The extremely popular Summit Brew Path officially kicks off its second year on Saturday March 10th. The inaugural edition featured 14 breweries. The passports launched in February, and most breweries were out on the first weekend. By the time all was said and done, nearly 20,000 passports were distributed, with 2,600 people completing the path and receiving a free t shirt.
So what will the Path do for an encore in 2018?
For starters, the much maligned brown t shirt is gone. In its place will be a commemorative 32 oz glass growler for all who complete the trail, which expands from 14 to 18 breweries in year two. The front will indicate that the bearer completed the path, while the official stops will be listed on the rear.
As for the participating breweries, all but Ohio Brewing (more on them below) and Scenic Brewing in North Canton will return. Scenic announced earlier this year that they are moving to Columbus for brewer Dan Mueller’s military career, and they are taking their brewery with them.
The six new breweries will be The Brew Kettle Hudson, Headtrip Brewery in Stow, Hop Tree Brewing in Hudson, McArthur’s Brewhouse (Cuyahoga Falls), and both Magic City and Ignite Brewing in Barberton. Non-Summit County breweries Wadsworth Brewing (Wadsworth), MadCap (Kent) and Royal Docks and Canton Brewing are all grandfathered in and will remain in the trail for at least one more year. Both Royal Docks and Canton will also be on a new Stark County Trail currently in the planning stages by the brewers themselves, which is tentatively slated to launch May 1st, according to Maize Valley brewer Jake Turner.
Speculation is that this may be the last year for both Royal Docks and Canton on the Summit trail, as at least five new breweries are expected to be added in 2019: The not yet opened Akronym, Lock 15, Missing Falls (all in Akron), Missing Mountain, and the relocated and returning to the path Ohio Brewing (both Cuyahoga Falls). Ohio Brewing closed their taproom in the Highland Square neighborhood of Akron last October to focus on opening a larger facility on the newly re-opened portion of Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls. The possibility of a regional trail at some point in the future combining both the Summit and the Stark trails is not out of the realm of possibility.
The Summit Brew Path website (Summitbrewpath.com) has been updated with all the 2018 trail information. The trail is sponsored in part by the Akron / Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau. As with last year, a Grand Prize will be given away at the conclusion of the tour as well. Participants have all year to complete the tour and it does not have to be done in order, nor does it have to be done in one day — don’t laugh — at least one couple did exactly that — on the first day of the tour last year.