Best brew


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Kent’s “Best Brew” winner, Bell Tower Brewing, is located at 310 Park Ave.

Molly Hoffer, Reporter

FIRST: Bell Tower Brewing

After spending almost two years looking for the right property for their brewery, Ryan Tipton and the other two owners of Bell Tower Brewing settled on a building that was home to a church and built in 1858.

“As soon as we walked into the main hall for the first time, we were absolutely mesmerized by the character of the building,” he said. “The age and the quality of the building fit our vision really well and it pushed us to grow a little bigger than we originally intended.”

Tipton said originally they had wanted to just have a tap room and beer, but the space inside the church was so large and “amazing” that they felt like they needed to add a whole kitchen as well. 

“Almost all of the food that comes out of our kitchen is made from scratch,” he said. “We make all of our breads, pretzels, dips and sauces in house.”

Tipton also said the bar manager makes all of the cocktails from scratch. The citrus used for the cocktails is freshly juiced and a lot of the non-alcoholic drinks are made from scratch too.

The brewery is known for a lot of classic style beers such as loggers and pilsners, which are also some of their best sellers. 

All of the beer is made by hand on site.

“I think that the one thing that is really important that we want all of our customers to know is that everything we offer is a crafted offering,” he said. “It’s something that our staff is making with their hands and with passion and love.”

SECOND: 101 Bottles of Beer

101 Bottles of Beer is a craft beer bar with hundreds of different wines and more than 500 different beers. 

Craig Hutchinson, one of the managers, said they also sell small kegs to customers on top of the hundreds of different beers and wines.

“We can’t sell the large ones, but we can sell small kegs to people,”
he said. “We’re actually one of the few places in Northeast Ohio that can sell kegs to customers.”

The beer bar invites a diverse crowd consisting of craft beer regulars, graduate students, professors and other community members.

“Best Brew” nominee, 101 Bottles of Beer, is located at 115 N. Willow St. (Abigail Griffith)

Hutchinson said he and his staff offer 24 craft beers on draft which are constantly rotating, so they never keep the same beer on tap for too long. 

“Everything is always rotating,” he said. “I don’t have any permanent handles and that’s what enables us to keep delivering a wide variety of different craft beers on tap for customers.”

Hutchinson also said they are constantly working to provide the best quality crafted beer to people within the community and hope to bring their number of beers on tap from 24 to 26 by the summer. 

THIRD: North Water Brewing Co. 

Located on the Cuyahoga River, North Water Brewing is committed to conservation and sustainability, said manager Derek Salustro.

“We’re really outdoorsy people,” Salustro said. “We love to kayak, run and bike. We love being right by the trail, so that people walking or biking by can stop for a beer.”

North Water Brewery’s Irish Red won gold at the Ohio beer cup two years ago, and its Mexican hot chocolate won silver in the flavored beer category. 

“There’s always something for everyone,” he said. “And people have been really receptive and positive towards the beers that we have been making.”

Salustro said North Water will open a kitchen behind the garage door in May. 

Best Brew” nominee, North Water Brewing, located at 101 Crain Ave. (Abigail Griffith)

All of the beers are brewed in house by using fresh, natural ingredients, Salustro said. 

“When people ask us if we have any domestic beers I tell them all of them are domestic,” he said. “Everything is brewed 20 feet away.”

He also said he enjoys brewing all of the different beers that they have.

“When you see the look on someone’s face after they try your beer and like it, nothing beats that,” he said. “It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Molly Hoffer is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]