If you need a reason to leave the safe, soothing confine of the 270 loop, look no further than Athens, Ohio–a mere 90 minute drive from your beloved Columbus. Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to Athens than a rockin’ Halloween Party and OU– Athens is home to Ohio Brew Week, an annual festival of all things Ohio and all things beer.
Like last year’s festival, the Seventh Annual Ohio Brew Week will span eight days while packing the schedule with tastings, dinners, celebrations, and speakers. Barbecue, brewers, beer, and music–and that’s just the tip.
This year’s keynote, Greg Hardman of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. in Cincinnati, will co-host an author and brewer dinner with Mike Morgan, author of “Over-The-Rhine,” titled after Cincinnati’s historic brewing district. Both Hardman and Morgan are passionate about Cincinnati’s brewing revival and as an OU alum, Hardman is excited to bring the story back to Athens.
Participating breweries include Columbus’ own Barley’s, CBC, Elevator, Gordon Biersch, Neil House and Rockmill, as well as Buckeye Beer Engine (Lakewood), Black Box Brewing (Westlake), The Brew Kettle (Stongsville) , Buckeye Brewing (Cleveland), Cellar Rats Brewery (Madison), Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. (Cincinnati), Cornerstone Brewing (Berea), Fathead’s Brewery (North Olmsted), Founders, the guest brewery this year from Michigan, Granite City Brewery (Toledo), Great Black Swamp Brewing (Toledo), Great Lakes Brewing (Cleveland), Jackie O’s (Athens), Lager Heads (Medina), Main Street Brewing (Garretsville), Marietta Brewing (Marietta), Maumee Bay Brewing (Toledo), Mt. Carmel Brewing (Cincinnati), Ohio Brewing (Akron), The Rivertown Brewing Company (Lockland), Rocky River Brewing (Rocky River), Thirsty Dog Brewing (Akron), Willoughby Brewing (Willoughby), Weasel Boy Brewing (Zanesville) and Yuengling from PA.
Read below for highlights from the event’s schedule, or click through to Ohio Brew Week’s full listing of events.
Friday, June 22
6pm: Rock n’ Roast at the OU Inn, 331 Richland Ave.
Join Columbus’ own Elevator Brewing Co. for BBQ and beer on the Ohio University Inn’s patio. Get in on the pig roast, or try Elevator’s special release, the Rock n’ Roast Wheat Ale.
Saturday, June 23
12pm-10pm: Annual Spicebush Festival at the Dairy Barn, 8000 Dairy Lane
The Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center will host Chris Chmiel of Integraton Acres, a nationally-recognized expert on native edible plants during the Spicebush Festival, which will have live music, arts and crafts, and of course beer. Jackie O’s brewer Brad Clark has created two different beers from the leaves and the stems of the spicebush, while Buckeye Brewing Co.’s Garin Wright has made a beer using the plant’s berries. Local distiller, Kelly Sauber of Dancing Tree, has made a special gin highlighting the spicebush. Admission is $5.00, which directly benefits the Dairy Barn.
Sunday, June 24
9am-3pm: Beer Brunch at Sol Restaurant, 33 North Court St.
Sol Restaurant will feature several beer themed items in addition to its normal brunch offerings. Enjoy a Michelada or Beermosa while eating biscuits and beer gravy made with chorizo sausage or a steak and eggs breakfast.
Monday, June 25
7pm: Beer and Cheese tasting, Casa Cantina, 6 West State St.
Join Integration Acres and Laurel Valley Creamery and sample some of Ohio’s best artisanal cheeses, along with craft brews from Great Lakes Brewing Co., Weasel Boy Brewing Co., Rivertown Brewing Co., Elevator Brewing Co., Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery, Elevator Brewing Co. and Brew Kettle. Cheese plates are $10, and beer samples will run you $1.50 per 6oz sample, $5.00 for 4, or $10.00 for the full eight.
Tuesday, June 26
6pm: Distiller’s Forum, Casa Cantina, 6 West State St.
Columbus’ own Dave Rigo of Watershed Distillery and Ryan Lang of Middle West Spirits will join other Ohio Distillers from Dancing Tree Distillery, Brew Kettle, and Buckeye Vodka to discuss their foray into Ohio-made spirits. Samples will cost $2 a piece, up to four total.
Wednesday, June 27
6pm: Brewer’s Forum, Casa Cantina, 6 West State St.
Join brewers from Great Lakes Brewing Company, Jackie O’s, Thirsty Dog Brewing Co., Brew Kettle, Elevator, Weasel Boy Brewing Co., Rivertown Brewing Co. and Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. to have your craft brewing questions answered and to hear about craft brewing in Ohio. Admission is free, and samples of beer will run at $1.50 for a 6 oz. sample, $5 for 4 samples, or $10 for eight.
Thursday, June 28
5pm: Casa Nueva and Great Lakes Collaborative Dinner, Casa Cantina, 6 West State St.
Prix fixe menu featuring appetizer, salad, entree and dessert– all made with a GLBC product. Meal price will be per person.
Friday, June 29
12pm-10pm: BrewBQ, West Union St. around Athens Train Depot
Featuring live music and delicious barbecue, the BrewBQ will have a craft beer garden, a barleyhole tournament, Lion’s Club Classic Car Cruise-In., arts and crafts, and food vendors. Admission is free.
Saturday, June 30
2pm-6pm: Brews on the Block, West Union Street from Congress to Court St.
Celebrate the 2012 Ohio Brew Week at this celebratory finale of an event. Live music and beer will be available, along with food, arts & crafts, and other vendors. Admission is free.