From the outset, Terrestrial Brewing Company co-founders Ryan Bennett and Ralph Sgro, head brewer, have focused on experimenting with the beer that fills their five-barrel system, crafting adventurous concoctions that continually challenge guests’ expectations. Their goal, Ryan explains, is to get as creative as possible. Over the past three years, the team has made fascinating creations, such as a barrel-aged farmhouse ale brewed with hay and a sour beer brewed with Fruity Pebbles. More than once, they harvested juniper berries from their own backyard to give unsuspecting beers a surprising burst of botanical flavor. The duo’s Randell Infusion Tower is a critical component of this spirit of mad scientist innovation, providing, as Ryan puts it, “a new avenue to have fun with beer.”
A gleaming metallic structure with a glass enclosure at its top, the tower looks like it was teleported to the bar out of a science fiction comic book. In order to begin the infusing process, select ingredients are stored in the enclosure, which is then filled with beer from below, letting a curious alchemy take place inside. The beer in the tower gradually becomes suffused with each ingredient’s particular essence. The beer is fed from kegs directly into the tower, and each time a new draft is poured, the tower’s supply is automatically replenished. Ryan explains that this lets the beer continue to absorb the flavors of the infusion-ingredients between every pour.
Since 2017, Ryan and Ralph have filled their tower with many unusual items, including gummy worms, sour candy, and once, in a collaboration with Saucisson, a Slavic Village butcher shop, smoked pig bones. While the resulting pig bone stout was intriguing, Ryan tells me that he mostly infuses beer with slightly less eyebrow-raising ingredients, such as fruits, peppers, and coffee. The tower’s contents are changed twice a week, so that no matter when you go to the brewery, you’re bound to find something unexpected.
Terrestrial Brewing Company is located at 7524 Father Frascati Drive, Cleveland. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 4pm-11pm; Friday, 3pm-1am, Saturday, noon to 1 am, and Sunday, noon to 10pm. For more information, visit facebook.com/terrestrialbrewing/