Editor’s Letter

Jon Benedict (Tracey Ryder)

My knowledge of beer is sufficient to raise concerns (though probably not alarms).

It wasn’t always so. My college experiences were limited to standard American lagers — tinny, thin, and with low enough alcohol content that excess indulging was usually held in check by the sheer volume required.

In those days I knew that craft beers existed (they were known as microbrews when I first learned of them, which dates me considerably), and I even tried a few. But in just the last few years, America has experienced a Great Awakening about craft beer, and I’ve eagerly joined the celebration. Along the way I’ve learned a few truths that many beer aficionados knew all along: hops are a miracle; IPAs are the gateway craft beer; lagers and ales are actually different; and there’s a beer that goes with just about every meal.

For those interested enough, beer can be its own field of study, spanning subjects as diverse as chemistry, agriculture, art, history, and business. It can lead you to home brewing, or even to brewing other potables. Brewing is booming, and there’s no limit to where it might lead.

This season’s theme gives us a chance to look at a number of ways Northeast Ohioans are brewing up new ideas, new drinks, and a lot more. Just as Cleveland enjoys an embarrassment of top-quality restaurants, we are also home to some of the best brews you will find. Our stories in this issue extend beyond the usual suspect — beer — to include other favorites like coffee, tea, and for the really adventurous, kefir. Brewing is remaking entire neighborhoods, drawing crowds to hear the orchestra, and even sweetening an already sweet treat. We’re excited to see where its goes from here.

So enjoy this stroll through Northeast Ohio’s brew scene. We hope it inspires you to expand your tastes and try a special brew that only Cleveland can provide. We’ll be right there with you.

You get the first round —

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Jon Benedict