Why he’s interesting: When Platform Beer Co. exploded onto Cleveland’s brewing scene, Yasaki’s concoctions were the ones beer lovers tasted. But Yasaki went quiet after leaving Platform in 2015 amid legal fireworks. In May, he opened Noble Beast, a downtown brewery in a 100-year-old brick warehouse where he is pumping out some of the best altbiers this side of Düsseldorf, Germany.
Shaun the Builder: Yasaki built Noble Beast from the ground up, designing the brew system and most of the modern-industrial decor himself. “I’m pretty proud of how it looks in here because I did it piece by piece.”
Alt-Beer: Yasaki’s altbier isn’t technically altbier, a German-style brown ale brewed in a time-consuming traditional process, because it’s not made in Düsseldorf. But Yasaki fell in love with the beer during trips there and domesticated it. “You hear a lot of, ‘Oh I love your beer.’ But my favorite comment is either from a German or from an ex-pat from Düsseldorf saying ‘This is the best altbier I’ve had in the United States.’ ”
Seeing Red: What’s with the red overalls? Unless you’re an employee of the German malt company Weyermann, the only way to get a pair is by winning a medal at the Great American Beer Festival with a beer brewed from the company’s malt. Yasaki’s Black Eagle Grätzer, which he brewed at Platform, earned him the dahlia-colored duds. “The first thing I did after winning the gold medal was email them asking, ‘How do I get my overalls?’ ”
Drinking Domestic: Unlike many a craft brewer, Yasaki doesn’t think swigging the macro brews is blasphemous. His favorite: Pabst Blue Ribbon. “I think PBR is a well-brewed example of its style. I’d rather have a glass of water than a Bud Light, though.”
Wheel Man: Yasaki loves to ride his vintage Japanese motorcycles: a 1973 Honda CB350 and a 1981 Yamaha SR500. “A lot of people like to get out of the city and find back roads without traffic, where they can go a little faster. But I’ve always loved urban exploring — riding places nobody else goes, where there’s no reason to be there. Going down in the Flats, weird parts of downtown.”Interesting Fact: Yasaki designed his 10-barrel Noble Beast system specifically to brew German-style beers, using the traditional top-fermenting method.