Blueberry and Peanut Butter Cup might not sound like beer flavors you’re likely to encounter, but Athens made them happen, and did so with style. From July 8 to July 16, this college town in Southeast Ohio held the Sixth Annual Ohio Brew Week Festival.
August 2011 Issue
Ohio Brew Week, which marked
its sixth year last month, has been drawing increasing numbers of craft-beer
aficionados to the redbrick streets of Athens.
From the bars to the restaurants, visitors bustled through the small town that was geared for a weekend of brews, food and entertainment. Live music summoned forgotten dance moves at venues all over town, including Red Brick Sports Pub, Jackie O’s Public House, The Pigskin, Smiling Skull Saloon and more. The fest was packed with fun activities and, of course, beer.
Melody Sands, marketing director for Ohio Brew Week, says that this year’s festival drew visitors from around the country. She described the guests as an “older, sophisticated crowd.” Each day held a variety of events for visitors and locals alike.
On Sunday, July 10, The Pub hosted a Craft Brew Casual Dinner, where diners enjoyed beer-battered French fries and beer bread and meatballs. Other celebratory beer meals were served by Lui Lui Restaurant, Salaam and Buffalo Wild Wings. The Red Brick Sports Pub even hosted a meatball eating competition on Tuesday night. “All the restaurants that had special beer dinners sold out,” says Sands.
Broney’s Alumni Grill celebrated Santa Claus in the summer with a Christmas in July Party on Monday. With a golf tournament on Wednesday and the Dog Days Talent Show on Thursday — a chance for visitors to show off their precocious pets — this weeklong festival is not just for beer connoisseurs.
On Saturday morning, Boogie on the Bricks Summer Music Festival accompanied Brew Week’s final event: the Ohio Craft Beer Garden. Court Street was closed to allow vendors, brewers and beer drinkers to roam the street, beer-in-hand. Some found a favorite and went back for seconds, while others tried a wide variety of brews. The Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter Stout was made by the Willoughby Brewing Company and the blueberry trails blueberry ale was offered by the Rocky River Brewing Company. Dark brews, light brews, sweet brews, bitter brews — there was a flavor for everyone. Each brewery completely sold out, says Sands.
Court Street buzzed with other activity, including clothing vendors, jewelry vendors and more. Food trucks lined the street, waiting to serve up a steaming meal during the next beer break.
If you missed this year’s festival, make sure to attend next year, July 13 –21. Details will be available at ohiobrewweek.com.