The Market Garden Brewery, the newest brewery in Cleveland’s Ohio City, had crowd control barriers outside its front door when I visited a few weeks ago. My general philosophy when I see roping outside a bar is to avoid. See-and-be-seen venues are for other people, people who wear rompers and who start getting ready to go out as I’m turning in for the night. If there had been a line outside the place, I would have seriously considered arguing for a change in plans. Happily, we arrived just before it opened, at four in the afternoon, and were given a choice of seats in the large, airy and trendy restaurant and beer garden.
From a retail design perspective, I was in love. The place was minimalistic with a dash of everything a Ohio-livin’ locavore could love. Before I even tried the beer, I’d mentally committed to purchasing swag from the front of the bar. (I left with a lovely blue t-shirt. Congrats on the effective merchandising, Market Garden.)
(Look how pretty! Ball jars aren’t just for grandma’s basement or for overachievers anymore!)
(And the signage! I have no idea how much that “spirits” —or its sister “beer”—sign cost, but totally worth it.)
On to the beer. This place is not just signs and t-shirts. The beer holds its own which is important, given the fact that Great Lakes Brewing Company is less than a block away. While I lingered on the Cluster Fuggle IPA (naturally), Ben found the Boss Lager, Progress Pilsner and St. Emeric’s Stout to be among his favorites. American lagers often get a bad reputation (due to our many macro-breweries), but Market Garden Brewery’s three lagers showed that these light easy-to-drink brews don’t have to be without taste.
And while it would be difficult to turn down the house-made selection of beverages, I was happy—almost giddy—to find Central Ohio’s own Rockmill Brewery on the menu.
Sadly, Market Garden was not our dinner destination. I vow to not make this mistake again during my next Cleveland visit. We did order a selection of bar snacks, though. We supplemented our flight with the brewmaster’s platter, seen above. House-smoked meats and pickled vegetables joined a nice selection of cheeses and heavenly bread. My personal favorite was the jerky. You won’t find anything like that along I-71.
Our server recommended the soft baked pretzel with mustard and garlic cheese. I’m pretty sure I could live on these. (Keep in mind that I date someone who scientifically believes that one can live on beer, sauerkraut and sausage alone. May as well add pretzels to the mix.) Paired together, the pretzel and brewmaster platter make up a traditional ploughman’s lunch, one of the ideas that Mr. Ben continuously fantasizes about when considering a trip to England.
Other (untried) menu items included buttermilk fried chicken, lobster rolls and “authentically Mexican” tacos, all of which I need. (I understand there’s a difference between want and need, and I’m taking that into account with this statement.)
Market Garden Brewery, congrats on your seemingly successful new venture. I vow to visit every time I’m in town and to wear my new t-shirt proudly in the land of the Buckeye. And if you ever want to expand down south, I’ll welcome you with open arms (and wallet, it seems). We could use your kind down here.
Market Garden Brewery
1947 West 25th Street