no. 251

I really love small breweries. Don’t get me wrong—I love some of the big guys, too. But there’s something really romantic about a concise operation.

Cleveland’s Brick and Barrel Brewing is just that. As soon as you step in the front door, you can see the whole place. And from any seat at the bar you have a clear view of the brewer’s “office” mixed in among the fermenters.

They're not likely to end up on any top 100 brewery lists, or bring home serious hardware from an international competition. But they make outstanding beer—including some of the best cask in Ohio, if not east of the Mississippi period. And they make it 3.5 barrels at a time.

As one of the first new occupants in the once-great-then-abandoned-now-on-the-rise Cleveland Flats neighborhood, they're also responsible for a cultural impact that is exponentially larger than their square footage. I’ll drink to that.

—Kyle Kastranec