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The Night the Lights Went Out In Cleveland

This is an archival copy of what was originally posted on Facebook.

Friday night the Great Brewery Tour landed in Cleveland, OH at the Working Class Brewery. Working Class is a fairly new brewery (less than 2 years) in an Irish neighborhood just south of the lake on Cleveland's west side. The taproom is a cozy spot in a shopping center, with the brewing facilities in the back of the building.

This was the last night of Summer, and was muggy, pop-up storms were in the area, and the Red Sox were playing the Indians here in Cleveland. Both teams had already clinched their divisions, but Working Class co-founder Carmen Rusoniello is not a Cleveland native and was proudly donning his Red Sox cap, while Mike, the bar manager, wore his Tribe colors... so at Working Class, the series still carried weight.


Working Class Brewery - Cleveland, OH

The beer is available at the tap room and retailers in the Cleveland area


Just before I was set to start my set, the power grid for a good portion of Cleveland went down. The utility indicated power wouldn't be restored for several hours, possibly not until midnight. Luckily, beer taps don't run on electricity, so about a dozen of us sat in the increasing darkness and got down to business... and that business was beer drinking.

My first pint of the night was Working Class's Aviator IPA (7.5%), which was a standout in a very crowded IPA space. Luckily, it seems that the industry's contest for the hoppiest IPA possible may have finally played out, as the IPAs I've been finding lately are quite good, well balanced, and not nearly as ridiculously over-hopped as they were a year or two ago. Aviator is a fine sample, the hops were there, but only to the extent that you would want them to be. The aroma was very floral and fruity, with the hops delivering hints of pineapple and possibly a little mango. A very nice IPA that would be quite enjoyable in quantities of six.

Next up was Arbeitnehmer Schwarzbier (a black lager, 5.4%). This was a very dark pour. Granted, it was dark in the room, but I couldn't see any hints of red or rust coming through... it was blocking sunlight, with a nice foamy tan head. A nice crisp drink, like a lager, but with a coffee/molasses flavor, and a nice clean finish (no lingering molasses aftertaste).

Much to our surprise, the power came back up and stayed up, so I plugged in and off we went. People had continued to wander in after the power went out, and more so once the lights came back on.

During my set I sipped on the Oil Rigger Chocolate Stout (6.0%). Delicious chocolate flavor, offering a bit of sweetness, and a nice full bodied and creamy stout with just a touch of carbonation... so it was still refreshing without seeming too heavy or thick.

The balance of the bourbon and the stout was perfect, the head was thick and creamy brown, the body full and bold. A little bit of sweetness in there and nitro fed creamyness made me initially think of a Car Bomb, but Boilermaker may be more accurate. Either way, fantastic!

Next stop, the final night of the Midwestern leg of the tour at Lockport Brewery in Bolivar....

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