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Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Great Lakes Brewing Co.Great Lakes Brewing Co.
BA SCORE
3.89/5
Very Good
49,110 Ratings
Great Lakes Brewing Co.Great Lakes Brewing Co.
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

2516 Market Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio, 44113
United States

(216) 771-4404 | map
greatlakesbrewing.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

BEER STATS
Beers:
111
Reviews:
15,059
Ratings:
49,110
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.35/5
Reviews:
237
Ratings:
536
pDev:
10.11%
 
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Ratings: 536 |  Reviews: 237
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
2.19/5  rDev -49.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2

I had great expectations regarding the Great Lakes brewpub in Cleveland. Their beers don't always do it for me, but they're nevertheless very interesting.

The brewpub is a failure, at least in my trip. Super crowded and huge, not a small taproom or cozy brewpub as I expected. Service was overwhelmed, place was filled to the brim.

Selection of beers was weak, weak. Did I say WEAK? Yeah. About six or seven beers on tap, all of them at around 5-6% ABV. Nothing on cask, nothing weird, no huge beers, no specials. Just their regular offerings, which I can get pretty much in any beer bar in Ohio. So why bother coming here?

Didn't try food. Beers were a bit pricey for Ohio. Left soon. Not impressed.

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Photo of slander
4.35/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

 4,728 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

My buddy and I stopped in for a beer or two and a bite to eat on a nice summer nite during a one day stop over. Nice out door seating area, large bars inside on the main floor and in a darker bar area down stairs. Had a few apps, which were neither great nor horrible. Enjoyed a few pints which were real tasty. Most memorable was the mango/jalapeno IPA(or some other fruit/chili concoction) which was real tasty.

I wasnt blown away but this place was a worthy and quite pleasant spot for beers and food in a neighborhood seemingly filled with quality BA craft beer type spots...

around the corner and down the block - "Nano" was also worth checking out....

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I can't say a whole lot about the brewpub since I didn't have anything to eat and I didn't really look around outside of the small bar that my friends and I were at, but I can say that it's a really comfortable and nicely decorated place with what I thought was a kind of a historic feel. The bartender was really cool and worked well under pressure. Although his bar was full, we never had a problem getting a beer and he'd stop back to check on us and give us info on the beers whenever he could. I love any place where the servers care about the beers they sell. One of the standout beers is the Dortmunder, although the Burning River is excellent as well. In fact, all of the beers were good (although not necessarily great).

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Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -14.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Photo of LXIXME
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of misternebbie
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Dogbrick
4.7/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

The last time I was at GLBC, it was years before I even got into craft beer. As such I have been anxiously awaiting a return visit for quite some time now. The brewpub is located right over the bridge from downtown. Parking isn't too hard to find even on a busy Saturday night, between the pay lots and street parking.

Inside, the "Beer Cellar" is downstairs and is the ideal place to kill time while you are waiting for a table for dinner. Lots of brick, flat screen TVs, and all of the available beers. You can eat appetizers down there too (the pretzels seem to be the most popular). The ground floor and upstairs are devoted to dining. Great collection of breweriana adorns the walls, and the atmosphere is cozy.

But of course the beer is the attraction here. Even though I have had all of the beers except for Wolfhound Stout (which was served a little too cold in my opinion), there is that intangible benefit to drinking them on-site out of GLBC glasses. The Eliot Ness and Conway's Irish were both good too. Any visitor will immediately recognize the quality in the beers they brew.

The service here is great. The bartenders and wait staff are efficient and really know the beer. Our waiter knew my wife was drinking an Eliot Ness that she brought with her from the Beer Cellar. Big deal, right? Well to me the Eliot Ness looks a heck of a lot like Conway's. Maybe a lucky guess, but we were impressed nonetheless.

The nicest surprise of the evening was definitely the food. The walleye bites were good, and so was my bratwurst. As for my wife's plate, sweet-potato ravioli: Absolutely out of this world. Becoming vegetarian would be a snap with dishes like this. It is a must try! The food is pricey but worthwhile, and they do have some cheaper options for the budget-minded, like the pub burger. The menu details where the ingredients come from (nearly all were local/regional) and there is a beer recommendation for each dish.

All in all this place is the first place any beer lover should stop on a trip to Cleveland. Between the beer, food, brewery tour and gift shop next door you are in for a treat.

 2,130 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of qcbrewer
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I've been here many, many times, and each time is an absolute complete joy. The fact that the location has so much history behind it (not just since the brewery opened), and the original bar from the prohibition era is still being used is awesome. I have yet to ever sit out side on the street or in their newer side patio mainly because I love the downstairs cellar so much - one of my favorite places in the US.

Up until recently when GLBC started distributing more unique styles, there was always anticipation of what pub exclusive beers would be on draft. Now, we all have the pleasure of getting most of these in bars or bottles, even down in NC. Their selection will always have their "fleet" of beers, plus some great seasonal offerings.

Food is good (it won't knock your socks off though) and is sourced primarily through local farms, and they give their spent grains to help feed local livestock as well. Great gift shop with everything GLBC one would need.

Seriously, this is one of my favorite breweries to visit in the country - probably top 3 - and I encourage everyone to visit this landmark brewery like at some point in their beer drinking career.

 1,166 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

After almost 8 thirsty hours in the car, I was very excited to arrive at GLBC just before dark. The stop was, as advertised, a great place to start our DLD travel extravaganza.

The place has a great vibe to it. Upstairs bar has about 12 seats, with lots of dark wood, some really ornate millwork behind the bar and wallpaper reminiscent of the '20's. All in all, this feels like a throwback to an old time pub. The downstairs pub, which we check out on our way out the door, is cool in a different, Belgian way.

I have never had a bad GL beer in the bottle. My only regret was not being able to stay long enough to try some of my favorites on tap. Next time. All the regulars were on tap (Burning River, Commodore Perry, Edmund Fitz., etc.) with some seasonal specials (esp. Lake Erie Monster DIPA-yeah!).

Food is tasty, with an emphasis on fresh and local ingredients. Nice menu and well executed.

Service was very friendly and attentive throughout our visit. Can't wait to get back.

HV

 992 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in for a sandwich and beer after a Browns/Lions game. This was the first time I stopped here, despite previously living in the Cleveland area for several years.

The atmosphere was really nice, and other patrons seemed mostly upscale. It was comfortable and the service was pretty good. I sat upstairs for dining, and the waitress was pretty attentive.

The beer menu included the major offerings which you can find in any grocery store in the area (Dortmunder Gold, Holy Moses, Elliot Ness, Burning River, etc). Also, there were 2 "pub-only" brews. I chose one of those (a burning strong beer called Rackhouse), followed by a Dortmunder Gold to sooth my throat.

The food was good quality and reasonably priced.

Definitely a must-see while in the Cleveland area, I completely recommend it!

 807 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

There are several areas at the brewpub location in the Ohio City section of Cleveland and I did not explore all of the areas - in includes a downstairs bar, a main dining area, and a gift shop (I stayed within the main dining area). The vibe is very much what I would expect at a brewpub including the visibility to the tanks and the heavy amounts of wood for decor. It was a Monday night, so the place was very laid back but that was exactly what my table of folks were looking for.

Beers were served at the proper temperature in mostly proper glassware, they were good pours with nice heads and served promptly.

Service was friendly and attentive without being overbearing or lurking at your table - every time we needed something, we looked up and the server was there but I do not recall her ever just showing up or being pushy in any way.

There are 10 beers on tap and they represented a number of different styles (maybe the only duplicate style was there were two different porters available). Seems like they had something on the menu that would appeal to most anyone.

The food was good for pub food and I really enjoyed my selection - burger on the pretzel roll with some very good fries. Nothing super exotic in the food but solid and tasty.

The prices were reasonable and I went to Great Lakes knowing that the beers would be good quality so I was satisfied. Also, coming from the NYC area it seems like prices are always a little cheaper than at home.

 1,468 characters

Photo of Yetiman420
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I'm finally getting around to a review of GLBC after my third visit over a roughly seven year time span.

The most recent visit was on a very busy Saturday early afternoon when lots of stuff was going on in the surrounding area - charity walk and a street fair directly in front of the brewpub. We had to wait 30 minutes for a table for six and the service was a bit off which I'm not factoring in to my overall experience.

Great, old historic building near the Market so you could make this a half day's visit. For such a large, multi-level building, the bar is rather small.

The beer selection is mostly what they offer in bottles with the exception of maybe one or two. They had a "cellar" Czech pilsner and a smoked ported on the menu. Neither of them had an official logo or artwork so I assumed they were not part of the regular lineup. Both were excellent.

The food has a local, organic, and sustainable emphasis on it. Many of their sources are listed on the back of the menu and I suspect come from the market next door. We all enjoyed our meals and beer and I would continue to return to GLBC when in the Cleveland area.

 1,137 characters

Photo of ejimhof
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Made a point to stop here through Cleveland. Neatest part of the pub is its basement, as it has that old pub feel to it with arched doors. Beers were good, but it was sort of packed and remember waiting for a chance to get a sampler. Was disappointed to not try anything special, but the people were friendly and it had a good neighborly feel to it. If you do stop in for one, beware of the Cleveland parking gestapo if you don't want to go inside the parking lot and pay a fee. The gestopo has weird hours for parking on the street, perhaps because the city is in debt.

 570 characters

Photo of West_Chester_Ale_Tester
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of the old guard, especially in the mid-west. Crowded and crazy on a Saturday afternoon, I was lucky enough to grab a seat on the patio. If you are looking for food, you're probably going to have to wait for it. The upstairs and downstairs bars are very cool. On my visit, they have most of the easy to find beers on tap, and that was fine. The best part about Great Lakes is the fact that most of their really highly rated beers are so easy to get your hands on. They have a cool gift shop and the whole area around the brewery is nice. Once Lebron leaves town again, it's about the only reason I can think of to visit Cleveland. Just kidding. Kinda.

 655 characters

Photo of costanzo_mike
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of orangesol
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of Canada_Dan
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A visit to the brewpub while en route to NW Ohio.

Atmosphere: The brewpub is a quaint old building with a wide open patio out front, long bar immediately inside and seating upstairs and downstairs. The place has a nice vibe to it.

Quality: The bar was a nice choice for seating, as service was fast and reliable. The restrooms were small and somewhat dank, being in the basement and all.

Service: Courteous and fast, she was quick to refill my glass and take my order.

Selection: In addition to the five seasonals, Cellar Dweller, Blackout and Oktoberfest were on. Mmmm, I love Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.

Food: I went with an Italian panini. At $11 it was a little pricey. Go for the drinks.

 695 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went out of my way to have dinner and drinks at the brewpub on a weekend trip to Cleveland. Was lucky enough to catch the Lake Erie Monster release only days after it dropped and it alone was worth the trip. Blackout Stout on tap was excellent as well as were the other 2 or 3 styles that I tried for the first time that night. Ever beer these guys make is pure heaven!

The food was good and the atmosphere was perfect - exactly what you would expect from a bewpub. The downstairs bar area was pretty cool as well.

My only disappointment is that they were out of barrel aged blackout stout.

 594 characters

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Like many places, the service depends on the server. Early in the day we had a great helper in Susan who was not only willing to help us know GLBC, but also the beers. She was very kind and helpful. When our local friends arrived we moved downstairs and the young lady there had had a bad day (or life) and wasn't all that interested in our needs. I'll give the place a 4 on service though because most everyone from Susan to the seaters were friendly, courteous, and helpful. One rotten apple shouldn't spoil the barrel.

Kick back and casual atmosphere; the Indians rule here. Big surprise, the Jake is just down Lorain and across the bridge. GLBC runs shuttles to the ball park from their brewpub. Way cool way to do the games. They give a super tour of the brewery and our guide, Terrence Ryan was super knowledgeable and helpful. He also does the ballpark run. Tastings at the brewery feature Dortmunder Gold at different temps so that newbies can see that warmer is better than frigid when tasting good beer.

Update: August 2003. This place just continues to impress me. We stopped on our way back from the East and had superb food and service on the brick sidewalk out front on a lovely summer night. The bad waitress with an attitude was nowhere in sight and our helper on this evening was not only a great waitress who cared about our needs, she was also a confirmed and dedicated hops lover who understands how Commodore Perry makes its mark. Upping my marks on both food and service - I think they get it on how to please customers and hire (and prehaps fire) the right people. The food is a bargain at the current quality and portion levels. Though the old lady is not a great beer lovers, still she commented that the best food she's had lately comes from places that serve good beers. What a breakthrough that!

 1,829 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, OH
Brewery rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 49,110 ratings
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