CLEVELAND - It's officially the beginning of the Christmas season for Cleveland beer lovers. The Great Lakes Brewing Company began serving Christmas Ale in their west side brew pub.
Several dozen beer lovers, decked out in red and green and sporting Christmas apparel, listened to owner Pat Conway read the winning poem of the brewery's Christmas Ale Poetry Contest. Authors Jason Stitt and Michael Hagesfeld collaborated on the poem that earned them the first poured glasses of this year's batch of Christmas Ale.
"The poem flowed within ten minutes of even finding out about the contest because it was so easy to write," said Stitt.
"I put together the ending," added Hagesfeld. "But he put together the poem so he gets most of the credit."
In the spirit of Christmas, workers dressed as elves and even Santa Claus and Mr. Jingeling showed up to kick off the festivities.
Conway explained why Christmas Ale is so special in the hearts of beer lovers.
"We buy 20 semis of 55 gallon drums of honey to make this beer. We cut the ginger ourselves and we bring in cinnamon from Indonesia and so it is truly one of the most memorable beers."
Customer Bruce Schneider likes it because "it's just a unique taste and it makes you feel good." Barb Schneider enjoys "the taste of honey, and whatever they put in it is just wonderful."
The holiday brew is only available on tap at the company's west side brew pub. Bottles of Christmas beer will go on sale to the general public after Halloween.