Ohio Beer Blog

Butcher and the Brewer, Great Lakes and Wolf's Ridge to represent Ohio at SAVOR

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 2:43pm

Butcher and the Brewer, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Wolf's Ridge Brewing Co. will represent Ohio at the 10th annual SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

The event, set for June 2-3 and organized by the Brewers Association, calls itself "the nation's premier craft beer and food pairing event." It will feature 86 breweries.

Grand tasting tickets are $135. For more details, including a full list of participating breweries, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Moerlein Lager House launches two new beer programs

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:17pm

The Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati has launched a new Mug Club and Beer Locker program.

The monthly clubs, which kicked off Wednesday (March 8), feature regular happy hours, beer dinners, discounts and exclusive opportunities to sample new beers and meet the brewers.

"Our beer program is one of the largest in the city when you combine our Moerlein beers and the dozens of guest beers we serve," Andrew Riemer, who manages the beer program at the Moerlein Lager House, said in a prepared statement. “With these two new clubs, we look forward to engaging local craft beer drinkers with monthly events and exclusive opportunities to try new brews."

Here's how they work:

Mug Club: The cost is $10, with the following benefits: Moerlein beer served in a special 23-ounce glass for $6.50; $2 discount on all growler refills until 9 p.m. daily; 20 percent discount on all retail items; and invitations to weekly Mug Club Happy Hours featuring exclusive tappings and Meet the Brewer events.

Beer Locker Program: The cost is $33, with the following benefits: A personal beer locker at the Moerlein Lager House; a commemorative Rookwood stein; new Moerlein beer placed in the locker each month; new featured guest beer placed in the locker each month; and all Mug Club benefits.

Categories: Beer News

Fifty West, Revelry and Real Ale join forces

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:16am

There are plenty of power trios in the history of the world.

If you're into music, there was Peter, Paul and Mary.

If you're into humor, there were the Three Stooges.

If you're into cars, there were General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

If you're into religion, of course, there's that whole Father, Son and Holy Ghost thing.

And now comes a power beer trio.

The three breweries that earned medals in the scotch ale category at the Great American Beer Festival last year -- Fifty West in Cincinnati, Revelry in Charleston, S.C., and Real Ale in Blanco, Texas -- have joined forces to create a collaborative beer called Wee Heavy Bevvy Scotch Ale. The breweries say it's "a never done before collaboration."

Wee Heavy Bevvy -- which was made at each location using the same recipe -- will be tapped at all three breweries on March 24. It will be available on draft only.

“The idea came up to get together with the other award winners and make a super-duper version of what was already world class examples of the style,” Fifty West head brewer and co-owner Blake Horsburgh said in a prepared statement.

Real Ale Real Heavy, Revelry Oh My Darlyn! and Fifty West Going Plaid placed first, second and third, respectively, last year at the national competition.

"Remarkably, the entire collaboration between the three breweries occurred remotely via email and phone conversations to create the recipe, decide the name, and release the brew without ever meeting one another, which shows the innovation occurring within the brewing community," Fifty West spokeswoman Frannie Rosenkrantz said in an email.

"It is [a] typical scotch ale," she added. "Scottish ales are usually boiled longer to caramelize the wort, which produces a darker, deeper color. They have a malty, sweet flavor with little hop bitterness. The Wee Heavy Bevvy was brewed with some peat-smoked malt for a slightly smoky depth of character. There was also some dark crystallized malt for a dark fruity taste as well."

Categories: Beer News

Tremont Taphouse to host Alaskan Ales for Tails fundraiser

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 1:52pm

The Tremont Taphouse in Cleveland will host an Alaskan Ales for Tails fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. March 30.

One dollar from every pint of Alaskan sold will benefit KaleidoscopeK9s, a dog rescue group in Seville.The event also will feature a raffle and a chance to adopt a husky.

The fundraising event is part of the Alaskan Brewing Co.'s Ales for Tails program, which supports animal organizations around the U.S.

“Dogs are a valuable part of our lives in Alaska, whether working hard pulling sleds or rescuing missing persons or simply as companions for a hike or at home,” Alaskan co-founder Marcy Larson said in a prepared statement. “Making contributions to animal organizations allows others to enjoy the benefits of a canine companion, in all aspects of life."

Categories: Beer News

Beer Engine to celebrate 10th anniversary

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 10:43am

The Beer Engine is pledging to donate 10 percent of proceeds during its 10th anniversary week celebration to the Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corp.

The Lakewood bar and restaurant, which has ties to the Buckeye Brewing Co., hopes to present the nonprofit with a check for $10,000. The celebration kicks off Monday. (March 13)

The Beer Engine will be tapping specialty beers all week. Here's the rundown:

Monday: Evil Twin Aun Mas Todo Jesus, Jackie O's Bourbon Barrel Black Maple, North Coast Bourbon Barrel Old Raputin and Willoughby Nutsmasher.

Tuesday: Cascade Blackcap Raspberry, OEC Zymatore Super Baladin Blend, Rodenbach Alexander and Tilquin Gueuze.

Wednesday: Brew Kettle El Lupulo Libre, Columbus Creeper, Fat Head's Hop JuJu and JAFB Wooster Rain Delay.

Thursday: Against the Grain Bo & Luke, De Dolle Arabier, Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break and Founders Backwoods Bastard 2013.

Friday: A cask of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald with chocolate and mint. The restaurant will open at 8 a.m. for kegs and eggs for St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday: A Bruery tap takeover: So Happens Its Tuesday, Terreux Beret, Terreux Frederick H., Terreux Humulus and White Chocolate.

Backup kegs that may be tapped during the week include: Omnipollo Yellow Belly, Prairie Bomb, Oskar Blues Javanilla Ten Fidy, Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout, Blackberry Farms Noble Cuvee, BFM Abbaye de St. Bon Chien 2015, Omnipollo Nautilus, Petrus Oak Aged Pale 2008, BFM Square Root 225, De Dolle Oerbier, Founders Backwoods Bastard 2014, Oskar Blues BA Death by Coconut and Southern Tier Backburner 2013.

Categories: Beer News

The best brewery in Ohio? Not.

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 9:16am

The best brewery in Ohio is ... an epic fail.

Or at least website Zippia.com's effort to name the best brewery in the Buckeye State is an epic fail. Zippia released its "America the Brew-tiful: Mapping the Best Brewery in Each State" report this week, saying it analyzed data from Beer Advocate to come to its conclusions.

For Ohio, it settled on the BrewRiver GastroPub in Cincinnati.


This is no knock against BrewRiver, but it's not a brewery. It's a New Orleans-style Creole and Cajun restaurant.

UPDATE: The website has since updated its best brewery for Ohio to Fat Head's Brewery.

To check out Zippia's report, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Thirsty Dog partners with rock radio station WONE for new beer

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 3:32pm

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. is going all rock 'n roll.

Or maybe Akron rock radio station WONE (97.5-FM) is going all beer.

Either way, the two Akron institutions have partnered to produce Rockweiler Ale. It’s believed to be the first radio station-themed beer in Ohio.

Rockweiler is a low-alcohol brew, coming in at 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, and is made with Cascade and Mosaic hops.

“It’s light and sessionable,” Thirsty Dog co-owner John Najeway said.

The beer is available on draft now at various locations and will hit the Northeast Ohio market in bottles later this month. Six-packs will sell for $9.75. (Get it?)

The Rockweiler label features a Rottweiler wearing sunglasses, along with electric guitars, a drum set and the WONE logo.

Thirsty Dog has partnered with plenty of Akron-area businesses for themed beers over the years, including a brew in 2014 celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Categories: Beer News

R. Shea challenges brewers to run the Akron Marathon

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 12:56pm

Ron Shea admits that brewers aren’t exactly the healthiest bunch of humans walking the earth.

That really should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the brewing industry, which is replete with ... let’s just say ... a few portly body shapes.

With that image in mind, Shea, the founder and brewer at R. Shea Brewing Co., is throwing down an athletic challenge to other Akron-area brewers: Run the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon Team Relay.

Shea wants other local breweries to field teams for the race, which takes place Sept. 23. The winner will be crowned the “Fastest Akron-Area Brewery.”

He plans to create a special trophy that can go on display at the winning brewery.

Ignite Brewing Co. and Akronym Brewing LLC — two new places opening in Barberton and Akron, respectively — are already in, Shea said.

“We’ve always wanted to, as a group, run the marathon and the relay to lose a few pounds and stay healthy,” said Shea, who used to compete in triathlons before opening his brewery. “Brewers aren’t known to be healthy. And that idea morphed into: There are a lot more local brewers.”

He sees it as a way to build on the growing camaraderie among Akron-area brewers. There are seven breweries within the Akron city limits now and plenty more in the surrounding area.

Lest anyone think Shea will run away with the trophy because of his triathlon background, he said he hasn’t stayed in shape and will be starting at square one with training. Any brewers who are interested in taking part should contact him.

“It’s going to be fun,” Shea said.

Categories: Beer News

Beer story sampler

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:06am

Here are some interesting Ohio beer stories:

-- Fermenting Ohio conducts a Q&A with Chris Kambouris, head brewer at the upcoming Bascule Brewery and Public House in Lorain. "I always get asked what my IPA will be and if I’ll be serving Coors or Budweiser," he says. "I’ll only be serving our own beers and we’ll definitely have a variety, but won’t bow to any trends." To read the full story, click here.

-- The Brewers Association conducts a Q&A with Ellen Lehman, quality lab manager at MadTree Brewing Co. in Cincinnati. She says that Bell's Two Hearted is her favorite non-MadTree beer. To read the full Q&A, click here.

-- WCPO reports that Listermann Brewing Co. will tap Riveting Rosie, a hibiscus rose-hipped saison, on Wednesday for International Women's Day. To read the full story, click here.

-- The Gnarly Gnome reports that Municipal Brew Works in Hamilton has signed with distributor Ohio Eagle Distributing and is working on releasing its first bottled beer for its one-year anniversary. To read the full report, click here.

-- Columbus Business First reports that BrewDog paid $475,000 for its property in Franklinton where it's opening a new bar. To read the full report, click here.

-- Fox45 chats with FigLeaf Brewing Co. To watch the video, click here.

-- Cincinnati.com profiles the upcoming West Side Brewing. "What I like is variety," co-founder Brian Willett says. "When there are tons of options to choose from, there's something for everyone." To read the full story, click here.

-- The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Rhinegeist Brewery is expanding distribution to Pittsburgh. "It's a great food town that recognizes high quality beer," co-founder Bryant Goulding says. "Our response to sending beer to a couple beer festivals in Pittsburgh has been fantastic. We did a lot of research and were really won over by the city." To read the full story, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Christian Moerlein to release new anniversary beer

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:36am

Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. will introduce Thirteen/164 -- a new bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout with cherries -- to help celebrate its 13th anniversary.

The beer will be released at noon Saturday (March 11) at its Malt House Taproom. Each year, the Cincinnati brewery creates a new beer to commemorate its anniversary -- along with the anniversary of the original Christian Moerlein. Thus, the Thirteen/164 name.

Thirteen/164, which clocks in at 13.2 percent alcohol by volume, was aged on dark cherries and then aged for six months in charred oak bourbon barrels.

“Think about it like your favorite holiday candy, cherry and chocolate,” head brewer Tom Hull said in a prepared statement.

The beer will be available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles. It will be released to retailers March 14.

Christian Moerlein also will host its annual anniversary party from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. In addition to the new beer being available, the event will feature live music by Ricky Leighton, two different brewery tours and a buffet created by chef Marshall Mann.

One of the tours will highlight the new production brewery, while the other will explore the underground lagering cellars.

General admission tickets to the party are $35 and include a drink ticket, wristband for the buffet and both brewery tours. A "Head Brewer" ticket is $50 and includes a bottle of Thirteen/164 and a snifter glass, along with the other items included with the general admission ticket.

For more details, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Thirsty Dog, Christian Moerlein honored at New York International Beer Competition

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 2:15pm

It’s a four-peat for Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.

The Akron brewery was named "Ohio Brewery of the Year" at the sixth annual New York International Beer Competition. The awards were handed out last week.

Thirsty Dog also took home the state’s top honor last year and the year before. And in 2014, it was named USA Brewery of the Year.

More than 400 beers and ciders were submitted from more than 19 countries in the competition, which was judged by retail store and restaurant owners, beverage directors, distributors and importers. Only 38 percent of the entrants won a medal.

It's unclear how many Ohio breweries participated.

Thirsty Dog received silver medals for Cerasus Dog and Wulver; and bronze medals for Scarlet O’Hoppy and Siberian Night Imperial Stout.

Meanwhile, Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. was named Cincinnati Brewery of the Year. Christian Moerlein received a silver medal for Big Piney IPA and bronze for Pacer Citra Pale Ale. Samuel Adams, which has a brewery in Cincinnati, also took home a slew of awards.

For more details on the event, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Rubber City Beer Fest is growing this year

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 2:09pm

The Rubber City Beer Fest is growing this year — in terms of the number of breweries coming, special beers served and the actual event footprint.

The third annual beer tasting, organized by the Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ) homebrewing club, is set for 3 to 7 p.m. March 25 at Lock 3 in downtown Akron.

It will feature 30-plus breweries and meaderies — up from 24 last year. And, as has been the case in the past, all the breweries are from Ohio.

“We will continue to be a showcase for Ohio beers only,” club President Brian Bostaph said over a beer last week at R. Shea Brewing Co. in Akron.

The brewery and meadery list so far features: Aqueduct, Birdfish, Black Cloister, Brew Kettle, Butcher and the Brewer, Canton, Cornerstone, Crafted Artisan, Fat Head’s, Feisty Brood, Goldhorn, Great Lakes, Hansa, HiHO, Hoppin’ Frog, JAFB, Lineage, Little Fish, Lucky Owl, Luna Kombucha, MadTree, Maize Valley, MadCap, Market Garden, Masthead, Millersburg, Ohio, Paladin, Phoenix, Pigskin, R. Shea, Thirsty Dog, Two Monks and Willoughby.

New this year will be special collaboration beers made for the event. Club members are working with Lucky Owl, Ohio, R. Shea, Butcher and the Brewer, Masthead, MadTree and Millersburg to produce one-off brews for the tasting.

In addition to the beer, there will be food trucks and live music.

Organizers also said they are doubling the space and there will be an outside tent to avoid the sardine feeling of last year.

The Rubber City Beer Fest serves as a fundraiser for the club and is held in conjunction with the group’s Wizard of SAAZ homebrewing competition.

Vice President Mark Milliren added that one of the other goals is to help foster a craft beer culture in Akron.

Tickets are $33 and will be limited to 400 people. For more details or to buy tickets, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Ohio to celebrate one-year anniversary of Akron brewpub

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 2:00pm

Ohio Brewing Co. will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its brewpub in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood next week.

“We’re very pleased with the community’s reception to us,” co-owner Chris Verich said.

Ohio, has had several locations over the years, including two other spots in Akron.

“This one seems to fit us the best,” Verich said. “We’re so in tune with the neighborhood.”

The actual anniversary is St. Patrick’s Day, but the brewery will celebrate all week with Irish food specials such as beef stew and corned beef and cabbage. Ohio also will have its seasonal Double Irish Red available and local guitarist James Marron will perform at 8 p.m. March 16.

Categories: Beer News

Brewfontaine releases beer list for celebration

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 10:15am

Brewfontaine -- the Bellefontaine bar that was chosen as the best craft beer bar in Ohio last week as part of the annual Great American Beer Bars competition -- has released the beer list for its upcoming party to celebrate the honor.

The celebration is set for 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. (March 9)

Brewfontaine says many of the beers available will be limited-edition or even exclusive to its bar outside the brewery. Here's the beer rundown:

-- Jackie O’s I’ll Be Yammed: 9 percent imperial porter brewed with sweet potatoes, pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla beans.

-- Hoppin Frog T.O.R.I.S: 13.8 percent triple oatmeal Russian imperial stout.

-- Rhinegeist Lemon Cougar: 8.4 percent blonde ale with lemon.

-- Mad Moon Tight Squeeze: 6 percent mango-pomegranate cider.

-- Rhinegeist Bubbles: 6.2 percent cider made with peach and cranberry juice.

-- Barley's Bourbon Meyer Buckeye Stout: 9.9 percent chocolate and peanut butter imperial stout aged in wet Woodford barrels.

-- Toxic Mellon Safety Third: 11.4 percent triple IPA with a cornucopia of melon, and featuring Citra hops rather than the usual Galaxy in Safety Third.

-- Warped Wing Night Velvet: 7.3 percent Belgian-style strong ale with plums.

-- North High S’mores Stout: 6.2 percent blend of black, chocolate, brown and honey malts for a graham cracker base, along with marshmallow.

-- Platform Prickly Pear & Lychee Gose.

-- Fat Head’s Hop Marauder: 9.1 percent double IPA.

-- MadTree Passifire Gose: 4.7 percent gose with passion fruit and Szechuan peppercorns brewed in collaboration with Catch-A-Fire Café.

-- Brothers Drake Bourbon Barrel Apple Pie: 13 percent apple honey wine with spices added and aged one year in OYO Bourbon barrels.

-- Wolf's Ridge Granola Ridge: 5.4 percent chewy granola bar.

-- Maumee Bay Total Eclipse Nitro: 9.1 percent.

-- Dayton Beer Midnight Dream: 16 percent imperial stout with chocolate and raspberry.

-- Hoof Hearted Wet When Slippery: 8 percent passionfruit double IPA.

-- Hoof Hearted Rose’ Gose: 4.2 percent.

-- Yellow Springs Captain Stardust: Cask conditioned on three pounds of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Categories: Beer News

Yellow Springs to release Springer in cans

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 9:57am

Yellow Springs Brewery will release its latest canned beer -- Springer Golden Ale -- at 5 p.m. Friday (March 10) during a party at its tasting room in Yellow Springs.

The beer, which is 5.4 percent alcohol by volume, features local Cascade hops grown by Heartland Hops in Northwest Ohio. Springer is one of the brewery's original beers.

The brewery is promising several variations of Springer on draft during the party.

"It’s our hope to offer folks a chance to come out of their winter hibernation as we usher in the changing of the seasons," brewery event coordinator Chris Hutson said in a prepared satement. "Along with our special variants there are also plans for live accoustic music, food, flowers and a few tricks up our sleeves.”

Springer, which will be the brewery's fourth beer available in cans, will be distributed to restaurants, bars and retailers starting the week of March 13. Six-packs will sell for $9.99.

Categories: Beer News

New brewery roundup

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 9:45am

Here's the rundown of the brewing permits pending before the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. These could be for new breweries or existing breweries that are expanding with new locations. I've also added hyperlinks when I could find working websites or Facebook pages.

This list isn't a comprehensive list of every brewery planning to open in the state. It's just the ones that have filed paperwork with the state.

To help with anybody who regularly checks, I've added the word "New>>" to the operations that are new this week.

Here you go, sorted by region, and accurate as of the morning of March 3:


Southwest Ohio


• 13 Below Brewery, 7391 Forbes Road, Cincinnati.

DogBerry Brewing, 9964 Crescent Park Drive, West Chester.

Fab Ferments, 611 Shepherd Drive, Lockland.

Grainworks Brewing LLC, 7790 Service Center Drive, West Chester.

Kennedy Vineyard, 3911 State Route 722, New Madison.

Little Miami Brewing Co., 208 Mill St., Milford.

Meier's Wine Cellars, 6955 Plainfield Road, Silverton.

Sons of Toil Brewing Co., 14090 Klein Road, Mount Orab.

Taft's Ale House, 4831 Spring Grove, Cincinnati.

Tap & Screw Brewery, 3026 Madison Road, Cincinnati.

West Side Brewing, 3044 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati.

Wine House OTR, 111 E. 12th St., Cincinnati.


Northeast Ohio


Boss Dog Brewing Co., 2179 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.

• Cle Brewing, 31525 Aurora Road, Solon.

• Collision Bend Brewing Co., 1250 Old River Road, Cleveland.

Fat Head’s Brewery, 3885-3893 Everhard Road, Canton.

Hoodletown Brewing Co., 424 W. 3rd St., Dover.

Hop Tree Brewing, 1297 Hudson Gate Drive, Hudson.

The Jolly Scholar, 11111 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Magic City Brewing Co., 561 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton.

Missing Falls Brewery, 10 Main St., Munroe Falls.

Monzula Farm, 83800 Monzula Road, Cadiz.

Noble Beast Brewing Co., 1468 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland.

NEW>>>• Noble Creature Cask House, 126 E. Rayen Ave., Youngstown

Sandy Springs Brewing Co., 232 N. Market St., Minerva.

17th State Brewing Co., 9200 Tyler Blvd., Mentor.

Terrestrial Brewing Co., 7524 Father Frascati Drive, Cleveland.

Uniontown Brewing Co., 105 W. Main St., Ashland.

• Veteran Brewhouse, 829 Country Road 801, Ashland.

VPL, 14101 Market St., Columbiana.

Working Class Brewery, 17448 Lorain Ave., Cleveland.


Central Ohio


Buck's Brewing, 993 Mt. Vernon Road, Newark.

Combustion Brewery & Taproom, 80 W. Church St., Pickerington.

The Commissary, 1400 Dublin Road, Marble Cliff.

• Happy Street Bru Werks, 209 S. Gay St., Mount Vernon.

Loose Rail Brewing, 37 W. Waterloo, Canal Winchester.

Ram Restaurant & Brewery, 6632 Longshore St., Dublin.

Wild Ohio Brewing Co., 930 Freeway Drive, Columbus.

Y Bridge Brewing Co., 1417 Linden Ave., Zanesville.


Southeast Ohio


• Brewery 33, 12684 College Prospect Drive, Logan.

• Dungeon Hollow Brewing Co., 572 County Road 22, Bloomingdale.

NEW>>>• Hightower Brewing Co.. 3445 County Road 16, Rayland.

Georgetown Vineyards Inc., 62920 Georgetown Road, Cambridge.


Northwest Ohio


Amusement Ales and Brewery, 161 E. Market St., Sandusky.

• Bait House Brewery, 223 Meigs St., Sandusky.

• East 55 Restaurants LLC, which operates Goldhorn Brewery, 101 E. Water St., Sandusky.

Findlay Brewing Co., 213 E. Crawford St., Findlay.

White Shutter Winery, 3794 County Road 56, Nevada.

Wild Side Brewing Co., 18133 Sugar Creek Road, Bowling Green.


Western Ohio


Brew Nation, 110 E. Poplar, Sidney.

Java Nation, 108-110 S. Main St., Celina.

Categories: Beer News

Picking the best beers at the Winter Warmer Fest

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 4:57pm

The Winter Warmer Beer Fest once again proved that it’s one of the premier beer festivals in Ohio.

The event, held Saturday at Windows on the River in downtown Cleveland and put on by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, was overflowing with Ohio breweries from all corners of the state showcasing winter, limited-edition and high-alcohol wares.

I decided against putting together a list of my favorite beers. Quite frankly, who cares one bologna sandwich what I think. (By the way, I reserve the right to be a hypocrite on that topic when my new book The 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio is released this summer. That’s when I hope people care.)

So -- after serving as a volunteer pourer for Jackie O's Brewery for several hours -- I wandered around and interviewed random beer drinkers along with multiple brewers to learn their favorites.

My charge was simple. Name one beer that stood out among all the others. Not everyone followed those instructions. Some named more than one. Some -- none of them mentioned here -- were too tipsy to remember specific beers. Some -- none of them mentioned here -- named beers that didn’t exist – or at least not at the brewery they cited.

Here you go:

Stephanie Erin of Lakewood: Jackie O’s Pockets of Sunlight, a sour saison. “It’s different. It’s not quite a session. It’s not quite a saison.”


Jimmy Stockwell, co-founder at Little Fish Brewing Co. in Athens: Seventh Son Proliferous, an imperial IPA. “It’s one of my favorite beers,” he said.


Brendan Downs of Brunswick: Fat Head’s Juicy Hop JuJu. “For me it was something different,” he said. Then he cited Vlad the Impaler, an imperial stout from Royal Docks Brewing Co. in suburban Canton. “That was awesome,” he said. “And I absolutely hate stouts.”


Joel Warger, brewer at Goldhorn Brewery in Cleveland: Kindred Hawaiian Shirt, a wit made with hibiscus and mango. “It was subtle,” he said. “It was crisp. Clean. Light. I could drink that all summer long.”


Friends Andrea Wasinski of Parma and Tammy Toth of Mayfield Village: R. Shea Chocolate Hazelnut Imperial Stout. “It tastes like breakfast,” Toth said. “It’s like having coffee in the morning but it’s not coffee.”


Luke Purcell, co-founder of the upcoming Collision Bend Brewing Co. in Cleveland: Kindred Hawaiian Shirt. At first, he said it was “not fair” to single out one beer. Then he settled on Hawaiian Shirt, calling it refreshing and “palate cleansing.”


Jon Hovan, co-founder and brewer at HiHO Brewing Co. in Cuyahoga Falls: Columbus Blood Orange Bodhi on cask. “By far the best beer here,” he said.


Jane Platten of Cleveland: Willoughby Nutsmasher. “It was really dee-lish,” she said with a smile. “I went back three times – maybe.”


Duncan and Carmone Macfarlane, co-founders at Phoenix Brewing Co. in Mansfield: Millersburg Back Country Burning, a bourbon barrel-aged maple imperial stout. “It’s smooth,” he said. “It’s not boozy.” They also cited Wolf's Ridge Lemon Meringue.


Kathy Stecky of Cleveland: Fat Head’s Juicy Hop JuJu. “That’s normally not my style of beer,” she said. But she admitted to going back three times to grab another sample.


Marty Lindon, head brewer at Millersburg Brewing Co. in Millersburg: Columbus Blood Orange Bodhi on cask. “It’s a good balance of IPA and not over the top with orange,” he said.


Anna Norcross of Bay Village: Market Garden Prosperity Wheat. “I’m not an IPA person and there are a ton of IPAs here,” she said. “It has good flavor to it.”


Brady Duncan, co-founder of MadTree Brewing Co. in Cincinnati: JAFB Black Pearl Lager. He didn’t stop there, though, also citing Jackie O’s Pockets of Sunlight. “I thought all of the Masthead stuff was solid,” he added.


John Bikis, founder of Royal Docks Brewing Co.: JAFB Helles Bealls. “Only because I like a light beer,” he said.

Categories: Beer News

Five questions with ... Rick Durham

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:44am

Rick Durham is the head brewer at the RAM Brewery & Restaurant in Columbus. The brewery, which is part of the Lakewood, Wash.-based RAM chain, opened last fall. The company is also opening a second Columbus location.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: I’ve always been a creative person. In high school, I made movies. In college, I majored in creative writing. There is a lot of needless destruction and negativity in the world, and the only way I know to truly combat it is to create, be it a fun short story or a hearty stout. I noticed my beer tends to make people a little more happy than my poetry ever did. It started out as a hobby with my friends that kept my fridge full, and eventually turned into a job in a growing market filled with the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Q: What has been the highlight of your brewing career so far and why was it so special? (Maybe it's been a beer that you brewed, an award that you won, an idol you've met ...)

A: Back when I was the head brewer at Wild Ohio Brewing Co. Cleveland.com called my Black Cherry Bourbon recipe the "most interesting sip" of the 2016 Cleveland Winter Beer Fest. It was the second recipe I ever released commercially and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Of course, "interesting" tends to be synonymous with "weird," it was still a humbling mention for my 9 percent barrel-aged bastardization of Kombucha.

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

A: Get real weird with it. You hear people saying that it’s all been done, which is crap. I doubt we’ve really scratched the surface on what this craft beer “bubble” can become.

Ten years ago, barely anyone knew what an IPA was. Look at the style now. Same with sours in the past five years. Don’t be afraid to add your own twist. I was once told that if the beer tasted good, keep doing what you’re doing.

Also take as much criticism as you can get. If your ego gets bruised because someone doesn’t like your hefe, you might be in the wrong business. See what you can improve upon. Find your strengths, too. If my IPA tasted like creamed corn, I’d be pissed if I wasn’t told about it -- like if your fly is down. I expect to be told these things.

Beer comes before feelings every time. Also believe in yourself. If you don’t believe, Narnia is just a wardrobe.

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

A: Our Short North Blonde Ale. The company recipe won gold at GABF last year and we get to put our own Columbus spin on it. It’s our lightest beer and being in the heart of the Short North, we get a lot of bar-hoppers who are looking for something refreshing and light. Our Big Reds IPA is a close second. It seems I’m always making those two.

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

A: Columbus Brewing Co. Bodhi. Hands down. I’m a shameless fanboy of CBC. The first time I met Eric Bean I could hardly form sentences. Bodhi is the king of Columbus and, I feel, embodies everything that is the Columbus craft beer scene.

Unapologetically hoppy, 8 percent bliss, with the bitterness of Columbus winters, and the citrus floral hot mess of Columbus summers, all in one beer. 

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

Categories: Beer News

Big beer weekend in Ohio

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 9:48am

It's a big beer weekend in Ohio, with major tasting celebrations taking place in Cincinnati, Toledo and Cleveland. Here's a quick look at what's going on:

-- The 25th annual Bockfest -- which, duh, celebrates bock beers and attracts about 35,000 people -- kicks off today (March 3) in Cincinnati. It runs through Sunday. Cincinnati.com writer Shauna Steigerwald put together an entertaining story chronicling the history of the festival, noting that it started out as a public relations stunt and morphed into the big bash it is today. For all the festival details, click here.

-- The 11th annual Glass City Beer Festival is 7 to 11 p.m. today (March 3) at the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee. It will feature more than 50 craft breweries and 230 beers. For more details or tickets, click here.

-- The 11th annual Winter Warmer Fest -- an event focused on Ohio breweries and their winter, limited-edition and high-alcohol beers -- returns from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday (March 4) to Windows on the River in Cleveland. The festival, organized by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, will showcase 55 breweries. For all the festival details, click here.

-- Not to be forgotten. Ohio welcomes its newest nanobrewery today (March 3) when McArthur's Brew House opens in Cuyahoga Falls. The brewery will only be open Fridays and Saturdays to start. For more details, check out my earlier story here.

Categories: Beer News

BrewDog unveils plans for a DogHouse hotel at its new Ohio brewery

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 4:25pm

The DogHouse craft beer hotel & sour beer facility from BrewDog on Vimeo.

BrewDog wants to add a hotel to its new U.S. brewery.

The Scottish brewer announced plans Thursday (March 2) to build a combined DogHouse hotel -- complete with beer fridges in the shower and beer spas -- and sour beer facility next to its Canal Winchester, Ohio, brewery and DogTap restaurant.

BrewDog released concept art and a video about the project and -- as it is bent to do -- is asking its fans to pay for the venture at an Indiegogo site. The project had raised nearly $15,000 by Thursday afternoon.

"There are a few hotels where you can stay near to a brewery - but there are none where you can wake up inside a brewery," BrewDog said in its announcement. "The DogHouse Columbus will greet you each morning with the aromas from our gently fermenting foeders even before you head down for breakfast. It will be a focal point for fans of craft beer and a must-stay for anybody making the pilgrimage to check out our adventures in Ohio."

Columbus Business First reported that the $6 million hotel would have 50 rooms.

Categories: Beer News