R. Shea Brewing is going for a three-peat.

The Akron brewery is one of more than 30 breweries — not to mention food vendors and other beverage makers — that will participate in the 12th annual Art & Ale beer tasting March 9 at the Akron Art Museum.

R. Shea has won the “People’s Choice” award the last two years. In 2018, it took home the honor for Fluffernutter, while Orange Mango Citra Shandy won the previous year.

Founder and brewmaster Ron Shea expects stiffer competition this year thanks to several new breweries opening in the Akron area.

“We can’t sit on our ass,” he joked. “Being there for the last two years, we’re pretty sure we know what the crowd likes for the People’s Choice.”

He said he plans on bringing a shandy and a flavored imperial stout this year.

Here’s a rundown of the participating breweries and cider-makers: Akronym, Alaskan, Breckenridge, Canton, Crazy Mountain, Devils Backbone, Elevator, Elysian, Fat Head’s, Golden Road, Goose Island, Headtrip, HiHO, Hoppin' Frog, Ignite, Jackie O’s, Kona, Lock 15, MadCap, MadTree, Market Garden, Masthead, McArthur’s, Missing Falls, Mucky Duck, Ohio, Platform, R. Shea, Rhinegeist, Royal Docks, Saucy, Shiner, Thirsty Dog, Urban Artifact and Virtue Cider.

Food will be available from Acme Fresh Market, Dewey’s Pizza, Hartville Chips and Old Carolina Barbecue. Akron Coffee Roasters and Norka Beverage Co. also will be serving at the event.

In a bit of a shake-up, Art & Ale is moving to a Saturday, as opposed to the traditional Friday night, and will feature two tasting sessions this year: 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. There’s also a VIP experience that includes access to special beers and food, and a swag bag.

“Holding Art & Ale on Saturday allows the museum to offer more opportunities for craft beer fans to participate,” museum Director of Advancement Bryan de Boer said in a statement. “The evening-only session could no longer meet the demand for tickets.”

The tasting has sold out early the past several years.

In addition to the People’s Choice award, there is a Curator’s Choice honor. Last year, Hoppin’ Frog won for its Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. Royale. The judges, just as they were last year, are myself, Marc Bona of Cleveland.com and Jon Albrecht of Acme.

General admission tickets are $40 for museum members or $55 for nonmembers. VIP tickets are $75. For more details or to buy tickets, go to https://akronartmuseum.org.

 

Phoenix wins

All hail Metamorphus.

The imperial stout from Phoenix Brewing Co. won the best of show award Saturday at the inaugural Big Brews in Akron beer festival. The event, held at Lock 3 and organized by Akronym Brewing in Akron, showcased high-alcohol beers, including plenty of barley wines.

Metamorphus, which clocks in at 14 percent alcohol by volume, is available on draft at the Mansfield brewery. It bested Thirsty Dog Bernese Barley Wine Ale from Akron and Listermann Life from Cincinnati at the final table.

The top honor caught co-founder and brewer Duncan Macfarlane off guard.

"No one could be more surprised," he said after the award was announced, adding that he was pleased given the quality of the beers submitted for the judging.

Here's the rundown of category winners:

• Barley wine: Thirsty Dog Bernese. MadCap Brew Co. Ball Grinder from Kent was second, Little Fish Brewing Co. Moorepheus from Athens third.

• Wood-aged and barrel-aged: Listermann Life. Missing Mountain Brewing Co. Kali from Cuyahoga Falls was second, Thirsty Dog Wulver third.

• Other big beer: Phoenix Metamorphus. Missing Mountain Mervielle was second, Sandy Springs Brewing Co. Meet Virginia from Minerva third.

Akronym plans to organize the event again next year.

"I think Akron embraced drinking big beers in the winter — because we haven't seen the sun since September," Akronym co-founder and brewer Shawn Adams said.

 

Kitchen coming

Paradigm Shift Craft Brewery, 128 North Ave. NE, Massillon, is adding a kitchen.

Founder and brewer Mike Malinowski said the kitchen, which will open in three to four weeks, will feature specialty appetizers and flatbreads. He also wants to offer "farm to table" fare.

Once the food arrives, Paradigm Shift will start offering guest ciders, wine and liquor.

 

Winter Warmer

The 13th annual Winter Warmer Fest in Cleveland will feature more than 200 beers.

The event, organized by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, runs from 2 to 5 p.m. March 9 at Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore St. More than 60 Ohio breweries will be pouring. (Yes, the Winter Warmer and Art & Ale are happening at the same time this year.)

General admission tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door. An early admission ticket — you get in at 1 p.m. — is $55 in advance or $65 at the door.

To buy tickets or for more details, including a beer list, go to: www.ohiocraftbeer.org.

 

New Saucy

Saucy Brew Works and the Cleveland Cavaliers last week toasted the opening of a Saucy-themed beer garden inside Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland.

The 1,500-square-foot bar will be open during all events, including Monsters hockey games and concerts, at the venue.

“It’s an honor to be partnered with such a stellar group that is the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Saucy brewmaster and co-founder Eric Anderson said in a prepared statement. “We take great care and pride in producing superior quality, creative beers and this beautiful new pub is the perfect place to showcase that passion.”

The beer garden features 16 taps.

Saucy's tasting room and production brewery are located near the arena in the city's Hingetown neighborhood.

 

Beer speech

I will be speaking alongside Thirsty Dog Brewing co-founder John Najeway about the craft beer industry at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the North Royalton Branch Library, 5071 Wallings Road. The talk is free.

 

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.