As odd as it sounds, I really don’t go to beer festivals anymore to drink beer. I do sample, of course. Why wouldn’t I? But I’d much rather chat with brewers and dig out nuggets of news to share.
With that in mind, I stopped by the second annual World Beer Festival in Cleveland on Saturday. The event, organized by All About Beer Magazine had a new venue this year along the west bank of the Cuyahoga River.
It was a gorgeous setting that utilized not only the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, but also a room inside the FirstEnergy Powerhouse. It also provided a spectacular view of the downtown skyline from the river, and, at least in my opinion, was a much better location than last year’s spot along Lake Erie.
Here’s a little of this and a little of that:
Daniel Bradford, president of All About Beer Magazine, expected about 3,800 people to attend the festival. And he mentioned how Cleveland benefits from the national publicity that comes along with the event.
The magazine promotes the festival heavily.
“We’re introducing beer lovers across the country to the Cleveland market,” he said.
Bradford noted that about 20 percent of the attendees at the World Beer Festival in Raleigh come from outside the metropolitan area and that researchers estimate that event has a $1.2 million to $1.4 million economic impact.
The Cleveland festival can grow to that level, he said.
“That’s a side of festivals that most people don’t think about,” he said.
Cornerstone Brewing Co. in Berea plans to put its India pale ale Seven into 12-ounce cans.
“Why not?” brewmaster Jay Cox said.
He’s not sure when it will be available, but the brewery plans to use the mobile canning business Buckeye Canning.
“It’s a process,” Cox said. “There’s not a definite date.”
He added that he designed the label. But he wasn’t willing to share the design yet.
FAT HEAD'S PORTLAND
Fat Head’s Brewery co-owner and brewer Matt Cole said he will travel to Portland to set up the brewhouse there in July.
The Portland brewpub will open late this year, he said.
BUCKEYE TASTING ROOM
Buckeye Brewing Co. owner and brewer Garin Wright said he’s not in any rush to open his new tasting room, Tapstack. The taproom will be in the same complex as his production brewery in Cleveland.
He’s also planning only limited hours, likely Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Possibly Sundays.
“Our draft beer,” Wright said. “No guest.”
He also wants to tie in with Ray’s MTB Indoor Park, an indoor mountain bike park in the same complex that has a loyal and popular following. That means he’s hoping to offer plastic growlers for urban bikers and is thinking about doing a 32-ounce can.
“It’s probably going to be the most peculiar taproom in the city,” Wright said. “I’m excited about it. It’s going to be like the old days at the Brew Keeper.”
He also said he’s looking forward to having a second, dedicated account — besides his Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood — for his unusual and limited edition brews.
BLACK BOX RELEASES
Black Box Brewing Co. in Westlake has released its seasonal Cucumber Wheat — one of the more unusual fruit and vegetable beers made in Ohio.
The brewery also has released its version of a session IPA: Three Day Weekend IPA. It was released over Memorial Day weekend and owner and brewer Jerome Welliver reports that there’s been a positive response.
MAIN STREET HOMEBREW COMPETITION?
Main Street Grille and Brewing Co. brewer Mike Mallone said he wants to create a combined homebrew competition and beer festival at the Garrettsville brewpub.
He’s still working through the details, but it goes something like this: People pay $20 to enter and then everyone attends a tasting to sample all the homebrews. The winner is brewed at the brewpub.
NEW THIRSTY DOG BEER
Winking Lizard Tavern co-owner John Lane was asked if there was anything special he had tasted at the event.
He chose the new Thirsty Dog Berliner Weisse, calling it “spot on.” Lane knows his stuff. He’s been knighted by the Belgian brewers guild.