This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to go to Main Street Grille and Brewery in Garrettsville, Ohio to take a tour and try some of their great craft beer. Garrettsville is a great little town in rural Northeast Ohio. It reminded me a lot of my hometown in Pennsylvania. I drove through about twenty minutes of cornfields and farms before I arrived in this quaint little town. As soon as I arrived, I knew I was going to enjoy my visit!!
The brewery sits on the corner of Main Street. Silver creek flows right behind the brewery. This provides some beautiful views that guests can enjoy from either the back dining room or the deck attached to the back of the brewery. The brewery itself is a neat building. It was originally an old grain mill dating back to 1803. The original structure has endured a few fires over the years. This is evident in the charred beams that still remain and are visible to customers if they sit in the bar area of the brewery. The inside of the brewery is very cozy and has a great atmosphere to enjoy a pint or two and dinner. The wood floors and wood panel walls make you feel that you are hanging out in an old rustic tavern. The coolest part of the interior is that the kettles and fermenters used by brewmaster, Mike Mallone, sit on a loft above the bar area. This provides another neat view for customers. Main Street usually has live music on Friday nights year round and on the patio in the summers. You can check their website and Facebook page for details.
I also got a tour of the inner recesses of the brewery. Mike showed me where they used to grind up the grain and the water wheel that powered the antique equipment. This is a very cool area of the building, and one that Mike hopes to see utilized in the future as another area that patrons can enjoy a quiet dinner or night out with friends. I do too!! It was pretty cool!!
One of the constants that I find with all of the breweries that I have visited so far, are the great people that I meet. Main Street Brewing is no different!! I have to start with the brewmaster, Mike Mallone. I met Mike a couple weeks earlier at Winter Warmer in Cleveland. A very nice guy!! His story is just as cool. Mike started his beer brewing as a homebrewer. This is not unusual. Most brewmasters do start brewing as a hobby in their kitchen. What is amazing, however, is the road that Mike took to getting his first brewmaster gig. He homebrewed for a few years, before he landed his first apprenticeship. He was an apprentice at Main Street Brewing. During this time, he also did some work at another local brewery. Each opportunity was used to learn as much as he could about brewing craft beer. Mike would only be an apprentice for fifteen months before the opportunity presented itself to be the brewmaster at Main Street Brewing. The rest is history!! Mike has only been the brewmaster for three months, but if you tasted his beer, you would think he was veteran!! I asked him what his brewing philosophy was, and he simply replied, “I want to brew what I like to drink. I just hope everybody else likes what I like.” I think Mike has a beat on what folks like when it comes to beer. Mike also emphasized to me that he likes to use locally grown or sold ingredients in his beers. For example, the maple syrup used in his birch beer comes from Apples Maple Syrup, near Garrettsville. I also asked Mike if he had any new beer recipes that he is working on for the future. He told me that he would like to create a signature soda series. He wants to take popular sodas from his childhood and create an adult beverage with a similar flavor. Sounds interesting Mike!!
In addition, I got the opportunity to meet the owners of Main Street Brewing, Pete and Peg Kepich. They are really nice people, who are very easy to talk to, and down to earth. Pete shared with me that he got involved in the brewery almost by accident. I will let him share that story with you, but he admits that he is glad that he owns the brewery. Pete also owns a Ford dealership just outside of town. I like Ford trucks, but I bet it is a lot more fun owning a brewery!!
Finally, the staff at Main Street is awesome!! They were nothing but friendly, and I noticed that they all really enjoyed their job. To me, that says a lot about a place, but really, how can’t you enjoy working in a microbrewery??? Again, thanks to you guys for your hospitality!!
Now, you are probably wondering about the beer and the food. Well, I can tell you that it was excellent!! Owner, Pete Kepich believes that it is a plus to have good food to go with good beer. So, he hired a great chef, Sheldon Lewis, to create a super menu comprised of awesome selections. The menu is not your normal pub food. IT’S BETTER!!! There is a great variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees to choose from on the menu. All of the entrees include a beer selection suggestion for you on the menu. I found this to be a cool feature, so that patrons could enjoy the best combination of food and beer to enhance their experience. It was burger night when I was there. So, I had a cheeseburger and fries…..my waitress’s suggestion. It was excellent!! The burgers are made by hand and are huge. Very tasty!! I can’t wait to go back and try their entrees!! I see a date night in the future.
Now, let’s talk beer!! I got the opportunity to sample all of the beers on tap at Main Street. The one characteristic that all of Mike’s beers have in common, is that they are all easy to drink. They are very smooth and pleasant to the palate. I do have to specially mention his Ma Barker’s Birch Beer though. This beer is excellent!! This is a recipe that Mike and a friend created in his garage when he was a homebrewer. Mike just recently won a few awards and recognitions with his birch beer. It is a beer that you must try when you visit Main Street!! You won’t be sorry!!
Right now, if you want to try a Main Street beer, you are going to have to visit the brewery. They do not distribute their beer anywhere at this time. This is something that Mike would like to see happen in the future. When it does, it will probably coincide with an expansion in brewing capacity. Mike currently works with a three and a half barrel system. It’s a unique system made by DME. There were only three systems of this kind ever made!! Mike told me that he and Pete would like to expand production in the future, and if they do, distributing kegs and possibly bottling their beer would not be out of the question. I hope this happens sooner, rather than later!!!
I left Main Street Grille and Brewery very impressed, and I think you will too. It’s definitely a hidden gem tucked away in rural Northeast Ohio. I would recommend that anyone looking for a little get away trip, a nice dinner, or just a place to go hang with friends and have a good beer, go to Garrettsville and stop in at Main Street!! You won’t be disappointed!!
BREWS ON TAP
Food Pairing: Lighter foods, chicken, salads, salmon; bratwurst.
A traditional German Kölsch-style ale, originating in the town of Köln (Cologne), brewed to produce a clean, crisp, delicately balanced beer with very subtle fruit flavors and aromas from fermentation. ABV 5.0%, IBUs – 17
16oz -$3.00, 20oz – $4.00, Growler fill – $12.00
Food pairing: Great with seafood dishes!
Winter is coming… eventually, so we brewed this Belgian-style Witbier to celebrate summer. White Walker gets its name from its soft, milky white color. Brewed in the traditional style with white wheat, pilsen malt, flaked oats, coriander, and orange peel; it’s light and refreshing with a hint of citrus tang. ABV 5.6%, IBUs – 18 16oz – $4.00, 20oz – $5.00, Growler fill – $12.00
Food Pairing: Hearty, spicy, chicken, seafood, burgers; barbecue.
A malty Irish Red Ale brewed with roasted and caramel malts and English hops to produce a beautifully balanced flavor with a subtle hop finish. ABV 5.0%, IBUs – 20 16oz – $4.00, 20oz – $5.00, Growler fill – $12.00
**Ma Barker’s Birch Beer
Food Pairing: Vanilla Ice-cream
In November 1935, Alvin Karpis and fellow members of Ma Barker’s gang robbed a train in Garrettsville, escaping to Arkansas with $30,000 and J. Edgar Hoover hot on their trail. The Gang finally met their demise in a hail of machine gun fine in a small house in Florida. Ma Barker was said to have died clutching a Tommy gun in one hand and a recipe for Birch Beer, made with Garrettsville Maple syrup, in the other. During the Gov’t shut down, we sent 3 ninjas into the FBI archives to retrieve this recipe. As a service to this historic community, we present this Beer to you. Enjoy! 16oz – $5.00, 20oz -$6.00, Growler fill – $16.00
ABV 5.9% IBUs – 12
’35 Double Oatmeal Stout
(NITRO) Food Pairing: Rich, spicy foods, steak; blackened meats.
A complex brew of 7 different malts creates a thick and frothy, cream-colored head that contrasts against a beautiful deep black body. Silk chocolate notes glide across the tongue and finish with a mellow, roasty finish. This brew is sure to excite your palate! ABV
6.0%, IBUs – 30 16oz – $5.00, 20oz – $6.00, Growler fill – $16.00
-Try our version of the Irish Car Bomb! $6.00
Food Pairing: Rich foods, pork; beef.
Doppelbock, A stronger and darker version of a Bavarian Bockbier. Exceptionally malty, with very little bitterness. Doppelbock emerged in the late 18th century as a powerful lager variant of the old monastic strong beer. It was, in fact, the monk’s “liquid bread” which they brewed for Lent. During the time for fasting some monks would consume nothing but Doppelbock. ABV 8.2%,
IBUs – 26 *5oz sample – $2.50, 8oz only – $4.00, No Growlers
Main Street Joe
Food Pairing: Roasted or smoked foods, barbecue, sausage; roasted meats.
A Robust Espresso Porter, aged on organic Guatemalan Huehuetenango (way-way-ten-nang-oh) beans, locally roasted by Bent Tree Coffee, producing a smooth coffee flavor and aroma. ABV 5.8%, IBUs – 35
-Try an Irish Breakfast! $6.00 16oz – $4.00, 20oz – $5.00, Growler fill – $12.00
Dizzy Ninja IPA
Food Pairing: Strong, spicy food, curry; bold sweet desserts.
A smooth and balanced American IPA, dry-hopped with whole leaf Apollo, Columbus and Summit hops through our proprietary “Hop-Rocket” for an intense hop flavor and aroma! ABV 6.5%, IBUs – 70 16oz – $5.50, 20oz -$6.50, Growler fill -$16.50
5oz samples – $1.50 unless * noted
Taste all 8 – $12.50
$2.00 DRAFTS EVERY THURSDAY! (**Seasonals not included)
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