824 W. St. Clair Ave., Cleveland
Rock Bottom Brewery
2000 Sycamore St., No. 260, Cleveland
Take it home: Both breweries have kegs and 64-ounce growlers to go.
Cleveland ChopHouse and Brewery
Brew history: He has been a professional brew master for just more than four years, but honed his beer-making skills for years before that as a home brewer.
One smart brewer: Shimkos was a Ph.D. student in Chicago when he had an abrupt and life-changing realization. “I just decided that standing in front of a lab bench and turning in a piece of paper with information as far as what I did that day wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do my whole life,” he reflects. Instead of scrapping his degree altogether Shimkos got his masters degree, and then began working in quality control at a local brewery. “I liked it so much I ended up going on to brew school at the Siebil Institute in Chicago and got my brewers degree.”
What he likes most about brewing: “The most fun part for me is to see people drinking your beer and enjoying it. That’s what makes me happy about being a brewer. It’s when people can appreciate your product.”
Favorite Suds: “I like a lot of strange beers. I like Lambics and Gooses which are sour beers out of Belgium … Anything like an IPA or a double IPA, I like.” He also likes the holiday season, but for a different reason than most. “This time of year is always nice because there are a lot of big, high-alcohol beers out like barley wines and whatnot, and I dig those as well.”
Suggestions for the home brewer: “Enjoy what you do. And make sure you try to stay as microbiologically sound as possible. Then you will always have good beer.”
— Nate Hoffman