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Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Brewing Co.Great Lakes Brewing Co.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

416 Ratings
Ratings: 416
Reviews: 219
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 10.07%
Active Beers: 87
Beer Ratings: 38,418
Beer Avg: 3.92
Taps: 10
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

2516 Market Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio, 44113
United States
phone: (216) 771-4404

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @glbc_cleveland

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 416 | Reviews: 219 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.5/5  rDev +3%

I stopped in on my way home to MN. After the drive from Philly, it was nice to stretch my legs, get a bite to eat and enjoy a few beers.

The pub itself is quite remarkable. The bar area’s ceilings seem oddly high, surrounded by dark woods, but the dining area was exceptionally bright and attractive. The sun shone in through the floor to ceiling windows, kept at bay by the awnings outside. The patio outside was open and at near capacity on this hot august day. I stayed inside and ordered up a light soup and salad to compensate for my extraordinarily healthy road-trip diet of the day. A further look around reveled more aged woods in the floor, the booths and in the beautiful arched doorways. Further in the building were the brewing tanks sectioned off with glass. The down stairs is the real treat. Aside from a few TVs, the bar is the only thing that helped me shake off the castle dungeon feel. My favorite part was the stainless tanks locked up behind a cast iron gate as if it had done something terrible to upset the proprietor. Maybe someone tried to make Coors in it once…

My server rocked. She said she was new, but she was squared away on her surface beer knowledge, was really friendly and quick to boot. Good move on that hire.

The food, as I mentioned, was minimal for the day. For a Cesar salad, I expect more than just a squeeze of dressing out of a bottle on top of some greens. At least shake it up a bit so I can rationalize $6.00 of lettuce and croutons. Disappointing. The beer cheese soup made up for things, thankfully.

Eight beers were on for the day to include a Grand Cru which I tried along with the Dortmunder Lager. Both were tasty, especially the lager on this hot day.

I really liked this place. Their beers are stunningly consistently above average and you’re hard pressed to find a nicer atmosphere. I’ve had great experiences every time I’ve stopped by.

DarkerTheBetter, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of jim102864
4/5  rDev -8.5%

This place is not located in the greatest neighborhood but given the presence of the brewpub, an upscale coffee shop and Bier Markt literally right around the corner, you can see business is trying to breath some life into the area. The bar itself is located seperate from the brewery which is accross the street. Nice outdoor patio which was packed the day after my visit as I parked and walked by on my way to a second visit to Bier Markt. Somewhat smaller than I expected, but I did not visit the beer celler below which has an additional bar. Lots of dark wood with an intricately carved arched mahagony wood bar back and black and white photos on the wall represent the 30's prohibition era. Small bullet holes in the bar back are attributed to Elliot Ness himself. Ceilings fans were on, but the place was rather close for this humidish day last week. They had all of their standard offerings on tap that I've read about; Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Elliott Ness Vienna, Commodore Perry IPA and according to their website a brew only available at the pub, Lorelei Dunkel Weizen (a dark German Wheat beer) which I enjoyed, among others. I also tried the Burning River Pale Ale, a very hoppy brew for the style but enjoyable nonetheless. The bartender was a 20 something gent who provided friendly service and displayed a good sense of humor. I will visit again next time I'm in Cleveland.

jim102864, Jun 28, 2007
Photo of Zorro
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%

I made a point of stopping here during my current
Ohio trip. Stupid cell phone GPS got me running in circles in the worse parts of Cleveland but a restart from a different point 2 miles south got me there.

I visited at 2 PM on a Wednesday to avoid the crowds. This place is very wood intensive with extra levels both up and down from the main room. We decided to sit in the bar area. The lower level is VERY interesting, if it wasn't for the modern lights and the plasma screen TV it could be a 12th century tavern complete with wood and brick construction.

We all ordered the standard round of tasters, and they were quite generous. Large 4 Oz taster glasses and eight beers total. The food was quite affordable by big city standards, the wood fired pizza was first class and the lettuce wedge I had was very tasty and fresh. There is nothing to complain about the food here.

Service was a little iffy but understandable for visiting after the lunch rush and everyone trying to get their lunch that work the lunch shift.

Growler prices for the standard growlers are $15.50 and $52.50 for the extra fancy German style growlers.

Over all this was a quite pleasant establishment
I will visit again.

Zorro, May 17, 2007
Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%

Stopped here for dinner on a brewery road trip ending with Dark Lord Day.

Took a while to get a seat at the bar, I stood around with my pint of Burning River like a goober for a good 30 minutes before a seat opened up at the bar. Which really pissed me off considering the people filling it were yuppies drinking wine. But I digress.

I ordered up an Engine 20 and a burger, both were awesome, if not the best. The Engine 20 was a very unique APA, and the burger had that great charbroiled taste which I just can't get enough of.

Service was good considering how packed the place was, and this was an overall good experience. There is a store located in the same building (different entrance) that sells swag and six packs. I wanted to pick up a few but all the prices had been slashed leading me to believe they might have been sitting for a while.

Overall, If I'm ever in the Cleveland area again, I won't think twice about stopping here. Loved it.

leftmindedrighty, May 01, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%

I went here on the first summer like sunny day and it was packed at the outside tables and inside was the same. The have a nice bar area and dining room upstairs with a dark cave like bar downstairs. I found a small spot at the bar upstairs.

The bar is great old wood in the Chicago style with mirrors behind the bar. There were vintage beer posters all around and a nice list of current beers on the wall. The also had some T-shirts and stuff to sell on the way out.

I ordered several on-tap only beers and liked all of the so I ordered the Fish and chips special to go with a few more beers. A local couple sat down next to me and we chatted about beers for a while.

The fish and chips were not the best but with enough malt vinegar they went down. They also make bread that some of the spent grain in it and that is pretty tasty. The kept the pretzel bowls stocked at the bar and the bartenders were always close by even though it was really full. They had a print out of all the environmental sound things they do at the brewery and it is pretty amazing that they have a big brewery and not just a brewpub right down town. A must stop when in Cleveland.

rhoadsrage, May 01, 2007
Photo of dherling
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

The brew pub had three main areas, the upstairs bar and dining area, a downstairs auxilary pub, and a gift store in the shop next door. We ate int he main dining area which had a lot of nice dark wood and was a generally comfortable place to be. No complaints about the service. Fromt he hostess to our waitress, everyone was nice, and the service was quick and knowledgable. There were about nine or ten different beers to choose from, and we sampled all of them. The rockefeller Bock and the Burning River Pale Ale stood out as two favorites, while I can't say I cared for the Eliot Ness Amber. The food was good and tasty. One could get just about anything they wanted from a typical bar menu. Apps, pizza, salad, burgers, sandwiches, pasta. Wasn't amazing, but was still pretty good. I had gotten the pierogis and bratwurst, which came out as one very small brat and four pierogies. Portion size aside, it was tasty. Overall was a good place to stop, but I doubt I'd go out of my way to go back.

dherling, May 01, 2007
Photo of StoutHearted
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%

It took a while to find the place- the tasting room in the brewery served as a red herring - but the wait was well worth it. It has the warm-wood cozy feel to it on the ground level, where you'll find a bar and restaurant, but downstairs is where it's at its coziest. With stone walls, arches, and a room closed off by an iron fence, it's like enjoying beer in a cellar. (Which, to me, is a good thing.) There's TV and food down there, so you're not entirely closed off from civilization. The kitchen was open late, a definite plus for hungry travelers, and offered pub grub. We got fries and fried fish bites, all of which were very tasty. They also offered pretzels at the bar.
The bartender was very nice, although it did take her a while to check us out. She seemed to be knowledgable about the beer and we didn't have to wait long to order. We started with the sampler, which consisted of seven beers, if memory serves me right. A unique offering was the Grassroots, a lemony brew that would be perfect in the summer outdoors. I was hoping for more stouts and porters, but only one was offered, and I ended up ordering a pint of it. The selection at the time wasn't the greatest - there's a bunch of highly-rated beers listed on this site I would have loved to have tried but weren't there - but it was a decent offering. I would love to go back and try different beers. Pricing is not too shabby- Was able to provide food and beer for 3 people for little over 30 bucks. Cleveland rocks!

StoutHearted, Apr 30, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%

I've been a long time fan of such fantastic Great Lakes creations as Edmond Fitzgerald Porter and Conways Irish Ale, but I did not meet my true love until I visited the Brew Pub. An amazing beer called Alberta Clipper, only offered at the Brew Pub, capped off my trip to Cleveland. It is worth the trip alone. The atmosphere of this place is surprisingly low key and very pleasant. Obviously the quality and freshness of the beer is outstanding due to the fact that it is brewed only a few hundred feet away. The service is prompt and genuine. They Brew Pub offers a large selection of their greatest beers, including seasonal brews that are only offered on site. The food is excellent (I suggest the sausage sampler), but can be a bit pricey, nothing outrageous though. I strongly suggest checking this place out; you will certainly not be disappointed.

letsgopens, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of Briarbush
5/5  rDev +14.4%

There's nothing bad I can say about the Great Lakes Brewpub. The atmosphere was great. We arrived just before the lunch rush and took our seats at the bar. The tiger mahogany bar is one of the oldest in Cleveland and bears bullet holes fabled to have come from Eliot Ness himself. Great Lakes had on tap the six varieties that are bottled year round plus the pub exclusives Wolfhound Stout, and Rockefeller Bock. All beer is served in the appropriate glassware and the service the bartender gave us was superb. He was friendly and very knowledgeable. My girlfriend and I split a Tuscan wood fired pizza and it was delicious. Like the beer all the food is all natural, no chemicals or preservatives and you could taste the difference in the food as well as the beer. The pricing on the beer is typical to what you would pay at a regular bar, the pub exclusives being slightly more expensive. The food is a bit pricey (12.00$ for the pizza) however; as always you get what you pay for. I was very happy with beer, service, and food and will be making more trips for sure.

Briarbush, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of ezraider218
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%

By virtue of luck, I worked almost next door to this amazing brewery for the entire summer. I had a pint almost every day before returning to my University and have been back many times since. The atmosphere is cozy, the service great and the beer excellent. I have yet to have a beer at Great Lakes that i didn't enjoy. Great Lakes is a bit pricier than the brewpubs I frequent back home in Vermont, particularly the food. While the food is good, the steak and salmon are both worth a try, I do not feel the prices are completely justified. For the most part me and my friends come here just to drink and socialize, and are never disappointed. The bartenders in particularly are friendly and knowledgeable and do not mind spending more than a couple minutes discussing their beers and history. A must visit if you find yourself in Cleveland. Also, I attended a formal party here which was very nicely done. I definitely recommend it as a venue if you and your family/friends are looking for something different.

ezraider218, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of GimpyCane
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%

My wife and I visited Cleveland this weekend and had the pleasure of going to Great Lakes Brewery. Set in the historic section of Cleveland, Ohio the brewery has alot to offer. From fantasic brews, very good food, great atmosphere and service to a very informative beer tour.

When we arrived there was a two hour wait, but refusing to be discourage by the wait. We notice that this was a heaven for two hop head in search of hop thrill. We began by going downstairs to the basement pub an ordering their exclusive brew Woodtooth Porter. WOW, is all I have to say. The tour guide showed up shortly and took across the street to the brewery. The tour was 40-45 minutes which ended with two of your choice beer tasting. My wife enjoyed their Holy Moses and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter while I stepped out the box and had a black and tan (Edmund Fitzgerald Porter with Burning River Pale Ale, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and Dortmunder Gold. After the tour, our venture lead us to the gift shop. Here of course we got some goodies and several 4 packs of 2007 Blackout Stout. Our table was ready when we came back and our second experience was about to start. The atmosphere and service made our dinner pleasant. She had the Pesto Salmon pizza which was a first for her and never again (not that it was bad, she just didn't care for fish on a pizza.). I gorged on the Pretzel Chicken which I found very tasty. Throughout dinner we were pounding Blackout Stouts, Holy Moses and everything else in sight.
Overall, Great Lakes rocks and I highly recommend going. Make sure when and if you go, to give yourself enough time to take in what Great Lakes has to offer. And of course, to drink plenty of their wonderful and fresh beers. Enjoy

GimpyCane, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of scoobybrew
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%

I stopped in here with a work colleague while on a business trip to Cleveland. I had been anticipating visiting the place ever since my trip was scheduled. The experience was everything I hoped it would be.

The bar room walls are lined with wood and a wonderful grand old wooden bar. The lighting is dim, but not too dim. The place was filling up at about 7pm when we arrived and getting fuller by the minute. The room was filled with the sound of friendly conversation.

The food was good, but the beer was better. All varieties I tasted were of the most excellent quality.

The staff was friendly and helpful, but they were a bit understaffed for the crowd that was coming in, which understandably slowed the service a bit. However, it was not too slow. I suppose when you're wanting another pint of their delicious beer, it can seem like an eternity.

I highly recommend the place for anyone stopping in Cleveland. If I were more local, this would be routine watering hole for me.

Update on 6/21/08:
Stopped here with my wife on a recent trip. It was every bit as good as I remember and perhaps even better. I've updated the scores as well to reflect these opinions.

scoobybrew, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of UDbeernut
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%

Located in the historic Ohio City neighbothood of Cleveland, Great Lakes Brewery offers a nice brewpub expirence. Located of Lorain Ave near East 25th street, there is easy access from I-71 and I-90 and located just minutes from downtown Cleveland.

The bar offers all of Great Lakes outstanding beers by the Pint or pitcher. Food is good with a flair for the gourmet which makes it slightly more pricey than standard brewpubs.

The restuarant/bar is always packed during the weekend making it rather difficult to get a seat at the bar.

UDbeernut, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of slander
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%

Margo kept the show running on schedule and then some. She fielded all our questions and made notes for the ones she couldn't deal and still got us done shortly after lunch. I didn't want to linger there any longer than I had to (you may recall Pittsburgh being one of the places I lived during my 3 month turned 5 month Western Pennsylvania work stint back in '03), but I needed to hit the 'puter for a bit; return 23 emails, fix broken this's, do a few quick callbacks about the that's, and book a hotel tonight for I don't know where, somewhere, wherever I'm going to wind up, a major undeclared at this time. Really, with the work piece done now, I had to make some decisions about just where I was going, and whether I wanted to do stupid travel or stoooopid travel...

Cleveland, was here once before, Fall tour '91, drove through the night while Spanky slept arriving in Cleveland at sunrise, things look a bit better this time around. Easy maneuvering to find the brewery itself and parked in the big lot there. It cost me $3 to park. In NYC, it would have cost me $37 and there'd be a sign out front reading "Event rates in effect" so it would cost me $42 (Oh, and the event is "charge you $5 more for the fuck of it Wednesday"). I did a Davo and walked all the way around the brewery looking for a way to get in (read his review, he did it too). I was following the signs that said "tasting room"; it seemed reasonable enough. I was then pointed to the corner, make a right, make a left it's on your left, in a separate building. First you pass the shwag shop (T shirts, posters, glassware), and then you're looking in on a side dining room holding a dozen or so tables and booths, with some of the original brewing equipment to the rear. The booths hug the large front windows that look out over some tastefully strung holiday lit trees out on Market Ave, festive, solemn, and kind of sad this evening. Past there and in through the main entrance, you find a 12 seat straight wood bar to the rear, fronting a large old wood bar back unit with sunken arches holding tiered booze, ancient wallpaper, and well worn slat wood floorings. The aforementioned side room to the left and an outdoor garden to the right. It houses a dozen or so tables and has an arched retractable canvas roof for indoor/outdoor capabilities. Midway up the far wall, there's a sizable fireplace and the whole front of the room is made up of large sliding glass doors for views of the street and a breeze. Banquet and party rooms upstairs, and a beer cellar down below (I know when you look at me, you think, "He's beer cellar material"). The beer cellar has an angled 12 seat wood bar on one corner, with a cupboardlike bar back, 8 taps on a single tower in the center, tiered booze to one side and stacked glassware to the other and below on shelving. A large plasma screen mounted above, one behind you, and another one in the corner. A single mounted tap lives on a piece off the end of the bar. A dozen booths and small tables, in the corner, 3 or 4 in an elevated area over there, 1 in the other raised space, the rest riddled about. Some wood plank walls but mostly brick and stone slab (I am positive that fierce velociraptors run freely here late at night), candles on the bar, strung spruce entangled in colored Xmas lighting, wreaths, mounted box lanterns and small framed b/w pictures of old brewery wagons.

The beer cellar has a limited food menu, all of 6 items. I opted for 2 of them. The soup de jour was a tomato basil bisque. I was all "Tomato soup!" like Violet was in Wonka before she turned violet. It was excellent. The brewmaster's pretzels (a pair) were covered with a fine grain salt, and were accompanied by 2 mustards, a blob of cheese, scallions and radishes. Okay, sustenance, check, beer...

9 taps, 1 was kicked. I decided to do things a little differently here and order the sampler. The Holy Moses White Ale, great chamomile flavor, backed by coriander, most unusual; the Eliot Ness Amber Lager, nice maltiness & crisp hoppiness; the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, roasty, chocolate, coffee flavors, excellent as usual; the Dortmunder Gold, nice lager, crisp, good hoppiness; the Burning River IPA, good hoppiness, not overboard; the Christmas Ale, nice cinnamon spiciness, rang at 7.5%, a solid holiday beer; Loch Erie Scotch Ale, 8%, absurdly malty and then alcohol, just okay; and Big Black Smoked Porter, similar to the Fitzgerald but you get the subtle smokiness here. I liked the Holy Moses White Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter & Christmas Ale the best.

Beers were fresh, service served them and everything. Good stop (not even remotely) along the way, but I need to start moving south to somewhere or other.

slander, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%

I did not try the food at GBLC, but I didn't go for the food--it's all about the beer and the beer is wonderful. They offer a wide array of styles that are all of high quality.

We sat in the basement pub. We ordered the tasting flight and the bartenders were very helpful--offering to carry the tray filled with glasses over to our table even though the place was packed--in addition to knowing their stuff. The Rackhouse Ale and Eye of the Tiger Rye were among the seasonal selections.

Unfortunatley we missed the brewery tour on this day, yet walked over and took a closer look at the main brewing area across the street--which smelled like craft-brew heaven.

GLBC is top notch.

Osiris9588, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of dlee
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%

Wow...I wish I had more time here.

Had and old tyme bar feel...lots of wood and I'm sure lots of history.

The wife and I stopped here for lunch on our trip to Chicago in July. I had the Double IPA and she had the IPA. There were 8 or so beers available. Both were fantastic. The food was good too...I had the Bratwurst & Pierogi.

We sat inside at a high top next to the bar...there is also outside seating available.

We stopped at the gift store next door before hitting the road and picked up a case of Burning River.

Will stop again on my next trip through Cleveland.

dlee, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%

What can I say about this place? It is no secret that I love every beer I have ever had by Great Lakes. The thing that keeps me coming back to the brewery time and time again more than anything else is so that I can try the on-tap "pub exclusives." I was there recently and had some BA Blackout Stout. There are usually total of 8 beers available on tap, the 5 regulars that are always available, the seasonal, and 2 pub exclusives. Well sometimes there are only 7 available because they run out of one of the "pub exclusives." You can get 6 packs, seasonal 4 packs, and limited edition bombers (when available) to go from the gift shop as well as shirts, beer glasses and other cool swag. The atmosphere is certainly friendly. My friends and I like the basement pub area the best. Down there you can also see some of the huge vats the beers are brewed/fermented in. It has brick walls and that old feel to it. All the beers are of course of exceptional quality. I have only had a real meal there once before and the pub grub is pretty good too and not too pricey (I highly recommend the Brewer's Barley Pretzels and the Sausage Sampler). As of the time of this review this brewery is ranked #3 overall by this site and with good reason. The beer prices are quite reasonable but the food is a bit overpriced IMO. Of course there are happy hour specials too. One reason why I am proud to be a Clevelander. We have some of the best beer in the world right here in our own backyard. Make sure you stop off here for a visit if you are passing through Cleveland.

Eric

neenerzig, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of Callenak
4.78/5  rDev +9.4%

You have to love this place. Great beer, nice atmosphere, and friendly people. This was my second trip to Cleveland as well as to Great Lakes. I lucked out big time and caught some BA Blackout on tap. Man that's some tasty stuff.

Place is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. Nice beer bar as you walk in (where I hung out), restaurant seating to the left, a beer garden to the side plus a completely outdoor patio (for the warmer months) in front. They have a pub with flat screens downstairs with all the same beers on tap there too.

I went both days I was in Cleveland and both times the bartenders were very friendly. Were very knowledgeable about beer and the company. Food was a little pricey for a brewery, but it wasn't your normal pub grub. Great food nevertheless.

If I lived in Cleveland I would have my own seat at the bar at this place. Good times.

Callenak, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of Realale
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%

I ate and drank in the bar. Lovely wood bar, with a really interesting wooden backbar. A few tables scattered about the bar. Quite packed relatively early on a Satuday afternoon. By about 12:30 people were waiting for tables. Very friendly mix of locals and not, and everyone seemed to be really into beer, which was very nice.

Standard Great Lakes offerings on tap, as well as three seasonals (Pumpkin, Holiday and Barrel-Aged Blackout on my visit). I had the Barrel-aged, and an Edmund Fitzgerald. Both were served surprisingly cold, and with pretty agressive carbonation. Surprised by that. Prices for the beer were very fair.

Food prices were definitely on the premium side, while the quality lagged some good bit behind. I had the chesse and beer soup, which was the highlight. Very nice flavors, not too heavy. Very well done. My veggie pizza ($11 for about an 8 or 9 inch pie) was okay. The veggies were a bit watery, and the crust kind of lifeless.

Service was outstanding. The bartender managed keep the packed bar and dining area in beer, without anyone having to wait, and still managed to fit in a nice chat about the beer, or the history of the building and brewery with several folks seemingly simultaneously. A real professional.

Overall a somewhat mixed experience for me. This was my first visit, and the brewery makes some of my favorite beers, so perhaps I had my expectations a bit high. I'll be back for sure though.

Realale, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of mcallister
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%

Took my second trip here for the '06 release of BA Blackout and the Rackhouse Ale. As I work for a GLBC distributor in Dayton I received (thanks Lisa) a brewery tour, dinner with all beers sampled, tickets to the Jim Beam BA tasting and a hotel room at the Radisson downtown.

I must say GLBC has expanded immensly since my last venture here over 5 years ago. The brewery tour was great. They have a very nice state of the art brewery and were bottling this years Christmas Ale during the tour.

We ate dinner in the new patio area that recently opened this past summer. It was still very nice and warm out so the roof of the room was half opened and the enormous sliding doors to the front of the room. The bar area is also very cool. The bar was built in 1901 and it looks like it but makes the experience that much more real. The basement bar area I thought was the coolest, most accessible room for my tastes but it only opens during overly busy hours. The overall woodwork of these rooms is nothing short of spectacular.

The food at Great Lakes is also very "fancy" shall we say. It isn't just a bar food joint. They have what you could call culinary expert made meals. Very good but somewhat pricey especially the dinner menu. The one thing on the menu that totally blew my girlfriend and I away was the bread pudding. A must try if visiting the brewery.

Overall GLBC is hard to beat in terms of awe inspiring drunkeness. Or just good beer drinking. And I look forward to making many more trips here before my liver fails me.

mcallister, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%

This year’s hajj to Great Lakes coincided with their Oktoberfest. Walked in around 9 on a Saturday night and were told that the wait for a table would be 2.5 to 3 hours. We decided to pass on dinner and just have a drink in the basement pub. That drink turned into a liter stein and then another and by the time we left, we were really wishing that we had put our names down on the list. Still, a great time was had by all.

Great Lakes is one of my favorite brew pubs for a number a reasons but selection and the quality of it is number one.

GL’s standard line of beers are always available and fantastic but the brew pub really shines because of all the specialty beers. This trip let me sample Oktoberfest and Monster. Both were great. In the past I’ve been equally pleased with other pub only releases.

The atmosphere is top notch too. The building has been well rehabbed using almost entirely antique materials. The place has a ton of character. The outdoor patio is just great too.

In the past the food was always great but I haven’t had it in so long, I don’t feel comfortable reviewing it.

Wonderful staff. Knowledgeable, highly motivated, and friendly.

Very reasonable prices. I bought a Liter stein filled, for $18 bucks, a good deal IMO.

DaPeculierDane, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of brewcrew76
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%

I was at Great Lakes for their Oktoberfest party. I walked in with 10 people and a 2 hour wait for a table. The hostess was accommodating and luckily 8 seats opened at the bar so we just camped out there.

The place was packed and a nice German band was playing out on the patio. I would have liked to have been there when it wasn't so crowded but it was still a great time. The bartenders were excellent and stopped to answer every question I had even though they were extremely busy.

You can tell this is definitely an old building (1898 if I remember correctly). I heard some interesting stories on the tour about Great Lakes and all the buildings on the block and I am sure I would have heard more from the bartenders if we had time to chat.

I made it just in time for the 8 o'clock tour (last of the day) and was lucky enough to be the only on that showed up. It was great getting what basically was a private tour of the brewery. I really enjoyed the samples of Edmund and Christmas from the fermentors. Overall a very nice tour with a ton of brewing info and Great Lakes historical info packed into an hour. The tour is highly recommended.

The selection contained GL's mainstays (Elliot Ness, Burning River, Dortmunder, Edmund & Holy Moses) along with Nosferatu, Lake Erie Monster & Oktoberfest. I would have preferred a few more seasonals/specials on tap but I still had my hands full with the Nosferatu and Monster.

The food seemed slightly pricey for bar food but I think they had a few more upscale (as far as bar food goes) items on the menu so it might have been in line with what you get. I had the burger and it was delicious. The beer was cheap enough to balance out the food and make GL very reasonable. The growlers were exspensive though as others have mentioned in reviews.

Overall, Great Lakes was one of the best brewpubs I have been to and is a must visit for anyone on the area. I even met Luke the brewer and he invited us to a tailgate party for the Badger game the next day. Don't forget to stop at the gift shop (you kind of have to search for it as I didn't think it was the easiest to find).

brewcrew76, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of geographie
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%

Spacious patio, definately not trying to cram people into this place. They have a rotating selection of 8 or 9 beers on tap - mostly rich ales and one flagship lager.

Prices aren't cheap for food or beer, but everything speaks of quality. From the glassware to the beer, the furnishings, food preparation and ingredients. Albeit uninventive fare, it was extremely tasty (I had the vegan version of their burger..yum!).

Employees (from managers to busers) seem quite beer-knowledgeable and friendly. However, I was treated like i was four years old waiting for my daddy to come by the waitress. Tant pis, qu'est-ce qu'on va faire?

geographie, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of brotherfraz2
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%

My borther and I went to Cleveland to watch the Tigers play the Indians. Before the game we stopped in for some dinner and a couple beers. The beers that were offered were some of the usuals Burning River, Elliot Ness, Dortmunder Gold, and Edmund Fitzgerald plus Nosferatu, Lake Erie Monster, and an Octoberfest. The Monster was a DIPA at about 9%.

We started off with some of their homemade pretzels made from the spent grain of the brewing process. The pretzels came with 3 sauces yellow mustard, brown mustard and a garlic cheese spread. For an entree I had the 76 Hour Pork with Fava Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, and Strawberries. The pork melted in my mouth and the Octoberfest was a nice compliment to it. We did not have dessert.

One of the cool things about Great Lakes is the shuttle service to and from the games. Juat ask your server for a ticket on the Fatty Wagon and they will drop you off across the street from Jacobs Field. Whenever I am in Cleveland, I always make sure to hit Great Lakes.

brotherfraz2, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of cabsandking
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%

Overall the atmosphere isn't overly eccentric, but makes up for it by offering various spaces for dining and drinking. On the warmer Cleveland days you can sit out front in a cozy little tree covered patio, or step to the side and enjoy beer and fare under the newly constructed, retractably covered patio. Inside they offer a range of atmospheres from the traditional pub bar covered in dark stained wood to the laid back feel of the cellar.

I've never had any complaints about the service. The menu is very good and what impresses me is the boldness of ingredients and combinations such as the cheeses, fruits, and veggies that get paired up with main attraction on the dish. I believe that is essential for a brewery's menu who's goal is complexity and character to mirror those same qualities found in their beer.

The beer selection is obviously fantastic and go often to catch their pub only drafts that in my experiences where the most aggressive, experimental, and complex brews i've tasted. To name a few; Rackhouse, Grassroots Ale, Market Street Wheat.

cabsandking, Aug 19, 2006
Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, OH
97 out of 100 based on 416 ratings.