The 11th annual Art & Ale beer tasting returns March 9 to the Akron Art Museum.

The event, held in the atrium, features craft beer and local food, and serves as a fundraiser for the museum. About 500 people attended last year.

“Art & Ale is always one of our best parties,” senior event manager Colleen Iacianci said in a statement. “It’s a fun evening in the unique environment of the museum with delicious beverages, great food and time with friends. It’s a perfect prelude to spring, and people are always in a festive mood.”

The following breweries are set to participate and more will be announced: HiHo, Royal Docks, Jackie O’s, Hoppin’ Frog, Fat Head’s, Mad Tree, Urban Artifact, Mucky Duck, Rhinegeist and Elevator Brewing. Mead-maker Crafted Artisan also will be there. Acme Fresh Market Catering and others will provide food.

The event includes a People’s Choice award and a competition judged by Acme beer buyer Jon Albrecht, beer writer Marc Bona and myself.

Fat Head’s Hop JuJu took home the Curator’s Choice award last year, while R. Shea Orange Mango Citra Shandy won the People’s Choice award.

The museum galleries will be open for the first two hours of Art & Ale. Tickets are on sale now at $50, $35 for museum members. For more details or to buy tickets, go to:

Beer honors

Hoppin’ Frog and Jackie O’s again were named two of the top 100 breweries in the world by

The website, which provides drinkers a forum to review beers, recently released its annual rankings. RateBeer doesn’t rank the breweries numerically but just notes if they’ve made the top 10 or top 100 list.

Hoppin’ Frog, located 1680 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, and Jackie O’s in Athens have consistently been ranked highly in RateBeer’s Best Awards. They were the only two Ohio breweries in the top 100. The awards cover 2017.

It’s considered a major honor because RateBeer analyzed online reviews of more than 24,000 breweries around the world to come up with the top performers.

“Boom,” founder Fred Karm said when asked for his reaction. “That’s how I feel. It just blows my mind with the amount of new breweries that we can garner those ratings with the consumers.”

Hoppin’ Frog picked up a few other honors, as well:

• It was named the top brewer in Ohio.

• Barrel Aged T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant was named the best Ohio beer.

• Its Tasting Room was named the top brewery taproom in Ohio.

To see all the awards, go to:

Akron beer book

Hoppin’ Frog will host a release party from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday for the new book Akron Beer: A History of Brewing in the Rubber City.

The 160-page book, written by Dr. Robert A. Musson, includes a forward by Hoppin’ Frog brewer and founder Fred Karm.

Musson, a medical physician, will attend and be available to sign copies of his book, which was published by Arcadia Publishing and the History Press and retails for $21.99.

The book examines Akron beer from its origins in 1845 to the present day and features 100 photos and images.

Musson, whose previous beer books, including Brewing in Cleveland, have focused on brewing history, said he was surprised at the growth of the craft industry. There were only two craft breweries in Akron when he wrote Brewing Beer in the Rubber City 20 years ago.

“It really took me off guard, and I started to realize how significant the craft beer industry is becoming,” he said.

Musson added that he doesn’t see the craft bubble bursting anytime soon.

“I see no end in sight,” he said. “That was the most pleasant side for me.”

Pineapple beer

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. has released its new Pineapple IPA on draft.

“IPAs continue to be a big part of the market, and people really like to explore all the different areas of IPAs,” co-owner John Najeway said. “The fruited IPAs have been very well-received.”

Thirsty Dog offers other fruited beers, including the flavorful and popular Raspberry Ale and Blood Hound Blood Orange IPA — both of which have big fruit flavor. The Pineapple IPA has fruit on the aroma but still the hop character of an IPA, Najeway said.

Pineapple IPA six-packs are expected to hit the market in mid-February. They will retail for $10.99.

Pizza coming

Lager Heads Brewing Co. is adding a pizza kitchen to its production brewery, 325 W. Smith Road, Medina.

“I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like beer and pizza,” co-founder Matt Kiene said.

Lager Heads is building the kitchen now and hopes to begin offering pizza in early April.

Customers have been asking for food for a while, Kiene said, and this is a way to keep people in the brewery a little longer, as opposed to them leaving to get something to eat. The production brewery now offers just snacks.

Lager Heads also operates a barbecue restaurant about 5 miles away. Kiene said he wanted to offer different food at the brewery.

Last call

It’s last call for Scenic Brewing Co. in Jackson Township.

Founders Dan and Hillary Mueller reported on their Facebook page that the brewery will close Feb. 23. They had announced in December that they are relocating to Columbus for Dan’s job in the military and the brewery would close.

They originally planned to close in April, but moved that date up. Scenic, 7253 Whipple Ave. NW, opened in 2015.

Beer talk

I will be at the Lodi Public Library, 635 Wooster St., at 1 p.m. Saturday to talk about the craft beer industry and my book 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio.

Sorry, no beer will be served. But the good news is the talk is free.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or Read his beer blog at Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.