Twiisted Burgers & Sushi is determined to figure out which holiday beer is more popular: Great Lakes Christmas Ale or Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas.

The Medina bar and grill is known for pitting breweries against each other in head-to-head tap takeover battles — with the winner determined by a combination of customer reaction and sales.

In its latest battle, Cleveland’s Great Lakes and Akron’s Thirsty Dog will go up against each other from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 9 at the bar-restaurant, 985 Boardman Alley.

The clash works like this: Customers sample the beers and offer their feedback, along with, Twiisted hopes, ordering food and full beers.

The Great Lakes-Thirsty Dog melee will include barrel-aged versions of Christmas Ale and 12 Dogs of Christmas.

Given the magnitude of the battle, there also will be four judges — including John Bikis, owner of Royal Docks Brewing Co. in Jackson Township, and Matt Kiene, co-owner of Lager Heads Brewing Co. in Medina — who will taste the beers blind.

The winner will be declared at the end of the night.

General manager Adam Langston is giving the edge to 12 Dogs of Christmas.

Of course, he might be a bit partial. Thirsty Dog is producing a new house beer for the bar-restaurant called Twiisted Bombshell. It’s a ginger IPA and it’s expected to arrive sometime around Dec. 1.

The brewery vs. brewery battles are held every other month or so. Past events have featured Royal Docks, Rhinegeist and Market Garden, among others.

New brewery

Don’t forget that Sandy Springs Brewing Co., 232 N. Market St., Minerva, will hold its grand opening Saturday.

The brewpub will be open from 1 to 10 p.m.

Co-owner Amanda Conrad admitted that there are some jitters. Amanda and her brewer-husband Andy, both physical therapists by trade, have big goals.

They grew up in the community and are excited about turning people onto craft beer. They also want to help attract attention and business to the small village of about 3,700 people at the crossroads of Stark, Columbiana and Carroll counties.

“It’s a surreal feeling,” Amanda said. “It’s our dream come true. It’s exciting but at the same time the scariest moment of our lives, to be sure.”

Sandy Springs, which employs a five-barrel brewing system, expects to debut with eight beers. The brewery has 16 taps. Here’s the rundown for opening day:

• The Dalai Mama, an American IPA.

• Waylans Black, a Cascadian dark ale.

• Porter.

• Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

• Hometown Imperial Brown.

• Chai One On, a Chai stout brewed with pumpkin.

• Lost Gold, a cream ale.

• Great Trail Pale Ale.

After the grand opening, the brewery’s regular hours will be: 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.


I will be speaking about the craft beer industry at the next PechaKucha event at 8 p.m. Friday at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Akron.

The unusual program features a 20-image slideshow with speakers talking for 20 seconds per slide. General admission tickets are $6.27 online.

For more details, go to:

Frosted Frog

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, 1680 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, will ring in the holiday season Wednesday with the annual release of Frosted Frog Christmas Ale. The beer will be available on draft and in bottles.

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