Ohio’s first Latin brewery brings tropical flavor to Crocker Park

by Laura DeMarco

CLEVELAND, Ohio — When Pulpo Beer Co. opened at Crocker Park in Westlake earlier this month, it was likely Ohio’s first tropical taphouse-restaurant and almost certainly its first octopus-themed beer hall.

Even more significantly, “We are the first Latino-owned brewery in Ohio,” says co-owner Paola Valbuena Stuyvesant.

Valbuena Stuyvesant, who trained as a chemical engineer and previously worked at Pepsi, is Ohio’s first Latina brewmaster.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be sharing these beers in our new space after so much hard work to get here,” she says.

All beers are brewed in Willoughby, where her restaurateur brother-in-law, Juan Vergara, opened a two-story Hola Tacos/ Barroco Arepa Bar in 2021.

Pulpo’s dozen-plus beers range from the fruity and coconut-infused Tropical Thunder IPA, to the rich, seasonal Churro Dream ale, to the potent and nutty El Capoccino Coffee & Vanilla Blond Ale and the El Generalissimo imperial stout.

“We are serving flavors that are unknown in this market,” says Valbuena Stuyvesant, “including native fruits and flavors from Columbia.”

The curated food menu is equally creative, ranging from seafood coconut rice to jerk chicken egg rolls, vegan crab cakes, stuffed avocado salads, and swordfish with citrus Thai sauce.

It’s all served in a lovely, beachy 4,000-square foot space, formerly occupied by B-Spot at 20 Main Street. A splashy pink octopus chandelier and mural dominate the space, which features lots of palm fronds and tropical colors. A large patio offers al fresco sidewalk seating.

“We wanted to open in Crocker Park because we wanted exposure to the greatest number of people possible. Our Barroco location, opened in 2018, does really well there, and we thought it would be a great location for our brewery, too. What better way to get in front of people than Crocker Park. The first weeks have been great,” says Valbuena Stuyvesant.

Pulpo is not stopping with this opening, however. Next on the menu: canning. They are currently working with the Minority Business Development Center at Greater Cleveland Partnership to obtain funding and secure equipment to can and label their beer for widespread distribution.

“Our goal is to be in stores by the beginning of 2023,” says Valbuena Stuyvesant. “We are so excited to get our beer out in front of people across Northeast Ohio.”

Resources

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 — October 15, Greater Cleveland Partnership is spotlighting Hispanic businesses, leaders and events through October 15. We’d love your input. Email suggestions to ldemarco@greatercle.com

Greater Cleveland Partnership’s All In vision for a Great Region on a Great Lake has five key priorities: Dynamic Business, Abundant Talent, Inclusive Opportunity, Appealing Community and Business Confidence. All of our work ties back to these values. This story relates to Dynamic Business and Inclusive Opportunity.