Part of the adventure of a trip is seeing new things, eating new things, and drinking new things. Why go to a new place and eat at a chain restaurant? Why drink the same beer you drink at home?
In a new feature this year at Rock M Nation, we are looking to help you avoid the trap of settling for the familiar if you are traveling to see the Tigers play on the road. Where possible, we will provide recommendations based on our direct experience with the beers of the area. Where we can't, we will do some on-line scouting of the local breweries and provide a recommendation or two. We will also ask any locals to provide their recommendations in the comments. Jaeger, you're up this week.
For those of you who will be viewing the game from home, we will try to highlight beverages from the region where the game is played that might be available in your local grocery, but that you might not have tried. Given how local microbrewery distribution tends to be, that may be a challenge, but we will try. That way you can drink the opponent's milkshake, so to speak, from the comfort of your own home.
Toledo is home to two breweries, with another to be opening soon (not that that will help you this weekend). The more established of the two is Maumee Bay Brewing, which has been around since 1995 and is currently producing 29 beers. Their highest rated beers include the Amarillo Brillo double IPA, Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout, and McLaughlin's Scotch Ale. Their pumpkin ale is also highly rated, but it looks like they've changed things up this year, offering a Fire-Roasted White Pumpkin Ale.
The new kid on the block is Great Black Swamp Brewing. Online ratings for their beers are fairly scarce, so we are dealing with small sample size. Their most appealing sounding beer is the Bay Front Pale Ale.
In our search for first-hand experience with Ohio beers, we cast a wider net. Great Lakes Brewing is based in Cleveland, and has distribution in the upper Midwest. The Beef provides a review:
I have had two of the beers from Great Lakes Brewing Company. I enjoyed them over a Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago in 2009, and I really did enjoy them both. The first was the Elliot Ness Amber Lager and though ambers are not really in my preferred taste wheel-house, I remember remarking to my father that it was quite good. Good enough, in fact, that I believe I only ended up enjoying one from the six-pack before everyone else helped themselves.
The other, which I actually enjoyed more (though did not tell people as such) (editor's note: smart move, Beef) was the Burning River Pale Ale. Ales are more my typical speed, and this one did not disappoint. It was not anything too much to any one side (bite, flavor, finish) of a beer experience, but just really balanced down the middle of all of them. Both beers were such that I even talked about trying to find more to bring back to Missouri from Chicago, but twas not to be. Really enjoyed them though and I will jump at the chance to find this stuff again in the future.
So, hopefully this will help guide your consumption experience this weekend. Those of you with experience with Toledo or other Ohio beers, please contribute in the comments below.