Bret Kollmann Baker is chief of brewing operations at Urban Artifact in Cincinnati. The brewery, which opened last month in a former church, is focusing exclusively on wild and tart ales.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: Free beer of course! Seriously though, it started as a way to have a little fun and express some creativity, but as the passion grew it became apparent that brewing was a job like few others. It allows you to be creative while actually making something that you and others can enjoy, there is the ability to work with others who feel the same way and it allows me to put my engineering training to work as at the end of the day brewing is a manufacturing job.
Q: There’s a concern that the craft beer industry – thanks to the phenomenal growth over the last few years – is reaching a saturation point, particularly in some areas of Ohio. Are there too many breweries here? If yes, why? If no, why not?
A: No, not yet, not ever really depending on the size of the brewery that opens up. What we will probably see is what you see with most aging new markets, especially as the first generation of owners is looking to retire: diversification, consolidation and stratification. New breweries will be forced to diversify, as the market can only bare so many thousands of breweries only making IPA variants (for example we are only brewing tart, wild and sour ales!). This is generally a good thing for the market and for the consumer, who doesn’t like more choice? The second thing we will see is consolidation. As first generation craft brewery owners are looking for exit strategies and/or larger breweries with stagnating growth are looking to re-start that growth, we will start to see more breweries buying each other out. The biggest breweries will buy up the bigger breweries (i.e. A-B/InBev buying Goose Island/Blue Point/Elysian/10 Barrel) and the big breweries will scoop up smaller ones (i.e. Green Flash buying Alpine). This isn’t a bad thing, and we should start to see even more awesome beers as a result. Finally, we will see stratification. The market can only support so many large national and regional breweries. However, the market has almost unlimited potential for any number of locally focused small breweries. They have the ability to create a much stronger connection with their local clientele and can cater more directly to their needs. It is an exciting time for craft beer, and there should be a lot of changes in the next five to ten years!
Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?
A: Education and quality. Continue to always better yourself and your passion while focusing on brewing the highest quality beer possible. If you continue to develop yourself, the beer and your brewing skills there is no limit for how high you can go in the brewing industry.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why?
A: Finn, our Berliner Pale Ale, which is a mash up of two styles. It is basically a Pale Ale brewed like a Berliner Weisse. It is fantastically refreshing, and the tartness of the style compliments the citrus forward hops we use in the beer, without the overly bitter finish associated with IPAs. It really is a style defying beer that is great for hop heads and sour mouths everywhere!
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: Orval. It is a fantastic beer. When it is young it is a clean, crisp, hoppy Belgian Pale Ale, but as it ages the Brettanomyces bruxellensis starts to take over and create some otherworldly funky flavors that blend wonderfully with the fading hop character to create a truly sublime experience. Hell of a beer, in fact, I think I may go look for one right now…
Jukebox Cleveland is hosting a "Beer Women Rock" tap takover and fundraiser from 5 to 9 p.m. May 28 to celebrate women in the craft beer industry. Proceeds will benefit Girls With Sole, a nonprofit offering free wellness and fitness programs for at-risk girls.
“This will be a great opportunity for female craft beer lovers to get together and share their stories, but our main goal is to bring attention to Girls With Sole and support their incredible mission," House of LaRose craft key account manager Amy Cain said in a prepared statement. "Whether you’re a guy or a girl, in the industry or not, let’s have a beer together for a good cause.”
The event will feature women from more than a dozen craft breweries and distributors. Renee DeLuca of New Albion Brewing and Christine Montague, who runs Cleveland Beer Week, will serve as guest bartenders. Ohio homebrewer Cara Baker will debut Waka-tu Belgium, a collaboration with Brick and Barrel. Great Lakes Brewing Co. field quality analyst Bridget Gauntner will conduct sensory demonstrations. Meanwhile, Marissa DeSantis from Great Lakes will provide records for the music.
The beer sales will benefit the nonprofit. There also will be a raffle with prizes donated by participating breweries and Cleveland businesses including Cleveland Beer Week, Harness Cycle, Melt Bar and Grilled, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
The participating breweries and suppliers are: Bell’s, Breckenridge, The Brew Kettle, Brick and Barrel, Deschutes, DESTIHL, Fat Head’s, Great Lakes, Jackie O’s, New Albion, New Belgium, Cavalier Distributing, Heidelberg Distributing, House of LaRose, Platform, Premium Beverage Supply and Superior Beverage Group.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- VacationRentals.com put together a list of "The Best Wineries & Breweries in Every State in the USA." The choice for Ohio is Staas Brewing Co. in Delaware. To see the full list, click here.
-- The Athens News reports on the 10th annual Ohio Brew Week, which is set June 10-18. Great Lakes Brewing Co. co-founder Pat Conway will serve as the keynote speaker. "For our 10th year, we wanted to bring someone who had experienced and helped to shape the rise of craft beer in Ohio," Executive Director Weston Lombard says. "Great Lakes has long been a supporter of OBW and has been a force in the craft beer industry nationwide." To read the full story, click here.
-- The Athens News updates the progress of three breweries being built in the Athens area: Little Fish, Devil's Kettle and Multiple. "We're all looking forward to having a whole new, expanded brew scene in Athens, and that's why we're really trying to get going by Brew Week so that the whole landscape will start to come together," Little Fish co-owner Jimmy Stockwell says. To read the full story, click here.
-- Crain's Cleveland Business reports on the rapid rise of Platform Beer Co. “We didn't anticipate that we'd grow this quickly,” partner Justin Carson said. “We're already at capacity.” To read the full story, click here.
-- The Artful Pint reports on the inaugural Belgian Beer Fest on May 30 at Platform Beer Co. "We’re talking blondes, dubbels, tripels, quads, saisons, farmhouse, maybe even a sour or two," Bob Lesher writes. To read the full story, click here.
-- WCPO in Cincinnati reports on the new Woodburn Brewery that plans to open in East Walnut Hills in the fall. "I’m willing to push the envelope and just experiment," co-owner Chris Mitchell says. "I want to use a lot of locally-sourced ingredients in our beers." To read the full story, click here.
-- WCPO in Cincinnati reports that Bad Tom Smith Brewing Co. has a new ownership team and brewer. “[We’ll] focus on quality first, bringing in the right people,” new majority owner John Votjush says. “We’re going to get better quality beer and better quality experience in the taproom very quickly.” To read the full story, click here.
-- The [Cincinnati] Enquirer reports that Tap & Screw Brewery is planning to distribute its beers next month. The brewery has hooked up with Premium Beverage Supply. To read the full story, click here.
-- Drink Up Columbus reports that Seventh Son Brewing Co. is donating a portion of sales of its Wuffles to Cat Welfare, a no-kill shelter. To read the full story, click here.
Sure, Great Lakes Brewing Co. is changing beer labels — the brewery’s first major refresh in its nearly 30-year history.
But co-founders Pat and Dan Conway insist the new packaging — ranging from the logo to labels to tap handles — represents much more.
“At the end of the day, this is going to prove to be a wonderful infusion of energy and interest in Great Lakes Brewing,” Pat Conway said Tuesday during a preview party at the brewery’s new Beer Symposium, also known as the visitor center. “We have some wonderful stories to tell and these labels have these collage elements that invite all these interesting story-telling opportunities.
“We think more of our customer base needs to know more about our culture than just award-winning beer. With the hugely, hotly competitive market now, it’s becoming more important to let consumers know who you are and what you stand for.”
That culture — one the Cleveland brewery takes seriously — focuses on a “Triple Bottom Line” philosophy that involves economic, social and environmental responsibility. That takes shape in donating to community organizations, using green practices and even doing its own farming for the brewpub.
Great Lakes is tossing a free public block party to celebrate its new label and packaging designs (see accompanying photos), and to unveil its new Beer Symposium visitor center.
The Rock the Block event will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday (May 21) at the Cleveland brewpub and Ohio City’s Market Square Park across the street.
Artist Darren Booth, who along with Brokaw Inc. designed the new labels and packaging, will attend and show off his paintings.
The small visitor center, located around the corner from the brewpub and across the street from the production brewery, features a bar and exhibits about Great Lakes’ history and culture. It has a distinct art gallery feel, with its white walls and wooden pine floor.
One wall is dedicated to the history of the brewery, dating from the Conways incorporating in 1986 to today.
The exhibits, one of which involves a rundown of the brewery’s effort to recreate an old Sumerian beer recipe, will rotate with the seasons. There's another with an interactive app that provides details about hops, malt and other beer ingredients.
The brewery produced a pamphlet “Behind the Bottle,” which shows off the new labels and provides details about the beers. It's available at the center, which will serve as the starting point for public tours.
There’s also a giant television showing a three-minute video that captures the Great Lakes’ culture.
“Beautiful,” Rick Vernon, owner of the West Point Market in Akron, said at the Tuesday event. “Really well done.”
West Point, which announced earlier this week that it plans to close at the end of the year, was the first retail location to sell Great Lakes beer outside the brewpub.
Pat Conway recognized and thanked Vernon during the gathering.
“We could never sell enough,” Vernon said about Great Lakes.
The Beer Symposium space, which once housed the F&S department store, holds significant history for Great Lakes. It was the site of the company’s first production brewery.
And during the preview party, Dan Conway said they had their first meeting with distributors in the building.
The center will be open to the public from noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Pat Conway noted that the craft beer industry continues to boom, with nearly 3,500 breweries operating in the U.S. last year.
“We’re poised to be one of the great players in that expansion,” he said.
Great Lakes ranked 23rd in terms of overall production last year. That ranking could be a lot higher but the company has limited its distribution to the Great Lakes region.
The brewery could expand nationwide or even internationally, but Great Lakes feels it’s important to grow in the region.
Great Lakes is landlocked now in the Ohio City neighborhood. To grow, Pat Conway said the brewery is looking elsewhere in Greater Cleveland for warehouse and production space.
“We’ve been vetting different site opportunities,” he said.
The festival is set for 1 to 5 p.m. June 13 at the Nautica Entertainment Complex.
“We have 85 breweries from all over the country and world,” Chris Rice, All About Beer Magazine president, said in a news release. “We have added 24 breweries that have never participated in our festival to the list this year and will be featuring Ohio brewers and Belgian brewers in their own 'mini' festival within the large event.”
Warped Wing Brewing Co. from Dayton is a featured brewery this year. Its beer is not distributed in the Cleveland area. Overall, there are 23 Ohio breweries represented. Organizers didn't identify the 24 new breweries by name.
The festival includes food demonstrations at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. booth, ingredients showcases and educational seminars, including an Ohio brewer panel discussion. Several breweries also will feature specialty tappings every hour.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.WorldBeerFestival.com. General admission is $40 and include a tasting glass and 40 taste tickets. VIP admission is $75 and provides early admission, access to a private hospitality area with private bathrooms, a food buffet and food pairing from Great Lakes Brewing Co., and a selection of rare beers.
The World Beer Festival is sponsored by DuClaw, Latitude 42, Boston Beer Co., Traveler Beer Co., Hoppin Frog, Yuengling, Wells and Young, House of LaRose, Rampant, Superior, Beverage Distributors, Great Lakes and Duvel Moortgat.
Below is the brewery list:Ohio Breweries Black Box Brewing Co. Westlake, OH Buckeye Brewing Cleveland, OH Butcher and the Brewer Cleveland, OH Cellar Rats Brewery Madison, OH Christian Moerlein Cincinnati, OH Cornerstone Brewing Co. Berea, OH Elevator Brewing Columbus, OH Fat Head's Brewery Middleburg Heights, OH Four String Brewing Columbus, OH Homestead Beer Co. Granville, OH Hoppin' Frog Brewery Akron, OH Jackie O's Pub & Brewery Athens, OH Lager Heads Brewing Co. Medina, OH Market Garden Brewery Cleveland, OH Maumee Bay Brewing Co. Toledo, OH Millersburg Brewing Co. Millersburg, OH Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. Cincinnati, OH Platform Beer Co. Cleveland, OH The Brew Kettle Strongsville, OH The Rivertown Brewing Lockland, OH Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. Akron, OH Warped Wing Brewery Dayton, OH Willoughby Brewing Co. Willoughby, OH Regional/National Breweries 21st Amendment Brewery San Francisco, CA Anchor Brewing Co. San Francisco, CA Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Boonville, CA Bell's Brewery, Inc. Kalamazoo, MI Blue Moon Brewing Denver, CO Blue Point Brewing Long Island, NY Bluegrass Brewing Co. Louisville, KY Boulevard Brewing Co. Kansas City, MO Brewery Ommegang Cooperstown, NY Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn, NY D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. Pottsville, PA Dark Horse Brewing Co. Marshall, MI Deschutes Brewery Bend, OR DESTIHL Brewery Bloomington, IL Dogfigh Head Craft Brewery Inc. Milton, DE DuClaw Brewing Co. Baltimore, MD Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, MI Goose Island Beer Co. Chicago, IL Harpoon Brewery Boston, MA Ithaca Beer Co. Ithaca, NY Kona Brewing Co. Big Island, HI Lakefront Brewery, Inc. Milwaukee, WI Latitude 42 Brewing Co. Portage, MI Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. Kiln, MS Left Hand Brewing Co. Longmont, CO Leinenkugel Brewing Chippewa Falls, WI Long Trail Brewing Co. Bridgewater Corners, VT Lost Coast Brewery Eureka, CA New Belgium Brewing Co. Fort Collins, CO New Planet Beer Boulder, CO North Country Brewing Co. Slippery Rock, PA Oskar Blues Brewery Longmont, CO PBR/Not Fathers Root Beer Los Angeles, CA Rochester Mills Beer Co. Auburn Hills, MI Rogue Ales Ashland, OR Saugatuck Brewing Co. Douglas, MI Shock Top St. Louis, MO Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Chico, CA Smuttynose Brewing Co. Hampton, NH SPINDoKTOR Monroe, WI Stone Brewing Co. Escondido, CA Summit Brewing Co. St. Paul, MN SweetWater Brewing Co. Atlanta, GA The Boston Beer Co. Boston, MA The Traveler Beer Co. Burlington, VT Victory Brewing Co. Downingtown, PA Widmer Brothers Brewing Portland, OR Woodchuck Ciders Middlebury, VT Belgian Breweries Brasserie d'Achouffe Belgium Brouwerij Liefmans Belgium Chimay Brewery Belgium Duvel Moortgat Belgium Lindemans Brewery Belgium Maredsous Belgium Palm Belgian Craft Brewers Belgium St. Stefanus Belgium Imports Ayinger Brewery Germany Brasserie d'Achouffe Belgium Brouwerij Liefmans Belgium Chimay Brewery Belgium Duvel Moortgat Belgium Lindemans Brewery Belgium Maredsous Belgium Palm Belgian Craft Brewers Belgium Peroni Brewery Italy Pilsner Urquell Czech Republic Samuel Smith Brewery United Kingdom St. Stefanus Belgium Worthington Brewery United Kingdom Cider/Mead Crispin Cider Colfax, CA Woodchuck Ciders Middlebury, VT
Dayton Beer won the top prize, the Commonwealth Cup, for its Batch 100, a Belgian-style ale, but three other Ohio brewers won medals as well.
Here's the rundown:
-- Dayton Beer: Batch 100 (gold), Oregon Alley IPA (bronze), Mad River Milk Stout (bronze), Broken Trolley Blonde Ale (bronze) and Java Man Cometh (bronze).
“As we are just getting ready to celebrate our third anniversary, it is especially meaningful for the Dayton Beer Co. to win Best of Show with the Batch 100 as the original was our 100th batch brewed," owner and brewer Pete Hilgeman said in a prepared statement. "We have a 15-barrel batch fermenting that will be tapped this Friday and available at both the downtown Dayton and Kettering locations."
-- MadTree Brewing: Happy Amber (gold), Citra High (gold), PsycHOPathy (silver), Gnarly Brown (silver) and Lift (bronze).
-- Jackie O's Brewery: Bourbon Barrel Brick Kiln (gold), Dark Apparition (gold), Dynamo Fuzz (silver), Mystic Mama (silver), Bourbon Barrel Oil of Aphrodite (bronze) and Paw Paw Wheat (bronze).
-- 50 West Brewing: Remus' Revenge (bronze).
To see the full list of winners, click here.
Craft beer is the gift that keeps on giving for entrepreneurs. The industry has spawned beer festivals, dinners, multiple running series, candy, magazines, apps, travel companies and now ... beer yoga.
Balance & Brews, a Cleveland-based business that travels to breweries, is combining yoga with beer tastings.
The business stemmed from founder Melissa Klimo-Major’s love of craft beer — and yoga, of course.
She started offering some yoga and tastings at a studio in 2013. After positive feedback, she expanded that into her own business last year and moved the tastings to breweries.
“I want yoga to be accessible to anyone, and in my role as a yoga teacher, I want to inspire everyone to find those things they love, the things that make them feel good, while letting go of anything they don’t need,” she said. “That kind of yoga high followed by a beer buzz makes for a pretty happy post-practice crowd, so there’s a great social aspect to it also, a chance to connect to others.”
Now it’s expanding to the Akron/Canton area.
Balance & Brews will at The Barrel Room in North Canton, at 6:30 p.m. May 27. It will pair yoga with beers from Deschutes Brewery. The cost is $20 to participate.
There’s also a yoga-tasting set for 6:30 p.m. June 10 at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron. The cost is $25. (Will there be a Downward Facing Thirsty Dog pose? We can only hope.)
For more details, including a schedule of events or to register, click here.
The Stark County-based grocer and Akron brewery have created Tiger Tale Farmhouse Ale, which will be available on draft this week and in six-packs starting next week. The Belgian-style ale features New Zealand hops and clocks in at 5.2 percent alcohol by volume.
Last year, the grocery and brewery collaborated to produce Nutty ProFisher, a nut brown ale.
The Tiger Tale name pays tribute to Fisher family history. In the 1900s, five Fisher brothers hand-rolled cigars called Tiger Tails to pay for their college education.
“Without their determination and hard work, a Fishers Foods would not exist,” Alex Fisher, who helped design the beer, said in an email. “...Tiger Tale Farmhouse Ale pays homage to their determination in which helped pave the road for generations to come.”
The label was designed by Canton artist Holly “Buffy” Atkinson, who co-owns the ACME gallery.
“With this creation, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate the nautilus shell, as it is a great metaphor for what Alex Fisher is accomplishing as the fourth generation of Fishers Foods — a reaffirmation of the family’s passion for a growth and expansion,” she said in a prepared statement.
The tap handles are being made by Jorge Cervantes, who also created the Nutty ProFisher label and tap handles. The handles will be Tiger Tail cigars.
The first keg of Tiger Tale will be tapped Thursday (May 21) at Vintage Canton. The event runs from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. The growler stations at the Fishers stores will tap kegs Friday, and six-packs will be available starting May 29 at the Craft Beer Tasting + Release Party from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Fishers, 5215 Fulton Road N.W.
Tiger Tale also will be available at Basil Asian Bistro (Canton), Lucca, The Auricle, Buzzbin, Conestoga Grill, George’s Lounge, Gallery 121 and Table Six Kitchen + Bar.
D'Agneses at White Pond will host a Summer Solstice Beer Dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. June 17.
The event will feature Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, Christian Moerlein Strawberry Pig, Smuttynose Hayseed, Uinta Sum'r, Mt. Carmel Summer Wheat, 21st Amendment Down to Earth, Ommegang Fleur and Deschutes Foray.
D'Agneses will serve appetizers and desserts with the beer.
Tickets are $35. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 234-678-3612.
The annual event, held on Fifth Street in downtown Cincinnati and presented by Budweiser, will feature 68 brews.
"Taste of Cincinnati is catering to craft beer and wine fans, while featuring your favorites, including 10 different Budweiser and Bud Lite choices," Patrick Sheeran, vice president of the chamber and Downtown Council, said in a news release.
The beer list -- which isn't heavy on local brews and can be seen below -- already has caused a little stink among craft beer fans in Cincinnati. Mike Stuart of The Brew Professor beer blog already has offered up some criticism over the lack of local beers being poured. You can read his commentary here.
To read the full news release and check out the beer list, see below:
For Immediate Release
84 Beers, Wines, Cocktails on Taste of Cincinnati Menu
68 beers and 11 wines available at Taste of Cincinnati, May 23–25
CINCINNATI—May 13, 2015 –Organizers of Taste of Cincinnati, the nation’s longest-running free culinary arts festival announced this year’s selection of beer, wine and cocktails (list below). In addition to 250 food items, 68 beers and 11 wines will be available, May 23-25.
“Taste of Cincinnati is catering to craft beer and wine fans, while featuring your favorites, including 10 different Budweiser and Bud Lite choices,” said Patrick Sheeran, Vice President of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Downtown Council.
Taste of Cincinnati will also play host to the Budweiser Bud & Burgers Tour and the Budweiser Brewmaster Tour. Taste of Cincinnati’s adult visitors will try the pairing of great burgers and Budweiser at the Bud & Burgers Tourand will be guided by a Budweiser brewmaster through a mobile brewing experience that culminates with a sampling opportunity at the Budweiser Brewmaster Tour.
Local bars will also sample signature cocktails at Sysco Taste Experience on the afternoons of May 23 and 24.
Taste of Cincinnati, presented by Budweiser and a production of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, will be held May 23-25 on Fifth Street sprawling from Vine to Sentinel in Downtown Cincinnati. The event will open at 11 a.m., all three days. Nearly 70 restaurants and food trucks will participate and close to 60 bands and entertainers will perform throughout the weekend on five stages. Taste of Cincinnati 2014 saw a record-breaking crowd of more than 550,000.
TASTE OF CINCINNATI 2015 BEER AND WINE MENU
Bell’s Amber Ale
Bell’s Lager of the Lakes
Bell’s Oarsman Ale
Bell’s Oberon Ale
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat
Blue Moon White IPA
Bud Light Lime
Bud Light Lime-A-Rita
Bud Light Mang-O-Rita
Bud Light Mixx Tail Firewalker
Bud Light Mixx Tail Hurricane
Bud Light Mixx Tail Long Island
Bud Light Straw-ber-ita
Christian Moerlein Altered Pale Ale
Christian Moerlein OTR Ale
Christian Moerlein Push Real Pilsner
Christian MoerleinSangerfestMaibock Lager
Christian Moerlein Seven Hefeweizen
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
Goose Island IPA
Goose Island Summer Ale
Great Lakes Alberta Clipper
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
Great Lakes Elliot Ness
Great Lakes Rye Tiger
Hudepohl Amber Lager
Hudepohl Copper Lager
Hudepohl Summer Pils
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
Kentucky Old Fashioned Barrel Ale
Kentucky White Ale
Leinenkugel Honey Weiss
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy
Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat
Mt. Carmel Amber
Rivertown Lil’ SIPA
Rivertown Wit Ale
Sam Adams Lager
Sam Adams Summer Ale
Shock Top Banana
Shock Top Lemon
Shock Top Pretzel
Shock Top Wheat
Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
West Sixth Amber Ale
West Sixth Cocoa
West Sixth IPA
West Sixth Lemongrass Wheat
Yuengling Summer Wheat
Wine & Other
14 Hands Moscato
Barefoot Refresh Crisp Red
Barefoot Refresh Crisp White
Barefoot Refresh Perfectly Pink
Barefoot Refresh Summer Red
Barefoot Refresh Sweet White
Columbia Red Blend
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Meranda Nixon Cabernet Franc
Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir
Twisted Tea Half & Half
Twisted Tea Original
About Budweiser Bud & Burgers Championship Tour
“America’s No. 1 full-flavored lager is setting out to find the tastiest partner: a king of burgers,” said Budweiser spokesperson, Elizabeth Wiles. Bud & Burgers will feature two contestants putting their burger recipes head-to-head in a cook-off, May 23 through 25, at Fifth and Main Street.
Taste of Cincinnati visitors will listen to live music as they try the pairing of great burgers and cold, crisp, quality Budweiser. The Taste of Cincinnati Bud & Burgers winner will advance to the finals in St. Louis on July 11, where the Bud & Burgers Champion will be crowned. The winner of the Bud & Burgers Championship will receive $100,000 to support his/her culinary ambitions. In addition, the winner will be invited to compete in a new television cooking competition series, working title “United States of Burgers,” which will premiere on the Esquire Network.
About Budweiser Brewmaster Tour
The brewmasters behind every bottle, can and keg of Budweiser are bringing the Budweiser Brewmaster Tour, a mobile brewing experience, to Taste of Cincinnati 2015. Budweiser brewmasters or brewing ambassadors will lead small groups of guests through five brewing zones that culminate with a sampling opportunity. Adults can enjoy the finished lager complete with its signature clean, crisp taste. The brief tour will provide festival-goers their own taste of the art, science and passion that goes into making Budweiser.
“The Budweiser Brewmaster Tour offers visitors a unique sensory experience complete with a hot brewing zone and a cold finishing zone,” said Julia Mize, Vice President of Experiential Marketing, Anheuser-Busch. “With the help of our brewing ambassadors, we’ve created a connection for beer drinkers between the beer in their hand and the history and heritage of Budweiser brewing.”
About the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is the nation’s fifth largest chamber, representing the interests of nearly 4,500 member businesses. Its mission is to capture Cincinnati USA as one of the world’s favorite American business centers. The Chamber serves its membership and the Cincinnati USA community through leadership and professional development programs, government advocacy, festivals and events, regional vision and collaboration, money-saving benefit programs, networking opportunities and educational programs. For more information, visit cincinnatichamber.com.
The second annual event, held in Lexington, Ky., featured 350 beers from 20 countries. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Dayton Beer, which recently opened a second production brewery and tasting room in downtown Dayton, won five medals for its beers but didn't name them.
The festival organizers have not yet posted a full rundown of the winners online. But they did note on Facebook that owner Pete Hilgeman got married on Saturday -- a double win for him.
To read the Herald-Leader story, click here.
The event, set for 10:30 a.m. May 30 at the Wolf's Ridge tasting room in Columbus, will feature four samples of Allegory Brown Ale infused with four different One Line coffees and a freshly brewed sample of the coffee itself.
Tickets are $25, and include pastries and a logo mug. For more details or tickets, click here.
Drink Up Columbus -- the newsy website devoted to ... what else ... drinking alcohol in Central Ohio -- will celebrate its four-year anniversary with a party from 6 to 10 p.m. May 28 at Strongwater Food and Spirits.
The event will feature door prizes, live music by The High Definitions, specialty Middle West Spirits OYO cocktails and beer from Columbus Brewing Co., Four String Brewing and SweetWater Brewing. There also will be a keg-shaped cake from Eight Cakes a Week.
Drink Up Columbus has been an active blog, partnering this year with Experience Columbus to help launch the Columbus Ale Trail and working with the Ohio Craft Brewers Association on the inaugural Columbus Craft Beer Week. Drink Up Columbus editor Cheryl Harrison also recently was voted one of the top three bloggers in Columbus by the readers of (614) Magazine for the fifth consecutive year.
The party is free to attend but reservations are required and can be made by clicking here. The after-party is at Land-Grant Brewing Co.
Boston Beer Co. figures that it has released hundreds of Samuel Adams styles over the years -- more than 60 in the last year alone.
With so many brews coming and going, the Boston-based brewery hears daily from fans about bringing back a favorite style that has disappeared. Now it's giving beer drinkers a chance to do just that.
Boston Beer is holding an online vote featuring 16 different beers that are no longer in circulation. People can vote for four of them. Voting began May 11 and ends May 25.
The four beers that get the most votes will be brewed and available in Boston and at select beer festivals nationwide this summer. The brewery also will hold a final round of online voting to select two of the finalists. The two winners will be made again and re-released in a Samuel Adams Variety Pack in early 2016.
“We’ve been brewing boundary-pushing beers for over 30 years, but with innovation comes the inevitability of having to tuck away the recipes for some of our favorite brews to save for another day,” Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch said in a prepared statement. “We hear from our drinkers nearly every day asking us to re-release their favorites, so we’re excited to make these brews available once again on a national level.”
The 16 brews and the first year they were made are:
-- Black & Brew Coffee Stout (2011*)
-- Black Lager (2004)
-- Blackberry Witbier (2008)
-- Honey Porter (2002)
-- Mighty Oak Ale (2011)
-- Pale Ale (1999)
-- Brown Ale (2005)
-- Cranberry Lambic (1990)
-- East West Kolsch (2011)
-- Revolutionary Rye Ale (2010)
-- Rustic Saison (2011)
-- Scotch Ale (1995)
-- Vienna Lager (2002)
-- Weiss Bier (2001)
-- Golden Pilsner (1996)
-- Hefeweizen (2003)
To vote, click here.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- Drink Up Columbus reports on the new Craft Beer Golf Series launching June 20 in Columbus. "It’s a social event just to kind of give our members access to local breweries that will be participating,” says Derek Grosso, president and CEO of the Columbus Young Professionals Club. To read the full story, click here.
-- Pat's Pints reports on the planned Ill Mannered Brewing Co. in Powell. "Expect a small brewery with an intimate tap room vibe, something akin to Sideswipe or Staas," Patrick Woodward writes. "The brewery will be located in a 1000 square foot space and the brewkit will be a 3 barrel system." To read the full story, click here.
-- The Brew Professor takes issue with the Taste of Cincinnati for not focusing enough on the local craft beer industry. "Of the 68 beers, only 15 are local from four of the more than 20 locally operating breweries," Mike Stuart writes. "Yep, about 20% of the beers offered are made here in our community." To read the full column, click here.
-- The [Cincinnati] Enquirer reports that Braxton Brewing Co. is already growing. The brewery has added two 80-barrel fermenters. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that one of the dogs featured on a Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. label was rescued this week after being stranded in a ravine in Willoughby Hills. Arnie is one of the dogs on the brewery's 12 Dogs of Christmas label. To read the full story, click here.
-- Fortune reports on the ongoing craft beer bubble debate. “I think we’re nearing a crisis point,” says Matt Cohen, owner and brewmaster of Fiddlehead Brewing in Vermont. “I think there are a lot of people getting into [the industry] that either don’t have experience and have never worked in a brewery or just see it as a way to make money.” To read the full story, click here.
-- Wolf's Ridge Brewing Co. in Columbus released a video about its operation. You can watch it below:
John Fuduric is the co-owner and brewer at the Cleveland Brewery -- not to be confused with the Cleveland Brewing Co. The nanobrewery opened late last year on East 185th Street. Until recently, its beers have been available on draft only in the neighborhood but the brewery has opened its tasting room on Fridays.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I became a brewer because it was always something I have been interested in. I have always liked to be innovative and creative with food and I wanted to bring that creativity into brewing as well. I started out making wine actually but the turn around is time consuming. With beer the possibilities are endless and I can enjoy a beer within a matter of weeks rather than years. It's a great feeling when you make something that others really enjoy and come back for more.
Q: There’s a concern that the craft beer industry – thanks to the phenomenal growth over the last few years – is reaching a saturation point, particularly in some areas of Ohio. Are there too many breweries here? If yes, why? If no, why not?
A: No, I don't think there are too many breweries. As long as each brewery is making quality beers I don't think it's a problem of becoming too saturated. Each brewer is creative in their own way. Instead of regular bars, I think we will see more breweries opening up which is great. It will be like chefs in different restaurants serving their entrees that are unique and allow them to be creative in their kitchens. In the same way, brewers will be able to show their creativity. If you like Belgian-style ales, well go to this brewery because this brewer knows what he is doing. If you want IPAs, well check out this brewery because they do a phenomenal job and so on. People aren't saying there are too many restaurants!!! It's nice to have such a wide variety. Instead of bar hopping and bar crawls, there will be brewery hopping and brewery crawls.
Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?
A: Other than sanitize sanitize sanitize and knowing your pitch rates, I would say write everything down and be consistent. When you brew a batch and it tastes excellent, you'll have that schedule to follow for the next time. And when that batch comes out good, brew it again. And when it tastes good the second time around, well brew it again and maintain good quality beer on a consistent basis. And if it doesn't come out so good, well now you can go back and tweak the recipe. You don't want people saying this beer doesn't taste the same as the last time I had it.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: So far our best-selling beer is our Celtic Warrior. It's a red IPA but it has a really nice malt backbone. We do a lot of late addition hops into the boil to give it the IBUs without that perceived bitterness. We have people all the time saying that they don't like IPAs and when we say, “Well try this one,” they are surprised on how much they like it. It opens people up a little more into trying other styles they thought they would never like. It's fun to see their reaction while taking that first sip too. From their eyes squinting and holding their nose before taking that sip to eyes wide open with a big smile on their face after that sip is fun to watch.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you with that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: Ooooo this is a tough one. Great question! With all the barrel aging that's been going on and so many other great beers, I don't know where to start. But I also like to enjoy more than one and some of the beers out there are great but they are so strong it's just a one and done kind of thing. I'd have to say Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald. I'm being biased sure because it is local but it is a really solid beer. It's a great roasty porter with a nice chocolate and coffee taste and a noticeable hop presence. It also has nice ABV where you can enjoy more than one. There's a reason it has won so many gold medals.
Most craft breweries think big when they look to expand.
JAFB Wooster Brewery is thinking small.
The award-winning brewery in Wooster plans to open a smaller brewery later this year in a renovated, three-bedroom house in West Salem, a town of less than 1,500 people in rural Wayne County.
JAFB West Salem, as it will be called, will attempt to recreate the feel of a small-town European brewery, with a pub, beer garden and family atmosphere.
JAFB founder and brewer Paul Fryman and his father Jerry Fryman, who are partnering on the project, didn’t just pick the small village randomly.
“It’s where we’re from,” Paul Fryman said last week over a beer at JAFB Wooster, which opened three years ago. “It’s our hometown. We know everybody and everybody knows us.”
The Frymans hope to bring excitement and pride to the community, located along Interstate 71 in Northeast Ohio. In turn, they are excited about the investments being made to improve the Dragway 42 racetrack and the anticipated growth in tourism because of it.
“That’s a big reason for us not being afraid to invest money,” said Jerry Fryman, who created the artwork and carved the wooden picnic tables inside the JAFB Wooster tasting room.
He also isn’t worried about making money at the new place.
“You’re not going to West Salem to make your fortune,” he said. “It’s the journey.”
The new brewery will serve almost as a pilot operation for JAFB Wooster, with Paul Fryman doing the brewing there, too. There’s also enough property to build a production facility in the future if they want. JAFB Wooster, which employs a seven-barrel brewhouse, doesn’t package or distribute its beer outside of Wooster now.
The Frymans hope to have the West Salem location on state Route 539 open in the fall.
The expansion certainly is made easier because of Paul Fryman’s reputation as a brewer. Last fall, he won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for his Wooster New Stout. He’s also twice won the Fat Head’s Celebration of the Hop competition, which focuses on India pale ales and double IPAs.
“I’m not worried about it at all,” Paul Fryman said about opening in West Salem. “I know that we can go in there and make good beer.”
The event, which will feature 20 cask ales, has two sessions: 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $25.
I am recovering from a severe sinus infection that felled me late last week and prevented me from keeping up on my beer news -- and reporting several cool stories. So here's a lengthy rundown of some interesting beer stories:
-- The Toledo Blade reports on the inaugural Toledo Beer Week, which kicked off Monday. (May 11) "Toledo Beer Week will have more than 25 craft beer-related events throughout its run," author Bob Cunningham writes. "From beer-themed sandwiches and doughnuts to tap takeovers at area bars and restaurants, organizers of the event left no keg untapped." To read the full story, click here.
-- The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports on the ongoing effort to raise the legal limit for alcohol in beer in Ohio. The proposal has languished in the legislature for a the past couple of years. "We are optimistic we can move this through committee," says Eric Fischer, a legislative aide to Rep. Dan Ramos. To read the full story, click here.
-- Drink Up Columbus reports on Ill Mannered Brewing Co. hoping to open in Powell later this year. “We saw a community that needed a brewery to call its own,” co-founder Brian Mathias says. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Enquirer reports that Rhinegeist Brewery is asking its beer fans to help create a new beer for release around the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which hits Cincinnati this summer. People will be able to vote online on everything from the malt to the hops. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Enquirer reports that Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is launching its first beer course this fall called "BREW 100: Introduction to Craft Beer." Carla Gesell-Streeter, who co-runs the Hoperatives beer blog, will teach the program. To read the full story, click here.
-- WCPO reports on the new beer in Christian Moerlein's seasonal can series: Altered Pale Ale. To read the full story, click here.
-- Paste highlights five gypsy brewers around the country, including Dayton-based Nowhere In Particular. "Starting a multi-state distribution brewery usually means a lot of capital, but a growing number of so-called 'gypsy' brewers have figured out how to get their products to the public without a million-dollar investment," author Kevin Gray writes. To read the full story, click here.
-- Thrillist, the website that produces list after list after list, ranks the "16 Best Beer Cities in America." Cleveland comes in at No. 12. Portland, Ore., is No. 1. To read the full list, click here.
-- Saugatuck Brewing Co. from Douglas, Mich., announced that it has expanded its distribution in Ohio and now is available throughout the entire state. To read the full news release, click here.
The Yellow Springs Music & Beer Fest, which is part of the annual Yellow Springs Street Fair, returns June 13 to the community.
The Street Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, food and entertainers. It is free to attend and open to the public.
For more details about the event, including the music lineup, click here.