Hoppin' Frog Brewery is once again ranked as one of the best breweries in the world.
RateBeer.com on Tuesday released its annual list of the top 100 brewers on the planet and the Akron brewery ranks 55th. Hoppin' Frog, known for its flavorful and higher alcohol beers such as the award-winning B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout, has been on the list for 12 consecutive years — or every year that it's been open.
"I'm blown away, man," founder and brewmaster Fred Karm said. "Words cannot describe how happy I am."
Given the rise of the craft beer industry — there are now more than 7,000 breweries in the United States alone — Karm expressed surprise that his brewery remains so revered.
"I'm always doubting myself because there are so many breweries out there," he said.
Hoppin' Frog also was named the best Ohio brewery and best Ohio brewery taproom.
Jackie O's Brewery, located in Athens and also known for bold and high-alcohol beers, was the only other Ohio brewery to make the list, coming in at 99th.
Jackie O's also was named best Ohio brewpub and lauded for making the best Ohio beer: Jackie O’s Appervation, a collaboration beer with Side Project Brewing in Maplewood, Mo. Appervation is an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. It’s a hefty 13.5 percent alcohol by volume. Jackie O's To Øl Antik also was named one of the best imperial Baltic porters in the world.
RateBeer bases its awards, which it has been handing out for 17 years, on online ratings by beer drinkers. It noted that more th an a half million beers from more than 27,000 brewers worldwide were part of its competition.
In the past several years, RateBeer hasn't ranked breweries outside the top 10, instead just noting that they were among the top 100. This year, though, it returned to ranking each brewery within the top 100.
The top five breweries were, in order: Hill Farmstead from Vermont, Russian River from California, Trillium from Massachusetts, Cigar City from Florida and Tree House from Massachusetts.
In addition to naming the best breweries, the website also recognizes individual beers, bottle shops, brewpubs, grocers and reviewers. Here's the rundown of the other best awards for Ohio:
• New brewery: Fretboard in Blue Ash.
• Restaurant: Dutch’s in Cincinnati.
• Bottle shop: Belmont Party Supply in Dayton.
• Grocer: Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield. Jungle Jim’s also was named one of the best grocers in the world.
• Bar: Tremont Taphouse in Cleveland.
Hoppin' Frog, 1680 E. Waterloo Road, will celebrate the achievement Feb. 21-23 with the release of many special beers on draft, Karm said. It also will offer food specials and live music by ClockTower on Feb. 23 and sell RateBeer T-shirts for $10.
To see all the awards, go to: www.ratebeer.com/RateBeerBest.
The Thirsty Dog Taphouse, 587 Grant St., Akron, is hosting bourbon and beer pairing dinners.
The Bourbon Dinner is set for 6 p.m. Thursday and will showcase Four Roses, Elijah Craig, Larceny and Evan Williams paired with a charcuterie board, sweet potato, seared scallops and bacon maple bourbon hotcakes. Tickets are $40.
Meanwhile, the Taphouse will host a Beer Dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 20. It will showcase Irish Setter Red as an introductory beer; Black Currant Berlinerweisse paired with an arugula salad; Barrel Aged Wulver with southern-style Brunswick stew; Flanders-style Sour Ale with red snapper; and Rise of the Mayan Dog with chocolate honey bundt cake. Tickets are $35.
Reservations are required for both dinners and can be made by calling 234-571-1456.
Meet the brewer
Shale Brewing Co., 7253 Whipple Ave. NW, Jackson Township, will host a "Happy Hour with the Brewer" from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 21.
The free event will feature brewer Jason Gasper-Hulvat chatting about beer.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.