Ohio Craft Brewers Association announces full brewery list for Annual Winter Warmer Fest

CLEVELAND – Ask any self-professed beer geek what their favorite beerfest of the calendar year is and you might get a different answer from each. But dollars to donuts you’ll find more than a few who will claim that the Winter Warmer Fest, typically held in March each year, is the crown jewel of them all.

The Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA) today released the list of participating breweries for the 13th iteration of the Annual Winter Warmer Fest. A record sixty-one Ohio craft breweries will showcase their winter seasonal, limited-edition and high-gravity beers at Windows on the River on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 2-5 p.m. The total number of breweries is up five from 2018’s sold-out event, and the trade group says this year’s event features 11 first-time participants, reflective of the rapid growth of craft breweries in Ohio.

The Winter Warmer Fest is a fundraiser for the OCBA, a non-profit organization founded to promote, preserve and unify Ohio’s craft brewing industry. It is one of three major events the OCBA puts on each year.

Winter Warmer Fest will once again feature a cask area with several breweries offering special infusions available only at the event. Many of the brewers will be on hand throughout the day to meet and talk with Ohio craft beer enthusiasts.

General admission tickets are available in advance for $45, which includes a souvenir glass and tasting tickets for 20 four-ounce samples. Early admission tickets are also available in advance for $55, granting admission at 1 p.m. Designated driver admission is available for $15 and includes a food voucher. Tickets can be purchased online at

Attendees will enjoy a spirited entrance courtesy of Black Sheep Pipes & Drums, plus live music throughout the event from Austin Walkin’ Cane and Chris Allen. Four food trucks will be set-up on site: Fired Up Taco Truck, The Manna Truck, Scott’s Fire and Ice, and Slyman’s Tavern.

Participating breweries (first-timers marked with*):

Akronym Brewing*
Bookhouse Brewing*
The Brew Brothers at Scioto Downs
The Brew Kettle
Brick and Barrel Brewing
BRIM Kitchen + Brewery
Butcher & the Brewer
Catawba Island Brewing Co.
Collision Bend Brewing Company
Columbus Brewing Company
Cornerstone Brewing Company
Crooked Handle Brewing Co.
Double Wing Brewing Co.
Elevator Brewing
Fat Head’s Brewery
Grainworks Brewing Company
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Hairless Hare Brewery
Hansa Brewery
HiHO Brewing Company
Hofbrauhaus Cleveland
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
Jackie O’s Brewery
JAFB-Wooster Brewery
The Jolly Scholar
Little Fish Brewing Company
Lucky Owl Brewing
MadTree Brewing
Magic City Brewing Company*
Maize Valley
Market Garden Brewery
Masthead Brewing Co.
Millersburg Brewing Company
Muskellunge Brewing*
Noble Beast Brewing Co.
North High Brewing
Ohio Brewing Company
Paradigm Shift Brewing
The Phoenix Brewing Company
Platform Beer Co.
Pretentious Barrel House*
R.Shea Brewing
Railroad Brewing Company
Rocky River Brewing Company
Royal Docks Brewing Co.
Sandy Springs Brewing*
Saucy Brew Works
Seventh Son Brewing
Shale Brewing*
Sibling Revelry Brewing
Streetside Brewing*
Terrestrial Brewing
Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
Three Tigers Brewing*
Wild Ohio Brewing*
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing
Wooly Pig Farm Brewery*
Working Class Brewery
Yellow Springs Brewery

Urban Artifact to Introduce “Tean Zu” Experimental Beer made with most oddball fruit yet

Cincinnati, OH  Urban Artifact, the all sour beer brewery known for their focus on fruited, sour beers, as well as experimental beers and the use of exotic ingredients, is releasing perhaps their strangest beer yet. That’s saying something for a brewery who releases a beer called “Pickle” every year (and yes, the taste is just as the name implies).

The brewery’s latest small batch beer is a farmhouse ale brewed with Musang King Durian – a large, pungent fruit popular in Southeast Asia known for its almond, sherry-wine and onion-like characteristics.   

“The Durian is native to parts of Asia and is a seasonal tropical fruit available during the warmest parts of the year“, UA explained in a press release. Durian is primarily used in dessert dishes, but recently has become a popular pizza topping in China.

To my knowledge this is the first durian beer to come out of Ohio,” said assistant brewer and brewing science student Charles Fitzpatrick. He added, “I am very excited to be part of something this unique so early in my career.”

Fitzpatrick and Bret Kollmann Baker, head brewer and co-founder of Urban Artifact, designed the recipe together to highlight the intense flavors associated with durian fruit.  After the recipe was finalized they sourced nearly 50 whole Musang King Durians to be opened, pulped and placed into the fermenter. Once the ale was ready to be packaged, two variants were also created, a Chinese five spice infused batch as well as a dessert inspired version with lime, vanilla bean and nutmeg. Both variants will be available in the Urban Artifact Brewery taproom at the tapping on Tuesday 12-18-18.

As for the taste?  

This beer is not something you have ever experienced before,” said Kollmann Baker.

Rising demand for these fruits in parts of the world it is making it difficult to source large amounts of durian in Ohio, so this may be the only chance for quite some time to experience this one of a kind brew.

Numbers Brewing Company To Expand, Breaks Ground on New Brewhouse

Lisbon Brewery to grow on lot right next to existing Taproom

Lisbon, OH – Numbers Brewing Company of Lisbon, Ohio, in Columbiana County, has announced a major expansion. The nearly 3 year old brewery broke ground today on a 2,000 square foot Brewhouse that will enable them to significantly increase production and potentially expand their distribution footprint. The brewery currently distributes locally throughout the Mahoning Valley into a handful of bars and restaurants, and to the south as far as East Liverpool and Calcutta.

Randy Schneider, Marketing and Promotions Director for Numbers, said they currently brew on a 2 1/2 barrel Psycho Brew system. They have purchased a 15bbl Deutsch Brewing (of Charlotte, North Carolina) system.

“The new Brewhouse is literally 3 feet away from the existing Taproom,” Schneider said. “We also have plans to expand the existing Taproom when the new Brewhouse is completed in January.”

Columbiana County is not generally what one would refer to as a hotbed of craft beer culture, but that is slowly changing. Birdfish Brewing Company opened in Columbiana in 2015, followed by Numbers, which will celebrate its third year in January. At least one other (Grudge Brewing) is in the planning stages, also in Columbiana. The Winery at Pine Lake in Columbiana also has a pending application to be able to brew.

Numbers itself is expanding fast. They added a bigger kitchen and an outdoor patio earlier this year, and also renovated their Taproom. They currently have sixteen taps, which usually have 12-13 of their own beers, and 3-4 guest taps at any given time. They are currently open Wednesday through Saturday. For more information on Numbers, visit them on Facebook.

Additional reading on Numbers:



Proceeds of New, Limited-Time Ale to Benefit A Special Wish Foundation

CLEVELAND, OH – Fat Head’s Brewery has partnered with A Special Wish Foundation, Cleveland chapter, to create and distribute a new ale that will hit taps on Tuesday, December 4.

‘A Special Wish Ale’ will be available on tap at all Fat Head’s locations, all Barrio locations and all Lizardville locations through the end of the year.

“One of the best aspects of craft beer is that it brings people and community together and the group at ‘A Special Wish’ are committed to doing the same thing.  They are doing amazing work, helping bring some happiness to very difficult circumstances,” said Fat Head’s Brewmaster Matt Cole in a prepared press release. “Fat Head’s couldn’t be more proud to support them and their great cause.”

‘A Special Wish Ale’ is an American Pale Ale with a 6% ABV. Part of the proceeds from ‘A Special Wish Ale’ will be donated to A Special Wish Foundation and will be used to grant wishes for children from birth up to 20 years of age with life-threatening diseases.

“Being a local organization, we are super excited to be partnering with one of the best breweries in Northeast Ohio,” said Eileen Lane, executive director of A Special Wish Foundation.  “A Special Wish Ale will allow us to grant a few wishes for kiddos here in our community.”

To learn more about A Special Wish Foundation, visit:


Ohio Craft Brewers Association rallies craft beer fans to fight against AB-InBev Pay-To-Play tactics

AB/InBev, the parent company of Anheuser-Busch, is attempting to raise the amount of free branded glassware a brewery or wholesaler can provide to a retailer from 2 cases to 4 cases annually (with a new annual limit of 7 cases that a retailer would be allowed to receive). The Belgium-based multi-national conglomerate submitted a proposed amendment Tuesday morning, just hours before the Senate Agriculture Committee was set to vote on HB 522 .

The Ohio Craft Brewers Association, a trade group representing Ohio brewers, was successful in getting the vote postponed. OCBA spokesman Justin Hemminger said that AB was trying to ram the amendment through at the last-minute in a lame-duck session without any public comment, and the trade group is now trying to get the amendment removed entirely.

“OCBA fully objects to this attempt to expand anti-competitive pay-to-play practices in the beer industry,” Hemminger said. “A change in the current law would allow for big breweries like Anheuser-Busch InBev to exert control over retailer purchasing decisions, which in turn would limit consumer choice in the marketplace.”

The OCBA has set up a page with more information on the bill and how it could affect the industry. If you are interested finding out how you can contact your lawmakers and what you can to help stop the legislation, you can click here:

Beerhead Bar & Eatery Craft Beer franchise to expand its presence in Ohio

CLEVELAND – The American craft beer bar franchise, Beerhead Bar & Eatery has announced it will be expanding its presence in Ohio with three new locations. The company announced in a press release on Monday that it has signed franchise agreements to open stores in Avon, Concord Township, and Columbus and plans for all to be opened in 2019.

The new locations will be owned and operated by Aaron Rasmussen, Jim Maclellan and Eric Engelke of Three 30 Ventures LLC. The group was introduced to Beerhead Bar & Eatery after exploring franchise opportunities in the hospitality industry. The uniqueness of the Beerhead concept stood out to them. The Avon location, located at 1813 Nagle Rd, will be the first to open in the spring of 2019, followed by one in Concord Township location in early summer located at 8023 Crile Rd., and the Columbus location rounding out the year in October. That location will be at 250 Civic Dr.

“We were immediately drawn to the distinct franchise opportunity of Beerhead Bar & Eatery and we are looking forward to bringing three locations to Ohio” said Rasmussen, in the press release. “We’ve seen the success of the Cleveland Flats locations and we believe its unique vibe and impressive offerings of beer and food will continue to be a hit.”

Like the Flats location, each new Beerhead will feature hundreds of local and American craft beer and spirits choices in its wide selection, as well as lunch and dinner casual dining.

Beerhead currently has seven locations and is rapidly expanding in craft beer rich regions of the Midwest including Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. The brand estimates it will open 30 stores over the next four years.

About Beerhead Bar & Eatery

Founded in 2012 under the original name of The Beer Market, Beerhead is an emerging American craft beer bar that marries the appeal of offering a rotating selection of more than 400 brands of locally and regionally brewed beer, wine, and other locally sourced beverages and food offerings in a contemporary, yet timeless atmosphere complete with live music and communal tables. Beerhead began franchising in 2015 in an effort to expand its favorite local beer bar vibe to other communities, breweries and distilleries. For more information, visit To learn more about franchising opportunities, visit

First ever Craft Maple and Beer Festival satisfies Jefferson, Ohio’s sweet tooth

The inaugural celebration and competition drew craft breweries from across the country, along with maple producers offering a range of innovative maple products. 


JEFFERSON, Ohio  Craft maple beer and bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup—what could be sweeter? The inaugural Craft Maple Festival, Oct. 20 to 21, brought together the craft maple community for a celebration and competition. Customers ate up specialty maple products that use maple syrup as a base, some aged in bourbon or whiskey barrels, others incorporating spices and other fresh ingredients. 

Not to mention, guests got to sample a full menu of maple craft beers, getting 16 tickets for 3-ounce pours. Beer-drinkers rallied for their favorites, and breweries from around the country were represented. “We had a lot of great beer at the Craft Maple and Beer festival,” said Rob Tittel of Northeast Ohio Craft Brewery News in a social media post. He called the brew Situational Ethics by Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta) an absolute showstopper.” The beer, aged in local bourbon maple syrup barrels from Nate Bissell’s Maple Farm with cinnamon and Ugandan vanilla beans clocked in at a whopping 13.9% ABV and had a silky smooth mouthfeel and just the right amount of spice and vanilla to complement the bourbon maple. Monday Night brewer Peter Kiley said he worked for over a year to build a relationship with Bissell and to get him to sell him one of his sought after barrels for aging beer in.

Festival host Bissell recognized Chef Steve Stallard for starting the craft maple trend 20 years ago by using bourbon barrels to make maple syrup. Stallard was recognized at a private brewer event on Oct. 19 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his innovation and dedication. “We wouldn’t be here without Steve,” Bissell said gushingly. “When Bissell Maple Farm decided to make bourbon barrel-aged syrup, we tried to make it taste like Steve’s because it was the best on the market.” 

In the past two decades, the craft maple market has grown substantially, with products flying off shelves, Bissell said. “It was past time to honor the craft and celebrate the range of creative, sweet products the industry is producing with a dedicated festival,” he said. 

Stallard’s company, BLiS, took home the 2018 Craft Maple Syrup Award for best bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. (Stallard named his company BLiS, for Because Life is Short, because he believes we should enjoy everything we put in our mouths.) 

The panel of judges tasted maple syrup in the following categories: whiskey barrel-aged, sweet, heat (spicy) and neat (unique). Entries from Runamok took honors in three of the six categories. Pappy van Winkle’s 23-year bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup was rated Best in Show. 

Participating breweries included Grand Rapid’s Michigan’s Founders Brewery with its Canadian Breakfast Stout, aged in the very same barrels Stallard uses for the BliS award-winning bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. Also present were Chicago’s Virtue Cider, Goose Island, Sierra Nevada, Monday Night Brewing, Jacksonville, Florida’s Intuition Aleworks, and local breweries Market Garden and Thirsty Dog. Jefferson resident Brian Burns represented Brick and Barrel Brewery, also from Cleveland, pouring the sweet, malty McTavish Wee Heavy. 

“We will have even more craft maple vendors next time with a whole year’s notice,” says festival coordinator Meagen Howe said in a press release. “Everyone I spoke with is eager to have an even bigger and better event for our second Craft Maple Festival.”

The festival will become a tradition and community event, added Patty Fisher, president, Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosted a free pancake breakfast with maple syrup donated by Bissell Maple Farm. “All ages loved the designer pancakes,” Fisher said of the colorful Turtle Pancakes introduced by Jerry Huelsenbeck, a new Jefferson resident. 

“Our goal is to raise funds for a scholarship for Jefferson High School students,” Fisher says, adding, “It’s all going to a good cause.”



About the Craft Maple Festival

Learn more about the Craft Maple Festival at 

About Bissell Maple Farm

The Bissell family has been producing maple syrup in Northeast Ohio since the late 1800s. Today, the sugarhouse is located on the family farm at Higley road, and in the last decade, the business has expanded to fulfill the demands of wholesale customers in Ohio and across the country, while selling from its retail location at Rock Creek Sugarworks. Bissell Maple Farm offers 100% pure maple syrup by the case, maple leaf candy, sweet and spicy maple BBQ, maple mustard, maple sugar and maple cream. For information, call 440.563.3263 or visit

Urban Artifact to release Trick Or Treat 12 Pack in Cans

Cincinnati, Ohio – Urban Artifact is bringing back their Trick or Treat mixed pack for Halloween this year, and this time it will be cans for the first time ever. The Cincinnati-based brewery, which is known for their use of real fruit in their exclusively sour beers, announced today the release of a new mixed 12-pack of cans with a series of mystery flavored beers inside. Each 12-pack is a mixture of six different beers split between beers that are “treats” and beers that are “tricks”. 

In a press release, the brewery said they were making an exception to their long standing commitment to use real fruit and ingredients in their beer and utilizing artificial means to achieve the desired flavor profiles they intended for these beers. Brewery rep Josh Elliott explained, “We wanted to mimic specific flavor profiles not normally found in beer and give people visual cues as to what the trick or treat flavors are meant to be”.

Don’t expect mind blowing flavors and world class beers from this one-off seasonal pack release. Elliott explained that the beers are “totally obnoxious and best shared with friends, and in that way, are pretty representational of the best kind of Halloween experience”.

The Trick or Treat pack will released October 27th at noon in the Urban Artifact taproom and co-released at select retailers across Ohio. The retail partners will be Cappy’s in Loveland, Holloway Liquor in Holland, and locally at 101 Bottles in Kent. A 12 pack will retail for $29.99 plus tax.

Label art for the beers is below:

Urban Artifact to release Experimental Beer with Rare Brazilian Fruit

Urban Artifact Introduces “The Tumi”

CINCINNATI, OH – Urban Artifact Brewery has announced they are releasing a beer brewed with Yellow Mombin. The Brazilian native fruit is said to taste similar to a mango but with a touch of banana and bit more tart than a mango. The Cincinnati based brewery is known for its focus on fruity, sour brews, but it’s becoming just as well known for the innovative use of exotic (for beer, at least) ingredients. The beer will be the first in their new Curiosity Series (their experimental line of “Midwest Fruit Tart” brews).


Beer Name: The Tumi (First of the Curiosity Series)

Beer Style: Midwest Fruit Tart

Fruit Used: Yellow Mombin (AKA Cajá or Hog Plum)

Available: Limited and draft only

Where: Urban Artifact Taproom 1660 Blue Rock St, Cincinnati, OH 45223

The brewery said in a press release that though the mombin has been naturalized to Africa, Southern Asia, and the Carribean, it is considered native to the tropical Americas, and is rarely cultivated outside of Brazil. It is usually eaten fresh or made into juice, jellies, and sherberts. After researching the fruit and what it’s used for in other parts of the world, the brewery took a calculated risk, as they are often known to do, and ordered 3,200 pounds of frozen yellow mombin purée.

“Until we opened the drums, we had no first-hand experience with it,” explains Matt Bradley, lead brewer on ‘The Tumi.’ “We didn’t know what it was going to be like to work with, nor had we ever tasted it,” Bradley chuckles. “But we were more than pleased with its unique flavor, and the beer has been a hit in our taproom.”

“As far as we’ve been able to tell, we’re the first brewery to use Yellow Mombin in a beer,” says head brewer and brewery co-founder Bret Kollmann.

This past August, Urban Artifact hosted their third annual Bewilderfest, which not only featured three stages of eclectic regional music over two days, it included the special release of many rare variants of their brews, special infusions made for the event, as well as the latest additions to their spontaneously fermented barrel-aged sour fruited beers.

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