Michael Symon Serves Up Burgers And Craft Brew Cleveland’s own world-renowned chef Michael Symon revitalized the city’s restaurant scene in the late ’90s with the opening of Lola, his trendsetting gourmet eatery. He followed it up in subsequent years with several other profitable restaurants, which made both a splash in the city and garnered critical acclaim nationwide. With the opening of B Spot in 2009, Symon created an affordable burger joint that became an immediate success. Over the course of the last two years, the talented chef has opened two more locations along with a suite catering option inside the Quicken Loans Arena. With the delicious food also comes a worthy craft-beer selection, making B Spot a perfect choice for this month’s One Tanked Trip. I headed out to the restaurant’s original location in Woodmere on the east side of Cleveland. I arrived at just the right time and was seated within minutes, a rarity nowadays. As soon as I sat down, it was time for a beer, so I immediately scanned the list to see what they had to offer. The B Spot offers more than 30 beers, with most of them available on draft. What I found most enticing was that their list was not simply go-to East Coast craft breweries but instead contained a handful of rarities, even a section of sour ales. To start things off, I chose a special brew B Spot tapped in celebration of Cleveland Beer Week — Stone’s 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA. Coming in at 10.8% ABV, this monster of a brew is a pitch-black imperial India pale ale that’s hopped to max. Imagine a roasty porter combined with a West Coast IPA and you can get a little bit of an idea of what to expect from this one-off production. Highly recommended, if you can get your grubby hands on it. Food-wise, I took the word from our waitress and ordered the Yo! Burger, a beef patty topped with fried salami, coppa, hot peppers, provolone and shasha hot sauce along with an order of fries. The food arrived quickly along with my second beer, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, a 7% ABV American IPA that has become a personal favorite of mine over the last few years. The burger was to die for, as were the fries, which are thinly cut and indescribably scrumptious. For my last beer, I couldn’t resist something more unconventional: a snifter of E.S. Bam from Jolly Pumpkin Brewery. Clocking in at only 4.7% ABV, the Farmhouse Saison is a bitter ale with a funk note and sour fruit taste. Jolly Pumpkin has done a stellar job at masterminding some truly gratifying artisan ales, thanks to a strong focus on open fermentation, oak aging and bottle conditioning. While definitely not for all palates, sour ales can be extremely satisfying once you get a taste for them, and Jolly Pumpkin is a great place to start. Before leaving I had to taste the one thing that countless people have told me is a must at B Spot: a vanilla bean apple pie bacon milkshake. Nope, that’s not a typo. Vanilla bean mixed with apple pie and bacon. As strange as it sounds, the combination is a bold and savory slice of heaven and made a delightful finish to a hellacious afternoon of food and beer.