The Hoppin’ Frog Brewery Rare Beer Club returns Saturday. (Feb. 24)

The Akron brewery — which is fresh off again being named one of RateBeer.com‘s Top 100 Brewers in the World — will allow new members to start signing up at 11 a.m. There’s also a special breakfast starting at 9 a.m. for current members.

“It’s our way of giving back to the craft beer community,” owner and award-winning brewmaster Fred Karm said. “It’s just fun. I look at this as us selling fun.”

Hoppin’ Frog launched the club last year, giving fans a chance to join and get access to six limited-edition beers brewed just for the club, along with discounts on merchandise and food and other perks.

Club members also will receive bottles of 2012 Barrel-Aged Naked Evil Belgianesque Barley Wine, 2013 B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout, 2016 Re-Pete 2x American Imperial Brown Ale, 2016 B.O.R.I.S. Grand Reserve, 2016 Rum Barrel Aged Silk Porter, 2016 Spanish Brandy Barrel-Aged El Frogquistador, 2017 Northern Hoser Exposure Canadian Barley Wine and 2017 Wild Juniper Jubilation Gin Barrel-Aged Hefeweizen just for signing up.

There’s some good news for members this year and for those who were placed on a waiting list to join last year. The membership will be $150 — down from $200 last year — and Hoppin’ Frog is expanding the number of members.

Karm declined to say how many members there will be.

As for the special beers, he said the brewery will bring back the most popular one: Orange You Diggin’ It IPA. There also will be a barrel-aged version of Northern Hoser Exposure, a 15 percent American-style barley wine made with Canadian maple syrup.

Hoppin’ Frog is still determining the others.

“It was a lot of fun for the brewery to stretch our wings,” Karm said about the first year.

The Winking Lizard Tavern will host its annual Barrel Aged Beer Fest Saturday (Feb. 24) at its Bedford Heights Party Center.

There are two sessions: 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. The event is $45 and includes 12 samples, an appetizer/sandwich buffet and a tasting glass.

The beer lineup features:

• Alvinne/Hanssens/OEC Stramboozled 2017

• Avery Rum Barrel Aged Quintuple

• Bells BA Cherry Stout

• Bells Black Note

• Birrificio Italiano’s GT

• Boulevard BA Quad with Cherries

• De Dolle Oerbier Reserva

• Epic Triple Barrel

• Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout

• Great Lakes Double Barrel Rackhouse

• Great Lakes Smoked Imperial Porter

• Green Flash Divine Sauvage

• Innis & Gunn Latitude & Longitude Raspberry Saison

• Jackie O’s/Crooked Stave The Ties That Bind

• Lagunitas High Westified Imperial Coffee Stout

• Little Fish BA Woodthrush

• Lost Abbey Devil Comes Down to Georgia

• Market Garden BA Franklin Castle

• Rum Barrel Piraat

• Stone Zuper Magick Wootstout

• Thirsty Dog Cerasus Dog

• Troegs Bourbon Barrel Impending Descent

• Vander Mill Puff Barrel Aged Cyser

• Whiner Bubble Tub

Fretboard Brewing Co.’s new dopplebock has a cartoon flavor.

Joe Hoffecker, the editorial cartoonist for the Cincinnati Business Courier, has created a special illustration for the Blue Ash brewery’s release of Reverberator, a traditional doppelbock. Fretboard releases the beer at 5 p.m. today (Feb. 22) as part of the upcoming Bockfest in Cincinnati.

Hoffecker is a homebrewer and craft beer fan, especially traditional German styles, the brewery said. He’s also longtime friends with managing partner Kevin Moreland.

“I remember meeting Kevin at Bockfest around 2004 while performing with the Bier Band,” Hoffecker said in a news release. “Even back then, Kevin was very enthusiastic about Cincinnati, its brewing history, and making it a better community. I share that enthusiasm and when he needed an illustration for Fretboard’s Doppelbock, I immediately volunteered my services. It’s been great to watch Kevin evolve and bring his passions to life through the years, and I hope this drawing reflects some of that.”

In addition to the beer, the brewery will have T-shirts available featuring Hoffecker’s illustration.

 

Urban Artifact will be filled with choral music on Saturday. (Feb. 24)

The Cincinnati brewery will host the “Beer Choir Games” from 3 to 5 p.m. The event will feature members of the Greater Cincinnati Choral Consortium leading a traditional beer hall-style sing-along.

The event is free and open to the public. A dollar of each beer sold during the event will benefit ArtsWave.

For more details, click here.

Ill Mannered Brewing Co. will host a party Wednesday (Feb. 28) to celebrate breaking ground on its new facility.

“This day has been a long time in the works and we couldn’t be more excited,” co-owner and head brewer Tom Ayers said in a news release. “With the construction of this new facility, we are proud to show our commitment to and passion for the community of Powell as its neighborhood brewery since 2015. We’ll be delivering fresh, local, hand crafted beer here for a long time to come! We have incorporated both customer feedback and our experience brewing in our current space into the new building to maximize the customer experience while maintaining the immersive small, local, brewery look and feel.”

The party begins at 4 p.m. and will feature the release of 2016 Barrel Aged Tremendous Slouch Wee Heavy.

The Powell brewery had announced last year that it was constructing a new 3,000-square-foot facility just east of its current site. The building will include a nearly 1,000-square-foot patio with a fire pit, space for a drive-up food truck and roll-up glass garage door.

Ill Mannered, which will celebrate its third anniversary this year, hopes to be open in late August.

 

 

The 12th annual Winter Warmer Fest will showcase 56 Ohio craft breweries and feature more than 200 winter, high-alcohol and rare beers (along with many regular ones, as well).

The event, a fundraiser for the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. March 3 at Windows on the River in Cleveland. The association this week released the beer list.

Here’s a look:

Bad Tom Smith: Docs Kentucky Common, Churro Brown, Wickked Sheryl Blush Pale Ale and  Bad Luck Coffee Porter.

Brew Brothers: Shadow Imperial Stout, Old Ale and Big Dog IPA.

BrewDog: Hazy Jane NEIPA and Elvis Juice.

The Brew Kettle: TBA.

Brick and Barrel: Bitter Chief, Brogue Barrel Aged Imp Stout, Bricks Barleywine and McTavish MBB Wee Heavy.

Brim: Birthday Brew and FeBlueLarry Berry.

Butcher & The Brewer: Sympathy for Sympathy Hoppy Helles, Well, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So I Guess We Will Too NEIPA, Albino White Stout and Farmer’s Daughter Multigrain Saison.

Catawba Island: Cold Creek IPA, Hot Blonde, Waterspout Oatmeal Stout and Seiche Scottish Ale.

Collision Bend: Old Hulks Wheat Wine, Vernal Equinox IPA, Gullnado Double IPA, Bollard Pull Porter and Clurichaun Irish Red Ale.

Columbus: Bodhi, Creeper, Pallet Island BA Imperial Stout with coconut, Wu-tella Chocolate Hazelnut Imperial Stout, Grasshoppa Session IPA, Kashmir IPA, Dagobrah System Hazy IPA and Lupulin Cloud Hazy IPA.

Cornerstone: TBA.

Crooked Handle: Trinity NE IPA and Roadside Peanut Butter Porter.

Double Wing: Butter Pecan Porter and Blueberry Kolsch.

Fat Head’s: Hop Juju, Blood Orange JuJu, Oak Aged Scotch Ale, BA Hippy Sippy, Nutty Nibula and Sunshine Daydream.

Forest City: Black Betsy Black IPA and One Arm Daily Cream Ale.

Goldhorn: Polka City Pilsner and Dragon Bridge Belgo.

Grainworks: Brewer’s Breakfast – Imp Oatmeal Stout with coffee and dark chocolate, My Blue Heaven – Blueberry ESB, Defroster – Winter Warmer and Imperial IPA.

Great Lakes: Hop Madness, Blackout Stout, BA Blackout and BA Clipper.

Hairless Hare: Fiver Rivers IPA and CRV Porter.

Hansa: Barrel aged Le Champ De Vesna – Biere De Garde and barrel-aged Merry Xmas Ya Filthy Animal.

HiHO: Diamond Back Barleywine, Hey Jon Hey Jon Double IPA, True Pilsner and SMASH Haus Pale Ale.

Hofbrauhaus Cleveland: Barrel Aged Doppelbock, Schwarzbier, Hopfen Spezial, Royal Red Export and Premium Lager.

Hoppin’ Frog: Infusion A: Peanut Butter Chocolate Coffee Porter, Grapefruit Turbo Shandy Citrus Ale, Hop Dam Triple IPA, B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout GRAND RESERVE, Gangster Frog IPA, Barrel-Aged B.O.R.I.S. Royale and Blu Violent Medieval Blueberry Ale.

Jackie O’s: Mystic Mama IPA, Perpetum, Bourbon Barrel Coffee Black Maple and Coconut Champion Ground.

JAFB-Wooster: Rain Delay IPA, Wooster New Stout and JAF IPA.

The Jolly Scholar: Jolly White IPA, Tyndall Effect NEIPA, Jolly Eastsider NEIPA and Jolly Berliner Weisse (with brett).

Lager Heads: New Hempshire New England IPA and Belgian Quad.

Little Fish: Woodthrush, Saison du Poisson and No-Fi.

Lock 27: Baychimo DIPA and Charlosta Brown Ale.

Lockport: Big Debbie Milk Stout and Ancient Rite Belgian Black Ale.

Lucky Owl: La Bolita Mexican Stout, Habanero Hop Falls, Jellycat NEIPA and Three Sisters Saison Raspberry.

MadTree: PsycHOPathy IPA, Lift Kolsch, Sequoia’s Gift and Bourbon Barrel Aged Are You Ready For Some Darkness.

Maize Valley: Monk In Public, Galaxy Smasher and Denaliism.

Market Garden: Barrel Aged Irishman’s Enforcer Imperial Stout aged in Middle West Rye barrels, Barrel Aged Stock Ale aged in Cabernet Barrels, Retro Hippo Barley Wine and Prosperity Wheat.

Masthead: Tiramisu Underverse aged in bourbon barrels, Winter Stout aged in bourbon barrels, Nelson Vice New England IPA, A Series of Tubes New England IPA, IPA and Coffee Stout.

Millersburg: Back Country Burning and Doc’s Scotch Ale.

Noble Beast: BBA Cookies & Milk Stout with coffee, BA Widowmaker Tripel with peaches and brett, and Catchweight Kölsch.

North High: Filthy McNasty, Final Countdown and Life.

Phoenix: Phixius Triple IPA, Santa Muerte Spice Chocolate Stout, Krampus Kandy White Stout infused with coffee, Redemption with Grapefruit West Coast IPA, Dark Lylith Imperial Chocolate Stout and Tipped Tombstone Wee Heavy.

Pigskin: TBA.

Platform: BA High River, Haze Jude, Peach Crusher and Highbrow Barista Coffee Rye Pale Ale.

R.Shea: Brandy Barrel Aged Winter Warmer, Twitchy Bitch On Mexican Custapec Coffee Beans, Orange Mango Citra Shandy and Salted Caramel Imperial Stout.

Railroad: Barrel Aged Blonde and Full Steam Ahead Imperial Red.

Rhinegeist: Barrel Aged Emergency Malt Kit, Bubbles Rose Ale, Dingo Pale Ale and Bogbeast Barrel Aged Wheatwine Ale.

Rocky River: Old Man River Barleywine and Punch in the Nuts Amber Ale.

Royal Docks: Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, Yuletide Holiday Spice, Tanglefoot IPA, Deathly Mallows and  Vlad the Impaler.

Saucy: Stout Drink You, Barrel Aged Dead Nuts and Punchline.

Seventh Son: Mr. Owl Double India Brown Ale and Baphomet Belgian Tripel.

Sibling Revelry: Imperial Cosmic Cocoa and Habanero Fruit Pale Ale.

Terrestrial: OYO Wheat Whiskey Aged Betelgeuse Belgian Style Quadruple and Fanboi NE style IPA.

Thirsty Dog: Irish Setter Red, Pineapple IPA and Baltic Porter.

Wadsworth: River Styx Monster DIPA and Mad Eye English Barleywine.

Warped Wing: Abominator Doppelbock, Pirogue Blanc Belgian-style tripel withcold press coffee, Trotwood Lager and Gamma Bomb IPA.

Willoughby: Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter, Nut Smasher, Vietnamese Nut Smasher, Vanilla Nut Smasher, Legislation Ale Barleywine, Hazy Days, Moondance IPA and Crème Brulee Coffee Porter.

Wolf’s Ridge: Pack Mentality – Lupulin Powder Honey IPA, Terre du Sauvage Green barrel-aged dry-hopped sour, Gose and 2015 Dire Wolf.

Working Class: Aviator IPA, Boilermaker BBA Imperial Stout and Bank Boss Belgian Tripel.

There also is a special cask area that will feature infused offerings from: Brick and Barrel, Brim, Columbus, Fat Head’s, North High, Platform, Royal Docks, Willoughby and Wolf’s Ridge.

General admission tickets are $45, which includes a souvenir glass and tasting tickets for 20 four-ounce samples. Early admission tickets are $55, granting admission at 1 p.m.

For more details or tickets, click here.

 

Willoughby Brewing Co. will host a special brewer reunion tonight (Feb. 21) to help celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The brewpub will host Chris Alltmont, (1998-2000) who now runs brewing operations at Fat Head’s, Dave Sutula of Royal Docks (2000-2002), Jack Kephart of The Brew Kettle (2004-2006), and Larry Hazen (2006-2008) and Jason Sims of Brim (2008-2010), along with Willoughby brewmaster Rick Seibt (2011-present) starting at 6 p.m.

Seibt chuckled when asked about his tenure with Willoughby compared to his predecessors.

“That’s when I realized how long I’ve been here — or what a unique thing it is for me,” he said.

The former brewers are bringing beers from their breweries, as well, including Fat Head’s Hop JuJu, Brew Kettle Trebu Cliche and Brim Birthday Beer.

Willoughby opened in February 1998 in a former passenger railroad car repair shop along the Cleveland-to-Ashtabula rail line. It’s probably best known for its award-winning Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter, which won a gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Cup.

To help celebrate its anniversary, the brewpub also has tapped its 20th anniversary beer called Legislation Ale, a 12.3 percent English barleywine, and is offering food specials throughout the week.

The brewpub also will host a Reunion Bash at 2 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 25) with live music, contests and former and current owners, employees and patrons.

For more details, click here.

 

Joe Karpinski and Colin Cook figure they have the perfect destination spot for a brewpub.

Their upcoming Lock 15 Brewing Co. – located at 21 W. North St. in Akron on the bottom floor of the Cascade Lofts building – is just steps away from the recreational Towpath Trail. And, as you might expect, it’s also just stroll from lock 15 along the Ohio & Erie Canal and the historic Mustill Store.

Karpinski and Cook, who are shooting for a May opening, expect their seven-barrel brewpub to become a dining and beer-drinking attraction along the Towpath.

“This is a very unique spot,” Cook said. “Our proximity to the trail. Our proximity to downtown. We’re a place a lot of people will want to go.”

They are busy now renovating the space, which will feature a full bar, dining room with seating for about 120, brewhouse behind glass, an exposed kitchen and a 100-seat outdoor beer garden.

Once open, Lock 15 will be a rarity in the Akron region as it will be a full chef-driven restaurant and brewery.

Karpinski, 34, of Kent and Cook, 37, of Akron are cousins. Karpinski, who works in information technology, will oversee the brewing. He’s been homebrewing for about a dozen years.

Meanwhile Cook, who manages Blu Jazz in downtown Akron, has the hospitality experience, having opened a few restaurants in the Philadelphia area with Chef Kevin Sbraga before returning to his hometown of Akron.

Lock 15 will offer 10 house beers, with six year-round: a hefeweizen, pilsner, porter, IPA, imperial coffee stout and pale ale. And yes, the pale ale will feature Cascade hops. There also will be three rotating seasonal brews and a rotating experimental one, along with guest beers from other local breweries.

“I’m trying to hit all the major styles and perfecting those recipes,” Karpinski said about the beer menu.

“Our big goal is to create a lineup that is diverse, eclectic and consistent,” Cook added.

The Lock 15 beers will have names paying tribute to Akron. For example, there’s already a Mustill Mild. The Mustills were known for selling English ales at their shop.

Lock 15 will distribute its draft beer to local bars and restaurants.

The food menu also will be eclectic.

“Some German sausage-based dishes. Some Belgian-style mussels and frites. Some English pub food. Some Southern pub food,” Cook said.

It will be twisted in a garden direction, with healthy and vegan options available. Lock 15 also will use raised beds nearby to grow fruits and vegetables.

“We want to create an atmosphere that’s very family friendly here, as well, just given the fact that we’re on the trail,” Cook said. “A big part of what we do is community based. There are a lot of communal tables. There’s a lot of seating that’s intended to be for people . to sit and chat and create a social experience.”

They plan to be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and offer brunch on Sunday. The brewpub will be closed on Mondays.

Lock 15 shares the bottom floor of the Cascade Lofts with The Trailhead events center. The building is located at the corner of West North and North Howard streets and is owned by Akron developer Tony Troppe.

“Those with know-how come to NoHo, North and Howard,” Troppe said. “These guys are pros. They know how. They know how to brew. They know how to cook. They know how to serve.”

Scratch the inaugural Hall of Fame Hops brewery trail in Stark County off your to-do list.

Visit Canton has shelved the program after the majority of Stark County brewers last week withdrew, upset that a non-brewery was set to be included on the trail. The brewers are now meeting to create an independent passport program and hope to launch it May 1.

“We look forward to learning the details and promoting the trail that the group is working to put together,” Visit Canton Vice President of Marketing and Communications Tonja Marshall said in an email.

Visit Canton wanted to include Gervasi Vineyard, a big tourist destination in Canton, on the tour. The brewers say they were caught off guard by Gervasi’s inclusion because the trail was supposed to direct visitors to craft breweries. Meanwhile Visit Canton says it was caught off guard by the brewers’ objection.

You can read more at my blog at http://www.Ohio.com/beer.

Here’s the rundown of the brewing permits pending before the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. These could be for new breweries or existing breweries that are expanding with new locations. I’ve also added hyperlinks when I could find working websites or Facebook pages.

This list isn’t a comprehensive list of every brewery planning to open in the state. It’s just the ones that have filed paperwork with the state.

Congratulations to Devil Wind Brewing in Xenia which received its state permit.

To help with anybody who regularly checks, I’ve added the word “New>>” to the operations that are new this week.

Here you go, sorted by region, and accurate as of the morning of Feb. 19:

 

Southwest Ohio

 

• Alematic Artisan Ales, 6182 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights.

• Branch and Bone Artisan Ales905 Wayne Ave., Dayton.

• Geo. Widemann Brewing Co., 4811 Vine St., St. Bernard.

• Happy 2 Brewing Co.8298 Clough Pike, Cincinnati. (Note: It’s the same location as the Mio’s Pizza location below.)

• Humble Monk Brewing Co., 1641 Blue Rock Road, Cincinnati.

• Meier’s Wine Cellars, 6955 Plainfield Road, Silverton.

• Mio’s Pizza, 8298 Clough Pike, Cincinnati. (Note: It’s the same address as the Happy 2 Brewing location above.)

• Off Track Brewing Co., 227 Stark St., Cincinnati.

• Platform Beers LLC916 Dalton Ave., Cincinnati.

• Rebel Mettle Brewery LLC, 246 W. McMicken Ave., Cincinnati.

• Rhinegeist Brewery3241 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati.

• Swine City Brewing Co., 4614 Industry Drive, Fairfield.

• Tap & Screw Brewery, 3026 Madison Road, Cincinnati.

• Three Points Urban Brewery, 331 E. 13th St., Cincinnati.

 

Northeast Ohio

 

• Akronym Brewing58 E. Market St., Akron.

• Bookhouse Brewing, 1526 W. 25th St., Cleveland.

• The Brew Kettle, 11 Atterbury Blvd., Hudson.

• Canton Brewery Co., 309 Court Ave. NW, Canton

• Crooked Pecker Brewing Co., 8284 Washington St., Chagrin Falls.

• Fat Head’s Brewery, 3885-3893 Everhard Road, Canton.

• Fat Head’s Brewery, 17450 Engle Lake Road, Middleburg Heights. (It’s the new Fat Head’s production brewery site.)

• Garretts Mill & Brewing Co., 8148 Main St., Garrettsville. (It’s the site of the former Main Street Grille and Brewing Co.)

• Greene Eagle Winery, 2576 Davis Peck Road, Cortland.

• Hoodletown Brewing Co., 424 W. 3rd St., Dover.

• Lock 15 Brewing, 21 W. North St., Akron.

• Missing Falls Brewery, 540 S. Main St., Akron.

• Muskellunge Brewing Co., 425 Fifth St. NW, Canton.

• 17th State Brewing Co., 9200 Tyler Blvd., Mentor.

• VPL, 14101 Market St., Columbiana.

 Yosteria LLC, 44 E. Federal St., Youngstown.

 

Central Ohio

 

• BrewDog Brewing Co. LLC, 463 W. Town St., Columbus.

• BrewDog Brewing Co. LLC, 1175-1177 N. High St., Columbus.

• Double Edge Brewing Co., 156-158 W. Chestnut St., Lancaster.

• Endeavor Brewing Co., 909 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus. (Endeavor is taking over from Zauber Brewing at the same location.)

• LLJ Bucks Brew LLC, 467 N. High St., Columbus. (It’s the address for Barley’s Brewing Co.)

• Marion Brewing Co., 151 S. Main St., Marion.

NEW>>>>>• Outerbelt Brewing Co., 3560 Dolson Court, Carroll.

• Random Precision Brewing Co., 2365 W. Dublin Granville Road, Columbus.

• Stein Brewing Co. of Mount Vernon, 109 S. Main St., Mount Vernon.

• Stone City Brewing, 9 Columbus St., Lithopolis.

 

 

Southeast Ohio

 

• None.

 

Northwest Ohio

 

• Amusement Ales and Brewery, 161 E. Market St., Sandusky.

• Drop Tine Winery and Tap House, 311 W. Main St., Montpelier.

• Findlay Brewing Co., 213 E. Crawford St., Findlay.

• Inside the Five Brewing Co.5703 N. Main St., Sylvania.

• Laird Arcade Brewery, 114 S. Washington St., Tiffin.

• Patron Saints Brewery, 4730 W. Bancroft St., Toledo.

• Tiffin Taphouse & Brewery, 277 Wall St., Tiffin.

 Twin Oast Brewing, 3630 NE Catawba Road, Port Clinton.

 Wild Side Brewing, 24194 Front St., Grand Rapids. (Wild Side has a permit for a location in Bowling Green.)

 

Western Ohio

 

• Brunos, 110 E. Poplar, Sidney.

 Hollander on Main, 138 N. Main St.

 Lev’s Brewhouse, 115 S. Ohio Ave., Sidney.

 Roundhouse Depot Brewing, 217 W. Chillicothe Ave., Bellefontaine.

The inaugural Hall of Fame Hops Brew Tour in Stark County is likely dead before it even began.

Stark County brewers announced today (Feb. 16) that they are withdrawing from the Visit Canton-sponsored program and are launching their own trail after a dispute over a non-brewery being included on the upcoming beer trail.

“We hit an impasse when, without consideration and much objection from the participating breweries, the bureau decided to include a non-brewery business on the tour,” according to a statement issued today by Maize Valley brewer Jake Turner and representing the majority of the brewers. “It is our opinion that the spirit of the tour was to highlight and drive visitorship to locally owned and operated craft breweries.”

“When several breweries voiced their opinions on this topic, the CVB was dismissive and decided that it was more important to have one non-brewery business on the tour than all of the actual craft breweries who collaborated to make this happen.”

Visit Canton, also known as the Stark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, unveiled this week that Gervasi Vineyard — a major tourist destination in the community — would be a featured stop in the passport program.

That irked brewers, who said they were never informed ahead of time of Gervasi’s involvement. Gervasi is a winery and has plans to add a distillery. It doesn’t brew beer, although it does collaborate on exclusive beers with Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron.

Brewery tours generally don’t include non-breweries. For example, the Columbus Ale Trail and Summit Brew Path are focused only on breweries.

Visit Canton, which planned to launch the trail April 1, wanted to duplicate the success of the Akron-based Summit Brew Path.

The first Hall of Fame Hops program was set to feature: Canton, The Crush House at Gervasi, Fat Head’s, Lockport, Maize Valley, Mucky Duck, Paradigm Shift, Royal Docks and Sandy Springs. Shale and Muskellunge also were tentative locations, depending on their relocation and opening dates, respectively.

“We just couldn’t come to a point where myself and the other breweries were comfortable going forward with this,” said Turner, an award-winning brewer at the Marlboro Township brewery. “We decided it would be in our interest to do something on our own.”

Dave Sutula, the brewer at Royal Docks Brewing Co. in Jackson Township, agreed, saying he doesn’t believe the process was collaborative enough.

“They tried to do a good thing and wanted to do what’s right for them and what’s right for their constituency. But it’s not right for us,” he said.

The Stark County brewers will meet next week to start developing their own brewery tour, which they hope to kick off May 1. The plan is to offer a passport program, with a prize at the end for people who complete the full tour.

Sutula said he would like the program to mirror the successful Summit Brew Path. Royal Docks and Canton Beer Co. also are included on the Summit Brew Path and it will be important for both breweries to serve as a bridge between the Akron-based trail and the new Stark County one, he said.

The Stark County brewers also would like to include two nearby award-winning breweries that weren’t going to be included in the Hall of Fame Hops program — Millersburg Brewing Co. in Millersburg and JAFB Wooster Brewery in Wooster.

Visit Canton Vice President of Marketing & Communications Tonja Marshall said the tourism agency was caught off guard by the objection to include Gervasi and didn’t think the inclusion was unreasonable because of its relationship with Thirsty Dog. The group also was open to including others if they offered an exclusive craft beer.

Gervasi also didn’t ask to be featured, she wrote in an email to the brewers.

“While not all partners have pulled out of participating in the HOF Hops craft brew tour, we fully respect the [brewers’] rights to move forward with their own craft brewery passport that allows them full control over the decisions for inclusion,” she said in an email to the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com. “We would not look to move forward with anything that would be seen as a conflict or not be supported by the breweries.

“At this time the CVB will hold off on final decisions until next week, but in the meantime we continue working to explore how best to invest in the growth of tourism in Stark County.”

 

 

Ira Gerhart is the founder and brewer at Noble Creature Cask House in Youngstown. The brewery is located in the former Butler Memorial Presbyterian Church — one of several breweries operating in former churches in Ohio.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: I’ll never forget the first time I had a real craft beer. I was in college and all we would drink was Old German and Pabst, Don’t get me wrong. I still love a cold Pabst but when I had my first sip of Ommegang Rare Vos I was blown away. I had no idea that beer could actually taste like that. I was instantly hooked. Luckily I had a friend/teacher who was homebrewing and he taught me all about it and turned me on to all the books I needed to get started. I went to school for sculpture and was always tinkering around with things and to me brewing was just that perfect blend of art, science and engineering.

Q: What’s the story behind the name Noble Creature?

A: Noble Creature was our nickname for our pets. My wife and I got our first dog from the Mahoning County Dog Pound and Marcy would always call her Noble Creature. It just stuck with us over the years and seemed fitting for our little brewery. The original creature was a stray cat we took in named “Nergal” that looked like she could be in a black metal band. Unfortunately she got sick and we had to put her down but she was the inspiration for the cat skull in the logo. We thought it would be nice to pay tribute to Nergs because she was such a cool cat.

Q: What advice can you give future brewers to be successful?

A: I think from a brewing standpoint I would just say keep making beer, be open to constructive criticism, experiment, and just have fun with it. The possibilities are endless when it comes to brewing and there’s so much room to play around and find your own little niche.

It’s hard to tell from a commercial standpoint since we just opened and I wouldn’t call us successful other than the fact that we were finally able to open the doors, but on that end I would say stick to your guns and brew the beer you want to brew. Try not to get discouraged when someone gives you a bad review or says your beer isn’t hoppy enough, or sour enough, or that it doesn’t fit neatly into an existing beer style. You don’t always have to push the human palate to its threshold and sometimes a nuanced and balanced beer is just fine.

I think with so many breweries it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype and crank out beer that’s trending to be competitive in the market place, but even with all the new breweries, there’s still so much room for experimentation and self expression and I think that might be the key to success in the long run but what do I know!

Q: Usually I ask what a brewery’s best-selling beer is, but with yours being so new I’ll mix up this question. If someone drops into your brewery right now and can have only one of your beers, what beer do you hand them and why? (And no cheating and mentioning all your beers!)

A: Haha thats a tough one … I guess I’d start with asking them what they usually like to drink and go from there but if it were one of my friends and I know they trust me, I’d go with Fickle Mistress right now. It’s a Farmhouse IPA with a saison/brettanomyces blend and then dry hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Vic Secret. There is some fruity funk from the brett, a nice clean citrusy hop aroma, and it has a nice dry grainy finish. It’s one of my favorites right now and I’m surprised how many people seem to dig it around here since it’s definitely not your typical ale.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?

A: I don’t have any single beer in mind because they can vary so wildly but I guess my answer would be any truly wild “spontaneously” fermented beer. I love beers brewed in the Lambic tradition and the history and romanticism that’s inherent there. There is so much love and dedication that goes into those beers and I think that is the epitome of what craft beer should be all about. I know that’s probably not a real answer but that’s the best I can do!

Editor’s note: The Five questions with … feature appears each Friday. If you would like to participate or would like to nominate someone to participate, send me an email at [email protected].

 

JAFB Wooster Brewery is adding Crowlers.

The Wooster brewery plans to install a Dixie Canner Crowler machine Friday (Feb. 16) — so customers may be able to take beer to go in a 32-ounce can as soon as tomorrow. The brewery posted a screenshot of a Crowler with a Rain Delay IPA label last week, leading to excitement for JAFB fans.

Crowlers are common at many breweries but it’s a first for JAFB.

“It is amazing that we get a lot phone calls asking if we do Crowlers,” award-winning owner/brewer Paul Fryman said. “I’ve seen some breweries where it’s literally changed their business. We’ll find out what happens. People like to come to have that packaged product.

“I’m excited,” he added. “I’m finally doing something new and adding a little layer to the business.”

He has designed some labels for specific beers, including Rain Delay, a baseball-themed brew that won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015. The Rain Delay label features rain (duh), along with a palm tree and baseball bat. The palm tree represents the tropical nature of the beer.

Fryman also said he’s working on a plan to release his beer in 16-ounce cans, hopefully sometime this summer. He likely will start with a mobile canning operation but would like to eventually buy his own canning line.

 

Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. in Cincinnati will host a series of Lenten fish fry dinners beginning Friday (Feb. 16) and benefiting St. Francis Seraph Parish.

The dinners — costing $12 — will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. every Friday through March 23.

“It’s a great way to support St. Francis Seraph, meet your neighbors, enjoy a great meal and homemade desserts,” Franciscan friar Tim Sucher said in a prepared statement.

To read the full news release, see below:

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CHRISTIAN MOERLEIN BREWING COMPANY TEAMS WITH ST. FRANCIS SERAPH FOR ANNUAL LENTEN FISH FRY

Every Friday during Lent the Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom in Over-The-Rhine will host this event starting February 16th through March 23rd from 5:30-9PM

CINCINNATI – February 9, 2018 – Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. is excited to team up with St. Francis Seraph for their fourth annual Lenten Friday fish fry held at the Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom in Over-The-Rhine located at 1621 Moore Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. It will be held every Friday beginning February 16th and continuing through March 23rd from 5:30 – 9PM.

Fabulous beer battered cod filet fish dinners with two sides and dessert will be offered for $12 (Tax Extra). Cash or credit cards accepted. Free parking is available onsite.

Brother Tim Sucher, a Franciscan Friar has been heading up the annual fish fry for the past four years. “It’s a great way to support St. Francis Seraph, meet your neighbors, enjoy a great meal and homemade desserts,” said Brother Tim.

This year, Chef Marshall Mann and Olaf Scheil will be preparing the freshly beer battered fish and sides. The congregation of St. Francis will be providing the homemade desserts. “We are really excited for this team coming together to provide a quality meal for this year’s Lenten fish fry, “continued Brother Tim.

The Moerlein Malt House taproom will be pairing a wide range of freshly brewed beers every Friday for the fish fry. This will include its Moerlein Emancipator Doppelbock. Doppelbock was first brewed in Munich by the Franciscan Hermits of Paula in Munich Germany in 1634. Doppelbock, meaning “double bock”, is a higher alcohol version of the traditional bock. This beer served as “liquid bread” during fasting. Christian Moerlein’s Emancipator Doppelbock comes in at 7% ABV and 17.5 IBU, and is a tribute to the original Franciscan Hermits and the brewery’s neighbors the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. John the Baptist, serving at St. Francis Seraph and throughout the Midwest. “We are excited to have available our award winning Emancipator Doppelbock to honor our Franciscan neighbors from St. Francis Seraph and the original Franciscan Hermits of Paula from 1634 and their brewing of the first Doppelbock,” said Greg Hardman owner of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

# # #

About Christian Moerlein Brewing Company
German immigrant Christian Moerlein established his brewery in 1853 in the Brewery District of Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati. It grew to be a world-renowned brewery that helped put American brewing on the map in the late 1800s.

Jump forward to the modern era, and Christian Moerlein was the first American beer to pass the German Beer Purity Law of 1516 known as the Reinheitsgebot. Relaunched in 1981, Christian Moerlein was also one of the pioneer craft beers of today’s craft beer movement.

Purchased in 2004 by Greater Cincinnati resident Gregory Hardman, Moerlein continues the grand tradition of brewing excellence started in 1853 at its production facility and taproom in Over-the-Rhine and at the world-class Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park between Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium on the Ohio River. The Christian Moerlein brewing team has proudly brought back Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and legacy beer brands like Hudepohl, Little Kings and Burger. Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. is the first craft brewery to rescue a city’s brewing history and legacy beer brands.

The Moerlein Lager House Restaurant and Brewery is the crown jewel of the Queen City’s brewing world and is a tribute to the brewery’s founder, Christian Moerlein; as well as the other beer barons that helped create Cincinnati’s brewing legacy.

For more information about Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, please visit http://www.christianmoerlein.com or their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/christianmoerlein.

Two Northeast Ohio lawmakers are proposing that breweries be allowed to sell beer at farmers markets and to create an “Ohio Proud” certification program for beer and cider if they are made using Ohio-grown ingredients.

State Reps. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Martin J. Sweeney (D-Cleveland) announced their Ohio Proud Craft Beer Act on Tuesday. House Bill 509 has 25 co-sponsors.

“The goal of the Ohio Proud Craft Beer Act is to support every industry that plays a part in brewing craft beer,” Hambley said in a prepared statement. “This legislation not only supports Ohio barley growers, hop and fruit farmers, maltsters and craft brewers, but also consumers who want to know that what they are drinking was grown right here in the Buckeye State.”

H.B. 509 would allow the operators of farmers markets to apply for a new F-11 permit for $100 to allow the sale of one-ounce craft beer samples and packaged beer. No more than four craft brewers would be permitted at any farmers market. (Wine is allowed to be sold at farmers markets currently.)

The bill also would shut out Anheuser-Busch/InBev and MillerCoors based on the permit and production limitations.

The proposed legislation doesn’t specifically spell out how a beer would be certified as “Ohio Proud Craft Beer,” but says that the Ohio Department of Agriculture would develop the program. Hambley spokesman Brandon Sagraves said it would mirror the existing Ohio Proud program, which requires products to use at least 50 percent Ohio-grown ingredients to be declared “Ohio Proud.”

He anticipates that breweries would use more than 50 percent Ohio ingredients. (And no, while water is the main ingredient in beer and cider, water wouldn’t qualify toward that 50 percent, he added.)

Individual beers would qualify to use an “Ohio Proud” logo.

Hambley and Sweeney said they toured craft breweries and other operations around the state to develop the legislation.

“This bill is all about Ohio,” Sweeney said in a prepared statement. “There are great things happening with the craft beer scene in our state. Now Ohioans can be Ohio proud and the country can see what Ohio is all about.”

The Brewers Association has estimated that the craft beer industry has a $2.7 billion economic impact on Ohio. There are now more than 250 breweries operating in the state and the industry supports 15,762 jobs in the Buckeye State.

H.B. 509 is awaiting referral to a committee.

Hambley and Sweeney said the legislation is supported by the Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Craft Brewers Association, the Ohio Hop Growers Guild and others.

“As part of the growing trend toward buying local, an Ohio Proud designation for craft beer will help consumers to identify brewers who have made the commitment to source their ingredients locally,” Ohio Craft Brewers Association spokesman Justin Hemminger said. “Purchasing local encourages sustainability and contributes to the state’s economy at a higher factor. With enhanced awareness, consumer demand for craft beer made with Ohio-grown ingredients should allow farmers to increase acreage for hops, barley and other brew-essential crops, helping farms and small businesses to thrive. Giving Ohio craft breweries the opportunity to sell at farmers markets reinforces the message that craft beer is a product that depends on a healthy agricultural economy, while also giving consumers greater choice in the marketplace.”

 

Here are some interesting Ohio-related beer stories:

— WCPO reports on MadTree Brewing Co. celebrating its five-year anniversary with a weeklong celebration and conducts a Q&A with co-founder Brady Duncan who calls the first year at MadTree 2.0 “insane.” To read the full story, click here.

— The Toledo Blade provides an update on Flatrock Brewery & Distillery in Napoleon.”We try to make beer for everyone,” founder and brewer Lawrence Pritchard III says. “… We want to get people who have never tried craft beer before to come here and go out to other breweries.” To read the full story, click here. 

Cleveland.com reports on Market Garden Brewery’s new cans and a new barrel-aging program. “You just have to think what flavors will pair well (so) you won’t taste just bourbon,” brewmaster Andy Tveekrem says. To read the full story, click here.

— The Gnarly Gnome reports that Rhinegeist Stryker Imperial IPA will be released in 12-ounce cans. To read the full report, click here.

— The Columbus Dispatch reports that BrewDog USA is expanding distribution to Tennessee. To read the full story, click here.

— Columbus Business First reports that BrewDog is opening a brewery in Australia. To read the full story, click here.

 

The new Stark County brewery trail has an official name.

It’ll be called Hall of Fame Hops Stark County Craft Brewery Tour — or just Hall of Fame Hops for short.

The name makes sense, considering Stark County is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

“At first, we were thinking a more regional Stark County direction because our brewers are spread around the county but they all wanted to tie in with the Hall of Fame,” said Tonja Marshall, vice president of marketing and communication at Visit Canton, also known as the Stark County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “That’s our claim to fame and what we’ve hung our hat on.”

The trail kicks off April 1 and passports will be available at the participating breweries and within the 2018 Visit Canton Travel Guide.

The confirmed participating breweries and locations are: Canton, The Crush House at Gervasi (which partners with Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.), Fat Head’s, Lockport, Maize Valley, Mucky Duck, Paradigm Shift, Royal Docks and Sandy Springs. Shale and Muskellunge also are tentative locations, depending on their relocation and opening dates, respectively.

Everyone who finishes the tour will receive a commemorative bamboo flight board and be eligible for a drawing to win a package for two to the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week in August 2019. In subsequent years, the tourism agency plans to offer tasting glasses to fill out the flight board.

Visit Canton is still building the website but you can check it out at hofhops.com.

The Stark County trail is the latest brew path to pop up in Ohio. Others include the Columbus Ale Trail, Summit Brew Path and new Ohio-Pennsylvania Ale Trail.

Shale Brewing Co. will be on the move soon — and it’s finally opening a tasting room.

The production brewery, which bottles and produces brands such as Cold Rolled Pale Ale and Roughneck Red, is now located on Second Street SE in downtown Canton. But it’s one of only a few Ohio breweries without a taproom, leaving people to hunt down its beer in the retail market.

That problem will be solved when Shale moves into the space being vacated by Scenic Brewing Co. at 7253 Whipple Ave. NW in Jackson Township. (Scenic is closing, as the owners are relocating to the Columbus area.)

“We get asked all the time where can I get your beer around here?’” brewer Jason Gasper-Hulvat said. “It’ll be so nice to tell people that they can come down to the brewery and take a six-pack to go.”

The tasting room also will allow him to brew some different brands and should help people discover Shale.

The brewery had been looking for space for a tasting room and the Whipple Avenue site made sense, Gasper-Hulvat said. He’s excited about creating a brewing triangle in the area, with nearby Royal Docks and the soon-to-open Fat Head’s brewpub.

He’s not sure when Shale will be open at its new location because of the federal and state approval processes.

“The goal is this spring,” he said.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: The new Fat Head’s brewpub in suburban Canton has a tentative opening date of March 5.

That’s what everyone wants to know: When? When? When?

The anticipation has been building ever since the Middleburg Heights-based brewery announced plans to open in a strip mall in Plain Township in the Belden Village area. It’s not difficult to understand the enthusiasm.

Fat Head’s has taken home an astounding 21 medals at the Great American Beer Festival since its brewpub opened in 2009 in North Olmsted — and another six medals at the biennial World Beer Cup.

In other words, a world-class brewer is putting down roots in Stark County.

The Canton location, at 3885 Everhard Road, was appealing to Fat Head’s for several reasons. It’s in the restaurant-rich and heavily trafficked Belden Village area, has easy access to Interstate 77 and features ample parking.

The brewery’s philosophy is on full display in a neon sign as you walk in: “Chill out man, have a beer!”

The 10,000-square-foot brewpub has an open feel — different than its segmented brewpub in North Olmsted. It features a U-shaped bar with a live edge wooden bar top, big-screen televisions hanging above the bar, plenty of different kinds of seating with high-top tables, booths and low top tables, and glass garage doors in front that can be opened during nice weather.

There’s also an outdoor patio area with a fire pit, game room, a wall showcasing all the Fat Head’s awards and a giant Fat Head’s logo, which features a fat guy’s head painted on a red brick wall.

The 10-barrel JV Northwest brewhouse is behind glass, but the stainless steel fermenting tanks are exposed.

“We wanted to create a nice warm spot that has character,” said brewmaster and co-owner Matt Cole, who hopes the Canton site drives retail sales and brand awareness for Fat Head’s in the community.

He described the design a mix of rustic and industrial.

Cole and Will Polensek, who is the head brewer at the brewpub, have been busy making test batches in anticipation of the opening. Bumble Berry, a honey blueberry ale, was the first beer made on the new system.

Beer drinkers can expect award-winners such as Head Hunter IPA on the beer menu. Polensek, who started at Fat Head’s as a line cook and worked his way up to brewer, also will have the freedom to brew a couple beers specifically for the location.

Cole expects to have six beers available at the opening that were made at the brewpub, with other brands brought in from the Middleburg Heights brewery and some guest beers.

The food menu will be similar to the North Olmsted brewpub and Pittsburgh restaurant. Fat Head’s is known for sandwiches that are as big as someone’s head — thus the name of the place.

It will be Fat Head’s second brewpub. (A Portland, Ore., location has been rebranded.) It also operates a restaurant in Pittsburgh and is building a new production brewery and tasting room in Middleburg Heights along Interstate 71. As far as the Middleburg Heights opening, the tentative date for that brewery is June 1.

Fat Head’s is joining a Stark County craft beer scene that already is home to the Canton, Maize Valley, Paradigm Shift, Royal Docks, Sandy Springs and Shale breweries.

Cole is excited for the opening.

“I hope people come out and try us,” he said.

The National IPA Championships — sponsored by The Brewing News — kick off later this week, with Ohio breweries being well-represented in the various competitions.

The event features four different contests, as the beer publication intends to crown separate IPA, imperial IPA, session IPA and specialty IPA winners.

It works like the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament — there’s even an opportunity for folks to play along by filling out a beer bracket. Beers are paired up against each other and whittled down until there is only one champion. The judging begins this week (Feb. 15) and will culminate in early March.

Breweries from throughout the U.S. have entered.

Here are the beers from Ohio:

IPAs from Ohio

• The Brew Kettle White Rajah

• Fat Head’s Head Hunter

• North High IPA

• Platform Speed Merchant,

Seventh Son The Scientist 

• Wolf’s Ridge Earthrise

Imperial IPAs from Ohio

• The Brew Kettle El Lupulo Libre

• Fat Head’s Hop JuJu

• Great Lakes Commodore Perry

• Great Lakes Hop Madness

• North High Stardust to Stardust

• Seventh Son Proliferous

• Wolf’s Ridge Howling Moon

Session IPAs from Ohio

• Fat Head’s Sunshine Daydream

• Wolf’s Ridge Driftwood

Specialty IPAs from Ohio

• The Brew Kettle FN Awesome

• The Brew Kettle Black Rajah

• Fat Head’s Midnight Moonlight

• Seventh Son Goo Goo Muck Tart

• Wolf’s Ridge Coconut Howling Moon

Fat Head’s Head Hunter and Sunshine Daydream, along with The Brew Kettle El Lupulo Libre are past champions. In fact, Head Hunter has won the IPA competition twice.

To see all the entries, click here.