Brew Week Close Celebrates Hard-Working Brewers

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Ohio Brew Week is full of recognition for local and state brewers, and some of them gave back with signature and unique brews.

Wyatt Routson, head brewer at Willoughby Brewing Co., enjoyed the skeptical looks and questions about the Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter he was serving during Last Call for Brew Week on Saturday.

“People are skeptical about it and then they are surprised at how much they like it,” Routson said of the beer that won a specialty beer award at the 2014 World Beer Cup.

The small company out of Northeast Ohio said they enjoy events like Brew Week because they interact with people they may not see otherwise.

“It’s good exposure,” Routson said. “We’re a company about 20 minutes east of Cleveland but we’re looking to expand outside of that and these kind of events help us with that.”

Brew Week was a hit this year for the crowds as well, according to Brew Week’s new director, Weston Lombard. Even with the misting rain that threatened Last Call on Saturday, events were well attended, Lombard said.

Brewers who are veterans to the event said the crowd looked larger this year, and the rain didn’t really affect their business.

“It brings so many people together in one location,” said Jay Wince, co-owner of Weasel Boy Brewing, out of Zanesville.

Wince said this was the seventh year that Weasel Boy had made an appearance at Brew Week and they enjoy the small town atmosphere and the mix of people that they see.

“There’s white collar and blue collar, young people and older, more retirement age people,” Wince said. “It’s a good barometer for us.”

Weasel Boy had some of their signature beers out for attendees, contrary to others like Willoughby Brewing that brought brews for the daring crowd.

“Brewmasters are artists,” said Mark Bivenour, executive vice president of The Brew Kettle in Strongsville. “They’re like chefs who play in the kitchen and see what flavors work.”

The flavor Bivenour brought for Brew Week was a strong one. He brought one of about 60 barrels The Brew Kettle has made of their El Lupelo Libre, a double-hopped India Pale Ale with smoked habenero infused through it. He said adventurous beer-drinkers had been visiting him steadily on Saturday.

The fact that Brew Week in Athens celebrates the local brewers was one of the many reasons Bivenour said he enjoyed the event.

“(Organizers) do a great job, and it’s good to see all Ohio breweries here,” Bivenour said. “You get to talk with people and hear what they like. It’s wonderful.”