Bike & Beers & Rock & Roll … maybe not as exciting sounding as sex & drugs & rock & roll but all of these things are readily available for the asking during a visit to Cleveland, Ohio. I spent a couple of days during an eastern roadtrip in Cleveland riding and exploring. I found Cleveland to be a fairly bikeable place with many established bikeways. I spent time on several that mapped well with brewery locations including the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway, the Lake to Lakes Trail, the Harrison Dillard Bikeway, the Centennial Trail, and the Ohio to Erie Trail. These routes are shown in the interactive map along with brewery and attraction locations. Each of these routes would also be fine for walkers.
The local brewery scene provides a variety of interesting way stops. The biggest cluster is right in the city center, mostly in older commercial areas. Ohio laws and regulations must be fairly friendly to allowing multiple locations as many of the breweries were part of multi-location enterprises.
A prime attraction for me outside of the beercation was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This museum is located on the Erie lakefront right along the Lakefront Bikeway.
You may click on any gallery image to see it in a larger format and to open a slideshow viewer that lets you scroll through larger versions of all images.
The Rock Hall of Fame features a striking, modern facade along the lake and houses all kinds of interesting artifacts from decades of rock’n. The rock (stone?) age artifacts like the hand-held transistor radio I held to my ear in the 60’s, the same LP turntable I had in the ’70’s, and 8-track cartridges that we hauled around in cars in high school all induced a wave of nostalgia. There is also glass case after glass case of musical instruments and other ephemera associated with artists and bands.
For some reason, I started thinking about what bands and artists were missing and why. Where were Jethro Tull, Supertramp, Alan Parsons Project, King Crimson, Bad Company, Steppenwolf, Robin Trower, and Kansas? And I also wondered about the presence of acts that seem at best distant relatives to the genre. I discovered in writing this article that I’m not close to the first person this has occurred to. In fact, there is almost a cottage industry — check out http://www.notinhalloffame.com/rock-and-roll if you want to browse the overlooked.
For me, I know Rock & Roll when I hear it and I realize that the organization behind a museum like this has biases and is trying to keep too many people happy, but I found it pretty easy to set all that aside and enjoy the parts I was interested in.
Butcher & Brewer, Collision Bend, Thirsty Dog, Noble Beast, Hofbrauhaus, Masthead, Jolly Scholar, Platform, Brick & Barrel, Great Lakes, Nano, Hansa, Market Garden, Bottle House, and Boss Dog were all stops on the rides.
Favorite Beer: Hansa Brewery Maibock – Hansa was the Gold Medalist for their Marzen in the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship and their brewing acumen extends to their Maibock offering, “Scoring Position,” as well. This is a beautiful, deep amber brew that is full-bodied with a substantial head. The taste is of lightly toasted malt and it is a well-balanced beer that is heady stuff at 7.8% ABV.
Friendliest Place: Great Lakes Brewing has a comfortable, old-school taproom with easy-going, friendly servers. The brewery seems to be an anchor for the old neighborhood where it is located.
Quirkiest Place: Jolly Scholar Brewery & Study Hall is embedded in the student services building of Case Western University — a really nice combination of a place to study while enjoying a beer I think. It wasn’t easy to find my way into this place as all of the exterior doors to the building seemed to be locked when I arrived.
The lakeshore ride features big views of Lake Erie and a nice panorama of the city center. My favorite ride though was through the cultural gardens that line the Harrison Dillman Bikeway. These gardens have been in the making for more than 100 years and they honor many of the countries whose immigrants were important to the development of Cleveland and the Mideastern U.S. The more than twenty-five gardens are beautifully landscaped and often feature interesting sculpture.
There are also some interesting ethnic neighborhoods including Little Italy. Public transit was bike-friendly and I made good use of light rail routes several times. People seemed friendly enough, and I even had one lady who good-naturedly quizzed me about what I was doing and demanded I take a picture of her for the story when she found out.
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