Brew at the Zoo returns Saturday to the Akron Zoo.

The zoo is hosting three themed Brew at the Zoo tastings this year. The first, set for 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, is “Decades Night” with visitors encouraged to dress in an outfit from their favorite decade.

The tasting will showcase 15 breweries: Aqueduct, the Brew Kettle, Headtrip, Hop Tree, Magic City, Maumee Bay, Mucky Duck, Paradigm Shift, Phoenix, R. Shea, Rhinegeist, Rochester Mills, Saucy, Sibling Revelry and Thirsty Dog.

The Cookery Food Truck, Square Scullery and River Dog Café food trucks will be there, and the zoo’s Komodo Kingdom Café will be open for snacks. DJ Kenny Kidd will provide music.

Tickets are $27 for zoo members and $33 for nonmembers. The zoo is offering VIP tickets for $50, which get you early admission at 6 p.m., reserved seating, appetizers, additional tastings and a souvenir.

The other Brew at the Zoo events are slated for July 21 and Oct. 6.

For more details or to buy tickets, go to:

Summer Beerfest

Speaking of beer festivals, the third annual Cleveland Summer Beerfest also is Saturday at the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland.

The event will feature more than 100 breweries.

There are two sessions: 2 to 5 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m. General admission is $40 in advance or $45 the day of the event. Tickets that get you in an hour earlier are $50 in advance or $55 the day of the event.

The Cleveland Summer Beerfest will include a separate offshore excursion this year — a VIP Brews Cruise.

The two-hour boat ride aboard the Nautica Queen is set for Friday and will feature 15 beers from breweries such as Saucy, Alaskan, Deschutes, Royal Docks, Thirsty Dog and Schofferhofer. The boat will tour the Flats and Lake Erie.

An Italian pasta bar dinner will be served on the boat. Tickets are $55 and only 200 will be sold.

“Well, when we first brought the Summer Beerfest down to Jacobs Pavilion last year, we were trying to find a way of incorporating it into the festival,” organizer Craig Johnson said about the boat ride. “I mean there’s nothing more Cleveland than a boat cruise with craft beer, right?”

For more details about the Summer Beerfest or Brews Cruise, go to:

Mark your calendar

The third annual Akron Ale Fest will return from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Trolley Barn, 47 N. Main St., Akron.

New beer

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, 1680 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, has released Lemon Lime Turbo Shandy Citrus Ale on tap and for the first time in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.

The four-packs are $14.99.

Beer taxes

Ohio ranks 34th when it comes to the state beer excise tax, a new report says.

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation examined state beer excise tax rates (dollars per gallon) across the U.S., concluding that Wyoming has the lowest at 2 cents while Tennessee tops the nation at $1.29. Ohio’s tax is 18 cents.

To read the full report, go to:

Lager Heads pizza

Lager Heads Brewing Co. has fired up its pizza kitchen at its production brewery, 325 W. Smith Road, Medina.

Customers had been asking for food for a while, and Lager Heads sees it as a way to keep people in the brewery a little longer, as opposed to them leaving to get something to eat.

Lager Heads also operates a barbecue restaurant about 5 miles away.

Getting close

Shale Brewing Co. reports that it’s getting close to announcing an opening date for its new production brewery and tasting room at 7253 Whipple Ave. NW in Jackson Township.

Shale is relocating from Second Street SE in downtown Canton. That location didn’t offer a taproom.


I will be speaking about the Ohio craft beer industry with special guest Jack Kephart, the award-winning brewer at the Brew Kettle in Strongsville, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Brunswick Public Library in Brunswick.

There will be no beer, but the talk is free. There also will be a Q&A.

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