Ralph Sgro doesn't mind chatting about the digestive tracts of orangutans and sloths.
In fact, it's clear after spending a few moments with the co-founder and brewer at Terrestrial Brewing Co. that he's really into the workings of animal innards.
"They are doing all these experiments at the [Cleveland Metroparks] Zoo with changing the diets and trying to study how they affect their bodies in different ways," Sgro said. "They mentioned the orangutans are eating biscuits all the time and even though they are packed full of energy, the food in their stomach isn't fermenting into these short-chain fatty acids ... that are really good for them. They are trying to incorporate prebiotics into their food that will help produce these short-chain fatty acids."
Sgro is up to speed on the healthy eating habits of orangutans and sloths thanks to a new partnership between the Cleveland brewery and the Cleveland Zoological Society. Terrestrial and the nonprofit, which supports the zoo, are launching the "Conservation Series: Beer with a Conscience," a program that will help raise money for conservation efforts and research at the zoo.
The brewery will produce at least four exclusive beers — maybe more — throughout the year to support the Zoological Society, along with participating in the group's Tails & Cocktails discussions at the zoo. Ten percent of the beer sales will go to the society.
Probiotic Warrior — a kettle sour made with honey — will be released during a celebration from 5 to 11 p.m. Feb. 26 at the brewery, 7524 Father Frascati Drive. Other special beers will be made for Earth Day (April 21), World Giraffe Day (June 21) and World Gorilla Day (Sept. 24).
The relationship fits with the brewery's mission. Terrestrial means "of the earth."
"This goes in line with what we try to do here as a brewery with animals and the environment," co-founder Ryan Bennett said.
The brewery partnered last year with the Splash Fund, an arm of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, to raise awareness and money for the endangered spotted turtle. Terrestrial isn't the only Ohio brewery with a strong zoo relationship, as Listermann Brewing Co. has partnered with and produced special beers for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
Interim Cleveland Zoological Society Executive Director Sarah Crupi was on hand last week as the beer was being brewed and even dumped hops into the brew kettle.
"I'm excited about this because it's going to raise awareness of this very vital work to the general Cleveland population," she said. "And I'm excited that we found a partner where it fits with their mission, with their business. It's exciting just to talk to these guys about how the zoo is trying to help species in the wild, and connection to those species that you can see at the zoo and conservation efforts that you can do in your own neighborhood. Ralph and Ryan really get that and support that."
The zoo is trying to talk more about its conservation efforts and hopes the Terrestrial relationship helps promote that cause to an expanded audience. The Zoological Society, which has been supporting the zoo since 1957, raises about $500,000 a year for conservation efforts, Crupi said.
Sgro and Bennett got a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo before producing the beer. Bennett called it an eye-opening experience to see how well the animals were treated and even trained.
"We're not doing this so people drink beer," Sgro said. "I really do want education to be a big part of this. I want people to drink the beer and really feel like they've accomplished something and be more motivated to help out."
Mucky Duck Brewing Co., 4019 S. Main St., Green, will host its next Brewniversity beer school from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Brewer Cody Cantrell will talk about the brewing process and provide a tour of the brewery. Tickets are $25 and will include four samples and appetizers.
Seating is limited. To register, go to: https://events.eventzilla.net/e/beer-school-2138726624.
High Voltage Brewing?
High Voltage Indoor Karting, 333 Foundry St., Medina, has filed for a state brewing permit.
But Tim Obert, one of the managers, said there are no definite plans or timetable for launching a brewery.
"It's just something we want to have in our back pocket," he said Monday.
High Voltage offers indoor electric karting in a 40,000-square-foot building — with the track winding outside during better weather. The karts can go as fast as 50 mph, but don't hit that speed at High Voltage because of the track.
“As we look at future plans, our building is quite large. Just trying to figure out what else to do with the building," Obert said.
The business, which has been open since March 2015, started serving beer in November. Obert said High Voltage keeps watch to make sure that people aren't drinking and driving karts.
For more details about High Voltage, go to: www.highvoltagekarting.com.
Hoppin' Frog Brewery, 1680 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, has released a new beer called Sadie's Ginger Dream on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.
The red ale featuring ginger is 10 percent alcohol by volume. The brewery made it with the winner of an auction at the Canal Boat Captain's Ball, which benefited the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition. The winning bidders — J. Bret and Diane Treier — have a new red-headed granddaughter named Sadie, thus the name, brewery founder and brewmaster Fred Karm said.
The beer is available at the brewery. Bottles cost $8.99.
Market Garden Brewery is joining the shandy game.
The Cleveland brewery — which recently was named the most underrated brewery in Ohio by Thrillist.com — is set to release Shandy on draft and in bright yellow cans starting in March. Market Garden's is a traditional lemon shandy, which means it’s a mix of beer and lemonade.
“It’s been a fun project and took us in a bit of a different direction,” brewmaster Andy Tveekrem said.
Shandy is 4.5 percent alcohol by volume. It will be available on draft and in six-packs from March through July. A six-pack will retail for $9.99.
In other Market Garden news, the brewery has reformulated its Hellamango, a session IPA with mango, and decided to release it this year in 12-ounce cans, as opposed to bottles. Hellamango also will be available March through July. Six-packs will retail for $10.99.
Don't forget that there are two beer festivals in Cleveland on Saturday:
• The Local Brews Local Grooves beer fest begins at 6 p.m. at the House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. For full details, go to www.houseofblues.com/cleveland.
• Alas, Stout It Out Loud, an oyster and stout festival held at Butcher and the Brewer in Cleveland, is sold out. So hopefully you got your tickets early.
Saucy Brew Works plans to open a brewpub in Columbus.
The Cleveland-based brewery says it’s looking to a hire a general manager for “a growing production brewery/restaurant in Columbus.”
Co-founder and brewmaster Eric Anderson said there's no location selected and the brewery made the post to create a little buzz.
"We basically want to have a little bit more presence down there," he said about why Saucy is eyeing the state capital. "Local is local and if we're not local, we're not local. It's a natural progression."
The Columbus craft beer scene has been turned on its head following a story last week by Columbus Alive that detailed accusations of sexual assault and rape against Actual Brewing Co. co-founder Fred Lee. You can read the full story at www.columbusalive.com.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.