Updated Wed, Jun 19, 2013 9:58 am
Now in its eighth year of celebrating Ohio craft brew excellence, Ohio Brew Week is hosting more events and more breweries than ever before.
More than 40 Ohio craft breweries, including nine new ones, are bringing more than 200 craft brews to Athens, Ohio, June 21-29.
Taps in 33 venues will flow with original Ohio craft brews during the eight-day event.
Visitors from all over the U.S. come to Athens to enjoy craft brew dinners and formal beer tastings, meet a brewer and learn about Ohio’s growth in the craft brew industry.
Events feature locally produced foods (made or paired with craft brews), brewers’ talks, new beer debuts, beer and cheese pairings and a nano-brewing symposium.
The week kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21 with a Rock ‘n’ Roast barbeque at the Ohio University Inn. On Sunday, June 23, two restaurants will host brew brunch and brew dinners: Sol Restaurant (Cuban food) and The Pub, where Keynote speaker Bill Metzger will talk about his experiences as a publisher of Brewing News. The Official Keg Tap Ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24.
The Athens Cuisine Showcase (6 p.m., Tuesday, June 25) features locally-grown foods made with craft beer in a friendly competition cook-off. Ticket holders get to sample gourmet dishes and then enjoy The Stars of Illusion Hollywood impersonators.
New events to OBW this year highlight some of the unusual places and tales of the Athens Area. The Athens County Historical Society and Museum will host the first Historical Walking Tour of Pubs & Taverns on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Interpretative actors may pop out of the woodwork to tell tales of uptown Athens’ colorful history.
The popular Haunted Hocking bus tour returns on Thursday, June 27. Ticket holders ride a bus and listen to ghost experts Pat and Jeannette Quackenbush share stories of the most haunted places in the area and try out ghost-hunting gear. Tours are at 3:30 and 6 p.m.
Have you ever had a craft beer in a castle? On Thursday, a special lunch and early evening light dinner will be hosted at Ravenwood Castle in New Plymouth. The castle, owned by Pam and Jim Reed, serves as a bed & breakfast with a pub. A bus takes patrons to and from Athens for both meals where new breweries’ beers will be sampled.
The Eighth Brew BBQ (Friday, June 28) features more activities and live music, as well as a wide variety of brew barbeque. Take part in a Barleyhole Competition, see the Athens Lion’s Club antique car show, enter your dog in the Dog Days of Summer Talent Show and enjoy Ohio craft beer in the beer garden while listening to local bands Russell P. Lewis, Thomas Dirk and The Bob Stewart Band.
Also new this year is the OBW "Last Call" Brews on the Block Finale. On Saturday, June 29, the north end of Court Street will be closed for live music, including Leave Corp at 3 p.m.; Jen Miller with The Keg Dwellers at 4:30 p.m.; Greg O’Brien & the Spoo Doo Cadillacs at 6:15 p.m.; and The Slater Brothers at 7:45 p.m. In addition, The Smiling Skull Saloon will host a "Ms. Plumber’s Crack" competition at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 27.
Art and craft booths will line the street along with regional food vendors. An arts fair will also take place during this event.
"This is like the state fair of Ohio craft brews. All the breweries in the state enjoy being part of OBW and supporting an event that really shows off their craft and talent," said Dan Gates, executive director of Ohio Brew Week. "Our unique community offers the most unusual setting for trying all these excellent craft brews. You don’t really have to drive, the bartenders are excited for OBW, and the brewers love to chat with craft beer fans."
Casa Cantina will host a brewers forum, formal beer dinners, beer and cheese tastings and specialty foods all week. Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, the only brewery in Athens, will have formal tastings, debut its new tasting room and host "meet the brewer" events, along with a vast selection of new brews from brewer Brad Clark.
A full schedule of Ohio Brew Week events, beers, breweries and food selections is at www.ohiobrewweek.com.