by Sandy Maxwell

Welcome, fellow beer enthusiasts! I confess to you up front that I aim for this column to be equal parts entertaining and informative, and if I manage to achieve at least one of the two, I’ll consider it a success. I’d like to give you a little background on myself before I dive into the heart of the matter. I’ve been in the service industry for more than 20 years and am currently a bartender in a craft beer/whiskey bar that also doubles as a retail beer store. Talk about a dream job! I’m a fervent adventurer when it comes to styles and flavors.

But enough about me — let’s talk about beer.

This month I had the pleasure of visiting Lock 15 Brewing Co. for the first time. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere, with the industrial feel of open ductwork, visible brewing equipment and an open kitchen. I visited on a busy Wednesday night. There were plenty of big screen TVs for the sports fans. I counted 13 house taps and three guest taps. I inquired about the guest taps and learned they are always local.

I tried a flight of four beers, each named for a piece of Akron history.

Mustill Mild: An English style mild. Malt forward, without being too sweet. I was reminded of a roasty black tea. Sessionable and delicious.

Old Brick Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat: Hazy and mild with a high carbonation giving it a soda-like feel. With flavors of chocolate, strawberry and banana it was like a banana split in a glass! A good one for the novice beer drinker.

Instigator IPA: Super piney aroma with a bitterness that seems higher than its claimed IBUs (80). Sorachi Ace and Citra hops lend this brew a tropical yet crisp hop flavor that finishes dry rather than juicy.

Station 3 Habanero IPA: A lot of smoke flavor upfront. Although it’s a summer seasonal it transitions nicely into fall with a feeling reminiscent of sitting by a campfire. Slight notes of citrus come through but are mostly overwhelmed by smoke and heat from the habaneros.

The food menu is diverse and has plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options! The fried cauliflower was delicate in texture and flavor, accompanied by a simple but flavorful lemon-herb yogurt for dipping. The watermelon salad drizzled with balsamic and goat cheese was so tasty it made my eyes roll back in my head — absolutely delightful, simple and seasonal flavors abound! I was set on trying the Nashville Hot Chicken but unfortunately I filled up on starters.

The plate presentation was so beautiful that the whole experience felt more upscale than your average brewpub. I’ll surely be revisiting Lock 15 Brewing in the near future.

Sandy Maxwell is a floor manager at Lizardville Beer Store and Whiskey Bar in Copley. She loves beer, whiskey, kayaking and pretentiously complicated progressive metal.

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