'Beer Week' celebrates craft beers

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A look at the schedule for Cincinnati’s first Beer Week, which begins
Thursday, indicates just how much craft beer has taken over the
imagination of beer drinkers in Cincinnati.

More than 70 events at 46 locations are scheduled for the week. All
explore beer from local and national breweries dedicated to making
unique, high-quality beers.

Though Cincinnati may be a little late to the party compared to other
parts of the country, the wave of interest in craft beer here has
taken off. “It’s been on the fast track nationally for about 25
years,” said Mike Dewey, brewer of Mount Carmel Brewery, one of a
handful of local breweries, which he owns with his wife Kathleen..
“Locally it’s been on the fast track about 5 years.”

Beer Week both celebrates the profusion of bars and restaurants, home
brewers and micro-brewers who have taps featuring craft brews and
seeks to educate anyone interested in stepping out of their
national-brand beer-drinking habits. “When you drink the same domestic
light beer every day, it‘s just boring,” said Lindsey Bonadonna,
co-chair of the organizing committe When you try an IPA or wheat beer,
say, it makes things interesting. Introduce new beers and you might
change your perspective.”

It’s a festival originating at the grassroots, say the organizers, in
the spirit of the craft beer movement in general, which sprang up from
small independent brewers. There are no corporate sponsors.

“It was important to us that everyone on the committee separate
themselves from their commercial association,” said Bonadonna. The
committee includes representatives from restaurants, bars, breweries,
home brewing clubs and what you could call the beer- drinking

Some of the impetus for organizing a week came from a desire to
commemorate the growth in beer appreciation that’s been happening in
Cincinnati “There’s a perception of Cincinnati that’s just not
accurate,” said Bonadonna, though other cities, such as Cleveland,
have had beer weeks and festivals for some time. “We may not have the
options of larger cities, but we are catching up,” said Dewey.

Events include pint nights, dinners, home-brewing demonstrations,
meet-the-brewer evenings, and beer invasions, events where all the
taps at a bar are given to one brewery. “There are events for anyone
from people new to this to real beer geeks,” said Bonnadonna.

A special beer was created for Beer Week: Cincinnati Beer Week
American Barleywine Ale, which was brewed collaboratively by the
brewers from Mount Carmel, Rockbottom, Moerlein, Red Ear, Rivertown
and Listermann’s. It has been bottled and is available at retail beer
stores. It’s a beer that will benefit from being aged, and the plan is
to make a different such beer each year for the Week.

At the Lackman Bar on Vine Street, manager Tabb Harrison has been
planning some special events for awhile.

Their first event of the week will feature five beers from Epic
Brewing Co. of Salt Lake City. “These are beers you just won’t be able
to try any other time,” he said. On Thursday, they’re giving over 12
tap handles to beers from Dogfish Head Brewery in Maryland, including
the first taste of their new strawberry gluten-free beer. They’ll also
feature Dogfish Head’s Randall the Enamel Animal, a device that allows
other flavors to be introduced into a beer.

.A “deconstructed beer dinner” at Keystone Hyde Park will feature
Jason Roeper , owner of Rivertown Brewing Co., going through all the
flavors in his beers and in the food, to get to the nuts and bolts of
beer and food pairing

The event ends with the Cincinnati Winter Beer Fest, where
representatives of many breweries will set up for tastings in the Duke
Energy Convention Center on Feb.10 and 11. It will take up three times
as much space this year, allowing for better interactions with the

How to tackle such a big event? “Go to cincinnatibeerweek.com, break
out your calendar and start planning,” said Bonadonna.


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