You Will Brew Better In Toledo: Great Black Swamp Brewing Co.

Toledo has a long standing brewing history extending back to the early half of the 1800s. At one time, Toledo had over 12 different breweries within the city limits! Although most of the originals have disappeared over time, there are still people that want to be a part of this rich history. Over the past decade, craft beer brewing has grown exponentially in the United States, starting on the east and west coasts, making its way into the heartland. Small, craft brewing companies have a good opportunity in the Toledo area because of the upward craft trend and a non saturated market.

Established in 2009, the “Born in Toledo, Brewed in Toledo” Great Black Swamp Brewing Co. is focused on bringing quality craft beer to the glass city.

Great Black Swamp Brewing Co | Simply Jess

Starting as a small batch, home brewing hobby, Bob Morris has brewed beer for over 20 years. Like many home brewers, Bob aspired to own a full brewery to sell his beer creations. In 2009, after procuring a location and equipment to brew larger amounts of beer, Bob began engaging local restaurants and bars to begin offering his beer on tap, which lead to a very receptive response. Miss Cue Billiards, Tony Packo’s restaurants, and Dégagé Jazz Café not only began to carry his brews on tap, but even worked with Bob to formulate special beverages just for their establishments. Eventually, Great Black Swamp Brewing Co. connected with a distributor which gave them the opportunity to be carried at some locations that were harder to get into.

Great Black Swamp Brewing Co Fermentors
Great Black Swamp Brewing Co Fermentors

Despite the fact that Bob had, and continues to have, a full time career outside of brewing beer, he found time to pursue his passion through brewing courses and education through the Siebel Institute in Chicago. His vast knowledge not only created craft beer that was being picked up around the city, featured at city and state wide craft brew festival, but it also made him a quality judge at regional beer competitions.  Great Black Swamp has been a main feature at brewfests all over the region including the signature event at Ohio Brew Week, The Last Call Street Festival.

Bob hand-crafts each GBS tap handle
Bob hand-crafts each GBS tap handle

Great Black Swamp Beer is made using quality All-American hops from the state of Oregon. Hops have been attempted to be grown locally, but the need for consistency poses a challenge in our area due to fluctuations in precipitation and seasonal changes. The beer is made on Monroe street near uptown Toledo. Five distinctly different varieties are made on a regular basis including their Mosquito Red, the Bullfrog Stout, the Wild Duck IPA, the Midnight Sun Black IPA, and the Bay Front Pale Ale (these five can be found in 22 ounce bomber bottles or on draft). They make many special seasonal brews including the Grapefruit Gecko which became so popular at craft brew shows and around the area that plans have been made to continue to to make it throughout the year. Last year, Great Black Swamp also collaborated with the fine people at Maddie and Bella Coffee Co. to create a coffee stout, which is thought to be offered again this year. Sounds great for the chilly fall and winter months.

Great Black Swamp Brews - 22 ounce Bomber Bottles
Great Black Swamp Brews – 22 ounce Bomber Bottles

The most recent endeavor for the Great Black Black Swamp brewing company is a permanent home for those looking for the Gastropub experience at the old Mucky Duck in Perrysburg, Ohio on North Dixie Highway. Bob partnered up with Michelle Holtfreter and Andy Parish, the co-owners of the Perrysburg gastropub, to create a location where all of the Great Black Swamp brews can have a tap. The barmaids will have extensive knowledge on the beer they serve so that everyone can find a comfortable place to enjoy a glass, ask questions, and hopefully try something new. The staff will be able to guide patrons to a brew they will enjoy that is crafted by the Great Black Swamp, or offer them another selection from their full service bar. With so few craft brew pubs in the area, the new GBSBrewing Co. hopes to have a little something for everyone. Now, people who have been introduced to their product at various different events will have a central place to find their favorite GBSBrew while traveling to, or passing through, Toledo.

Throughout the season,the pub is excited to offer live music with a rotation of different artists, and introduce weekly Flight Nights, trivia, and much more. Michelle and Andy want to continue to feature all of the popular football games, but if sports are not your thing, don’t hesitate to check out the new location for a cozy atmosphere any night of the week. This location in Perrysburg is focused on serving the community they are located in while also moving towards a comfortable atmosphere different from the common sports bars we are accustomed to in Toledo.

Great Black Swamp Brewing Co
Great Black Swamp Brewing Co

This location will have growler fill up and bomber bottles available for purchase as well and plans to soon introduce a growler club with loyalty rewards. Feel like staying in? You can find bottles of Great Black Swamp Brewing Co beers at the Andersons, Kazmaier’s, Churchills, and many beverage and cigar centers around the area (complete list of location on their website).

Whether you are a IPA, craft beer connoisseur, or you just like to enjoy a glass with friends or at home, take a look at (and try a taste of) the Great Black Swamp Brewing Co. I discovered them five years ago at a beer tasting, and have sought them out around town ever since. Born in Toledo, Brewed in Toledo. Will You Brew Better In Toledo?

Be Local,

~Simply Jess

3 thoughts on “You Will Brew Better In Toledo: Great Black Swamp Brewing Co.

  1. I’ve been a fan of their brews for a while now. I used to make the trek to the beer cave on Heatherdowns to fill my growler with whatever they were experimenting with. One of my favorites was a smoked bull frog stout. The quality of craft brews is growing in Toledo with GBSB, Maumee bay, and now black cloister, I just hope enough people patronize these places to keep them around. Keep up the good work spreading the word Jess.

    • Very true Matt, that’s the goal of keeping things local, we’ve got some great stuff! I’m glad people like yourself seek them out. Thanks for reading and posting Matt. ~Jess

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