17th State Brewing Co.: Named for the swing state of Ohio, this microbrewery is slated to open a taproom in a Mentor industrial space by the end of the year. Yet 17th State has already made fans with its Kolsch, pale ale and wheat beers in cans and at FirstEnergy Stadium. But keep an eye out for its new Cardinal 88 at the Mentor taproom with notes of toffee, caramel and a graham cracker crisp. “All of our beers are named after an Ohio or Cleveland fact, so you get a little bit of state knowledge and pride when you drink our beer,” says president Kristopher Mackey.
Breaking Point Brewery: Michelle Gordon and Kevin O’Toole went from forming a garage band to building a 20-gallon brew system in Gordon’s Cleveland Heights backyard. “We brew what we want to drink,” says Gordon. Breaking Point’s Amigos Mexican Lager, which combines corn and maize-like notes with real caramel syrup, and the Chasing Butterflies Lavender Grape Saison, brewed with fresh grapes and homegrown lavender, are available at South Euclid’s Warehouse Beverage. “Our dream is to buy a home here and convert it into a brewpub,” she says.
Lucky Owl Brewing: Never underestimate the brew power of nerds. Financial planner Dave Demming teamed up with IT manager Jeff Bradbury and oncologist Brian Rini in 2015 to get this Bainbridge microbrewery off the ground. “For us, it’s all about seasonality,” says Demming, whose brews can be found on draft at all Flip Side locations. The 3 1/2-barrel system in Demming’s garage allows the trio to experiment with grapefruit in the Imago IPA or the strong citrus, pine and rosemary notes in the Owling session IPA. “If you’re trying to do the basics like IPAs, porters and stouts, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle,” says Demming.