This summer, restaurateur Sam McNulty will open Market Garden Brewery on West 25th across the street from his existing brew hubs Bier Markt and Bar Cento and next to Speakeasy. The brewery will feature an authentic outdoor beer garden and food prepared with local ingredients, including some from the site’s next-door neighbor, Cleveland’s renowned West Side Market.
But most importantly, the pub will feature a primary list of 10 house-brewed beers and a rotating seasonal selection; all created by brewmaster Andy Tveekrem, an Akron native.
The former Great Lakes Brewing Company and Dogfish Head brewer took time out of his planning schedule to answer some questions and remind everybody that Cleveland is one of the best cities for beer.
When and why did you first start brewing beer?
I started brewing in 1986 when I was in grad school at Kent State. I was living on a graduate student stipend of like, $525 a month, so I realized if I was going to have any beer at all I was going to have to make my own, because I couldn’t afford very much. And I had some friends in college who had done a bit of home brewing in their closet. I also went on a brewery tour in Germany when I was in undergrad and that was kind of fun. So I always liked beer, but I decided to take a step and actually try making it. And, that really set the hook over the years.
What do you like most about beer?
I like the way it tastes. It’s got that bittersweet profile that is very complex and enjoyable. I find it more multidimensional than wine, for example, or spirits. And I like the way it makes me feel. It’s got a little bit of alcohol, but it’s just the right amount so you can have a few and enjoy it and not get all bent out of shape. I like brewing beer because it makes other people happy. That’s probably the most rewarding thing about what I get to do.
You’ve got Great Lakes, Bier Markt, and Market Garden opening. Do you plan to do any local collaboration with brewers in the area?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. I’ve already got one kind of penciled in with Matt (Cole) from Fat Head’s and I’m sure I’ll be able to drag Luke (Purcell of Great Lakes Brewing Company) over and we’ll do something.
Are you going to experiment with the basic beer list recipes and tweak them or try to keep them the same?
I’d say that we’re going to endeavor to try and keep them where we want them once we get them there. But certainly from the initial batch to where we want a beer to be, there may be some small changes. But we’ll do a lot of rotating seasonals throughout the year and those will kind of just be free-for-all.
Do you plan to push the boundaries and experiment with standard style conventions at Market Garden?
We’re gonna do some of that, yeah. I’ve got a lot of curiosity about beer styles. I like making the classic beer styles because I think those are just really good types of beer. That’s the reason they’re classics—they’re just delicious. So we’re going to have a pretty full plate of those. But we’re going to have some interesting ingredients that we’re bringing in. But we’re also going to do some interesting things on the serving side. So we’re not just saying ‘okay, beer ends when it leaves the brewhouse’ and that’s it. I’m gonna work with our bar staff a lot and say treat it as something that you can work with, and see where you go with it. So if they want to do something with blending of different beers right at the tap, or we’re playing around with some ideas of fruit purees for some of the summer kinds of wheat beers, 'Hey, try some of this, stir it in there and see what we can get.' And hopefully if we get feedback on something that’s really insanely popular, we can just brew it that way.
So let’s talk about the menu. Is the menu developed?
We have a basic menu worked out. It’s going emphasize outdoor eating because we’re very much about the beer garden. We’re going to do burgers, hot dogs, wings, things like that. But it’s all done with our same staff from (Bier Markt), so it’s not just going to be a burger or a hot dog.
Do you have any favorite beers?
I do. I really like Duvel in the bottle. It’s an old classic. I really like German Hefeweizens, especially Schneider—that’s a really good one. I drink a lot of Bells IPA, their Two-Hearted is usually in my fridge. We’re putting a beer engine in (Bier Markt) in a few weeks, and I think the first keg is gonna be some Bells Two-Hearted.