Cleveland Beer Week starts today! Every year so far, I’ve featured a bunch of events I think are worth attending, but there’s really no wrong place to be if you’ve got a great craft beer in your hand. Check out the list at ClevelandBeerWeek.org and plan your itinerary. Here are my picks to get you started – for each day I picked my choice for an event and a special keg tapping. I hope you find some inspiration here and I hope to see you out and about!
Collaboration Kickoffs – The last few years, Cleveland Beer Week kicked off with a beer dinner called Grains vs. Grapes. This year, 15 local breweries teamed up to make 6 different one-off beers exclusively for Cleveland Beer Week and the opening event is more of a celebration of local culture than food, beer and wine. To kick it off right, this one-of-a-kind event will take place in 5 different neighborhoods: Tremont, Ohio City, Coventry, Lakewood and East 4th Street. You’ll get to try each beer and enjoy a brisk autumn walk in-between venues as you bar hop with some great fellow beer lovers. This event is so cool, it counts as the event of the day and the tapping of the day!
United: A collaborative Beer Brunch between Fatheads and Victory – My pick for the event of the day starts early but is worth waking up for. Victory is easily my favorite brewery on planet Earth. Why? Because they make elegant examples of simple beer styles so well that I would rather drink their pilsner than any sour, barrel aged stout or trillion IBU IPA. United is a collaboration between Victory and my favorite Ohio brewery, Fat Heads. It promises to be a delicious beer, and this event will rock. Come say hi to Victory owner/brewer Bill Covaleski and enjoy a pint or two!
Bell’s Jazz Series at Stampers – Bells has some beers that rarely, if ever, show up in Ohio. Three of these rare beers will be on tap at Stampers starting at 9:00 PM, and they’re all inspired by Jazz instruments. This trio of French Biere de Garde style brews are each distinct and delicious. I had the chance to try all of them a few years ago and I can’t wait to taste them again!
Culture Yourself – What goes best with beer? No, the answer isn’t more beer (although I like it) – cheese is the correct response, of course! If you attend Culture Yourself, you’ll become a beer and cheese pairing expert as you taste your way through 25 two ounce pours from some of the region’s best breweries, each accompanied by a cheese of your choice or an expertly paired combination. It may sound cheesy because it is!
Southern Tier Live Pale Ale Keg Tapping – Stop by the Winking Lizard in Bedford Heights, Cleveland Heights, Gateway, Independence or Lakewood to be the first on your block to taste Southern Tier’s first foray into the world of bottle conditioned beer. This Cleveland Beer Week sneak peak will make you feel alive!
SOHO, Momocho and Goose Island Beer Company Join Forces – Goose Island always brings some goodies out to the Cleveland Beer Week party, and this year is no different. What could be better than pairing excellent Goose ales with tasty food from Momocho and SOHO? The latin inspired dishes and small plates will perfectly compliment Goose Island Marisol, an amazing Chicago-only beer that’s making an appearance just for this event. Aye aye aye, this combination promises to be muy calliente!
Smuttynose Short Weisse at the Independence Winking Lizard and Lizardville East – Smuttynose has a small batch program of beers that normally don’t see distribution except for a few hundred bottles and very, very limited draft. Combine the scarcity of this beer with the fact that it’s my favorite style (Berliner Weiss is light wheat beer that’s slightly tart and completely awesome) and you have a can’t miss tapping!
Heavy Metal Beer Dinner at Greenhouse Taverne – This is it, an event a year in the making. There will be amazing hardcore beers from Left Hand and Three Floyds. There will be live metal bands shredding the roof off the Greenhouse. And there will be Chef Sawyer’s delicious and creative food. Easily the coolest themed event, and that’s coming from me – a guy many would consider the hippie type. Not exactly, I can headbang with the best of them, and this looks to be a great chance to throw down!
Willoughby Cask Night – Ok, so maybe this isn’t exactly a specialty keg tapping. Instead of traditional kegs, Willoughby will make you lose your firkin mind with some tasty cask beers, including some one-offs and combinations never poured before and, quite possibly, never again. Don’t miss this great showcase of beers from Cleveland’s hottest up-and-coming (or come-backing) brewery!
Tremont Industry Walks – Join two of Cleveland’s best distributors as they stroll around Tremont, drinking special beers at every stop. The folks at Premium start at Edison’s at 5:30 while the Cavalier team heads out from Prosperity at 6:00. There are some awesome events in the bars on the crawls, so you’ll not only be hanging with the people who bring in the good stuff to the area, you’ll be sipping big beers with the big boys and girls!
Scratch and Splinter 2 – It’s been a few years since the Lizard had a Troegs event like this. Come out and enjoy a few awesome beers from Troegs, including a few Scratch beers that rarely, if ever, make it outside of the brewery and a case of Splinter Black, the mysterious wood aged stout that is, like, next to impossible to find. This was the best event 2 years ago, and I bet it’s even better this year. Don’t resist the urge to scratch!
Fat Heads Stone Tap Takeover and Dinner with Mitch Steele – Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing will be in town to team up with Matt Cole at Fat Heads for a stellar day of collaboration brewing and tap takeovers all capped off with an awesome dinner featuring the best each brewery has to offer. Mitch literally wrote the book on brewing IPA’s and he’ll also be signing. This is one event I guarantee you’ll Enjoy By the moment you walk in!
Columbus Brewing Company at Rozi’s and Deagan’s – Columbus Brewing is one of Ohio’s finest. These guys live for beer and their passion is contagious. Between their excellent interpretations of classic styles and their crowd-pleasing hoppy beers, you can’t go wrong when you’re drinking a Columbus. Rozi’s and Deagan’s team up for a great smattering of the best Columbus has to offer so come up and meet Tony and Eric and your fellow Ohio beer fans!
Food Truck Fandango at Southside – This was easily the best sleeper event of last year, so don’t hit the snooze button again. Sierra Nevada and Ohio’s GABF Gold Medal winning Weasel Boy team up for a night of fantastic beers paired with the best local food trucks. Featured brews include Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal (the Jedi of the sea), Wine Barrel Aged Ovila Dubbel and Weasel Boy Brewing’s golden girl Anastasia!
Troegs Tap Takeover at Rozi’s – Wait a second Bobby? Troegs gets another shout-out? We thought you were a Founders Fanboy! Nope, not when Troegs breaks out the crazy good stuff for Cleveland Beer Week. They are the Midsize Brewery of the year according to the folks at that little event in Denver called the Great American Beer Festival. Come meet Mike Waters and taste some awesome brews, including a special appearance by Splint..err.., well, you’ll see!
Brewzilla – Need I say more? Well, maybe so. If you don’t know about Brewzilla, you’ve already missed three of the best beer events ever in Cleveland. Don’t make it a fourth. If you can only make one event, this is the one. Brewzilla is the grand tasting to end Cleveland Beer week and features more than 70 brewries pouring literally hundreds of beers and great food too. Get your ticket now and have a wonderful Cleveland Beer Week!
Cheers to (Cleveland) Beers! It really is the best week of the year! Be safe and have fun whatever you decide to do!
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