Acme Fresh Market has California on its mind — the drink, not the state.

The Akron-based grocery chain has teamed up with Hoppin’ Frog Brewery to produce The California Turbo Shandy — a grape-infused lemon shandy that’s designed to replicate the taste of the famous California grape drinks served at local drive-ins Swensons and Skyway.

Of course, there is one big difference. This one has alcohol.

“It’s an awesome summer refreshing drink that’s near and dear to the hearts of Akron,” said Jon Albrecht, director of center store sales at Acme. “I remember going to local drive-ins as a kid and getting that drink and it reminds me of summer.”

Albrecht and Sara Marino, who oversees adult beverages for Acme, devised the idea while chatting with Fred Karm, the award-winning brewmaster and owner at Hoppin’ Frog.

Karm, who also had the drink as a kid, said it was fun replicating the California flavor, noting that it even has a purple hue.

The California, which is 7 percent alcohol by volume, will be sold in individual 16-ounce cans and retail for $4.99. It is expected to hit all 16 Acme stores this week and be sold on draft at the Acme store in Montrose.

The beer, available through the summer, also will be available at the Hoppin’ Frog Tasting Room.

It’s the first time that Hoppin’ Frog has released a 16-ounce can.

But it’s not the first time that Acme has partnered with the Akron brewery on a shandy.

Acme and Hoppin’ Frog released the limited-edition Five Freds’ Grapefruit Shandy to celebrate the grocery chain’s 125th anniversary in 2016. It was named after the four generations of Fred Albrechts who worked for Acme and Karm. That beer was sold in 22-ounce bottles.

Albrecht said it was an easy decision to team up again with Hoppin’ Frog given Karm’s reputation in the craft beer industry.

“When he stamps his name on a beer, the public knows it’s going to be great,” he said.

Hoppin’ Frog beers

Speaking of Hoppin’ Frog, the brewery will release two other special beers this week:

• Andy & Fred’s Excellent Adventure Russian Imperial Stout, a 12.7 percent brew, will be released Thursday. It’s a collaboration beer made with Andreas Gänstaller of Gänstaller Bräu in Germany.

• Sattler’s Lakeside Ale Imperial Extra White Ale, an 8 percent brew, will be released at 3 p.m. Saturday. The beer was made with the winner of an auction at this year’s Akron Civic Theatre Spirits of the Civic gala.

Lock 15 news

Lock 15 Brewing Co. — a new chef-driven restaurant and brewery in Akron — is shooting for an early to mid-August opening.

The seven-barrel brewpub received its state brewing permit last week from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. Co-founder Joe Karpinski said he expects to start brewing next week. 

Lock 15 is located at 21 W. North St. on the bottom floor of the Cascade Lofts building. It’s just steps away from the recreational Towpath Trail. And, as you might expect, it’s also right near lock 15 along the Ohio & Erie Canal and the historic Mustill Store. Stay tuned.

Firkin Fridays

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. is hosting fruity Firkin Fridays through August, infusing its Whippet Wheat with a different fruit each Friday.

Both locations — the Taphouse, 587 Grant St., Akron, and East Bank, 1085 Old River Road, Cleveland — will offer the firkins.

Here’s the rundown that starts Friday: Mango, passion fruit, guava, pomegranate, coconut, pineapple, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry and peach.

Beer honors

American Homebrewers Association members still love Fat Head’s Hop JuJu and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald.

The two Ohio-made beers once again made Zymurgy magazine’s annual list of the Best Beers in America, which was released last week.

Hop JuJu, made by the Middleburg Heights-based brewery, is tied for 36th. The Cleveland-made Edmund Fitzgerald is tied for 43rd.

Each year, the American Homebrewers Association, which publishes Zymurgy, asks its members to vote online for their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the U.S.

The top five (including ties and in order) are: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Russian River Pliny the Elder, The Alchemist Heady Topper, Bell’s Hopslam, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Founders CBS and Founders KBS.

Readers also rate breweries. The top five, in order, are: Bell’s, Founders, Russian River, Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker.

Stone was named as the brewery with the best portfolio, while Orval was ranked as the best import.

To see the full rankings, go to: www.homebrewersassociation.org/best-beers-in-america.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his beer blog at www.Ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.