Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Matthew Smedley, Forest City Brewery
Every Friday, we ask an Ohio craft brewery owner or employee to answer six questions about their path to the brewing industry, what sets their brewery apart and their thoughts on craft beer in Ohio.
Today we’ll chat with Matthew Smedley, head brewer at Forest City Brewery in Cleveland.
What drew you to craft beer and brewing?
(Homebrewing) started as a father son hobby at first but then grew to be a major hobby of mine throughout the years. I always felt I had a good knowledge of fermentation and decided one day that it should be a career choice.
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
I would say customers enjoy our house IPA, Opening Day, the most. It’s an American IPA brewed exclusively with Mosaic and Citra hops. The name is in reference to the first home game of the baseball season. We are right down the street from the Cleveland Guardians stadium, and when that day comes it’s a major event for all Clevelanders and this is how we pay tribute.
If there’s a beer you brew (or beer style in general) that you could make immensely popular overnight, what would it be?
It would have to be Schwarzbier. It’s too gosh darn good to be once a year beer.
What’s your favorite thing about your brewery?
Has to be our outdoor beer garden. We have THE BEST outdoor spot in Cleveland to enjoy your beer and meal. Several trees keep you nice and shaded during summer while enjoying an outdoor show.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
I’ve always looked up to Shaun (Yasaki) at Noble Beast. He makes some incredibly tasty and consistent beers and isn’t shy to use less conventional ingredients. And Matt Cole from Fat Head’s. He’s a wizard when it comes to anything hoppy or traditional German ales. I would love to see the inside workings of his mind.
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
I love being in craft beer at this period in my life. We are in a time where it’s okay to throw a whole cake or a dozen donuts into a beer, or throw five times the amounts of hops you normally would, and people love it! It’s made making recipes fun/interesting again! Now as fun as this is, I don’t think its going to be the trend moving forward. I truly feel that people are going to come back around to wanting the more simple style lagers and ales that started the craft scene so long ago. Simplicity is best.