brew bus educates riders about the cle beer scene

Any beer lover in Cleveland is painfully aware that the growth of the craft brewery industry leaves little time to try all of the available options. Bob and Shelle Campbell solve that problem with the Cleveland Brew Bus – a 22-seat party bus that takes riders on tasting tours of Cleveland’s most popular breweries.
Started in June 2013 by the Campbells, the tasting tour takes riders on a five-hour tour of three local breweries. Each stop features three to four sample sized beers and the opportunity of order food. While on the bus, tour coordinator Leslie Basalla educates and entertains riders with brewery and beer facts.
“Every tour is a little different,” Basalla explains. “We have home brewers, craft brewers and people just along to have fun. We play to the varying levels of knowledge.”
Basalla, who is in the process of buying the business along with boyfriend Brian McCafferty from the Campbells, joined Brew Bus after serving as front of house manager for Market Garden Brewery. Basalla is a certified beer steward through the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
There were about seven breweries on the tour list when Basalla joined the business in 2014, and that list has grown exponentially as Cleveland’s brewery scene has grown. “There are new breweries opening up constantly,” she says. “We’re adding one brewery about every two months. It’s a small community where everyone knows each other.” Recent additions include Platform Beer Co. and Brick and Barrel.
Tours are primarily in Cleveland and the suburbs, but the Brew Bus occasionally will travel to Akron and Lake County for tastings. Private tours are available as well, although Basalla recommends people call at least two months in advance from July through October to book a Saturday night. “Sundays are wide open,” says Basalla. “If you have at least 10 people and you want a tour, I’ll give you a tour any day of the week.”
Tickets for public tours can be purchased on the Cleveland Brew Bus website.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.