Hi there! Ready for Christmas yet? This past week has been pretty eventful and I’m still working on last minute details. I haven’t baked any cookies because we busted the outer glass panel of our oven door on Sunday while bottling beer. Ugh!! I might still give it a try.
Speaking of beer (and as I hinted previously), one of my favorite things about Christmastime is the arrival of Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale. This festive ale is brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. And is seriously addictive. People start hoarding cases once it’s available for sale. Just ask Piper. Last year, The Plain Dealer ran an article about Christmas Ale and disclosed that “Dortmunder accounts for 35 percent of sales. Christmas Ale is 20 percent, but is only on sale for 8 weeks.” From GLBC’s blog:
This season, GLBC will produce around 255 batches of Christmas Ale (approximately 19,125 barrels). We will use approximately 165,000 lbs of honey (which costs GLBC more than $250,000!) and 5,500 lbs each of ginger and cinnamon. Production is up 21% over last year, and it’s still not enough to keep up with demand.
Not only does GLBC make awesome products, but they’re an “environmentally and socially conscious brewer.” Here are a few of their sustainability projects:
- GLBC’s Burning River Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose through grants, donations and community involvement is to provide extensive education and resources for the ecological conservation, environmental protection, scientific exploration, historic preservation, and sustainable future of our waterways.
- GLBC sends spent grains from the brewing process to its Pint Size Farm and the Ohio City Farm as fertilizer to organically grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers for use in their brewpub.
- Their beer delivery truck and “Fatty Wagon” shuttle bus run on straight vegetable oil – a renewable fuel made from their reclaimed and filtered restaurant oil.
- The Beer Garden includes a radiant heat fireplace and floor, a straw bale wall and ten foot high sliding glass doors.
- In the winter, the Brewery cooler brings in chilly outdoor air to cool the beer (thanks, Cleveland), while skylights and light sensors maximize natural light to minimize electricity use. The Brewpub features 12 solar thermal panels and an energy efficient boiler that heat water for brewing and restaurant use.
- Their low-fill beers (unsellable bottles because they’re not filled to the maximum level) are used in a number of items including soups, marinades, sauces, chocolate truffles, sausages and soaps. In fact, thier low-fill porters are sent to Mitchell’s Ice Cream to make their exclusive Edmund Fitzgerald Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream.
- GLBC recycles everything they can (even their recycling bins, if possible): cardboard, glass, plastic, steel/aluminum, paper, hops and brewer’s barley. They print all newsletters, menus, beverage napkins and promotional items on recycled paper. And all packaging includes recycled content. Their intention is to become a true zero waste Brewery.
Finally, Great Lakes Brewing Company is making an impact on Cleveland’s economy. Over the past summer they made $7M of major capital improvements to their brewery. Plus, they added 15 newly created jobs during the year and hope to add at least 9 more jobs over the next couple of years.
Have I convinced you yet? And did I mention that they’re Ohio’s most celebrated and award-winning brewer? One of the perks of living in Chicago is that GLBC beer is available here. Their market includes the Great Lakes states and they’re slowing expanding. Check out GLBC’s Beer Finder to see if it’s for sale at your local bar or store.