The Summit Brew Path was well-traveled again.
The Akron-based brewery trail and passport program wrapped up its second season Dec. 14. The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau handed out about 20,000 passports, with more than 2,400 people visiting all 18 breweries on the trail and redeeming their stamped passports for a 32-ounce glass howler.
"We couldn't be more thrilled with the numbers," said Roger Riddle, marketing and social media manager for the tourism agency. "For two years in a row seeing that response is incredible."
The first year, when the finishing prize was a brown T-shirt, about 2,600 people completed the trail and redeemed their passports.
The Summit Brew Path will return next year. The Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to sit down with the breweries and see what went well this year and what can be improved upon.
"I think the second year was even more successful than the first with everyone having awareness of it," said John Najeway, co-owner of Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron. "We look forward to next year."
He praised the tourism agency's efforts to promote small businesses.
Organizers are looking to launch the 2019 program in March.
The trail will balloon with more breweries next year thanks to several new places that have opened such as Akronym, Lock 15 and Missing Falls in Akron, and Missing Mountain in Cuyahoga Falls.
"It's going to be even bigger and better," Riddle said.
As for the finishing prize next year, organizers are still figuring that out. They want to offer a different prize each year to give people another reason to complete the trail.
What is certain — well, never say never — is that it won't be a T-shirt or howler.
As you might recall, breweries around the country are making a special beer called Resilience Butte County Proud IPA using a recipe from Sierra Nevada to raise money to support victims of the Camp Fire in California.
Many Akron-area breweries stepped up to make the beer. You can grab a taste now at:
• Akronym, 58 E. Market St., Akron.
• Missing Mountain, 2811 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls.
You can also check out the list of breweries that made the beer at www.sierranevada.com/resilience-butte-county-proud-ipa.
Great Lakes lineup
Holy Moses! Great Lakes Brewing Co. will have several new beer options next year.
The Cleveland brewery — the oldest and largest Ohio-based craft brewery — last week announced some new beers and packaging for 2019. Here are three new things on the horizon:
• Great Lakes IPA: The new beer was made with lemon peel, Mosaic, Lemondrop, Azacca and Simcoe hops. It will be available year-round in six-packs, 12-packs and on draft starting in March. The label, created by illustrator Sam Hadley, showcases Great Lakes employees who are now owners thanks to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. (ESOP)
• Buckin’ Mule Moscow Mule Ale: The new cocktail-inspired beer was developed on the brewery’s two-barrel pilot system. It was made with ginger, lime peel, rye and Citra hops. It will debut in June in four-packs and draft. The label features a bucking mule in a Western-inspired scene with cacti and a lime sunset.
• The Moses Mix Variety 12-Pack: It will feature Holy Moses White Ale, Holy Moses Raspberry White Ale and Midnight Moses Dark Belgian-Style Ale. The pack will include four of each beer and be available for a limited time in May.
For even more details on the lineup, go to: www.greatlakesbrewing.com.
Blues & Brews
Mark your calendar: The 15th annual Blues & Brews beer festival, organized by Thirsty Dog Brewing Co., will be held Aug. 3 at Lock 3 in downtown Akron.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.