Cheers to Cleveland Beer Week

September 21, 2014

Beer Week

Kids wait all year for Christmas. College students wait all year for Spring Break. But we here in Cleveland wait all year for Cleveland Beer Week.

Now in its fifth year, Cleveland Beer Week is back Oct. 10 - 19. So, what are we all worked up about?

"We host more than 350 events at 125 venues throughout the city including tastings; beer and food pairings; special tappings; dinners; educational programming; games and activities; music-related celebrations; and vintage releases," said Christine Montague, director of Cleveland Beer Week.

That means visitors can spend an entire week trying interesting craft beers created for that week only; learning about different styles of beer during mini beer-tasting festivals; and beer specials at bars and restaurants all week long.

[Anybody else suddenly feel the need to start hydrating?]

Cleveland Beer Week's flagship events take the cake in terms of popularity, each year selling out (seriously, get your tickets NOW). This year's flagship events include:

Oct. 10: Collaboration Kickoff

Ten local and national breweries pair-up to create five small-batch beers made specifically for Cleveland Beer Week.  Then, during the Collaboration Kickoff events happening in several Cleveland communities, visitors can purchase a "passport" and walk to neighborhood bars to taste all five beers. How cool is that?

Oct. 11: Ales on Rails

Anytime you take a train ride aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, you're in for an eye-catching experience as the vintage rails dip in and out of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But during Cleveland Beer Week, you can enjoy a dazzling daytime ride aboard the train line, but while also enjoying seven delicious craft brews.

Oct. 11: Belgian Social

Held at the brand new eatery/brewery on East Fourth Street, The Butcher & The Brewer, the Belgian Social is pretty straightforward - a celebration of all things Belgian! The evening includes Belgian-inspired beer and food pairings.

Oct. 14: Culture Yourself

Challenging attendees to forget what they've heard about wine and cheese, Culture Yourself explores the real perfect pairing between craft beers and artisanal cheeses. The interactive and educational event held in the Great Lakes Brewing Company tasting room, features 12 breweries showcasing which beer styles pair best with various types of cheeses.

Oct. 16: Can Jam

It wouldn't be right to have a beer week in Cleveland without music, right? That said, Cleveland Beer Week presents "Can Jam" at the Cleveland Agora on Oct. 16. The event features Oskar Blues in cans and bands from various genres jamming all together.

Oct. 18: Brewzilla

No joke, Brewzilla is the mother of all beer tasting events. Held at the newly renovated Fifth Street Arcades, Brewzilla is a beer-tasting event (or shall we just call it  "extravaganza") featuring 80 breweries from around the country offering hundreds of beers.  This event is massively popular, so get your tickets now.

Oct. 19: Bluegrass Bash

Held on Whiskey Island, which sits up against Lake Erie, Bluegrass Bash will feature a host of craft breweries and local/regional bluegrass bands.

The rampant popularity of Cleveland Beer Week is evident in the numbers: 50,000 patrons are expected to partake in the week of beery activities.

But, honestly, high attendance at this beer-centered week is no big surprise to us. You see, we Clevelanders sure are lucky.

"On a national and even international level, breweries recognize the importance of offering their beers here in Cleveland. So distribution in this area is consistently a brewery's top choice," said Montague. "And that's good news for the Cleveland consumer who has access to the most popular breweries and very limited, one-off releases."

Good beer is practically in our blood. It's even been noted by big name pubs like DRAFT, All About Beer and USA Today.

Montague also notes that Cleveland's a lot different than most places - industry leaders actually strive to work hand-in-hand with their competitors. And, no other event showcases that better than during Cleveland Beer Week when distributors and retailers put aside competition and work as a team to put craft beer education and charitable giving on the forefront.

"Our success is not because of any one person, but because of our unified team and our patrons who come out in large numbers to support Cleveland Beer Week, craft beer, area retailers and philanthropy. "

Success, in this case, also means Cleveland gets to celebrate beer for one entire week year after year.

And for that, you're welcome.

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