by Emily Anderson
Cuyahoga Falls added another brewery to their lineup this month! Missing Falls Brewing Company had their opening day on June 9. Apparently opening weekend was totally packed – way busier than expected. I came in a few days later on a Tuesday afternoon and it was packed then too!
Despite the crowd of beer lovers when I came to visit, I was still able to meet and chat with the four guys who partnered together to make their long-time dream of opening a brewery a reality – Dan Kephart, Dave Bertolottil, Kieth McFarlane, and Danny Yagerszi. Over the last decade they bonded over homebrewing and their love for outdoor winter sports. They decided to name the brewery after the only thing missing from northeast Ohio – a real mountain to ski and snowboard on.
This whole idea of a “missing mountain” really sets in when you walk inside the taproom – it feels just like a ski lodge! Yagerszi told me the hardest part working up to opening day was the interior layout and design, but it ended up looking great. You would never guess that the space was previously a gas station! There are big windows everywhere, and the design is simplistic and industrial yet cozy.
Their original plan was to keep everything under one roof – the tap room, kitchen, and brewing equipment – but they quickly realized there just wasn’t enough space. They made negotiations with the landlord and bought a few extra yards of property from the City of Cuyahoga Falls that gave them enough room to construct a whole new structure to house all the brewing equipment. This was a genius plan, not only because it freed up space in the tap room for more seating, extra bathrooms, and kitchen space, but also because they were able to design their own custom house for their 10-barrel brewing system. They definitely made the most of those extra few yards and built a perfectly efficient brew house complete with a water filtration system in the basement and a second floor landing above the mash tun and kettle where they store the grain and milling equipment. Flooded with natural light pouring through the huge windows, their shiny new brewing system, complete with the Missing Mountain logo freshly engraved, is literally gleaming in the sun. It’s a truly beautiful sight!
When I finished swooning over the tap room and brew house, I finally made my way around the back of the building where they have a gorgeous patio. It seems to be hanging right over the Cuyahoga river, and even though it’s right on Front Street, sitting on this back patio is peaceful and serene. There are plenty of tables where people can relax and have dinner. The whole place is very kid friendly, and well behaved dogs are allowed on the patio.
Hopefully by this point you have a picture in your mind of this beautiful spot, but it’s time to talk beer. Firstly, Missing Mountain Brewing Company made an interesting decision that affects every beer they pour. It’s their tap system. It’s not like typical American taps that use carbon dioxide gas to pressurize the beer from the keg into your glass; instead they use a special blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. I won’t get too technical, but nitrogen bubbles are much smaller than carbon dioxide bubbles. If you’ve ever had a “nitro” beer, like Guinness, you know that these tiny nitrogen bubbles create a smooth and creamy mouthfeel in each sip. Now imagine a hazy IPA or an imperial stout with this effect. Sounds pretty dreamy, right? It is. The guys drew inspiration for this decision from some of their favorite breweries like Hill Farmstead in Vermont and Brew Gentlemen in Pennsylvania that utilize this technique.
The options available when I visited where three pale ales, a kolsch, an IPA, a porter, an imperial stout, a blonde, and two cream ales – one with orange and one with raspberry. I got a flight to try a bit of everything and the beers fit right in with the atmosphere – clean, simple, precise. The pale ale I tried was brightly hopped and fresh. The porter was bitter and roasty. The cream ale with raspberries, called Prince Juice, was probably my favorite. It had a ton of tart raspberry flavor but didn’t come off as too juicy or intense. The nitro creaminess in all these beers was definitely a bonus. The porter was silky smooth and the bright hops in the pale ale were tamed and rounded out. I was apprehensive about their decision to pour all their beers this way, but after trying them out I see why they went this route.
Aside from the beer, MMBC offers 14 different wines, mostly from the West Coast USA, and a variety of liquor. There isn’t a cocktail list but they offer Fever Tree mixers and Mexican Coke and Sprite.
The food menu, made by the brewer Keith, is small but efficient, much like his brewing operation. They offer a few appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, and brisket and wings from the smoker out back. There are gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. The only thing I tried was the Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese. Pretzels are my favorite appetizer and I get them everywhere, so you can trust me when I say this one was delicious. Perfectly salted and baked on the outside, super soft and fluffy on the inside. The dip was the best. Cheesy beer dip with some extra spices – and they give you a huge cup of it so you don’t have to skimp yourself on any bites. If this pretzel is a representation of the rest of their menu I can confidently say that the food here is very good.
While this brewery is off to a great start, they have big plans for the future. They’re working on the second floor of the tap room to create an event space and extra dinner seating. The patio out back has a whole other level to it down on the river that is still under construction but will no doubt be beautiful when it’s finished. They also want to get a sour beer program started. It’s almost impossible to brew sour beers alongside other styles without accidentally souring everything, so brewing sours will require a separate space. They also have plans to add barrel-aged beers to their lineup, and some of the imperial stout is already sitting in a few Buffalo Trace barrels in the brew house. We can look forward to tasting that one in the fall. They plan on giving back to the community as much as possible, especially all the friends they’ve made from other breweries who helped them to get to where they are now.
You can visit MMBC any day of the week. It’s located at 2811 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls. See you there!
Lady Beer Drinker can’t stop thinking about giant pretzels. You can follow her on Instagram @ladybeerdrinker