was a brewery/brew your own place in Kirtland, not too far away from Willoughby.

Thank goodness we read the reviews on Beer Advocate that warned us that this brewery is easy to miss. Nestled between a dairy mart and a tavern, this store front was the smallest in the tiny strip it sits in. We had been looking out for it and even then we almost missed it. When we got there, the brewer/bartender was outside having a smoke and in a laid-back manner that would permeate the rest of the night let us know he'd be right in to help us. 

The brewery looks like a homebrewer's dream. A bar on the left, a row of brew kettles on the right, a few fridges, and a couple conicals on the far side of the room made up the entire brewery. The TVs were blazing the football game and there was just one other guy lounging on a bar stool. The delicious smell of cooking grains in the air signaled he was brewing, as did the cups of hops and spices sitting in front of him. 

We love samplers!
As is our way when we hit a new brewery, we got the sampler. Small places have the advantage of using a wide variety of yeasts (Wyeast Smack Packs were sitting on the bar ready to go for the aforementioned Christmas ale being brewed), so there was a hefe, a belgain, a marzen, a helles, a wit, a porter, and an imperial stout available. We loved the variety, and everything tasted really good (albeit a tad under carbonated for the fizzier styles.) When we ordered pints, we stuck with the dark stuff and were pretty darn happy about it.

Overall, it was an excellent experience. Everyone was really friendly and chatty and the beers were all tasty and interesting. We recommend sticking with things that you wouldn't mind having with a bit less carbonation, and we certainly wouldn't recommend trying to eat there, as the only food options seemed to be a few hot dogs spinning on a convenience-store style rolling cooker. Those caveats aside, it's a place worth seeking out if you find yourself on the East Side.

Oh, yeah, and those fridges? They held bottled 22s of their beers. We grabbed a scotch ale for good measure.    

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