Sierra Nevada Brewing founder and craft beer icon Ken Grossman and his son Brian are coming to Northeast Ohio for a special visit.

The pair are stopping by the Winking Lizard Party Center, 25380 Miles Road, Bedford Heights, for an appearance and Q&A with fans at 6 p.m. June 18.

“Ken and Brian Grossman will be here to honor the Winking Lizard Tavern for faithfully serving Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the original American pale ale, for 19 years,” Winking Lizard co-owner John Lane said in a prepared statement. “I am so honored to have Ken Grossman here as he is really one of the original forces behind the U.S. craft beer revolution.”

Tickets are $10 and include a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, sandwich buffet and a copy of Ken Grossman’s book Beyond the Pale, which tells the story of his journey from homebrewer to becoming the third largest craft brewery in the country. The Grossmans will talk about the history of the Chico, Calif.-based brewery and answer questions from the audience.

The Grossmans also will hold a public meet-and-greet with fans at the Winking Lizard Tavern next door at 8 p.m.

“The Winking Lizard has been a great partner of ours for a long time and we are excited to come out and visit with the staff and guests,” Ken Grossman said in a prepared statement.

In honor of the visit, all Winking Lizard locations are holding a Sierra Nevada Mini Tour showcasing Pale Ale, Tropical Torpedo, Kellerweis and Otra Vez Lime & Agave in June.

For tickets or more details, go to: www.winkinglizard.com.

Great Lakes ESOP

Great Lakes Brewing Co. — the largest Ohio-based craft brewery — is creating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Co-founders Patrick and Daniel Conway shared the news last week with employees during the Cleveland brewery’s annual company summit.

“Every year, we give the Conway’s Award — a sort of founder’s award — to recognize one employee for outstanding contributions to the company,” Patrick Conway said in a news release. “This year, we decided the award was the perfect way to announce the ESOP, recognizing everyone in the company as deserving. Instead of the customary hardware, we’re giving them a stake in our company.”

The brewery, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is the 20th largest craft brewer in the country, said it’s been researching the ESOP for more than a decade.

Employee-owned craft breweries aren’t uncommon in the industry. Harpoon, New Belgium, Deschutes and Odell are among them.

Rhinegeist Medina

Cincinnati-based Rhinegeist Brewery has produced a limited, draft-only beer for Medina in honor of the community’s bicentennial.

P.J. Marley’s Restaurant & Pub tapped Beere De Garde, a 6.5 percent biere de garde (a strong ale) on Saturday. The beer was made with honey and white tea. Considering Medina is home of the Bees, the beer was named Beere de Garde.

In addition to P.J. Marley’s, the beer will be available at: On Tap, 17 Public Square, Thyme2, 111 Bistro, Santosuossos, Corkscrew Saloon, Johnny J’s, Johnny Malloy’s, Timberlodge, Galaxy Restaurant, Spunkmeyers, Sully’s Irish Pub, Buffalo Wild Wings Medina, JoJo’s Sports Bar and Amuse Euro Bistro.

Best beers

The website Daily Meal put together its list of the “101 Best Beers in America.” Five are from Ohio: Columbus Bodhi, Fat Head’s Hop JuJu, Great Lakes Chillwave, Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher and Hoof Hearted Konkey Dong.

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