James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

A Story About Donuts, Beer, and Beer‑Flavored Donuts

A Story About Donuts, Beer, and Beer‑Flavored Donuts

Donuts in Cleveland

The flashing neon sign said “Donut Mess with Cleveland” so I summoned my inner Homer Simpson, grabbed the door handle—a bright pink rolling pin—and walked in, fully intent upon messing with Cleveland.

A dozen or more adults celebrating the end of the work week gathered around a long high-top table in the middle of the room. They were holding a colorful selection of beer bottles, and in the center of the table was not your typical bar food, but a big platter of donuts.

Serving up to 16 local brews and some handcrafted cocktails, Brewnuts is part bar, part donut shop, offering a range of creative flavors that the donut-loving world has come to expect—bacon and chocolate chips and Fruit Loops and other weird stuff your mother would never have put on a donut.

The owners, John and Shelley Pippen, are fans of Ohio’s beers and they are also fans of donuts, so it made sense to combine the two. They use beer in all of the donut glazes and sometimes even in the dough. Brewnuts even hosts a Happy Hour at 7 a.m. for people who work the overnight shift.

Where was this concept when I was in college?

I had come to Cleveland to explore the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Christmas Story House, as well as a few art museums. As my Uber drivers took me from here to there and back, several mentioned that I should check out the Gordon Square Arts District. One of them mentioned a donut place, but he couldn’t remember the name. So I simply googled “donut place Gordon Square Arts District” and found Brewnuts.

There are big, cozy leather couches and board games. I settled in on one of those couches with a couple of standard yeast-raise donuts with raspberry icing sprinkled with almond slices—a healthy choice, I thought. There was just a hint of hops in the mix, which was perfect. And because I’m not in college anymore and it was early in the day, I enjoyed a cup of Phoenix Coffee, a local favorite in Cleveland.

About once a month, Brewnuts does a beer and donut pairing, using seasonal beers, donuts and other treats. John and Shelley Pippin plan to add a few more munchies to the menu—maybe a fried chicken sandwich, so they can use beer in the batter.

Brewnuts
Gordon Square Arts District
Cleveland at 6501 Detroit Avenue
Tuesday through Sunday from 6:30 a.m. until they sell out of donuts

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