It’s a great time to be in Cleveland, especially for the beer lover. Northeast Ohio is filled with craft breweries, and more places will be coming in the near future. The scene is so hopping it’s difficult to imagine a time there weren’t as many options for good beer.
Before Fat Heads and Buckeye Brewing, before Thirsty Dog and Great Lakes, the Winking Lizard provided a fix for local beer connoisseurs looking for something with more taste than Bud Light.
This is the 28th year for the Lizard’s World Beer Tour. The Tour challenges beer lovers to try 100 different beers from the Lizard in a calendar year. It also challenges the Lizard to provide a wide selection from breweries around the world year after year. Those doing the Tour this year have close to 400 beers to choose from, with a list of 100 bottles, and new beers on tap each month.
The Tour allows beer newcomers to explore different styles and learn about tastes. It gives aficionados a chance to try something new. The Lizard has taken this concept further with their three Lizardville locations, a beer supermarket where beer lovers can browse brews from around the world.
The Lizard brewmasters have built strong relationships with breweries, resulting in an ever evolving beer list. Every month the Lizard offers limited availability bottles in addition to the normal list. Some of the draughts are even special brewed for the Lizard. And if you feel the need to stock up on new beer glasses, there is the Glass of the Month. Drink the beer and keep the glass.
Beyond the beer, the restaurants themselves are fun. The locations tend to have their own flavor despite being part of a local chain. Several locations are blended into their neighborhoods in interesting old buildings. The spot in Peninsula housed a nightclub in the 30s. The Lakewood location had a working bowling alley in the basement until the Lizardville recently moved in there.
The food is unpretentious, with burgers, ribs, and sandwiches. The artichoke dip is a favorite that can be an appetizer or a main dish. I also suggest the pulled pork, the shells and cheese, and the black bean burger.
But the real star is the beer. With good prices and one of the best selections in the area, Winking Lizard is still the go-to place for any Cleveland beer fanatic.