Their house-made rum is delicious, the craft beers are amazing, and the workshop feel of its interior is familiar enough to make you want to share a six-pack with your dad. With a friendly staff and brilliant product line, it’s hard to not like this place. And yet, we couldn’t help but wonder if its charming, riverfront location would ultimately spell disaster should it become the breeding ground of a dreaded Gremlin infestation.
We sat down with Marketing and Events Manager Lauren McPherson to discuss this potential PR nightmare. According to her, the first problem is that Portside would tolerate, if not indulge, such a large infiltration of Mogwai — the staff is entirely too warm and welcoming to remove such apparently cute and cuddly guests. It is concerning though, considering a Mogwai is only seconds away from transforming into a Gremlin, that Portside’s open kitchen plan would make it far too easy for them to sneak in after midnight.
Layout and location provide additional advantages for a Gremlin. Seemingly beneficial as a defense, the distillery and brewery are located behind separate locked doors, and only open to the public every Saturday for tours. However, exposed ventilation ducts are a Gremlin’s best friend, and basically guarantee the little bastards access to every room, a ready supply of alcohol, and tools to make weapons. Lastly, the location — while it provides a lovely view of the Cuyahoga River, let us not forget that Gremlins multiply when wet, and being that close to such a large body of water could be problematic.
Despite these shortcomings, Portside does have a handful of protective assets. The staff, while friendly enough to let the outbreak begin, seems dangerous and skilled enough to quell a Gremlin rebellion. Also, their often-athletic clientele — whether cyclists attending the weekly Flats and Furious Bike Nights, or rowers pulling up after a long night on the river — fill me with confidence that this would not be a one-sided fight.
Keep in mind, should these safety precautions fall through, that a drunk Gremlin is easier to kill, and as this analyst can personally attest, it is very difficult to remain sober in Portside. With some of the best beer in town, and acclaim for being the first distillery to open in Cleveland since the Prohibition, both you and your Gremlin adversaries will want to try everything you can get your hands on. From their flagship beer 216, to the Vanilla Maple Rum, it’s all worthy of sampling.
In the end, it’s Portside’s lake-facing windows that are of greatest advantage. Sunlight streams through this tasting room during every hour of the day, and as you’ll recall, the only way to kill a Gremlin is to melt it with direct sunlight. After a great deal of thought and analysis, I give Portside Distillery 8.5 Screaming Puddles of Gremlin out of 10*.
*It is worth noting, I’ve been led to believe that the Portside Christmas Spirit does in fact contain enough Christmas Magic to transform a Gremlin into a full-fledged Krampus, which would require a completely different analysis and review.