CLEVELAND - Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Company tapped into the spirit of Tribe drummer John Adams Friday evening with its baseball-themed ale.
Adams entered the Ohio City tavern, drum in hand, to the applause of patrons.
Adams has pounded his drum to spur on the home team Cleveland Indians since 1973, missing only a couple of dozen games in 40-plus years. When honored last August, his game total was up to 3,213. He continues to use his original drum at each game.
"So all those years, all this doing, what gets the reporters the most excited? 'John, you have your own beer!'" he said.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Adams threw out the first pitch(er) of Rally Drum Red Ale. Tim Smith of Mentor, bearing a strong resemblance to former Tribe closer Chris Perez, was the recipient of the first pint poured.
Marissa DeSantis, communications specialist at Great Lakes described the ale as having a nice roasty malt backbone. She said its crisp American hops give it a bit of bitterness
Great Lakes Brewing Company made 225 barrels of the ale. That's just a tiny fraction of the number of barrels they brew of their Christmas Ale.
"But if the Indians keep going deep into September, October, we'd love to bring it back," DeSantis said.
The baseball-themed brew is not bottled for retail sale and is available only in a few selected bars regionally and at Great Lakes Brewing Company.
The anticipation of the tapping brought Frank Nolasco and Mary Donaldson in from Youngstown. Donaldson bought a jug-like growler to take back home. Nolasco, pondered his drive back to Youngstown, looked at the pint in his hand.
"We drove up specifically just to have this beer and to be part of the celebration. We have an hour and a half drive home so this might be my only one."