So how was your Ohio beer year? Did you discover some new favorite Ohio brews or breweries? For me, I found a few new breweries that are destined for return visits. The new brewery in Wooster for one. JAFB Wooster Brewing makes good beer and has a huge tasting room that is reminiscent of German beer halls. No food is served but you're welcome to bring your own or order in from adjacent restaurants. Rock Mill in Lancaster is another that I visited for the first time in 2012 (but opened in 2010). Specializing in Belgian style beers in a wonderfully tranquil scenic setting, you just might not know you were in Ohio.
The list of new breweries in Ohio in 2012 is long: Blank Slate, Dos Neighbors, Double Barrel, Flatrock, Granville Brewing, Born Brewing, Hazards, Homestead Beer Co, Zauber Brewing, Wooster, Nano Brew Cleveland, 50 W Brewing, Wooster Brewing, Hoof Hearted, and Homestead Brewing. Whew! Did I miss any?
Market Garden is little more than a year old, but is rapidly becoming a major player in the Ohio beer scene... along with their Nano Brew Cleveland small batch brewery. And then we have our old favorites that are doing new things. Fat Head's Brewery opened a new production brewery in 2012 and is now expanding its distribution. And the list of breweries that have expanded their capacity and production is too numerous for me to keep track of them all. Hoppin' Frog had a new collaboration series this year with a number of European breweries. Weasel Boy brewing brought home its first gold medal from the Great American Beer Fest.
Another noticeable thing is the availability of good beer now. You can now get growlers to go at your local grocery store or beer store. That has expanded greatly in 2012. 2012 has also seen the greater interest in and availability of sour ales...long one of my favorite styles of beer.
2012 also saw an increase in the number of beer fests. It's hard to keep track of them all, and expect that to continue with the growing interest in craft beer. Craft beer is the "new normal." Fifteen years ago it was hard to find good beer, and some of us learned how to brew so we could afford to drink good beer. Today's folks who are now having their first beer have lots of choices and can have a different good beer every day and still not run out of choices. That's a good thing!
And what's on tap for 2013? A new Granite City Brewery in Lyndhurst (a chain that owns a site in Toledo area currently) and a new microbrewery in Millersburg, Ohio, and Madcap Brewing in Stow, Ohio? They have applied for licenses along with Bucks Brewing, Yellow Springs Brewery, Toxic Brew, Staas Brewing, Madtree, Father Johns Bryan Brewing, Franklin Brewing, and Findlay Brewing Company. Let's see what happens. So raise your glass to 2013 and more good beer to come!
Oh.. check out the slide show attached. It's from the Brewzilla beer fest in October. One the year's best beer fests and scheduled again for October 26, 2013. Save the date!