Chris Zeitler wants people to take notice of his small, seasonal brewpub on Middle Bass Island. So he's doing something this year that he hasn't done before: Taking his beer to a beer festival. ''We know microbreweries are the hottest thing right now and we want people to know that we're here,'' said Zeitler, owner of J.F. Walleye's Microbrewery, on the Lake Erie islands just outside Sandusky. J.F. Walleye's is one of about 200 breweries — and perhaps the smallest — that will participate in the first International Beer Fest at the I-X Center in Cleveland this weekend. The event features about 800 individual beers, and medals will be handed out for the best brews by style. There's no better way to spread word of mouth and gain some instant notoriety than serving thousands of beer samples to a receptive audience. J.F. Walleye's, one of four seasonal breweries on the islands, has been around for years, but Zeitler is determined to improve his brewpub's reputation. ''This is a small step in getting the product out there and getting the name out there,'' said J.F. Walleye's brewer Dan Blatt, a full-time teacher in the North Ridgeville City Schools. ''Right now, nobody really knows about it at all and we're hoping to change that.'' He started brewing there this year on a tiny half-barrel Brew Magic system. He describes J.F. Walleye's as a ''nanobrewery'' — the trendy term used for tiny operations. Blatt will serve a mocha porter and blackberry kolsch — simply called Walleye's Dark and Walleye's Light, respectively — at the International Beer Fest. Just like the brewpub, it's Blatt's first venture into a professional beer competition. ''I really just want to see what the public thinks and see what our judging notes are,'' he said. The local beer on the island has always been suspect and for a good reason. The water quality stinks for brewing. But Blatt has found a solution to that. He brings about 100 gallons of water over on the ferry when he's ready to make beer. He hopes by improving the brewpub's beer that it will lead to a larger brew system.