Put-in-Bay Brewing Company
441 Catawba Avenue
Visited on August 12, 2012
Put-in-Bay Brewing Company is certainly the brewpub for which I’ve had to put in the most work to get to. After driving a good half-hour out of my way to get to the northern tip of Ohio, I boarded a ferry to South Bass Island, which took about 20 minutes. Once there, I rented a bicycle to cover the two miles between the ferry docks and downtown Put-in-Bay.
The bike was extremely shitty. I recommend taking the bus or a taxi.
While I highly recommend coming out to Put-in-Bay sometime for a nice weekend get-away or even a week-long vacation, I certainly wouldn’t say that the brewpub is worth the trip alone. On the weekends, the island town turns into an island party, with much fun, partying and debauchery to be had by all. And the brewpub would be a decent stop on a pub crawl. But on its own, it’s less than average.
The building isn’t much to look at. Like many spots downtown, the restaurant space is open-air when the “garage door” is up. There isn’t much room – maybe 10 tables and a moderately sized bar in all. The walls have faux island canopies here and there, like it’s an island bar on the side of a building. A wall has a ton of merchandise to try to pawn off. The beer has little taste.
When I went, they had six of their own beers on tap. A watermelon wheat tasted more like a jolly rancher than a beer fermented with watermelons. A Christmas in July ale had so much clove that it was nearly undrinkable. The bourbon stout was flat without much depth to its flavor profile. The other beers were equally unimpressive. Of the bunch, a rye IPA was the best offering, more because I really like rye beers and you don’t find them very often than any real affection for the brew.
The food seemed to be a bit better. The pizzas sitting on nearby tables looked decent and the tiny little pieces of popcorn fried walleye were pretty tasty. My gripe, however, is that they were out of perch. In a restaurant on an island in a lake filled with perch, you’d think that’d be the last thing they’d allow themselves to run out of.
So boo to that.