Ohio Brewery News
Ohio didn’t invent the Christmas ale – brewers have been making strong, spiced beers dating back to the medieval wassail – but it’s easy to make the argument that the Buckeye State has taken the mantle as the leader of the winter warmer world. As such, it’s not enough for us to indulge in these sweet, sumptuous brews just once a year. On the blog this week, we’ll run down all the Christmas in July ales being released by Ohio Craft Brewers Association members this week (I’m sure we missed a couple, Ohio loves their Christmas ales so much it’s hard to keep track):
- Combustion Brewery – Nice: a blonde ale spiced with cinnamon and vanilla. Available now on draft and in crowlers at the taproom in Pickerington.
- Crooked Can Brewing – McSwagger’s Own: an amber ale infused with allspice, clove, candied ginger and vanilla. Too Sweet To Be Sour: a Berliner weisse infused with cranberry apple and cinnamon. Available on draft Saturday, July 25 at the taproom in Hilliard.
- Grove City Brewing – Christmas Ale: an Irish red ale infused with hazelnut and traditional Christmas spices. Available on draft and in crowlers today at the brewpub in Grove City.
Great Lakes Brewing Company‘s Christmas Ale has become the standard bearer among winter warmers. First brewed in 1992, the amber ale made with ginger, honey and cinnamon is the stuff of local legend. At the annual first pour ceremony in 2018, the Great Lakes brewpub served more than 7,500 pints of Christmas Ale, roughly one every five seconds for 12 straight hours. The brewery pumped out about 25,000 barrels – 775,000 gallons – of the beer last year; if Great Lakes made nothing else, they’d still be the seventh largest independently-owned brewery in Ohio. A single, small batch of Christmas Ale will be tapped today at the brewpub in Ohio City. Reservations are strongly encouraged if you wish to attend today or tomorrow.
- Fat Head’s – Holly Jolly: a traditional, sweet malt winter warmer with aromas and flavors of ginger, honey and spice. Available on draft now exclusively at the brewery & saloon location in North Olmsted.
- Railroad Brewing – Naughty Uncle: a classic Christmas ale made with ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Available on draft at noon on Saturday, July 25 at the taproom in Avon.
Back in December, Eighty-Three Brewery stashed some of their winter warmer, 25,000 Twinkle Lights, in Four Roses small batch bourbon barrels. After a seven-month rest, their first ever barrel aged beer also serves as the brewery’s first ever bottle release. 22 ounce bottles are available for pre-order now and can be picked up at Eighty-Three’s Akron taproom starting Saturday, July 25. Read more at cleveland.com
- Biker Brewhouse – Cruisin’ Christmas Ale: Available now on draft and in bottles at the taproom in Austintown.
- Blue Heron Brewery – Christmas Ale: Available on draft and in growlers Saturday, July 25 at the brewpub in Medina.
- HiHO Brewing – HiHO HO HO Holiday Ale: Available on draft Saturday, July 25 at the taproom in Cuyahoga Falls.
- Hoodletown Brewing – Christmas in Hooville: Available now on draft and in cans at the taproom in Dover.
- Ignite Brewing – Ignite the Lights: Available on draft today at the taproom in Barberton.
- Lockport Brewery – Cheer Beer: Available on draft Saturday, July 25 at the taproom in Bolivar.
- The Phoenix Brewing Company – Krampus Kandy: a white stout infused with cacao nibs and coffee. Available on draft Saturday, July 25 at the taproom in Mansfield. Cans available starting August 4.
- Wadsworth Brewing – Papa Elf: a brown porter infused with butter cookie coffee. Available on draft now at the taproom in Wadsworth.
The Toledo area put the sleigh before the reindeer and got their Christmas beers out on the market a little early: Maumee Bay’s Uber Blitzen and Earnest Brew Works’ Holiday Spicewood both hit taps a week or so ago. But that doesn’t mean coal in the stocking for northwest Ohio, because Inside the Five Brewing has two holiday beers on tap this weekend. In addition to their peppermint porter, Santarina’s Surprise, Inside the Five will also have a rye whiskey barrel aged version of Cran-Ma Got Run Over by a Reinbeer winter warmer on tap. The festivities begin Saturday, July 25 and last through the weekend at the brewpub in downtown Sylvania. Inside the Five is also collecting pantry items to donate to Sylvania Area Family Services, bring two or more items and get a free dessert. Get more details at facebook.com/insidethefive
Double Edge Brewing are unabashed fans of the Christmas beer: their take on the traditional style is called Yule Fuel, an amber ale made with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and honey. But in the sweltering summer heat, they’ve decided that this 7% ABV winter warmer is a little too hot to handle. Instead, they’ve brought back Christmas Cookie, another one of their holiday staples. As you can probably guess from the name, this 5% blonde ale tastes like a shortbread cookie, building its flavors from a biscuity malt base, brightened by a hint of vanilla and restrained in sweetness to make it a refreshing winter-themed summer crusher. Double Edge will tap Christmas Cookie today at 4 p.m. at their brewery tasting room in Lancaster. Crowlers are available for carry out, order online at double-edge.beer
Cincinnati area breweries aren’t doing any Christmas in July beers that we know of, possibly because there are so many other things to celebrate. Whether it’s an anniversary party (Fibonacci’s fifth on July 25-26), Reds opening day (Samuel Adams’ This is the Year helles available today and tomorrow) or a delayed St. Patrick’s Day (three stouts on tap at Brink), there’s no shortage of beer festivities in the Queen City this weekend. But in keeping with the blog theme, here are five Oktoberfests in July coming out this week:
- MadTree Brewing – Ziegler: named for Cincinnati’s first mayor, this Oktoberfest lager makes its can debut on Monday, July 27.
- Rhinegeist – Franz: the annual festbier brewed with ale yeast to impart subtle flavors of fruit is available at the taproom in Over-the-Rhine starting today.
- Sonder Brewing – Oktoberfest: a draft-only offering last year, Sonder has canned this year’s Oktoberfest. Available now at the taproom in Mason.
- Taft’s Brewing Co. – Oktubberfest: all three Taft’s locations will hold a pint night – featuring limited edition boot glasses – on Wednesday, July 29. Available on draft and in cans now.
- West Side Brewing – Oktoberfest: a Märzen-style lager, darker and maltier than a Festbier, which West Side also has on tap if you want to compare the two styles. Oktoberfest is available on draft and in cans at the taproom now.
Fifth Street Brewpub is offering an extremely small batch of their holiday favorite Mint Cookie Stout for their Christmas in July celebration. This sweet stout, evocative of the classic Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies, will be tapped at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 25 and is expected to last about as long as a box of those cookies would (read: not very long.) Be sure to show up early to get a taste. Also on tap this week is Herbivore 2, brewed with lemongrass and ginger. The latter is a frequent ingredient in many of the winter warmers featured above, though this brew is designed to be more of a refreshing summer cooler. Read more about the Herbivore series at fifthstreetbrewpub.com