Cleveland has long loved beer. Pre-prohibition, the city had 26 local beer makers feeding Ohio’s insatiable thirst for brands like Carling’s Black Label, Erin Brew and P.O.C. Today, both Cleveland and Akron have replanted those local brewing roots firmly in the craft beer boom, offering a fantastic array of community beer makers with awesome names like Fathead’s Brewery, Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. and (of course) Great Lakes Brewing Co. (which is celebrating 25 years in 2013).
Complementing those brewhouses, huge beer celebrations are coming to Cleveland this fall and winter — namely the fifth-annual Cleveland Beer Week will raise pints from Oct. 18-26. Cleveland Beer Week has garnered a reputation as one of the best beer weeks in the nation. To kick off the week, 16 northeast Ohio breweries collaborate to create seven, small-batch brews and during the week the fest features 350-plus events at 125 venues throughout greater Cleveland. The best part: CBB is based in Cleveland, so be sure to strap in for some fun that week.
The nine-day celebration of craft brews (especially Ohio-based breweries) will feature hundreds of keg tapping, beer sipping events at bars, restaurants and grocers throughout Cuyahoga County. Established in 2009 as the first event of its kind in northeast Ohio, Cleveland Beer Week is a not-for-profit, collaborative celebration that raises awareness of the craft beer industry — particularly the rich tradition of brewing in Ohio — and promotes patronage at local establishments. More than 350 events are planned and include beer tastings, food pairings and dinners, limited edition keg tappings, leisure activities and educational programs. Cleveland Beer Week also features various flagship events that raise funds to support a local charity.
“We are pleased to again partner with Jimmy Malone and the Malone Scholarship Fund in 2013,” says Christine Montague, event director. “All net proceeds from our flagship events benefit this important Fund that has provided nearly $2 million in higher education scholarships to area students.”
All Cleveland Beer Week events, including detailed descriptions and ticket information, are posted on the organization’s website. Visitors to the website may search events by date, venue, brewery or neighborhood and select events of interest to create their own personal itinerary.
Cleveland Beer Week’s flagship events include:
- The official opening ceremony, “Collaboration Kickoffs” start off the week on Friday, October 18, from 7-10 p.m., and feature seven collaboration brews at retail locations in each of five neighborhoods including East 4th, Lakewood, Tremont, Ohio City and Cedar/Lee. The small-batch brews, created specifically for Cleveland Beer Week by 16 northeast Ohio breweries, will only be available together on draft for the Collaboration Kickoffs and then singularly, in limited supply, at brewery and other retail locations.
- For the Cedar/Lee Collaboration Kickoff, Cleveland Beer Week has partnered with FutureHeights to produce the first annual Heights Music Hop. The Hop is a free music-focused event taking place from 6-10 p.m. Main stages at The Social Room, The Wine Spot, Phoenix Coffee, Lopez and The Stone Oven will host two acts each, ranging from rock to folk to jazz to bluegrass. Other merchants and institutions on Lee Road will offer additional musical performances. Patrons purchasing tickets to the Cedar/Lee Collaboration Kickoff will enjoy tasting all collaboration beers while listening to the free music offerings of The Hop.
The brewery collaborations include:
- Willoughby Brewing Co. and The Brew Kettle: Collaborator, a Dopplebock (9 percent ABV)
- Market Garden, Indigo Imp & Rocky River: Tallboy Wheat, a Cocoa and Hazelnut Dunkelweisen (6 percent ABV)
- Thirsty Dog & Portside: Evil Monk, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Belgian Tripel (11 percent ABV)
- Lager Heads & Cornerstone: Pancake Porter, a maple, bacon and coffee Oatmeal Porter (6.5 percent ABV)
- Fat Heads & Chardon BrewWorks: Wango Tango Mango, an India Pale Ale (7.5 percent ABV)
- Buckeye, Black Box & Ohio Brewing: Tripel Cherry Delight, a Belgian Tripel with cherries (10 percent ABV)
- Great Lakes & Cellar Rats: Berlot, a strong ale aged in wine barrels (9.5 percent ABV)
Advance tickets are required for Collaboration Kickoffs and are $25/person. Included are samples of all collaborative beers across five locations in the chosen neighborhood. Collaboration Kickoffs are sponsored by Heinen’s.
A new flagship event, “Lebowski Bowling with Lagunitas” will take place from 7-11 p.m. at the Lakewood Winking Lizard (14018 Detroit Ave., Lakewood) on Saturday, October 19. Featuring bowling, a costume contest, and a screening of The Big Lebowski movie, patrons will also enjoy a showcase of Lagunitas beers including IPA, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Little Sumpin’ Wild, and a super-exclusive beer to be announced. Prizes will be awarded for best bowler, worst bowler, best average score, and best costume. Non-bowlers are encouraged to hit the Loony Lebowski Lane to free throw and win prizes for most strikes in a row, hitting the colored pin, and calling your roll. Advance tickets are required at $15/person and include two ½ games of bowling, two beer tickets and an appetizer buffet. Additional pints are available for purchase. Teams and bowling times will be assigned onsite; ticket holders showing up together will be assigned together. For every strike bowled or extra pint purchased, Lagunitas will donate $1 to the Malone Scholarship Fund (separate from the net proceeds contribution made by Cleveland Beer Week).
“Culture Yourself: A Premier Beer and Cheese Pairing” returns to Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s tasting room (2701 Carroll Avenue, Cleveland) on Sunday, October 20. Because of its popularity, two sessions are available at 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Culture Yourself features 14 top breweries pouring beers that have been carefully paired with artisanal cheeses. Patrons can learn what cheeses showcase best with popular beer styles and why, including IPA, weisse/wheat, pilsner, imperial IPA, Oktoberfest, Belgian golden and Belgian tripel. Brewers, cheesemakers and cheese experts will be on hand for this interactive, educational, walk-around tasting event. Advance tickets are required at $35/person and include 25 2-ounce beer samples and cheese pairings. Culture Yourself is sponsored by Great Lakes Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, and The Cheese Shop at the historic Westside Market.
Cleveland Beer Week will conclude with “BREWzilla: A Monster of a Beer Tasting,” on Saturday, October 26, from 6-10 p.m. at the Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland (1301 East Ninth Street, Cleveland OH). BREWzilla will feature more than 80 breweries, a special “Ohio Brewery” area with various beers from local breweries, a Gnome Garden that features Belgian beers, and appetizers that pair well with craft brews. Advance tickets are required for all ticketing options. Brewer’s Circle tickets are $75 and include expedited VIP entrance, tastes of rare/exclusive brews, food pairings in the “Brewer’s Circle Lounge” open all evening, a commemorative Cleveland Beer Week t-shirt, 25 tasting tickets, 3 oz. tasting glass, and access to all general admission perks. General Admission tickets are $50 include 25 tasting tickets, a 3 oz. tasting glass, and complimentary appetizers. Purchase 10 or more General Admission tickets and save $5/ticket. Designated Driver tickets are also available at $15/person. Brewzilla is sponsored by Market District.