IPA no longer stands for India pale ale — at least if you're anywhere near the Cuyahoga River.

It's now "I Paddle Around."

Eighteen craft breweries along the waterway — from Kent to Akron to Cleveland — are launching the new Cuyahoga River Brewery Trail next month and brewing up a special beer called I Paddle Around IPA to help support the new Cuyahoga River Water Trail.

"Breweries are all about boosting economic development in their communities and having a place for the community to gather," said Ali Hovan, co-founder of HiHO Brewing Co. in Cuyahoga Falls and co-organizer of the brewery trail. "Why not use the breweries as a gathering place for people who kayak?"

The brewery trail is a bit different from other beer paths. The participating breweries are selling stickers featuring the trail logo for $1 with proceeds supporting the water trail, which is designed to promote recreational activities, including kayaking and canoeing, along the river.

There's no brewery passport book or stamps to collect, and no prize for completing the trail. It's just to raise awareness of the rejuvenated waterway.

The stickers go on sale June 21 and the various I Paddle Around beers will be released throughout the month.

In addition to HiHO, the participating breweries are: Bookhouse, Brick and Barrel, Butcher and the Brewer, Collision Bend, Forest City, Great Lakes, Hansa, MadCap, Market Garden, McArthur's, Missing Mountain, Nano, Noble Beast, R. Shea, Saucy, Terrestrial and Thirsty Dog.

The brewery trail and water trail are part of the activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the river catching fire, a seminal moment in environmental history that led to the fight for clean water and healthy rivers nationwide and helped spur the Clean Water Act in 1972. The river caught fire in Cleveland on June 22, 1969.

The anniversary celebrations this year include the Burning River Fest on June 21 and 22 in Cleveland; and Torch Fests planned at 4 p.m. June 20 at the Main Street bridge in Kent, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 21 at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cascade Valley Metro Park in Akron and at 2:30 p.m. at the Station Road bridge trailhead in Brecksville.

"The river is beautiful. It's not on fire. Let's use it and boost tourism," Hovan said.

The brewery trail is the brainchild of Andrea Irland, an outdoor recreation planner with the National Park Service based at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. She brought the idea to Hovan and HiHO events coordinator Jamie Sipps, who then spearheaded the effort.

Irland, a craft beer fan, noticed that there were often ice cream stores associated with trails.

"Then I started to realize that breweries often received benefits from having a trail nearby so I started saying 'All trails lead to beer,'" she said. "I did research and firmly believe that where the intersection of breweries and trails meet, there’s great opportunity for programming, partnerships and economic development."

The brewery trail is an excellent way to get the word out about the water trail, Irland added.

The hope is that the Cuyahoga River Water Trail will be designated as an official Ohio Water Trail later this year.

"Look at how far this river has come," Irland said. "It’s come so far that we want people to recreate on it now. And that’s going to continue on long after the party’s done and the beer is brewed and consumed."

For more details about the brewery and water trails, go to: www.facebook.com/CRBreweryTrail and https://cuyahogariverwatertrail.org.

Cleveland Beer Week

Cleveland Beer Week is ending its 10-year run.

Co-founder John Lane, one of the partners of the Winking Lizard Tavern and Lizardville Beer Store & Whiskey Bar chain, said he’s pulling the plug on the annual October event, including the major beer festival Brewzilla that helped anchor the 10-day celebration.

Cleveland Beer Week, a nonprofit organization, celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year.

But Lane questioned whether Cleveland Beer Week is still relevant, given the rise of the craft brewing industry and culture over the last decade. There are now more than 300 craft breweries in Ohio alone. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 50.

“It’s beer week every week,” he said. “When we started 10 years ago, it was really to make beer relevant and really push the craft. The past couple of years, there’s just not enough support from the retailers and everyone else to pull this off. The events aren’t as attended. … There’s so many craft breweries and there’s so much going on with beer every week that you don’t need just a week of celebration.”

Lane said he’s willing to hand over the rights to Cleveland Beer Week, but no one has taken his offer to step in to run the event.

“If someone wants to take it over, I’m willing to meet with them and listen but I don’t want to turn it over to any Tom, Dick or Harry,” he said.

A source said there are efforts underway to save the event.

Instead of Cleveland Beer Week, Lane said he will focus on holding a weeklong beer celebration at the Lizardville locations in October. He added that a new Lizardville location will open Oct. 14 in Brunswick.

Lane admitted that he’s saddened to see Cleveland Beer Week come to a close.

“But on the other hand, it was 10 great years,” he said. “We had a good 10-year run. Who knows? Give it a rest a couple of years and maybe it’ll come back.”

Ukulele

Hoppin' Frog Brewery, 1680 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, will host a "Strum and Sip" class from 6 to 8 p.m. June 10 with people learning to play the ukulele while having a beer.

The class will be taught by a musician from the Rising Star Center for the Arts in Akron. People can bring their own instrument or use one provided.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at https://shop.hoppinfrog.com.

Getting married?

Busch Beer is willing to pay for your wedding. Seriously.

The brand launched a contest last week offering to have the "Busch Guy" officiate a wedding and provide $25,000 toward the ceremony. That's the average cost of a wedding in America.

Busch created the contest after seeing its cans show up in plenty of wedding photos.

"We know Busch is beloved by our fans, but being featured in wedding photos and invited to the weddings themselves is an entirely other level," Daniel Blake, senior marketing director at Anheuser-Busch, said in a prepared statement. "This new campaign is coming straight from the asks of our devoted community, and we can't wait to see Busch Guy bring together one happy couple this summer."

Couples can post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram explaining why they want to get married by the "Busch Guy" and using #BuschWeddings and #Contest. Entries are open until Friday.

For more details, go to: www.busch.com/wedding-contest.html.

 

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.