Friday, November 29, 2019

Brewery Tours

Northeast Ohio has more than 50 breweries, according to an article I read recently. I’ve never counted them, but that total seems accurate.

Whether you visit one of these establishments or buy your brews from a store shelf, you’ll find a wealth of local beers. You might be content just to drink some of your favorites, but there are also opportunities to learn about how they’re made.

Three local breweries offer public tours for a nominal fee. Tickets that include sample tastes cost more than designated-driver tickets. You can book a guided tour at Great Lakes Brewing Co., Market Garden Brewery or Saucy Brew Works most weekends. All three have tours on Fridays and Saturdays. Market Garden Brewery has tours on Sundays too.  

Saucy Brew Works has the highest-priced tour. A $15 ticket includes the guided tour and a flight of selected core and seasonal beers. A designated-driver ticket is $5. There are three time slots on Fridays and four on Saturdays.

Great Lakes tours are $6 (plus a $1.36 fee) for drinkers and $3 (plus a $1.19 fee) for nondrinkers. The $6 ticket includes four 5-ounce beer samples. Tours are scheduled on the hour between noon and 8 p.m.

Market Garden guided-tour tickets are $8 and include three beer samples at the production facility and a token for a beer at the Market Garden brewpub, Nano Brew Cleveland, or Bier Markt & Bar Cento. Tour are at 4 and 5 p.m. on Fridays and on the hour between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Self-guided tours are offered Monday through Friday for $6. That price also includes the three samples and the beer token. There is no tour price listed for a nondrinker. Tour reservations are taken at 216-373-0700.

Some other local brewpubs offer free self-guided “tours,” essentially meaning patrons can look at the beer-making equipment on site. There also are companies that offer packages that include multi-brewery guided tours, but the prices are beyond CLE on the Cheap’s budget.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Cats, Coffee and Coziness

CLE on the Cheap’s last post offered some alternative suggestions for Black Friday shopping. Here’s another. affoGATO Cat Cafe in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood is holding Black FURiday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

If you’re not familiar with affoGATO, check out this post from February. Since that post was published, affoGATO has added memberships and a cat yoga package to help frequent visitors save some money. CLE on the Cheap is all about saving money, as you know.

On Black FURiday, visitors can enjoy coffee and other beverages plus baked goods on the cafe side of the business and mingle with the adoptable and resident cats in the cat lounge as usual. But besides the extended hours, there will be discounts on food and drink purchases and giveaways for cat lounge visitors.

And if you’re looking to bring a cat home, adoption fees will be 50% off all weekend. The discounted fees apply to cats adopted from affoGATO and the Cleveland Animal Protective League on Willey Avenue. Regular adoption fees are $95 for kittens younger than 5 months old and $50 for those 5 months and older.

Anyone who wants to visit the cat lounge on Black FURiday is advised to make a reservation, whether you plan to adopt or not. Note that affoGATO is closed this week until 8 a.m. Friday 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Shopping Local

It’s coming. Black Friday is one week from today. You should know that you can shop next weekend in Greater Cleveland without encountering a predawn stampede at a big-box store.

As you probably know, Small Business Saturday follows Black Friday. Both days provide numerous opportunities to shop local and save money. Here are just a few:

Small Business Weekend in Lakewood, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 1. More than a dozen businesses along Detroit and Madison avenues are offering discounts and gifts with certain purchases. Several of these local businesses specialize in locally made goods.

Black Friday Shopping at 78th Street Studios, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 29. Find unique gifts made by local artists as you visit the galleries and studios that will be open that day. Admission and parking are free.

Small Business Saturday at the Screw Factory, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 30. Local makers will have their work for sale while others provide demonstrations. Admission and parking are free, although donations of non-perishable foods and personal care items are requested for the Lakewood Community Services Center.

Shop Local Weekend in Coventry Village, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The first day of this weekend event coincides with Final Fridays in Coventry. Besides getting discounts at numerous businesses, visitors can enjoy free parking all three days.

Holiday Stroll on Larchmere Boulevard, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 29 & 30. Enjoy complimentary treats and beverages from small businesses in the 10-block district. Free horse-drawn carriage rides up and down the boulevard will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and strolling carolers, aka Girl Scout Troop 71726, will perform from 2 to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Winter Market

You might be familiar with The Summer Market, the annual outdoor shopping event on the lakefront in Avon Lake. The event’s co-founders recently announced that after 14 years in Avon Lake, they were moving it to Lorain.

So it's fitting that The Winter Market an indoor holiday shopping event and fundraiser this Friday and Saturday, also will be in Lorain. A VIP shopping experience to kick off the event is sold out, but the market will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at The Shipyards, 485 California Ave. 

Admission is $5 on Friday and $2 Saturday. Part of the proceeds will benefit Blessing House, a children’s crisis care facility in Lorain.

Besides a nice selection of vendors, The Winter Market will have food trucks, food from Cafe Melissa in Avon Lake and a cash bar.

Meanwhile, make a note about next year's Summer Market. It's happening July 18 and 19 at Black River Landing. Follow The Summer Market on Facebook for updates.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Deck the Beer Hall

Here’s an untraditional way of embracing a tradition: Help decorate a 25-foot Christmas tree.

Forest City Brewery is holding its 5th Annual Deck the Beer Hall Tree Trimming Party from 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 29, aka Black Friday. If hitting big-box stores at an ungodly hour or watching college football marathons doesn't appeal to you, this might be a good alternative.  

Admission to the party is an ornament for the brewery’s tree. In return you get a Forest City Brewery ornament for your own tree. 

But that’s not all. Sinatra CLE will entertain party-goers with holiday songs, and Forest City will release its Shinny Spiced Belgian Quad Holiday Ale. At first I thought this was a typo. But as the brewery explains online, “shinny” refers to street hockey or pond hockey, and the draft is said to warm you up after a game.

Of course, there will be lots of other beers available during the party, along with appetizers. But wait, you might be thinking, suddenly this isn’t sounding so cheap. Well, guess what. You can bring in your own food! 

The brewery at 2135 Columbus Road even offers a couple of suggestions on its website. The West Side Market is “up the street” at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue and Sainato’s at Rivergate is down the hill at 1852 Columbus (plus it delivers).

You could get the party started early at Sainato’s. The restaurant’s happy hour goes from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and the menu includes a 9-inch one-topping pizza for $5. 

Note: The West Side Market will close at 6 that night, but Sainato’s will be open until midnight.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Have S'more Fun

If you’re a fan of the fireside treat that melds graham crackers, chocolate and melted marshmallows, you’ll want to check out S’morefest 2019.

Besides all you can eat of the namesake snack, a $20 ticket to Friday's fest at
Merwin’s Wharf will let you warm up around cozy fire pits and enjoy live music from 6-9 p.m. November weather in Cleveland can be unpredictable, so you might not need to warm up. But it’s nice to know the fire pits are available just in case.

Admission is $10 for anyone ages 5-18, who will each get a s’more package. Kids younger than 5 are admitted free, but no s’mores for them.

S’morefest 2019 is a fundraiser for Brite Winter, a wintertime artist showcase in Cleveland.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wild Winter Lights

Can’t get enough holiday lights? Would a million of them be enough?

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo says its new Wild Winter Lights event will have more than a million lights. This is not your typical holiday light display. Wild Winter Lights will offer more than a dozen interactive zones, each with its own twist on holiday festivities. My favorite, for its name alone, is the A-Roar-A Borealis, the zoo’s version of the Northern Lights.

Wild Winter Lights opens Nov. 22 and runs through Jan. 5. In November, it’s being held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. It will expand in December to include Thursdays and a couple of Mondays. Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on each date.

Besides admission to Wild Winter Lights, tickets include free rides on Circle of Wildlife Carousel, showings of “The Polar Express” in the 4-D Theater, a light show on Waterfowl Lake and a visit with Santa. Tickets do not include admission to the zoo.

Buying tickets in advance is recommended. The prices are cheaper and tickets might not be available at the box office on the date you want to attend the event. Advance tickets for Wild Winter Lights are $15.50 per person for zoo members and $18.50 per person for others. Box office tickets are $20.50 per person. All children under 2 are admitted free. 

You can save even more by buying a four pack of advance tickets for $50. Box office four packs are $60. The four pack is the best option for most people, but do the math before you buy tickets.

Four people splitting the cost of the $50 four pack would pay $12.50 each and four splitting the cost of the $60 four pack would pay $15 each.

But take a family of four with one child under 2 and an older child. A $50 four pack is the best deal even though the younger child would be admitted free. Three individual tickets at $18.50 apiece would total $55.50. 

That same family would pay $60 for a box office four pack or $61.50 for three individual tickets. That’s not as much of a discount, but a buck’s a buck, right? Or in this case, a buck fifty.

However, a family of four with two children under 2 would be better off buying two individual tickets, either in advance for a total of $37 or at the box office for a total of $41. A single parent with three children under the age of 2 is probably too exhausted to attend Wild Winter Lights at any price.

Those scenarios assume the families are not zoo members. Members also save money by getting advance tickets, but the amount depends on their membership level.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Free Opportunity

We’ve all been hearing and reading (a lot) about the November 2020 election. That’s understandable, given that we’ll be voting on presidential and congressional candidates, among others, a year from now. But we can’t let next year’s election overshadow those preceding it, including today’s.

Here in Northeast Ohio, voters will decide on tax levies and among numerous candidates vying for seats on school boards and city councils and for offices including mayor.

If you didn’t vote early at your Board of Elections or by mail, you can cast a ballot at your local precinct today between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Find out what’s on your ballot here.

Voting costs you nothing but a bit of your time. Not voting costs you and everyone else with a stake in the election’s outcome much more.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Dia de los Muertos

For something celebrating the dead, this weekend's events sure sound lively.

Saturday’s Dia de Muertos Ohio will include live — as opposed to dead — music, dance, food and fun activities for kids. But the highlight is sure to be, as event organizers describe it, “the ever-popular Procession of Skulls & Skeletons Parade,” from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration for participants ended on Halloween, but anyone can watch the parade in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District.

As explained on, Day of the Dead is celebrated Nov. 1 and 2 and is not related to Halloween. It is said that on Nov. 1, children who have died come back to visit and celebrate as angelitos. The next day, deceased adults show up for the festivities. “It’s not somber but celebratory,” the website says of the holiday.

Saturday’s free event, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Cleveland Public Theatre, 6205 Detroit Ave., and the surrounding area, is just one local Day of the Dead celebration. Dia de los Muertos, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Sand Run Metro Park’s Mingo Lodge in Akron, has a different vibe. Admission to the 21-and-over event is $25. Your ticket gets you a light dinner, music, a naturalist’s theme-inspired program and, weather permitting, indoor and outdoor fires.

You can start celebrating tonight at Hedge Gallery in 78th Street Studios, where Barrio Day of the Dead will go from 7 to 11 p.m. Your $25 ticket covers two drinks and two Barrio tacos. But save room for samples of sugar skull chocolates from Fear’s Confections and Day of the Dead flavor ice cream from Sweet Moses. Each guest also will get a Modelo Especial pint glass as a gift on the way out.