As someone who travels Ohio visiting breweries, I know that too many craft beer drinkers live in a silo, trumpeting their local brands while often oblivious to some of the tasty beers available in other parts of the state.
Everyone seems to believe their local beer community is unique and unrivaled. (Sorry, but it’s not.) And given the growing popularity of India pale ales, those same beer drinkers have plenty of opinions on who makes the best IPA — a style that can cement a brewery’s reputation nationwide. Just ask The Alchemist. Or Ballast Point. Or Stone.
With that in mind, a ragtag group of Ohio beer bloggers decided it’s time to put the state’s best IPAs up against each other in a blind taste test. By tasting them blind, each beer and brewery will have to check its reputation at the door and stand on its own merit.
So on Nov. 1, we will gather at Elevator Brewing Co. in Columbus to sample the best of the best that Ohio has to offer and crown a King of Ohio IPA. [This venture clearly ripped off a similar competition conducted last year by Cincinnati beer bloggers but just on a statewide level. So hold the copycat emails. That competition, by the way, was won by Blank Slate’s The Lesser Path.]
Here’s who will be there:
• Tom Aguero from Queen City Drinks in Cincinnati.
• Rick Armon from The Beer Blog in Akron.
• Bob Lesher from The Artful Pint in Cleveland.
• Cory Smith and Ron DeGregorio from the Brew Crew Review in Toledo.
• Patrick Woodward from Pat’s Pints in Columbus.
We’ve divided the state into five regions that correspond to our blogs — Cleveland/Northeast, Akron/Canton, Cincinnati/Dayton, Toledo/Northwest and Columbus/Central.
Each blogger is tasked with bringing three IPAs from his region. We each get to pick one beer from our region to fast-track into the blind tasting. But we also need your help. We’re asking our readers to select two others to take with us.
Starting Oct. 13, we will launch online polls on each of our blogs. Readers will be able to vote for their regional favorites through Oct. 25.
We will post the results of who’s going to the final tasting on Oct. 27.
The King of Ohio IPA will be announced Nov. 3.
We can’t wait to crown and announce a winner. Thanks for helping out.
And if you’re interested in checking out the other blog announcements, just click on the links below:
The Lake Erie Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America will hold its Fall Show from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. tasting room in Cleveland. The event coincides with Cleveland Beer Week, which runs Oct. 10-19.
The show -- which is free to attend -- is dedicated to antique brewery collectibles and brewing advertising from the late 1800s to present day breweries. It will include beer trays, tip trays, tin litho signs, porcelain signs, reverse glass signs, lights, tap knobs, beer cans and other items advertising beer from the many former Cleveland breweries.
Dr. Robert Musson, a local author and beer historian, will be on hand to answer Cleveland beer history questions.
The public is invited to bring beer-related items for an expert appraisal and cash buyers will be there.
The evening will kick off with a toast with Thirsty Dog Berliner Weisse.
The dinner will feature rabbit tenderloin paired with Pumpkin Ale, pan-seared sea bass with Cerasus Dog Flanders Style Red Ale, pork schnitzel with Barktoberfest, hanger steak with Cerberus and mini pumpkin pie with bourbon barrel aged Cerberus.
Tickets are $50 plus tax and tip. For more details or reservations, call 330-253-1234.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- Queen City Drinks profiles the soon-to-open DogBerry Brewing Co. in West Chester. "Their focus is solely on their tap-room and a few bars and restaurants around West Chester," Tom Aguero writes. To read the full report, click here.
-- WCPO reports on a brewpub planned for Middletown. "Snider Building Llc. plans to renovate the three-story, 32,376-square-foot building into a brewpub and production facility," the station says. To read the full report, click here.
-- The Brew Professor reports on a new can from Rhinegeist Brewery. Pure Fury is a pale ale. To read the full report, click here.
-- The National Beer Wholesalers Association has handed out its Whitey Littlefield award to the Triple Crown Beverage Group in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia for its political advocacy. To read a news release on the award and other honors, click here.
Four String Brewing Co. will celebrate its three-year anniversary with a party and first-ever bottle release from 4 to 10 p.m. Oct. 11 at its Columbus taproom.
“We’ve been brewing for three years, and it’s time to party,” owner Dan Cochran said in a news release issued Tuesday. “We want to thank our fans for three great years with tons of crazy fresh beer.”
In addition to a DJ and Ajumama serving Korean street food, the party will feature the release of Four String Imperial Stout in 750ml bottles. The beer clocks in at 10.8 percent alcohol by volume.
The bottle release -- a first for the brewery -- starts at 4 p.m. and there are only 300 available so Four String doesn't expect them to last long. They will sell for $10.
There also will be special infused versions of the beer available on draft throughout the evening:
-- 4 p.m. Imperial Stout infused with cayenne peppers, cinnamon and cacao nibs.
-- 6 p.m. Imperial Stout infused with bourbon, oak and coffee.
-- 8 p.m. Imperial Stout infused with rum, oak and vanilla beans.
“These infusions are going to be completely badass, and we’ll fly right through them,” head brewer Nick Gabriel said.
Earlier this month, Cochran announced that he was looking for a new site in Columbus for a production brewery because of continued growth. The current location will remain as a taproom. He also plans to upgrade from his current 10-barrel brewhouse to a 30-barrel system. Four String expects to produce about 2,000 barrels of beer this year. Its flagship brand, which is available in cans, is Brass Knuckle American Pale Ale.
To read the full news release, see below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Celebrate Four String’s 3rd Anniversary on October 11
Four String Brewing Company is celebrating its 3rd anniversary with a party and very limited bottle release of their Imperial Stout, their first bottled beer.
Columbus, Ohio, September 29, 2014 -Four String Brewing Company will be celebrating three successful years of brewing beer with a party at their taproom October 11 from 4-10 pm featuring a bottle release of their Imperial Stout, the first beer that they’ve bottled.
“We’ve been brewing for three years, and it’s time to party,” said Dan Cochran, owner of Four String Brewing Company. “We want to thank our fans for three great years with tons of crazy fresh beer.”
Four String Brewing Company began brewing beer in September 2011 and will produce roughly 2,000 barrels of beer in 2014. Four String’s flagship beer, Brass Knuckle American Pale Ale, is available throughout central Ohio and northeast Ohio on draft and in cans. The brewery canned more than 40,000 cans of Brass Knuckle Pale Ale in 2014 as well as 30,000 cans of Big Star White IPA, but the Imperial Stout is the only beer they’ve bottled.
Only 300 bottles of Four String’s Imperial Stout will be available on a first come, first serve basis. The party and the bottle release both begin at 4 p.m. While the party will last until 10, Cochran doesn’t expect the bottles to last that long.
“We brewed the Imperial Stout in December and bottled it in February,” said Cochran. “It’s only going to keep getting better.”
A DJ will be spinning during the 3rd anniversary party, and Ajumama will be serving Korean street beginning at 1 p.m. at the taproom.
In addition to the bottle release, the Imperial Stout will also be served as specialty infusions throughout the evening as follows:
4 p.m. Imperial Stout infused with cayenne peppers, cinnamon and cacao nibs
6 p.m. Imperial Stout infused with bourbon, oak and coffee
8 p.m. Imperial Stout infused with rum, oak and vanilla beans
“These infusions are going to be completely badass, and we’ll fly right through them,” said Nick Gabriel, Four String’s head brewer.
The third anniversary party will be both indoor and outdoor at the Four String Brewing Company taproom located at 985 W. 6th Ave. in Columbus, Ohio near Grandview Heights.
About Four String Brewing Company
Dan Cochran founded Four String Brewing Co. in 2011 as an avid homebrewer since 1994. Dan built the existing brewery on W. 6th Ave in Columbus primarily out of repurposed commercial dairy tanks. With extensive national touring and recording in the ‘90s and ‘00s, Cochran saw the national trend of craft brewing firsthand, and he started planning the brewery in late 2010 inspired by the national craft beer trend.
Four String’s taproom within the brewery is open to the public three days a week. The taproom is the public’s headquarters to experience all that is Four String; it’s literally in the brewery, which allows visitors to understand the fresh, local nature of the beer they’re drinking while being surrounded by the rock n roll vibe that Four String represents: four strings on a bass guitar, four primary ingredients in beer. Four String Brewing Co. is a very personal brand with a great story—rock n roll craft beer.
Cleveland Beer Week is growing — by a day.
The sixth annual celebration, which kicks off Oct. 10, will be spread over 10 days instead of nine this year to accommodate new flagship events that raise money for the Malone Scholarship Program.
Cleveland Beer Week usually ends on a Saturday with the big Brewzilla beer tasting, but will roll into Sunday. The new flagship events range from a booze cruise on the Nautica Queen to music concerts to tailgating for the Browns-Steelers game.
“We are not only about craft beer education, but also about philanthropy,” Cleveland Beer Week Director Christine Montague said in a news release. “We are very dedicated to our charity partner, Malone Scholarship Program, which is the benefactor of net proceeds from all flagship events. “We look for ways to increase our annual donation the program, but are mindful of ensuring the right fit with other offerings. Yet, our flagship events sell out year to year and patrons keep asking for more. We’ve wanted to add music and leisure events to the mix for some time, and this year found perfect opportunities for new flagship events.”
Cleveland Beer Week will feature more than 350 beer tappings and tastings.
Here’s a rundown of the flagship events:
Collaboration Kickoffs serves as the official opening ceremony Oct. 10 for Cleveland Beer Week.
Five Ohio breweries teamed up with five award-winning, out-of-state brewers to create special, low-alcohol collaboration beers.
The beers will be available at bars in the East 4th, Lakewood, Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 10. In the Cedar/Lee neighborhood only, Collaboration Kickoffs will run during the same hours Oct. 11 and in partnership with Heights Music Hop.
Advance tickets are required and cost $25. The beers are:
• Yadig?, a Berliner hopfen-weiss with 4.8 percent alcohol by volume by Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues Brewery of Longmont, Colo.
• OH-MI!, a 4.5 percent English mild ale by Buckeye Brewing and Saugatuck Brewing Co. of Douglas, Mich.
• Brooklyn Dog, a 4 percent saison by Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. and Brooklyn Brewery of Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Fat Devil, a 6 percent black India pale lager by Fat Head’s Brewery and Devils Backbone Brewing Co. of Roseland, Va.
• Dead Canary, a 4 percent grisette ale by The Brew Kettle and Full Pint Brewing Co. of Pittsburgh.
The newly opened Butcher and The Brewer in Cleveland will host Belgian Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. The event, featuring Belgian beers and food, is sponsored by Duvel USA. Tickets are $40 and include 15 beer samples and unlimited food sampling.
Ales on Rails
Heidelberg Distributing will host a beer tasting along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11. The Ales on Rails trip includes seven craft beers and a boxed supper. Tickets range from $49 to $82.
Beer drinkers can gather in the Huntington surface lot outside FirstEnergy Stadium from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 12 to tailgate before the Browns/Steelers football game. The tailgate will feature Great Lakes beer and will include a special tapping of Cleveland Brown Ale. The Jolly Scholar, winner of numerous regional BBQ awards and as seen on Food Network, will offer a sausage bar. Tickets are $25.
Culture Yourself, a popular beer and cheese pairing, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 14 at the West Side Market in Cleveland. Organizers said it’s “one of the only known public events to be held at the market in its 100-year history.” It will feature beers paired with artisanal cheeses and other fare from market vendors. Tickets are $40 for 20 beer samples and food pairings.
Rock and Brew Showcase
Revolution Brewing of Chicago will present the inaugural Rock and Brew Showcase from 8 to 11 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern. Bands include This Moment in Black History & Wooly Bullies from Cleveland; and The Lemons, Meat Wave, and Lasers and Fast and Sh!t from Chicago. Tickets are $10.
Premium Beverage Supply will host a nighttime cruise on Lake Erie aboard the Nautica Queen from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 15. It will features 16 craft breweries and light appetizers. Tickets are $40 for 20 beer samples and appetizers.
Oskar Blues will host bands jamming at the Cleveland Agora from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 16. The event will feature Oskar Blues beer and music by Austin Walkin’ Cane and the Bad Boys of Blues and headliner Alan Evans of Soulive and his Alan Evans Trio. Tickets are $20 and include two Oskar Blues beers and the concert.
The big Brewzilla beer tasting takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 18 at the 5th Street Arcades in downtown Cleveland. It will showcase more than 80 breweries, hundreds of beers, an Ohio brewery feature, a Gnome Garden with Belgian beers and appetizers. General admission tickets are $50, while Brewer’s Circle tickets are $75.
Bluegrass Brew Bash
Beverage Distributors will host a concert with local and regional bluegrass acts from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at Whiskey Island in Cleveland. Bands include Boy=Girl, Johnny and the Apple Stompers, The Bluegrass Platter, and headlining act The Larry Keel Experience. Tickets are $20 and include two pints of beer. Children will be permitted if accompanied by an adult.
For more details, to see all the events or to buy tickets, click here.
SweetWater Brewing Co., which is moving into Ohio in October, has finalized deals with distributors around the state. The Atlanta brewery previously announced agreements with Superior Beverage Group for the Columbus-Cleveland-Akron-Youngstown markets and Stagnaro Distributing in Cincinnati.
SweetWater says it will hold sampling parties in October in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton, and in November in Toledo, Bowling Green and Defiance. For details, check out the SweetWater main Facebook page or its Ohio page.
The brewery, which has won numerous medals at the Great American Beer Festival, is the 19th largest craft brewery in the U.S. Its brands include 420, IPA and Blue.
Samuel Adams has released its Boston Lager and Rebel IPA in 16-ounce cans. Previously, only its Boston Lager was available in the specially designed 12-ounce "Sam Can" that was introduced last year.
"Now drinkers can take Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Rebel IPA in 16-ounce cans to places where bottles can't go like the beach, hiking, golfing, boating and backyard BBQs," the brewery said in a news release. "Cans also protect the liquid from sunlight and oxidation which can compromise the flavor of the beer."
The 16-ounce versions retail anywhere from $1.79 to $1.99, depending on the market.
By the way, Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams and has a brewery in Cincinnati, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The company was ranked last year as the fifth-largest brewery in the U.S., behind only Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Pabst and D.G. Yuengling & Son.
“It took 30 years for Samuel Adams to get where we are today, and we are still only about 1 percent of the U.S. beer market,” founder Jim Koch said in a letter.
Ohio breweries had a terrific showing at last year’s Great American Beer Festival, with six brewers taking home eight medals.
How many will they win this year?
At least 26 Ohio breweries are headed to Denver this week for the prestigious event, which kicks off Thursday and is the largest commercial beer competition in the world. (Note: The total number of breweries will be updated as necessary.)
“Looking forward to Ohio dominating again like last year,” said Jeff Draeger, general manager for Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland.
Okay, dominating might be a slight exaggeration.
There were more than 4,800 entries in more than 80 style categories last year. That said, it’s not easy to win a medal on the national stage.
This year, I’ve again attempted to compile a list of Ohio brewers and beers entered. This list is not complete, given that not everyone responded to my survey. (And I admittedly had to crib a couple of the Cincinnati entries from Jesse Folk at WCPO.com/beer.)
Brewers can be weird when it comes to saying what they entered in competitions.
Earlier this year, Eric Bean at Columbus Brewing Co. told me that he didn’t enter the World Beer Cup. Then, he won a medal. Oops.
He later explained that he didn’t want unfair expectations put out there for his brewery if he didn’t win.
I get that. But I look at it this way: These are the beers that Ohio brewers believe stack up well against their peers from around the country.
They deserve some publicity. And more importantly, they deserve to be drunk. Drank? Whatever.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of which Ohio brewers entered what in the competition. (And if you’re a brewer who isn’t represented here and wants to be, email me at email@example.com.)
The Brew Kettle: White Rajah, Black Rajah, Awesome IPL, El Lupulo Libre Imperial IPA and Oktofest.
Christian Moerlein: Northern Liberties IPA, Over-the-Rhine Ale, Se7en Hefeweizen, Zeppelin Pale Ale and 10/161 Bourbon Barrel.
Dayton Beer: Wandering 2nd Black IPA, Batch 100 Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Batch 300 Belgian IPA, Mad River Milk Stout and Riverside Rye IPA.
Elevator: Mogabi Hoppy Wheat Ale, Bleeding Buckeye Red Ale, Oktoberfest 1810, Heiferweizen Wheat Beer and Horny Goat Barrel-Aged Porter.
Fat Head’s: Hop JuJu Imperial IPA, Head Hunter IPA, Bonehead Red Imperial Red, Battle Axe Baltic Porter, Black Knight Schwartzbier, Wet Hopped Trail Head Pale Ale, Alpen Glow Weizenbock, The Gooch International Pale Ale, Gudenhoppy Keller Pils and One Night In Bangkok.
Fifty West: Speedbump Kolsch, Paycheck’s Porter, 10 & 2 American Barley Wine, 10 & 2 Bourbon Barrel Aged Barley Wine, and Coffee Please Stout.
Great Lakes: Sumerian Beer (Enkibru), Baltic Porter, Oktoberfest, Red Right 88 and Blackout Stout.
Hoppin’ Frog: Barrel Aged Naked Evil, B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout, Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher, Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale and Cafe Silk Porter.
JAFB Wooster: JAF IPA, New Stunt IPA, Harvest Saison, Wooster New Stout and bourbon barrel aged Russian Front Imperial Stout.
Lager Heads: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Light Headed Pilsner, High Five IPA, Bed Head Red and Oktoberfest.
MadTree: Salazar, Axis Mundi, PsycHOPathy IPA, Lift and Galaxy High.
Market Garden: Cluster Fuggle IPA, Progress Pilsner, Fat Bob Imperial Stout, Pearl Street Wheat and Superbomb Saison.
Moerlein Lager House: Helles, Old Gregg Scotch Ale, Helltown Rye-Ot, Friend of Irishman Double Stout and Kiske Pils.
Mt. Carmel: Amber, Coffee Brown, Nut Brown and Imperial IPA.
Nano Brew Cleveland: Namber, #Kolsch, Beanie Bob Coffee Imperial Stout and Not an Imperial IPA!
North High: Milk Stout, ESB, Hefeweizen, Porter and Citra SMASH.
Rhinegeist: Truth IPA, Cougar Blonde, Uncle British Mild, Fiction Belgian XPA and Saber Tooth Tiger Imperial IPA.
Rivertown: Ojos Negros, Lambic, Pumpkin Ale, Hop Baron Double IPA, and a German Kellerbier.
Samuel Adams (Cincinnati brewery): Cream Stout, Honey Queen, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Double Bock, Boston Lager, Octoberfest and Third Voyage.
Thirsty Dog: Bourbon barrel aged Siberian Night, Citra Dog IPA, 12 Dogs of Christmas, Labrador Lager and Cerasus Dog Flanders.
Warped Wing: Entered, but declined to say which beers.
Weasel Boy: Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale, Wiley Wolverine Rye Pale Ale, Weasel Paw Pawpaw Pale Ale, Anastasia Russian Imperial Stout and Barrel aged Anastasia in red wine barrels.
Willoughby: Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter, Cosmic IPA, Hazy Days, Kaiserhof and Rosana.
Wolf's Ridge: Beyond Measure, Driftwood, Luck Strikes Twice, Clear Sky and Ridge Trail.
Yellow Springs Brewery: Captain Stardust, Smokin’ Handsome, Zoetic Galaxy and Goats Eye.
Elevator Brewing Co. will hold its 15th Anniversary Party & Brewery-Only Bottle Release from noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at its 13th Floor Tap Room in Columbus.
The party will start with the release of Bourbon Barrel Horus Imperial Red, described by the brewery in a news release as "big and rich with lots of bourbon influence after extensive barrel aging." Elevator brewed only a small batch of the beer, which will be available in 750ml bottles. The price and purchase limits aren't set yet.
The event also will include live bands, food trucks and informal tours of the production brewery.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Rivertown Brewing Co. has a new/old owner. Co-owner Jason Roeper has bought out partner Randy Schiltz and is planning changes. “Over the past year, I did some personal reflection and thought it was best to part ways," Roeper says. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Columbus Dispatch reports on the growing hop crop in Ohio. “The first couple of years were rough,” Andy Pax, who runs Heartland Hops, says. “Anybody can grow them, but not everyone can make them produce.” To read the full story, click here.
-- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Iron City is rekindling its relationship with Pittsburgh's professional sports teams. The brewery has released three Pirates cans. To read the full story, click here.
-- Draft Magazine offers up "25 Breweries You Should Know." None of them are in Ohio. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Moscow Times reports that Baltika has suspended production at one of its Russian breweries. "This is connected with the end of the high summer season and the onset of autumn, when demand for the products is on the decline," Mairbek Sageyev, director of Baltika's Chelyabinsk brewery, says. "In addition, this factor was bolstered by a significant drop in the total beer market." To read the full story, click here.
Linser's Wiener Lager is a Vienna-style lager. It will be available on draft only at the brewery and select locations in the Columbus and Zanesville area.
The first beer, Linser's American Maid, was released in April. Linser was the last brewery operating in the Zanesville community before Prohibition.
"We've taken great pride in trying to recreate historically accurate recipes for this series," Weasel Boy co-owner and brewmaster Jay Wince said in a news release. "This has been a labor of love with respect for classic style that had basically disappeared for the last 90 years. The emergence of the craft beer movement has been instrumental in saving many of these styles from obscurity, some of the lesser known lager styles especially. We're proud to be bringing the beers of our predecessors back to the consumer."
The Linser brewery opened in the 1840s and ceased operations in 1928, when it was producing soft drinks and near beer.
To read the full news release, see below:
Weasel Boy Brewing Co Announces Release of Linser’s Wiener Lager
Zanesville, Ohio, 9/25/14 - Weasel Boy Brewing Company today announced the release of Linser’s Wiener Lager, the second in a series of pre-Prohibition-style lagers that the Zanesville brewery will release this year and next.
The lagers are based on beers made by The Simon Linser Brewing Co., the last operating brewery in the community before Prohibition took effect in Ohio in 1918.
“We’ve taken great pride in trying to recreate historically accurate recipes for this series” said Weasel Boy co-owner and Brewmaster Jay Wince. “This has been a labor of love with respect for classic styles that had basically disappeared for the last 90 years. The emergence of the craft beer movement has been instrumental in saving many of these styles from obscurity, some of the lesser known lager styles especially. We’re proud to be bringing the beers of our predecessors back to the consumer.”
Linser’s Wiener Lager is a Vienna-style lager that originated in Austria in the 1830s. Wien, pronounced ‘Veen’, is German for Vienna. The beer is 4.6% alcohol by volume and is characterized by a smooth malty aroma and light malt sweetness with soft toasted malt character. The beer finishes clean and crisp.
Linser’s Wiener Lager is available in draft only at the brewpub in Zanesville and at select outlets in the Columbus/Zanesville area.
Simon Linser Brewing Company was founded in the 1840’s as the Washington Brewery by D.F Achauer. Linser became involved in 1884 and was the sole proprietor by 1891. By the early 1900’s the brewery was producing about 50,000 barrels annually. After brewing operations ended in 1918 the company produced soft drinks and near beer until 1928 when production ceased.
The company continued as a distributor for other brands before closing in the early 1960’s. The final brewery buildings were razed in 1982.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on the new Fat Head's Brewery that will soon open in Portland, Ore. "This is a new canvas for us," brewer and co-owner Matt Cole says. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Columbus Dispatch mentions in passing that HMSHost plans to renovate the Columbus Brewing Co. restaurant. That fact is mentioned in a story about two new restaurants coming to the Columbus airport, but there are no details provided about the project. The restaurant and the brewery, which recently announced plant to relocate, are operated separately. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Facebook page #9beer in Cincinnati is launching a series of articles called "Know Your Beer." The first explains what an imperial IPA is. “If you don’t like IPAs, you might try an Imperial IPA because they can be more balanced. You owe yourself the chance to try the Imperials, doubles and triples because it might help you enjoy hops in ways that you didn’t think you could,” Ian Hoopes says. To read the full story, click here.
-- Drink Up Columbus reports that The Ohio Taproom is adding a growler delivery service. The growler shop will serve a three-mile radius. To read the full story, click here.
-- Reuters reports that consumers will likely be paying more for beer soon because a cold, wet summer damaged barley crops in Canada. "Prices (going) up means our costs go up and beer prices ultimately go up," says Neil Herbst, co-owner of Edmonton-based Alley Kat Brewery. "Any small brewery is going to be exposed." To read the full story, click here.
-- Citylab reports on the poor, yet popular, shaker pint glass. "Shaker pints were never meant for draft," Pizza Paradiso beer director Sam Fitz says. "They're the worst thing that ever happened to beer." To read the full story, click here.
-- The Press Democrat reports that wine executives are concerned about craft beer taking over special occasions. “I think craft beer is taking some of the occasion of wine,” an executive said in a survey for the annual Wine Industry Financial Symposium. “I think that first bottle of wine is being impacted; you know, people are starting out with craft beers and then as dinner goes they switch over to wine … so it’s just one more competitor to start (a) meal with.” To read the full story, click here.
-- Michigan Live reports that Central Michigan University is planning a certificate program in fermentation. "The undergraduate certificate in fermentation science will fill a need in the state and across the region for students to learn the science and technology underlying brewing," Cordell DeMattei, CMU director of fermentation science, says. "This opportunity expands CMU's leadership in the sciences and provides the training needed by future leaders of the craft brewing industry." To read the full story, click here.
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Co. is adding a taproom. The Columbus brewpub – which celebrates its one-year anniversary this weekend, but more on that later – has always had a small bar.
But the new 2,500-square-foot tasting room now under construction will allow Wolf’s Ridge to expand its customer base and its beer offerings.
“It will give us the potential to (hopefully) double our capacity, and to respond to the many requests we've been getting for events and large parties,” co-owners and father-son team Alan and Bob Szuter said in an email.
“Expanding will also allow for more focus on the brewery side of our business. The dining room is, by design, geared towards crafting a pleasant and memorable dining experience and doesn't allow much for the casual experimentation of our beer. The taproom will make that possible. Additionally, we’ll be able to offer small batches of unique beers, and host events, tastings, and releases; which are all things that we’re really excited about.”
Earlier this year, Wolf's Ridge was named best new restaurant of 2013 by Columbus Monthly, which praised the beer friendly menu.
Asked to comment on what they’ve learned over the first year, the Szuters said: “Within the first year of business, there are so many lessons to be learned. Even the obstacles that you expect are often more challenging than you had imagined. We came into this venture knowing that the ‘devil is in the details,’ so to speak — but this first year has been enlightening as to how many details there are. We’re still discovering more of them daily.
“At times our message, the real passion we want to express about food and beer, has been hard to communicate. But our delightful customers have helped remind us of what we want to accomplish, they keep us excited about what we are doing. And honestly, all of this is made possible by our engaged and passionate staff, who are worth their weight in gold — really.”
Wolf’s Ridge will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a weekend-long celebration that kicks off Friday. (Sept. 26)
The brewpub will offer half-off all Wolf’s Ridge beers Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It also will host a sneak peek of the new taproom from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds from sales will benefit Local Matters.
On Monday, there will be a five-course beer pairing dinner at 6:30 p.m. “This is in essence our Birthday Party. Our chef (Seth Lassak) has an amazing menu planned,” brewery spokeswoman Melissa Petty said in an email. “It will also be one of the first opportunities for people to try our new pumpkin ale, Pi.”
Pop the champagne. Wait, hold that cork. Crack open a good ole’ Ohio-made beer instead.
Ohio has surpassed the 100-brewery mark -- a feat that not many states can brag about. Ohio now is home to 103 breweries, more than double the number from just three years ago, according to a Beacon Journal analysis of brewing licenses issued by the state.
"It’s a landmark. It’s 100," said Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. "That’s super exciting."
The current operations range from international brewers Anheuser-Busch InBev in Columbus and MillerCoors in Trenton to small brewers such as MadCap Brew Co. in Stow and Franklin Brewing Co. in Ellyria.
The brewery growth — which is occurring nationwide — is attributed mainly to the public’s increasing fondness for craft beer. But the state also has eased regulations for craft brewers in recent years, making it easier to open. Those changes include allowing them to open tasting rooms without buying a second license and lowering the cost of an annual license from $3,906 to $1,000.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that consumers are more interested in locally made products.
"We’re probably in 15 to 20 places now and just the fact that we’re local gets us that first pull from the tap," said Ryan Holmes, one of the founders of MadCap, which opened last year. "People in this area love anything local."
Brewer Dave Sutula, who is overseeing the launch of the Canton Brewing Co. in downtown Canton, said he recalls years ago how difficult it was to get a beer distributor to carry a locally made craft beer in its portfolio.
"Now they are calling us," he said. "All the major distributors have called us and we haven’t even made a drop of beer.
"The dream we all had of changing the public’s perception has happened. And it happened overnight."
The Beacon Journal examined brewing licenses issued through the Ohio Division of Liquor Control to determine the number of breweries. The newspaper discounted some licenses, including those given to private clubs and operations that make alcoholic tea.
The newspaper also counted breweries with multiple licenses and locations such as Fat Head’s, The Brew Kettle and Jackie O’s only once. The Ohio Craft Brewers Association counts those twice so its total is slightly higher.
It’s not just a matter of quantity in the state, MacDonald said. She noted that Ohio’s craft brewers are turning out award-winning beers that are taking home prestigious medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup competitions.
"It shows we are making some pretty good beer in Ohio, too," MacDonald said.
The brewery growth won’t subside anytime soon in the state. At least 35 breweries are in the planning stages, according to the association.
Ohio already ranks as one of the biggest beer producing states in the nation.
There were only seven states with more than 100 craft breweries last year, according to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based trade group.
There are an estimated 3,100 breweries now operating in the country. The Brewers Association also estimated in June that there were 1,929 in the planning stages.
Ron Shea is going old school — real old school — when it comes to naming his new Akron brewery.
It’ll be the R. Shea Brewing Co.
Who does he think he is? A stand-up comic with his own half-hour sitcom?
Seriously, that’s pretty unusual nowadays with an industry filled with quirky, animal and city-specific names.
Shea took inspiration from the 1800s, when family names adorned breweries. In Akron, those operations included Burkhardt and Renner.
"It’s simple. It’s not cutesy," Shea said about R. Shea Brewing. "The beer is about the brewer."
Shea and his wife Carole are in the process of renovating a 2,500-square-foot strip mall space at 1662 Merriman Road in the Merriman Valley. One of his neighbors will be the already established Trailhead Brewery.
The Sheas hope to open in December or January.
R. Shea will be a nano operation with a 3.5-barrel system. There also will be a one-barrel system for even smaller batches.
Shea, 40, who graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, has been homebrewing on and off for about two decades.
His home brewery is a stainless steel set-up with pressure fermenters.
He worked for awhile in the polymer field but left that years ago to start the website BeginnerTriathlete.com. Now, he’s feeling the pull of the booming craft beer industry.
"The market is doing really well," he said. "I think it can handle plenty more breweries. If I didn’t do it, I’d kick myself."
The plan is to set up his brewhouse behind the 20-seat bar, with no glass separating him from customers. He will brew while customers are there and interact with them.
"I want them to see and smell the action," Shea said.
There will be 10 to 12 R. Shea beers available, ranging from ambers to pale ales to wheats with nothing extremely high in alcohol. There also will be seasonal beers.
"A little something for everybody" is the way that Shea described the brews.
R. Shea also will offer a limited food menu with items like pulled pork and nachos.
Shea is blogging about the process of opening. To read about his experiences and follow along, click here.
The Akron Zoo will host its fourth and final Brew at the Zoo beer tasting this year from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 1.
The event will feature an Oktoberfest theme and showcase the following breweries: Alltech, Black Box, Brasserie d'Achouffe, The Brew Kettle, Fat Head's, Hoppin' Frog, Ohio, MadCap and Thirsty Dog. Tramonte Distributing also will participate.
Tickets are $17 for zoo members, and $23 for nonmembers.
Reservations are required. For more details or tickets, click here.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Wiedemann plans to bring production of the famous brand back to Newport, Ky. "Our goal from the beginning was to bring production back to Newport," Jon Newberry said. "We've been overwhelmed by the positive response we've gotten from everyone here – consumers, bar and restaurant owners, city officials." To read the full story, click here.
-- The Columbus Dispatch reports on the ongoing battle to allow more alcohol in beer in Ohio, saying that the 12 percent cap is discouraging Stone Brewing Co. from building its second brewery in the state. “I don’t see any reason for a cap,” North High Brewing Co. brewer Jason McKibben says. “There is no modern-day significance to having a limit on beer when wine and liquor is clearly over that limit.” To read the full story, click here.
-- The Youngstown Vindicator reports on the second annual Youngstown BeerFest, which was held Saturday. To read the full story, click here.
-- The blog Love Beer, Love Food urges beer drinkers to stop using the term hoppy when describing their beer. "Firstly, hoppy does very little to actually describe a beer," Lindsay Bohanske writes. To read the full post, click here.
-- The Music Times reports that Starbucks has developed a latte that tastes like Guinness. Dark Barrel Latte is available in select markets such as Columbus. To read the full story, click here.
-- Canada requires bars and restaurants to provide 20 ounces of beer if they advertise selling a pint. But many are coming up short, a Toronto Star investigation has found. One place provided only 14 ounces. To read the full story, click here.
-- The New York Times reports that Pabst Blue Ribbon has been sold to a Russian company. “Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand – it represents individualism, egalitarianism and freedom of expression – all the things that make this country great,” Eugene Kashper, the chairman of Oasis Beverages, says. To read the full story, click here.
UPDATED: GQ Magazine turned to the owner of a Cincinnati brewery to help recommend "The 50 Best Craft Beers Every Man Must Try." Bryant Goulding, co-founder of Rhinegeist Brewery, offers up five suggestions in the "Best Stein Filling Quenchers" category.
He recommends Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Weihenstephaner Pilsner, Three Floyds Gumballhead, Double Mountain Vaporizer and Moonlight Reality Czech Pilsner.
In its brief write-up, the magazine says: "A veteran of LA's Golden Road, [Goulding] knows summer-friendly beer — now in Cincinnati, he runs Rhinegeist, making German-inspired craft beer in the hulking 1885 brick home of the biggest pre-prohibition brewer in the city."
Goulding said in an email that he had worked with author William Bostwick, who put together the article, while in San Francisco. "I gave William my thoughts on those light quenchers last summer and they just got published today!" Goulding wrote. "We worked together on a few projects years ago when I was in SF and have stayed in touch since. I love those light & bright refreshing summertime brews so choosing a few of my favorites was no problem at all. I just wish I was more familiar with Ohio brews at the time to mention one of ours brewed here - next time!"
The magazine's list has another Ohio connection. Expert Greg Engert of Churchkey recommends cask aged cinnamon Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald in the "Best Cask Beers" category.
To see the entire rundown, click here.
Zaftig Brewing Co. in Columbus will host its Too Cans Extravaganza from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. (Sept. 20)
The event will showcase five wood-aged varieties of Too Cans IPA. There will be live music and food. The nanobrewery, which opened earlier this year and specializes in high-alcohol brews, also will introduce its new brewmaster, Dan Griffin.