Well, Cleveland Beer Week is here and gone. Hundreds of events took place all over town from tastings, pint nights, and tap takeovers to beer and wine pairings and the monster of a conclusion at BREWzilla. There was truly something for every beer lover! Culture Yourself was tops on my list - beer and cheese, yes please! - but unfortunately I wasn't able to attend. Next year for sure!!
But I WAS the lucky winner of tickets for Ales on Rails thanks to a giveaway on Cleveland Food and Brews. Thanks Brad!! If you are a beer lover, this is a blog that you should be reading for sure.
My fiance and I had gone on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for their Grape Escape and loved it so we were really excited to win tickets to the beer version.
For this event, everyone met at the Independence train station where we were greeted with a welcome beer in a souvenir pint glass from Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
We chatted as we huddled under the station roof as we waited for the train.When we boarded, we grabbed a seat and checked out the beer list for the ride:
and picked our boxed dinner from the Winking Lizard:
While we waited for the train to start rolling, we ate our sandwiches because we learned from our previous ride that it's better to have some food in your stomach before you start drinking so the alcohol doesn't go straight to your head! I also ate my apple slices because I thought they would taste better on their own instead of with the beer.
The beers were all perfect fall sippers with flavors of pumpkin, nut and maple. The only one I didn't like was the Smuttynose IPA but that's just personal preference. I love grapefruit but the bitterness was too much for me. If you are a fan of IPAs, I think you would enjoy it though. I loved the Thirsty Dog Pumpkin Ale especially after we found out that the pumpkins are all grown and roasted by them - that's why it comes out later than some other pumpkin beers. Now that's sourcing your ingredients locally!
I created my own pairing when I ate my brownie with the Penn Brewing St. Nikolaus Bock. The beer was good on its own but with the brownie it was phenomenal.
Some of the brewers were on hand to pour their brews, answer questions and chat. That's always my favorite part because of their passion and eagerness to share their knowledge.
We rode most of the way to Akron before we turned around. Well, actually backed up. Yep, they back the train up the whole way! We had so much fun and weren't ready for the trip to end.
If you haven't been on the train, you really should add it to your Must Do list. There is one more upcoming boozy event that is sure to be a blast:
*Seasonal Beer Tour 10/4It departs from Rockside and runs from 2-4 pm. You can buy tickets here. Only 1st class ones are still available which means you get leg room and a cushy seat - not a bad way to sample beers and nosh on tasty nibbles.
They also have Polar Express rides for the kids coming up. And if you prefer to wait until the weather is warm, their Bike Aboard program is one of my favorites. You hop on with your bike for only $2, get off at any of their stops, and then ride back to your car.