Ohio Beer Blog

Syndicate content
Beer Blog Feed
Updated: 59 min 20 sec ago

Looking for an Ohio-made, high-alcohol beer?

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 4:47pm

Looking for a taste of an Ohio-made, high-alcohol beer? There will be several available soon.

Here are some of your options:

Royal Docks Brewing Co. in Jackson Township has the 13.1 percent Vlad the Impaler, an imperial stout, available on draft now.

• Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron will release its 13.8 percent T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant, a triple oatmeal imperial stout, on draft and in 22-ounce bottles Wednesday.

• Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron plans to have a yet-to-be-named Belgian golden strong, which is 15 percent and will be sold in 750-milliliter bottles, available soon.
The brewery also will have a bourbon barrel-aged English barley wine, clocking in at 18 percent, available in the winter.

• Listermann Brewing Co. in Cincinnati is working on Huge Beer 37 — the name is a nod to House Bill 37. The beer is now aging in brandy barrels and the brewery isn’t sure how high the ABV will be.

• Zaftig Brewing Co. in Columbus will release Ol’ Harvey, a 16 percent Russian imperial stout on Sept. 4. The brewery has plans for other higher alcohol beers.

• Willoughby Brewing Co. in Willoughby produced Legislation Ale the last time that Ohio changed the legal limit from 6 percent to 12 percent. Willoughby plans to brew it again and release it over the winter.

Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens and Actual Brewing Co. in Columbus also are working on high-alcohol beers.

Actual founder Fred Lee said he’s challenged four of his brewers to work on recipes. He’s also putting out a challenge to other Ohio brewers to see how high they can go.

“I want to see the highest that Ohio brewers can really do,” he said.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland and Fat Head's Brewery in Middleburg Heights said they don't have any immediate plans for a high-alcohol beer. But that doesn't mean they won't offer one in the future.

"We have discussed this new opportunity and I’m sure we will do something in the future, but have no immediate plans," Great Lakes brewer Luke Purcell said in an email.

Categories: Beer News

High-alcohol beers move into Ohio next week

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 4:42pm

For years, craft beer fan Eddie Martin found himself driving out of Ohio to find rare, high-alcohol brews that were banned in the state.

He couldn’t buy beers such as Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA or 3 Floyds Dark Lord here because they exceeded Ohio’s 12 percent limit.

But all that changes Wednesday, when a new state law that scraps Ohio’s cap goes into effect, meaning not only will some of those high-alcohol beers be available at retailers throughout the Buckeye State but Ohio breweries can make and sell them as well.

“I think it’s great,” Martin, 51, of North Canton said as he sipped a Vlad the Impaler imperial stout this week at Royal Docks Brewing Co. in Jackson Township. “It’s time for a change.”

Craft beer drinkers, retailers and breweries had been lobbying for years against the state limit, arguing that it put Ohio at a competitive disadvantage to surrounding states with no limit and stifled creativity.

The last time the limit was raised, it went from 6 percent to 12 percent in 2002.

With the craft beer industry booming — the Ohio Division of Liquor Control has issued more than 180 brewing permits — state legislators agreed earlier this year that the cap no longer makes sense, especially with no limit imposed on wine or liquor.

The Scottish brewery BrewDog’s decision to invest $32 million in building its U.S. headquarters and brewery in the Columbus suburb of Canal Winchester didn’t hurt, either. BrewDog is known for producing several higher alcohol beers.

“I don’t think it’s just good for our business. It’s good for beer,” BrewDog co-founder James Watt said about the change in the law.

State visit

State Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, who was instrumental in pushing the bill through the legislature visited Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron on Friday.

He presented the gavel used in the process and an official certificate to owner and brewer Fred Karm, who had been a big advocate for changing the law.

“I just didn’t see any reason to keep the limitation,” Faber said. “We don’t have similar limitations on wine or on spirits. I’m a free market person and to me this is a free market issue. We need to make sure that our guys can be competitive.”

Hoppin’ Frog, which has been rated as one of the best breweries in the world by RateBeer.com, focuses on higher alcohol beers with bold flavors.

“This is groundbreaking,” Karm said. “In the over 22 years that I’ve been brewing, we can now go the extra mile and spread our wings.”

Hoppin’ Frog will release the 13.8 percent T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant, a triple oatmeal Russian imperial stout, in bottles and on draft Wednesday.

He said he’s looking forward to designing even more higher alcohol brews.

“Our goal is to always have one but I’d like to have more than one,” Karm said.  

Thirsty Dog, Willoughby, Actual, Jackie O’s, Listermann and Zaftig are among the other Ohio breweries working on high-alcohol beers. (See separate story for more details.)


Craft beer drinkers, however, shouldn’t expect a flood of them.

For some breweries, they don’t fit their mission.

They are difficult, time-consuming and costly to produce — some of the reasons that there aren’t a ton of them on the market now.

They also are a niche product and expensive for consumers. The cost is one of the reasons that there weren’t major concerns about a potential problem with underage drinking.  

The latest batch of Samuel Adams Utopias, released last year, was 28 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and cost $199 a bottle.

Meanwhile, Dogfish Head 120 Minute, sold in a 12-ounce bottle and with an ABV that ranges from 15 percent to 20 percent, is expected to sell for $10 to $15. The Milton, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales already has announced that 120 Minute will be available in Ohio next week.

In many cases, these higher alcohol beers were designed to be sipped and shared, as opposed to be guzzled by one individual.

Brewers and other experts expect there to be a flurry of interest in high-alcohol beers as the law changes, with people wanting to try something that has been illegal here for years.

“Brewing beer has become more of an art form over the past eight or so years since this craft boom has taken off and this truly lets brewers be creative,” said Jon Albrecht, the beer buyer for Acme Fresh Market groceries.

Some craft beer drinkers equate price and ABV, meaning they may shy away from a lower alcohol beer because they don’t feel they are getting their moneys worth, said Dave Sutula, the brewmaster at Royal Docks.

“You can’t quantify flavor,” he said.

That’s one of the reasons he thinks people will want to try the higher alcohol beers.

His brewery jumped the state law early, with its 13.1 percent Vlad the Impaler now available on draft. The beer — just like higher alcohol beer served now at most bars and restaurants — is sold in a smaller glass, a 10-ounce snifter, for $7.50.


John Lane, one of the owners of the Winking Lizard Tavern chain and Lizardville Whiskey & Beer Stores, isn’t convinced that high-alcohol beers will be a big hit.

He believes it will be popular only among beer geeks.

“I don’t see the mainstream jumping onto it,” Lane said.

His Lizardville stores will stock 120 Minute.

Craft beer drinker and homebrewer Mike Yingling, 44, of Northfield is in favor of the limit being scrapped, but questions how often he will seek out a high-alcohol beer, knowing that he’s more concerned about hangovers as he gets older.

“And I want to be able to have more than just one beer,” he said.

He and others also wonder whether there will be a glut of poorly made high-alcohol beers on the market as Ohio breweries race to put one out.

“I’m real worried about it,” said Brad Clark, brewer at Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens. “There are just a small handful of people who will be able to pull it off. We may just have a sea of high-alcohol garbage.”

Categories: Beer News

Rhinegeist says it's staying independent

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 11:24am

Rhinegeist Brewery co-founder Bryant Goulding has heard the rumors — his Cincinnati brewery is selling to Anheuser-Busch.

Or Fireman Capital Partners.

Or MillerCoors.

Those rumors have picked up over the last few weeks and peaked in the last couple of days, with people saying there would be an official announcement today.

But Goulding said Friday (Aug. 26) that he and founder Bob Bonder aren’t selling and the rumors are wrong.

“I’m certainly proud that we’re independently owned,” he said. “I think people just think that successful breweries sell.”

Goulding confirmed that Anheuser-Busch contacted Rhinegeist a few months ago.

“They reached out and we never took a meeting with them because we have no interest in selling,” he said. “Bob and I own the majority of the business. There’s no succession plan happening. We both love what we do.

"We’re going to ride it out in the long run," he added.

Goulding said the brewery is more interested in the employee-owned model of New Belgium and Odell.

“That’s the direction we’re leaning,” he said.

Rhinegeist has been a media darling since opening in 2013 in part because of its location in the former Christian Moerlein bottling plant in the city’s historic Over the Rhine neighborhood and because of its well-crafted beers such as Truth IPA and Ink.

The Anheuser-Busch rumor is just the latest one surrounding Rhinegeist. Goulding said someone spotted him in Boston during a visit and a rumor started about Rhinegeist being sold to the Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which has a majority stake in Oskar Blues, Cigar City and other breweries.

Goulding described the ongoing rumors as frustrating, especially for brewery employees.

“Gossip and rumors are the fun part of life for some,” he said.

Later Friday, Rhinegeist took to social media to post an official response to the rumors. Here it is:

"The founders here at Rhinegeist wanted to take a bit of social media space to stomp out what seems to be a rampant rumor mill. We will not be selling to AB, MillerCoors, private equity, or anyone else. We have refused the meetings that have been offered and will continue to do so. We value our employees and the unique, contagious culture they've created far more than dollars, and if we ever sell the company to anyone, it will be to these outstanding people who have busted their respective asses to build this brewery. So, an enormous thank you to our incredible team and to the community for embracing our historic space and tasty suds over the past 3 years. It's an amazing feeling to be a small part of bringing Cincy's brewing Geist back to life, and we intend on continuing that journey as a locally owned and operated company for many years to come. TRUTH.

Bob & Bryant"

Categories: Beer News

Five questions with ... Geoff Towne

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 8:10am

Geoff Towne is the founder of Zauber Brewing Co. in Columbus. The brewery's tasting room will celebrate its third anniversary in January.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: I became a brewer because I fell in love with European beer culture, then in the "magic" of making beer, which led to sharing that passion with others. The way I became a brewer was an evolution over time. My father was a supplier representative for the large alcohol companies in the Midwest, so I grew up going on trips with Dad to large breweries, distilleries and wineries in the area.

I grew an appreciation for the business long before I was legal to consume the products. I then spent my last five months of college overseas based in Salzburg, Austria, and fell in love with the beer culture that was very different from back here in the U.S. 

I got involved as a homebrewer long before it was popular here in Ohio (and western PA where I lived at the time). On a hunch, an acquaintance mentioned that I seemed to know a lot about beer, so why not make a career out of it. I then researched and found that one could get an graduate education for brewing at UCDavis (California). So I quit my plans on going to law school and went to "beer school" instead. Then after spending time in Northern California, I fell in love (again) with craft beer and the then-emerging beers and culture there.

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, craft beer is still a small and growing segment of the beer industry. All of craft beer -- Samuel Adams and the smaller 4,000-plus breweries coast to coast -- only in the last two to three years passed the capacity of our lone Anheuser-Busch brewery here in Columbus (11.1 million barrels). Bud has 11 other plants, and MillerCoors has eight. Not to mention imports. 

I see craft beer in Ohio starting to emulate other markets, out West for example. I like to use Portland, Ore., as a good example of where we are headed. Portland is roughly the same size as Columbus, Ohio, and has 96 in its metro area, and a handful more across the border in Vancouver, Washington.

Zauber was number seven in Columbus when we started. Now it's closer to 30. Most are starting out small like we did. We all have different voices and different cultures that make our beer atmosphere exciting, growing and fun.

Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?

A: Make sure you are ready with all your business plans before you begin. We were well prepared before we began construction and opening. This saved a lot of valuable time and effort that we didn’t have to figure it out on the fly. Once you're operational, you won't have the luxury of time. Remember, beer is about the customer and not about you. Take quality control and your beer seriously. If the beer is well made, it will sell.

Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?

A: It's a tie between Vertigo HefeWeizen and Berzerker Belgian IPA. At Zauber Brewing, our goal from the beginning was to do niche beers that were different than what everyone else is doing. Find our own path. Which is why we do a Belgian IPA instead of a more traditional American IPA. These are the beers that seem to have resonated the most with our customers. You're always surprised as to which of your children takes off first.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?

A: Douchesse de Bougogne. It's a very complex red Belgian sour. A friend of mine put it best: "There is just so much going on there..." This type of beer is hard to make and master. It's a life’s achievement level of awesome.

Categories: Beer News

Fred Karm creates the essential Hoppin' Frog six-pack

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 1:01pm

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery -- which has been ranked by RateBeer.com as one of the top 100 breweries in the world -- doesn’t sell its beers in six-packs. But with the Akron brewery celebrating its 10th anniversary next week, the Akron Beacon Journal asked founder and brewmaster Fred Karm to put together a list of six Hoppin’ Frog beers that he feels define the brewery.

He also provided an explanation on why he chose them:

B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout

B.O.R.I.S. is our best known beer. It is synonymous with Hoppin’ Frog — it is dark, rich and delicious, and was one of the four original beers for us, and our first medal-winning beer. Almost immediately after it was released, B.O.R.I.S. became our flagship beer, and was (and still is) rated a perfect 100 on RateBeer.com — the world’s largest beer-rating website. B.O.R.I.S. is continually requested by distributors around the world, and has lead to distribution in 24 states and 17 foreign countries so far.

Barrel-Aged D.O.R.I.S. The Destroyer Double Imperial Stout

D.O.R.I.S. is the big sister of B.O.R.I.S.. It is very dark, very rich and flavorful, and was rated the Best Beer In Ohio for 2015 by RateBeer.com. And when aged in bourbon barrels, D.O.R.I.S. becomes more complex, extremely satisfying and masterfully balanced with the familiar vanilla and whiskey characters of the barrel.

Mean Manalishi Double IPA

Released in 2007 during our first full year in business, this extremely assertive IPA had so much hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma that it immediately became the go-to beer for many hop lovers. Now produced as a seasonal beer each year, the well-balanced malt presence makes Mean Manalishi a great example of how much hop character can exist in a beer and still strike the perfect balance with the malt.

Gangster Frog IPA

Our most popular IPA over the last three years because of the great hop character from the famed Citra hops as well as other hops, Gangster Frog has now become our year-round IPA. With many levels of citrusy hop flavor and aroma, this IPA really delivers a great hop experience with very little malt flavor that tends to balance and sometimes shadow the hops.

Infusion A: Peanut Butter Chocolate Coffee Porter

When it comes to great flavor combinations, this intensely flavorful beer was the best of all our infusion towers we created in our Tasting Room, and thus earned the name Infusion A. With a nice, smooth beer base of our Silk Porter, flavors and aromas of peanut butter, chocolate and coffee swirl around your head, and leave you in beer nirvana.

Killa Vanilla Extraordinary IPA

Of any beer, this beer will open your eyes to Hoppin’ Frog, where we apply our engibeering knowledge to create new innovative beers like this, sometimes the likes of which are seldom experienced. The wild combination of flavor and aroma of this vanilla bean IPA is awesome — these are two great tastes that most beer lovers would think don’t mix, but when done right, really do taste great together.

Categories: Beer News

Busy weekend for beer festivals in Ohio

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:46am

It's another busy, busy weekend for beer festivals in Ohio. There are big beer tastings happening in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton.

Here's the rundown. Click on the links for full details:

The three-day Cincy Brew Ha-Ha kicks off Thursday at Sawyer Point Park in Cincinnati. The comedy -- featuring who have appeared on Last Comic Standing and Talk Soup -- is free.

The third annual Craft Brew at the Zoo runs 6 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Columbus Zoo. VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets are available for $40.

The 15th annual Burning River Fest is Friday and Saturday at Whiskey Island in Cleveland. The event features live music, food and beer from Great Lakes Brewing Co.

The inaugural Bewilderfest, a three-day music and beer festival, runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Urban Artifact in Cincinnati.

The Brew at the Zoo runs 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Akron Zoo. It will feature a football theme.

The 18th annual AleFest Dayton runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Dave Hall Plaza in Dayton.

The Columbus Crew SC Craft Beer Festival begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at MAPRE Stadium in Columbus.

Categories: Beer News

Beer story sampler

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 10:59am

Here are some interesting Ohio beer stories:

-- The Columbus Dispatch reports on a warehouse fire last week that wiped out beer supplies for 17th Star Distributing, which distributes brands such as The Brew Kettle and Commonhouse Ales. To read the full story, click here.

-- 614 Now reports on how Commonhouse Ales is receiving support after a warehouse fire wiped out its inventory. "Our distributor, 17th Star Distributing, is working hard on this challenge and may be ready with a solution in about a week," Lenny Kolada says. "If we don't have a place to put the beer, we can't sell the beer." To read the full story, click here.

-- Cleveland.com reports on how breweries are reusing vacant industrial space. "Between production space and brewpubs, the craft beer business accounts for more than 530,000 square feet in and around Cleveland, Akron and Canton," author Michelle Jarboe writes. To read the full story, click here.

-- The Dayton Business Journal reports on the return of AleFest Dayton. The event, coming Saturday, is expected to draw 4,000 people. To read the full story, click here.

-- Dayton.com offers up four reasons that it believes AleFest Dayton is the best craft beer festival in town. "From local breweries like Warped Wing to national craft favorites like Founders and Dogfish Head to some fantastic imports like Unibroue, AleFest’s selection is sure to please even the pickiest of craft beer enthusiasts," the site says. To read the full story, click here.

-- Brewed Culture profiles MadTree Brewing Co. in Cincinnati. "Between the great atmosphere and the phenomenal beer that I haven’t even talked about yet, MadTree is definitely not hurting for business," the site says. To read the full report, click here.

-- Richland Source reports on the growth of Phoenix Brewing Co. in Mansfield. To read the full story, click here.

-- Drink Up Columbus reports on Three Tigers Brewing Co. in Granville releasing its first beers. To read the full story, click here.

-- Pat's Pints puts together the "Essential Central/Southeast Ohio Six-pack."  Patrick Woodward highlights beers from Little Fish, Columbus, Wolf's Ridge, Jackie O's, Seventh Son and North High. To check out which beers, click here.

-- WVXU reports on the creation of the Brewing Heritage Trail in Cincinnati. To listen to a discussion about the project, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Woodburn Brewery to hold ribbon cutting/grand opening Friday

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 2:16pm

The Woodburn Brewery & Taproom will hold its official grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday. (Aug. 26)

The 20-barrel brewery, located in a former silent movie theater in Cincinnati's East Walnut Hills neighborhood, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. with City Council President Pro Tem Yvette Simpson and other guests. Co-founders Dennis Chacon and Chris Mitchell also will give brief speeches.

The brewery doors will open at 4 p.m. and there will be a ceremonial keg tapping of Coffee Chocolate Cherry Stout. The evening also will include a DJ and Gomez Salsa.

"Exposed brick, copper and industrial themes shine throughout the space as we aim to honor our city’s history while providing an exciting environment for beers fans of today to enjoy fine lagers and ales," the brewery said in a news release.

As for the beer, Woodburn will offer 10 beers: Pale Ale, Cedar IPA, Pineapple Saison, Chocolate Cherry Stout, Belgian Wit, Altbier, Belgian Quad, Wit’s End Wheat, Steinpils and Lactose Loves Peaches IPA. The brewery eventually plans to distribute its beers on draft and in cans.

Woodburn will be open seven days per week. The hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday; and noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday.

Categories: Beer News

Ill Mannered celebrates one-year anniversary

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:41am

Ill Mannered Brewing Co. will host a party starting at noon Saturday (Aug. 27) to celebrate its one-year anniversary. The Powell brewery will release four special beers throughout the day as part of the celebration.

“We’ve had a great first year, releasing more than 25 different beers and countless infusions in addition to tripling our capacity and increasing our taproom hours." Ill Mannered "Chief Mad Man" and head brewer Tom Ayers said in a prepared statement. “We’re looking forward to what the next year has in store for us. We have plenty of new beers in store for our fans!”

Ill Mannered is taking over the taps at Mojo TaGo next door so there will be 12 of its beers available. The tapping schedule, with descriptions provided by the brewery, features:

Noon: Sai My Name Red Saison: Made with a blend of French and Belgian
yeasts, layered deep with easters including spice, pepper and citrus. Dry hopped with New Zealand hops and tinted with a beautiful red hue.

2 p.m.: Dark Ego Black Gose: A tart, dark, wheat beer with chocolate and roasted coffee notes, finished with coriander and pink Himalayan sea salt.

4 p.m.: Subterfuge Russian Imperial Stout: Clocking in at 10.5 percent, this beer is
full bodied, black as night, and packed with chocolate, coffee and roast flavors.

6 p.m.: Barrel Aged Fat Bottomed Girl Belgian Dark Strong: A taproom favorite
shoved into a Middle West Spirits barrel. Deep and rich layers of complexity including oak, whiskey, stone fruit and malty sweetness, yet dangerously drinkable at 9.4 percent.

Other beers available will include: A Risky Ending Cream Ale, Rye One On Belgian
Rye Pale Ale, Powell! Right in the Kisser IPA, and Nice Vice Breakfast Stout.

Categories: Beer News

HiHO Brewing coming to Cuyahoga Falls

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:20am

When Jon and Ali Hovan started looking around the Akron area for a suitable spot for their new brewery, they had one major requirement.

“We wanted to be in a community that wanted us,” Jon Hovan said.

They found that in Cuyahoga Falls.

The Hovans, who say the city has been welcoming to their venture, hope to open HiHO Brewing Co. by Thanksgiving in a former car showroom at 1707 Front St.

They hosted a private gathering Saturday to show off the 6,000-square-foot space, offer tastings of their homebrews such as Bossy Lady IPA and Gorges Blonde Ale, talk about the upcoming operation and kick off an online fundraising campaign.

Their goal is to create a neighborhood gathering place, as opposed to a production brewery.

“We’re going to be really focused on community and socializing here and making new friends,” Jon Hovan said. “We want to make it feel like home.”

With a trailhead nearby for the Summit Metro Parks, they also want to get involved with hiking, biking and outdoor events.

HiHO will offer four to six regular beers on draft, and an additional four to six seasonal brews. There also will be healthy, locally sourced snacks, like hot pretzels, cheese and meat boards, and vegetables with hummus. The Hovans plan to have food trucks stop by the brewery, as well.

The building was still a shell last week, as the seven-barrel brewhouse, fermenters and bar hadn’t been installed yet.

The brewery overlooks the Cuyahoga River gorge — thus the Gorges Blonde name — and features multiple, large garage doors that open up.

The Hovans are both 31 and grew up in Hudson. They had spent eight years working as teachers in Colorado, Jon in physical education and Ali in art.

There, they soaked up the craft beer culture, and started the Brew Crew homebrew club in Denver. Jon also volunteered at breweries.

Eventually they decided that they wanted to make beer their career.

They moved back to Hudson and are now devoted full time to brewing — or at least right now fixing up their soon-to-open brewery.

“We love brewing. We love craft beer. We love everything about it. We took our passion and made it our lifestyle,” Jon Hovan said.

He plans to brew a wide spectrum of styles.

“My brewing philosophy is to brew clean, fresh stylistic beers,” he said. “I’ve talked to some people about that and they always ask me: ‘What are you going to do? What are you going to focus on?’ I think it’s all about having clean beers.”

With a name like HiHO, you might think there’s an interesting story there.

You’d be right. 

But it has nothing to do with dwarves.

Jon Hovan’s nieces nicknamed him “Uncle Ho.” When he would see them, they would say “Hi, Ho.”

It also just happens to be a fun play on “Ohio.”

“We have a lot of Ohio pride in us,” Jon Hovan said. “We moved back from Denver and people always ask us: ‘Why would you move back from such a great, beautiful area?’ Because our families are here. Our friends are here. It’s Ohio pride, basically.”

The couple have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 toward the project. You can check out the fundraising campaign here.

For more details about the brewery, go to: www.hihobrewingco.com.

Cuyahoga Falls is shaping up to be quite the craft beer destination.

Front Street is already home to the Craft Beer Bar, Cashmere Cricket and The Office. There also are two other breweries planning to open there: Hop Tree Brewing Co. and McArthur’s Brew House.

Categories: Beer News

Ohio Senate president to stop by Hoppin' Frog Brewery

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 11:15am

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery will receive a special political visitor this week, with Ohio Senate President Keith Faber stopping by to help celebrate the end of the state’s alcohol limit on beer.

Faber, R-Celina, will present brewery owner/brewer Fred Karm with a gavel used in the legislative proceedings at 2 p.m. Friday. (Aug. 26)

The state, after years of lobbying, opted earlier this year to do away with the 12 percent limit. The change goes into effect Aug. 31.

Faber was instrumental in having the limit scrapped, as was Karm and other brewers who lobbied state lawmakers and through the media.

The award-winning Akron brewery has produced high-alcohol beer with bold flavors since opening in 2006.

“We are very honored ... and truly happy this limit has been removed,” Karm said in an email. “To celebrate, we are throwing a weeklong party in our Tasting Room at Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, and releasing our first beer above the old Ohio limit!”

Hoppin’ Frog plans to release its 13.8 percent T.O.R.I.S. The Tyrant, a triple oatmeal imperial stout, on Aug. 31 in 22-ounce bottles and on draft.

The ABV celebration just happens to correspond with the brewery’s 10-year anniversary.

The last time the state changed the ABV limit was in 2002, when it rose from 6 percent.

The move is designed to help grow the state’s booming craft beer industry.

Proponents have long argued that the cap hampers creativity of brewers and pushes beer drinkers outside Ohio to purchase high-alcohol beers such as Samuel Adams Utopias and Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA.

Categories: Beer News

Commonhouse Ales makes first donation

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 10:15am

Commonhouse Ales has been up and running for only a couple of weeks, but the new Columbus brewery already has made its first charitable donation.

The brewery, which says it's Ohio's first B Corporation brewery, has pledged to donate $1 for every six-pack sold of its Six.One For Good Ale to the Commonhouse Shares community fund at the Columbus Foundation.

The brewery announced last week that its first donation was $1,394. Commonhouse also said its first community grant will support Wild Goose Creative, a nonprofit community arts organization.

“Beer for Good is the best, and we’re just getting started,” founder Lenny Kolada said in a news release.

To read the full news release, see below:


COLUMBUS, OH, August 18, 2016 — Commonhouse Ales, which launched this month as Ohio’s first B Corporation brewery (B Corp pending), is already making good on its promise to use “beer for good.”

The new brewery pledged to donate $1 for every six­-pack sold of their flagship Six.One For Good Ale to a community fund established through The Columbus Foundation called Commonhouse Shares. With only two weeks of Six.One For Good sales, the brewery has already sent in their first check to the Commonhouse Shares fund for $1,394. At that rate, Commonhouse will add more than an additional $12,000 to the fund — which the startup seeded with $10,000 — by the end of 2016. Commonhouse Ales is currently available at more than 75 bars and retail stores in Central Ohio.

Commonhouse Shares first community grant will support Wild Goose Creative, a nonprofit community arts organization that provides space, education and resources to artists in central Ohio. Commonhouse is sponsoring a large neon sign that will illuminate the words “Art On Tap” to let people know when arts events are happening inside the community space.

“It may seem odd that we decided to support the arts with our first grant when there are so many pressing needs in our community, but the arts are fundamental to humanity,” said Lenny Kolada, owner of Commonhouse Ales. “The arts help us express our values and build bridges between cultures, students with a rich arts education do better in school, arts strengthen the economy, the list goes on.”

Commonhouse has also partnered with Veolia Water Technologies to conduct a proof­-of-concept experiment to determine if small breweries can adapt technologies used by large industries to pre­-treat waste water. Using a new tank, Commonhouse will work with Veolia to separate solid waste from liquid waste, sending solids to local farmers and using the rest for cleaning, with the ultimate goal of brewery waste having zero impact on local wastewater treatment facilities.

“Beer for Good is the best, and we’re just getting started,” said Kolada.

About Commonhouse Ales

Commonhouse Ales invests in our people, community and business. We support the organizations you believe in through Commonhouse Shares and Six.One For Good Ale, a continuous fundraising effort. We are all unique and diverse, but we all have something in common too. And we celebrate that. With beer. commonhouseales.com

Categories: Beer News

Beer story sampler

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 2:52pm

Here are some interesting Ohio beer stories:

-- Columbus Alive profiles Scott Francis, one of the oldest craft brewers in Ohio. “He’s like Obi-Wan with a pint glass instead of a light saber,” Seventh Son Brewing Co.'s  Colin Vent says. To read the full story, click here.

-- The Dayton Daily News reports that Dayton Beer Co. is expanding into food. The brewery is partnering with Brixx Ice Co. to open the 2nd Street Pizza Co. To read the full story, click here.

-- Cleveland Magazine reports on Sibling Revelry Brewing Co. in Westlake. "This isn’t the kind of place you come for the atmosphere," Beth Stallings writes. "You come here for the convivial vibe and 10 beers on tap with distinct hop profiles far more mature than its six months in age." To read the full story, click here.

-- The Business Journal reports on the one-year anniversary of Paladin Brewing Co. and a new distribution deal with R.L. Lipton Distributing Co. “Without taking on a full-blown trucking and delivery staff, it was smarter to go with a local distributor. We’re a good fit for each other,” Paladin owner John Chandler says. “We’re very excited for this and we’re excited to expand more locally.” To read the full story, click here.

-- The Columbus Dispatch reports on the inaugural Columbus Beer Run, which takes place Saturday. It's a three-mile run. To read the full story, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Five questions with ... Jeff Graff

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 12:15pm

Jeff Graff is the founder of Paradise Brewing Supplies and Brewery in the Cincinnati suburb of Anderson Township. Paradise is both a homebrew shop and brewery.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: I caught the brewing “bug” in 1996 when I attended a local homebrewing club’s brew out. Shortly after that, I started my journey.

In 2007, I opened Paradise Brewing Supplies on the second story of a building on Beechmont Avenue that I own. With the help of Gov. (John) Kasich -- lowering the brewery license from $3,906 to $1,000 annually -- I applied for and received my brewing license in November 2013 and opened our taproom on March 1, 2014.

We were brewing on my 10-gallon system, until in late 2015, we decided to take on investors and now rule over a five-barrel system with three five-barrel uni-tanks. We now use the original 10-gallon system as a pilot system for new and exciting beers yet to come.

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: I do NOT think that there are too many breweries in our area yet. Our business model was (loosely) based on European towns and hamlets where each has their own local brewery that caters to everyone in that area. Not worried about taking over the world but interested in making a fantastic beer for their friends and neighbors. Being available and able to satisfy their group very well.

I do think that there will be attrition due to the number of people who are over-extending themselves and are relying, heavily, on taking Cincinnati and the nation by storm. They are in for a rude awakening. (And a lot of sleepless nights.)

Q: Paradise started out as a homebrew and wine-making shop before opening a brewery. Given the amount of quality commercial beers available nowadays, why has homebrewing remained such a popular hobby?

A: Homebrewing has always been, and continues to be, a great hobby. Although, with the rise of all of the different and new breweries, comes a downturn in the willingness of most to make any beer themselves. Even though anyone can make beer at home for at least half the price of getting it out. (Either packaged or on draft.)

It seems that people are finding other things to occupy their time and leaving the brewing to us. We have no plans to discontinue our homebrewing shop but if patterns stay this way, our shop size will be taken over by our taproom experience.

Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?

A: Our best-selling beer really depends on the seasons but overall it would be our All American IPA. We receive the most praise on this beer. It is hop forward but balanced without any harsh aftertaste. In the fall, our Red headed Step Child - Irish Red will give the IPA a run for its money.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?

A: Nothing, in my world, beats a nicely done Oktoberfest when summer gives way to the crisp fall nights. My favorite is Hacker-Pschorr’s Oktoberfest. The quintessential German märzen beer. Nothing better.

Editor's note: Five questions with ... appears each Friday. If you would like to participate or want to nominate someone to take part, send me an email at rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.

Categories: Beer News

Ohio packed with beer fests over next two weeks

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 12:11pm

Looking for an Ohio beer festival to attend over the next two weeks?

You're in luck. The calendar is packed with 'em. There are events in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton.

Here's the rundown. Click on the links for full details:

• Aug. 19-20: The inaugural Cleveland Summer Beerfest outdoors on the Cleveland Mall downtown.

• Aug. 20: The Afternoon with the Beer Barons at the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati.

• Aug. 20: The 28th annual Beer and Sweat Keg-Only Homebrew Competition at the Holiday Inn near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. It's organized by the Blotarian Brewing League in Cincinnati.

• Aug. 20: The third annual Columbus Craft Beer Alliance Summer Session at the corner of Grandview and Goodale in Columbus.

• Aug. 25-27: The 10th annual Cincy Brew Ha-Ha at Sawyer Point Park in Cincinnati.

• Aug. 26: The third annual Craft Brew at the Zoo at the Columbus Zoo.

• Aug. 26-27: The 15th annual Burning River Fest in Cleveland.

• Aug. 26-27: The inaugural Bewilderfest at Urban Artifact in Cincinnati.

• Aug. 27: Brew at the Zoo at the Akron Zoo. It will feature a football theme.

• Aug. 27: The 17th annual AleFest at Dave Hall Plaza in Dayton.

• Aug. 27: The Columbus Crew SC Craft Beer Festival at MAPRE Stadium in Columbus.

Categories: Beer News

Black Frog to open tasting room Sept. 17

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 11:53am

Black Frog Brewery owner and brewer Chris Harris knows the importance of making a great first impression.

That’s why his emotions are swinging from excitement to nervousness, as he prepares to open his Black Frog tasting room Sept. 17 in Holland.

“I want everything to be perfect for opening day,” Harris said. “People always remember first impressions.”

The nanobrewery opened two years ago, with Harris producing beer and distributing 22-ounce bombers from his garage.

“Opening a taproom has always been a goal,” he said. “By opening a taproom, I can reach a larger audience of craft beer drinkers. I can also get out of the garage and have a physical location to brew. Brewing out of the garage limited my A1C license, also. I could only sell my beer to bars, restaurants and stores. Of course, I could not sell out of my garage. With this move, I will be able to take advantage of my full license.”

The tasting room is located at 831 S. McCord Road. Black Frog used a small business loan from the Economic Community Development Institute to help open the taproom and upgrade its system slightly from 20 gallons to 31 gallons, and add two more fermenters.

Harris described it as a cozy place, with about 1,100 square feet. It has a 16-foot bar and four tables. There are five taps, but there also are plans to bring on three more after opening.

“I consider it a small local tavern for locals to come and hang out with family and friends and have some great beer,” Harris said.

Black Frog plans to have a food truck and entertainment on opening day. The initial beer lineup will feature Cream of the Frog, Ebony Prince Sweet Stout, Flying Frog IPA, Froglicious and Whistling Wheat.

The tasting room will be open from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Fridays and 3 to 11 p.m. Saturdays.

Categories: Beer News

Columbus plans special release for award-winning Creeper

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:21pm

Columbus Brewing Co., thanks to opening a new brewery, released its award-winning Bodhi in bottles for the first time last month. It was just a matter of time before its award-winning Creeper followed.

The Columbus brewery announced Wednesday (Aug. 17) that it will host a special release next month for Creeper, which won a gold medal in the imperial IPA category at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

“Now that Bodhi is slowly finding its way to the market, we are able to shift some of  our focus  and release the much sought after Creeper," owner and brewer Eric Bean said in a prepared statement.

Columbus will host two release sessions Sept. 24 -- from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5, with all proceeds being donated to Growlers Dog Bones, a nonprofit that employs and does vocational training with individuals with disabilities. Growlers bakes dog bones using spent grains from craft breweries in Columbus.

Bean said it was important to have a charitable component of the release.

"It's part of our long-term vision to have these relationships," he said. "The money will mean something to this organization. It's nice to know we're going to have a real impact in their year."

Tickets allow an individual to reserve between one and six four-packs of Creeper. A four-pack is $12.99, plus tax. People will pay for their reserved beer when they pick it up at the event.

Tickets will be available online beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. (Aug. 20)

Categories: Beer News

Thirsty Dog, Hoppin' Frog aiding Pints for Prostates

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:21am

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. and Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, both located in Akron, are among breweries nationwide that are participating in this year’s Pints for Prostates Crowns for a Cure fundraiser.

The nonprofit Pints for Prostates distributed more than 1.6 million bottle caps — known as crowns — to craft brewers around the country to use on beer they package for distribution during September, which is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

The crowns feature the Pints for Prostates logo on the outside, with messages under the caps encouraging men to learn more about the importance of regular health screenings.

Categories: Beer News

Barley Grail to hold '80s Night

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:16am

The Barley Grail Brewing Cooperative will host an ’80s Night from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 20) at Aqueduct Brewing Co. in Akron.

The brewery will unveil six new beers. Tickets are $15 and include 10 beer samples and a steak. For more details, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Beer story sampler

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 10:52am

Here are some interesting Ohio beer stories:

-- The Mansfield News Journal reports that Phoenix Brewing Co. has purchased a larger brewing system to keep up with demand. To read the full story, click here.

-- Scene magazine reports that Hansa Haus in Cleveland is getting closer to opening. The new brewery hopes to be selling beer in early September, the site says. To read the full story, click here.

-- Cleveland.com reports on the continued expansion by Platform Beer Co. The brewery is adding capacity to produce up to 30,000 barrels a year. To read the full story, click here.

-- Brewminds.com reports on Ohio's minimum markup on beer. "I’d heard about the minimum markup on beer a few times but never looked into it before," Tom Aguero writes. To read the full report, click here.

Categories: Beer News