Andy Tveekrem is the co-owner and brewer at the Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. The brewpub – which also is a micro-distillery -- is across the street from the highly regarded Bier Markt and around the corner from Great Lakes Brewing Co. The neighborhood has been cited by several national publications as one of the best in the country where to have a beer. Tveekrem’s pedigree includes brewing stints at Great Lakes and Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: That's really a two-part question. One, I started homebrewing in the mid 1980s because I wanted to know more about beer and how I could make the kinds of beer that weren't readily available in the U.S. back then. Two, when considering a professional brewing career, I wanted to help influence the public perception of beer and its role in American culture. The best way to do this was by brewing and selling better beer and constantly educating people about the benefits of good beer. There's a third part too, I suppose, because how else can you get free beer for the rest of your life?!
Q: Market Garden will celebrate its one-year anniversary this June. Are you planning anything special beer-wise?
A: I've been hankering for a good Wit beer lately, so we will roll one out at the end of June to celebrate our first year in business. And, if all the permits get approved in time, we also hope to bring out our small batch gin from our pot still. Many of the same herbs and spices are used in Wit beer and in gin, so there is good harmony in that.
Q: Looking back over your first year, what advice would you give folks who are interested in opening a brewpub?
A: Plan for success! We've had to do two expansions to the brewery just to keep up with demand ... so put in more fermentation tanks than you think you will need. And understand the hospitality business ... it's a bar and restaurant first, and a brewery second. People have to leave happy, so you need to have all the elements of food, service, atmosphere and beer working together.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: We have two beers that usually sell faster than the rest: Pearl Street Wheat, which is a Bavarian-style wheat beer, and Cluster Fuggle, which is our IPA. Both are popular styles of beer these days, but I like to think they sell well because they are simply delicious!
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: You've got to admire the first person to ever make beer -- perhaps 8,000 years ago. Before then nobody had connected the dots involved in brewing beer: took grain seeds and germinated them, soaked them in hot water to turn them sweet, let it ferment and then had the courage to drink it! What a revelatory experience it must have been to make something the world had never seen before and to be able to share that with others. It doesn't matter that nobody knows who this was, what matters is the chain of events it started that lead us to where we are today.