Rocky River Brewing Co. is a suburban house of worship for beer: dark woods, church-pew benches, hardwood floors, soft lighting and shiny brew kettles framed in glass just as you step through the door — it’s as if you should dip in two fingers and sign the cross to enter.
With dozens of original drafts brewed on-site (only six to eight of which are tapped each day), Rocky River Brewing Co. gets its share of pilgrims: We even spotted a couple wearing matching yellow Michigan brewpub shirts — obviously on a little microbrew getaway — sharing a sampler of small pilsener glasses. We’ll give a hearty hallelujah to the Cooper’s Gold Kolsch, which is found in every beer-battered dish here, and the Oompa Loompa Stout.
Take it home: Fill up a 64-ounce growler with Belgian strong ales Zeus Juice or Titan Triple.
Rocky River Brewing Co.
How long he’s been brewing: “About 3 years professionally. But I was a home brewer for a while, probably 10 years before I started brewing professionally.”
How he went pro: In a previous life, Lieb worked in a lab as a chemist. But after his firm went under, he decided to go a different route. “I tried home brewing and liked it,” he says. “I ended up going to brewer school and got an education … and then finally got a job brewing professionally after that.”
Chemistry crossover? “It definitely helps with some of the fundamentals. Understanding what’s going on and everything. [With beer] there are a lot of things you have to do. And you have to do everything in the right order. If you don’t, you’re going to run into problems.”
What he likes most about brewing beer? “I like seeing people drinking it and enjoying it.” He also loves to create new recipes and try new things.
His favorite type of beer: American pale ales.
One thing he wishes more people knew about beer: “Probably the health benefits. Darker beers have antioxidants that help you out … and they’ve actually found that some compounds found in hops can actually reverse enlarged prostates.” But he also adds a disclaimer. “There are a lot of health benefits when you drink it in moderation. Don’t go out and get drunk everyday.”
— Nate Hoffman
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