The 2019 Summit Brew Path will kick off March 16.
But if you just can’t wait to get your hands on the new brewery passport, limited-edition, numbered passports will be handed out March 9 at the Akron Art Museum's Art & Ale beer tasting.
Those are a few details released last week at a stakeholder meeting hosted by the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. The tourism agency invited the participating breweries to chat about last year, talk about potential ways to improve the brewery trail and discuss the upcoming third program.
Jim Mahon II, vice president of marketing and brand management, noted that nearly 2,500 people redeemed their passports last year for an ending prize. Thousands more participated, but didn’t complete the Akron-centric tour, which showcased 18 breweries in Summit, Stark, Portage and Medina counties.
The big question now is: What will the prize be for completing the trail this year? The first year it was a brown T-shirt, last year a glass howler.
Or will there even be a prize?
There was discussion about bottle openers, pint glasses, mugs, baseball hats, coasters and patches. But there also seemed to be consensus that beer drinkers are completing the trail because of the challenge and camaraderie, as opposed to the perk of getting a prize.
With that in mind, the organizers talked about creating a special beer event — maybe the Summit Brewers Ball. Anyone who collects all the brewery stamps on his or her passport would be eligible to attend, with the completed passport serving as the free ticket. The event, which would replace prizes for every individual who finishes the trail, would include a drawing for a big cash prize, along with other prizes.
No decision was made on that topic.
One thing is certain. The brewery trail will be bigger this year, thanks to the opening of Akronym, Lock 15 and Missing Falls in Akron, and Missing Mountain in Cuyahoga Falls. (Breweries must be open by Feb. 15 to be featured in the passport this year.)
Those new breweries will join the following: The Brew Kettle, The BrickOven BrewPub, Canton, Headtrip, HiHO, Hop Tree, Hoppin’ Frog, Ignite, MadCap, Magic City, McArthur’s, Mucky Duck, Royal Docks, R. Shea, Thirsty Dog, Two Monks and Wadsworth.
There are no plans to add breweries in surrounding counties. You can follow along at www.summitbrewpath.com.
New beer fest
The Akron-Canton area is getting a new beer festival.
The North Canton Area Chamber of Commerce will host the inaugural North Canton Craft Beer Festival on May 18 at the MAPS Air Museum, 2260 International Parkway, Green. The event will showcase eight local brewers, along with invited “surprise guest brewers.”
“The North Canton area is vibrant and has so much to offer,” chamber President Doug Lane said in a prepared statement. “Our beer festival looks to highlight the businesses, points of interest and incredible environment we have here. This event not only celebrates our current residents, but also invites folks from outside the city to explore what makes our area so special.”
The participating breweries are: Canton, Lockport, Maize Valley, Muskellunge, Paradigm Shift, Royal Docks, Sandy Springs and Shale. The chamber said attendees can sample 25 beers.
The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. VIP tickets are $50 — there are only 100 available — and get you in at 4 p.m.
Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday at https://squareup.com/store/northcantonchamber. The chamber said it will reveal the guest brewers on its Facebook page.
New Clash beer
MadCap Brew Co. is producing a special beer to help celebrate International Clash Day in Kent. The celebration of the punk band and call for social justice actually lasts three days, kicking off Thursday.
Combat Bock, a traditional, malt-forward doppelbock that clocks in at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume, will make its debut on draft Thursday at the brewery, 1422 Mogadore Road, Kent. The name refers to the 1982 Clash album "Combat Rock."
"It was a fun opportunity to bring a style that might be slightly dying off back into people's life again," brewer Vince Rinaldo said.
Combat Bock will be available as well at Taco Tontos, 101 Bottles and Water Street Tavern in Kent. A portion of the proceeds will benefit local nonprofits.
MadCap also will host a Clash Day Punk Rock Flea from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
For a full rundown of Clash Day activities, go to: www.facebook.com/KentClashDay.
Market Garden Brewery is Ohio’s most underrated brewery — at least according to Thrillist.
The website put together a list of “The Most Underrated Brewery in Every State,” concluding that the brewery, located at 1947 W. 25th St., Cleveland, deserves the title for the Buckeye State.
It notes that Market Garden, which opened in 2012, is part of the Sam McNulty empire that includes a Market Garden brewpub and production brewery, Nano Brew Cleveland and Bier Markt all packed in the community’s Ohio City neighborhood, also known as the cradle of craft brewing in Ohio thanks to being home of Great Lakes Brewing Co.
To read the full report, go to: www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/craft-beer-the-most-underrated-brewery-in-every-state.
In case you missed the story last week, Aqueduct Brewing Co. in Akron has closed. Owner-brewer Robert Hernandez said his family will step away from the craft brewery scene for a bit and consider reopening in a new location. Read more at https://bit.ly/2RFQdOF.
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.