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Ohio Brew Week rolls back into Athens for it's 11th year starting July 15. (ohiobreweek.com)
Ohio Brew Week rolls back into Athens for it's 11th year starting July 15. (ohiobreweek.com)

Ohio Brew Week 2016 Slated For July 15-23

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Back in 2008, Brandon Thompson just wasn’t much of a “craft beer guy.”

“I just didn’t really care that much, I was the guy who ordered Miller Lite or Bud Lite,” said Thompson. “But then I went to the Pigskin during Brew Week with some of my friends and I tried the Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter from the Willoughby Brewing Company; and I was like, ‘this is really good.’”

Fast forward eight years, and Thompson is the executive director of Ohio Brew Week in Athens, which is slated this year for July 15-23. Kick started in 2005 by beloved local brewer John Sparhawk, the weeklong celebration of fancy brews and general summertime joviality in Athens has proved to be quite a successful one, continually growing in scope and popularity with each passing year.

If you haven’t ever experienced Brew Week, this is how it works: numerous craft breweries agree to take part in the event and then Thompson needs to work with the various bars and restaurants in Athens to figure out where each of those taps are going to be throughout the week.

“Some breweries might be in one spot all week or they night be in multiple places,” said Thompson. “Basically, it’s organized so that people can move around to different places and try different beers, while seeing Athens at the same time.”

Thompson said that oftentimes bars will run out of various brews throughout the week, making it a bit tough to keep track of the 200+ beers being poured all around town. In order to stay on top of which brew is where, Thompson recommends downloading the handy-dandy Brew Week app, which is updated daily to let drinkers know where they can go for each artisan brew.

(ohiobrewweek.com)
(ohiobrewweek.com)

Although Thompson said that most of the 2016 Brew Week events mirror the 2015 ones, beer lovers can look forward to a slightly different Last Call experience on July 23.

“For the first time we’re allowing brewers who weren’t a part of the larger Brew Week to be a part of Last Call,” said Thompson, mentioning that the event will entail, as per usual, shutting down Court Street, making it a glass free zone and allowing brewers to serve their wares in an outdoor setting, complete with live music.

“On the same day as last call, Central Venue is actually holding a root beer event, which I think is really great,” said Thompson. “Because if you’re a recovering alcoholic, something like Brew Week would just be terrible for you. The fact that Central Venue has agreed to put on an alternative event like this just shows how creative and resourceful people in Athens can be.”

The root beer event will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature locally brewed root beer by Devil’s Kettle Brewing, live music and family-friendly events like face painting and spin art.
“I’m from Athens, and I just love Athens events. Brew Week is awesome, my roommates don’t come back for homecoming or anything like that, but they come back for Brew Week,” said Thompson. “The summer in Athens is just so nice, and this event is something that just allows people to come down to Court Street and have a good time.”

For a complete list of Brew Week events, visit the Brew Week website.