Best Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition

Best Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition
What’s On Tap for 2016 BREWERS CLICK HERE

The Cleveland Labor Day Weekend Oktoberfest “Best Oktoberfest Microbrew” competition will be held Friday, September 2nd– Monday, September 5th, 2016 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea, OH – just outside Cleveland. The hours for the competition are 4PM-Midnight Fri, 2PM-Midnight Sat & Sun, and 2PM-8PM Monday. The Bier Garden will be cooking with the sounds of Hotel California, Hard Day’s Night (Beatles), E5C4P3 (Journey), Walt Sanders (Elvis), Project Diamond, The Spazmatics, and Stone Pony. Friday night will feature the judging and awards ceremony, and on Monday, your votes will be tallied to determine the People’s Choice for the Best Oktoberfest Microbrewery. I think we can all drink to that! Participating Breweries include:

2015 Microbrew Competition Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Best Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition.  Special thanks to Paul Shick of SNOBs and the 30 plus judges and stewards who helped determine the winners. Here are the results:
Category 1. Classic Oktoberfest:
  1. Fat Heads Oktoberfest
  2. Thirsty Dog Barktoberfest
  3. Brew Kettle Oktofest

Category 2. German Light Lagers:

  1. Market Garden Progress Pilsner
  2. Lager Heads Barnburner Lager
  3. Brew Kettle Big Woody

Category 3. German Ales:

  1. Fat Heads Alpenglow Weizenbock
  2. Willoughby Kaiserhof Kolsch
  3. Rocky River Subchaser Hefe

Category 4. Dark Lagers/Bocks:

  1. Platform Smoked Haymaker
  2. Granite City Bennie Bock
  3. Brew Kettle Eagleweiss

Category 5. Open:

  1. Portside 216
  2. Black Box Streaking through the Quad
  3. Fat Heads Battle Axe

Category 6. Best IPA:

  1. Brew Kettle El Lupulo Libre (Imperial IPA)
  2. Platform Speed Merchant
  3. Platform Hubris

All German Best of Show:

  1. Fat Heads Oktoberfest

Best of the Rest of the World:

  1. Brew Kettle El Lupulo Libre (Imperial IPA)

Overall Best of Show:

  1. Fat Heads Oktoberfest

People’s Choice (Best Brewery):

  1. Lager Heads Brewery

Great Lakes Brewery

Great Lakes Brewery

WEBSITE: greatlakesbrewing.com

Great Lakes Brewing Company, located just west of downtown in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, stands as the state’s first microbrewery. The brewpub occupies two historic buildings on Market Avenue in Ohio City. The Taproom features the Tiger Mahogany Bar—Cleveland’s oldest. Bullet holes in the bar are said to have been caused by Cleveland Safety Director, Eliot Ness, the same who would later take down Al Capone in Chicago during the prohibition era (with the help of Sean Connery). The downstairs, Rathskeller, features distressed brick walls and another wooden bar. Adjacent to the brewpub is an indoor/outdoor beer garden, the perfect setting for a sunny day. In 1988, a brewery was added to the historic six-building complex, as well as banquet facilities, and a gift shop. History: Great Lakes Brewing Company

The Great Lakes Brewing Company started crafting beer in 1988, at the beginning of America’s fascination with microbrews. They were the first such brewery in Ohio. The Conway brothers, who still own the facility, employed a master brewer, Thaine Johnson, who had worked in the last of Cleveland’s historic breweries, thus tying the old with the new. They produced 1000 barrels that first year. Today, they produce 70,000 barrels annually.

The Beer:

Great Lakes is best known for its amber beer, Dortmunder Gold. The brewery also produces Burning River Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, and Holy Moses White Ale. Seasonal brews, such as Moondog Ale and Christmas Ale round out the selection. Great Lakes Brewing Company distributes in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition to the brewpub, Great Lakes beers are available at most beer outlets in Cleveland.

Rocky River Brewing Company

Rocky River Brewing Company

WEBSITE: rrbc.squarespace.com

R ocky River Brewing Company is an award-winning brewpub and restaurant located in Rocky River, Ohio. The 5,000 sq. ft. dining and pub area, styled in a turn-of-the-century architectural style, offers a casual and family-friendly dining experience for lunch, dinner or late night excitement.

Rocky River Brewing Company

Chef Bill Fogarty creates an eclectic array of menu selections using only the freshest and most delectable ingredients to put new twist on old favorites. Our exceptionally hand-crafted beers are brewed with expertise by our award-winning brewmaster, Jim Lieb. The food, the beer, our friendly and courteous staff, and our patrons all make visiting R.R.B.C. a fantastic and memorable experience. We welcome you to enjoy your visit through our web site but, more importantly, we would like to welcome you to visit R.R.B.C. with your family and friends to enjoy the the pleasant atmosphere, fresh food and great beers in person.

  • Rockytoberfest
Market Garden Brewery

Market Garden Brewery

WEBSITE: marketgardenbrewery.com

Andy Tveekrem is the Brewmaster and partner in the Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland, Ohio. Currently under construction, the brewery, restaurant, beer garden and distillery will be opening in early 2011. Andy has been a professional brewer for 20 years and prior to this venture has been the Brewmaster at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware (2004-2009), Frederick Brewing Company in Maryland (2000-2004), and Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland (1991-2000). He grew up in Akron, is a 1985 graduate of the College of Wooster and now lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland with his wife, Vickie. Many of his interests seem to involve the letter B: beer, bicycling, bowling, and barbeque, to name just a few.
  • Progress Pilsner
  • Prosperity Wheat
  • Citramax IPA
  • Old Zahm Oktoberfest
  • Franklin Castle Pumpkin Spice Ale
Cornerstone Brewing Company

Cornerstone Brewery

WEBSITE: cornerstonebrewing.com

Enjoy casual atmosphere and fine food. Come in and try our delicious menu and our wide variety of drinks. We know you’ll love it here at Cornerstone Brewing Company. We are located in the historic Berea Triangle. Minutes from the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Baldwin Wallace College.

Of Cornerstone, Scene Magazine said, “This good-looking microbrewery just about has it all: good pub fare, laid-back style, and a handcrafted collection of above-average beers, ranging from the crisp Grindstone Gold (an American-style lager) to the Big Creek Porter, a dark, hefty potion loaded with chocolate, roasted malt, and hops flavors.”

The Brew Kettle

The Brew Kettle

WEBSITE: thebrewkettle.com

The BREW Kettle opened its doors in the fall of 1995 as Ohio’s First Brew-On-Premise Microbrewery.

From that first day it has been our goal to provide our customers with the guidance, equipment and the freshest ingredients to produce quality, hand-crafted beers in an environment that is professional, safe and fun.

Eight years and 15,000 batches later, we are still committed to our customers’ needs and desires.

We invite you to visit our brewery to have a “look-see”, visit with our expert brewing staff, or try brewing a batch from our “tried-and-true” recipe list. we guarantee you’ll be hooked!

The Brew KettleAt The BREW Kettle you are the Brewer. We’ll provide the recipe, ingredients and assistance while you brew and bottle your favorite style of beer. The BREW Kettle offers over 70 different recipes to choose from. Chris McKim, our Brewmaster and winner of 9 National Brew-On-Premise Medals (including 5 GOLD’S!), has created each recipe to be technically accurate as described in the style guide for America’s largest beer event, The Great American Beer Festival.

The BREW Kettle is a social gathering place where small and large groups of brewers are invited to reserve one to six kettles. Your brew session will last approximately 2 1/2 hours. While you’re brewing, relax and enjoy a beer or homemade soda from our great selection. After brewing, we’ll help you cool and transfer your brew into a fermenter and we’ll look after it during fermentation. When you return two weeks later, your beer will be chilled, filtered, carbonated and ready for you to bottle. A brew session produces 6 cases of beer(22oz bottles). Or if you prefer, we’ll keg your brew for parties or home draft systems.

The BREW Kettle offers a wide variety of label options for you to personalize your brew. Choose form over 200,000 clipart images, or provide us with your own design. From simple black& white “stock” labels to color scans from you personal photo library, our designers can meet your needs. Commemorate your next special occasion such as birthdays, weddings, baby announcements and holidays with your own unique label design.

The BREW Kettle is your source for homebrew supplies. We offer by the pound, whole grains and unhopped malt extracts and by the ounce, pellet hops.

The BREW Kettle and Ringneck Brewing Company also offer a wide variety of carry-out bottled beer and soda. And don’t forget our logo gear and gift certificates are always available. Your personalized brew can be a great gift, a unique addition to any party, or simply the best and freshest beer for enjoyment at home.

The BREW Kettle invites you to Brew with the Best. Our expert brewing staff is always ready to help you brew your own. We promise you’ll be proud to exclaim, “That’s my beer!”. And every batch comes with our “complete-satisfaction-guarantee”. We look forward to serving you.

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

WEBSITE: thirstydog.com

H ere at the Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, full flavor, delicate balance, texture & aroma combine to make beer an infinitely complex experience, and one that can be thoroughly enjoyable.

Each of our beers are meticulously hand crafted in small batches using the finest ingredients. High quality malted barley is the source of the beer’s sweetness & body. Select American & European hops are used to balance the malt sweetness, and , at times, add special flavors & aromas to the beer.

Our careful selection of ingredients, along with specially designed recipes & brewing processes, give Thirsty Dog beers their unique flavor profiles that can be hard to find in today’s mass market. “one size fits all” society.

Our microbrewed beers are far more diverse in range and character then the small spectrum of mass-marketed beers offered to the American public by the large national breweries.

Welcome to Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, and welcome to great beer!

Buckeye Beer Engine

Buckeye Beer Engine

WEBSITE: buckeyebeerengine.com

Buckeye Beer Engine (Buckeye Brewing Company) in Lakewood, OH brews some of the finest craft beers in the area. Buckeye Beer engine was voted one of the Top 5 Brew Pubs of 2007 by Cleveland Scene Magazine.

Of Buckeye Beer Engine, Scene raved, “More than a bar, far less than a stuffy restaurant, The Buckeye Beer Engine offers more than two dozen top-quality drafts — “breakouts, hot stuff, and things you’ve never seen before in your life,” says brewmaster Garin Buckeye Beer EngineWright. The selection includes rare Belgianlambics, cask-conditioned ales, and three or four of Wright’s own brews — and it gets rotatedregularly, giving beer-lovers an excuse to drop in time and again. If you need an excuse to drink (you shouldn’t, but we’re just saying), grab something to wash down from the menu of burgers, soups, sandwiches, and salads — the perfect ballast for a blast of chilly brews.”

  • See Buckeye Brewing
Lagerheads Brewing Co.

Lagerheads

WEBSITE: lagerheads.us

Established in 2004, Lagerheads Smokehouse and Brewery has been striving to provide the areas finest barbecue and sauce… and by sauce we mean, beer (though their barbecue sauce ain’t bad either).

Rick Armon, of the Akron Beacon Journal, visited Lagerheads, and noted, “Brewer Steve Bagley has a major goal for the new brewery at Lager Heads Smokehouse: Make sure each beer pops with flavor.

Lagerheads

“‘I don’t want wimpy beers, period,’ he said. ‘All the beers should be brewed to style but with bold flavors.'”

Though the Kienes have owned this historic restaurant since 2004, it wasn’t until recently that they had all the equipment in place and were ready to hire Steve Bagley as their brewmaster. In June of 2010, the first batches were out of the hopper and ready for consumption. Among those initial offerings were a dortmunder and hefeweizen, so the tilt towards German styles was readily apparent.

After winning several national medals for his homebrewing, Steve was hired as the brewmaster of the Roadhouse in Medina before moving on to the job at Lager Heads.

Lager Heads is located at 2832 Abbeyville Road, and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

  • Oktoberfest Lager
  • Barnburner – Light Lager
  • Relaxer – Session IPA
  • Smokie Robbins – Smoked Black Lager
Fat Heads Brewery

Fat Head's Brewery

WEBSITE: fatheads.com Alandmark in the Pittsburgh area, Fatheads has opened a new location in the North Olmsted building that once housed Danny Boy’s Farmers Market. Matt Cole, formerly the brewermaster for Rocky River Brewing Company, is the Director of Brewing Operations for the new Fat Heads establishment.

“The Fat Heads concept circles around a laid-back, casual atmosphere with quality beer and fun, creative and innovative food,” said Cole to a Plain Dealer reporter. “You mention Fat Heads to anyone who knows Pittsburgh and they will tell you they’ve been there.”

Buckeye Brewing Company

Buckeye Brewing Company

WEBSITE: buckeyebrewing.com

Buckeye Brewing company of Cleveland was established in 1997.
Goldhorn Brewing Company

Goldhorn Brewing Company

WEBSITE: goldhornbrewery.com

N

We’re taking beer back in time — to an era when you knew exactly where your beer came from because it was brewed right in your neighborhood. Golden Brewery isn’t trying to reinvent beer, because there’s no reason to reinvent beer. We’re exploring the rich heritage and traditions of our Cleveland neighborhood to craft beers that bring people together, inspire stories and make you proud to say, “I’ll have a Goldhorn”

  • Hefeweizen
  • Pilsner
Sibling Revelry Brewing Co.

Sibling Revelry Brewing Co.

WEBSITE: siblingrevelrybrewing.com

S

ibling Revelry Brewing was founded by a family of brothers and cousins from Cleveland who wanted to share their passion for great beer with others. Noticing a lack of breweries in the west side suburbs, the relatives set out to create a unique taproom and drinking experience rooted right in their own backyards.

Sibling Revelry Brewing CompanySibling Revelry’s sophisticated taproom offers a full selection of craft beers including year-round brews, seasonal varieties, limited releases and taproom exclusives. Pair beers with a rotating selection of food trucks with great foods like sandwiches, burgers, and more.

POC Brewing/Double Wing Brewing Company

Double Wing Brewery

D

ouble Wing Brewing Co. Formerly Cellar Rats Brewery has been brewing beer at Debonne Vineyards since 2008. In 2011 Expansion saw the addition of a brand new brewing facility on site as well as a new 15 BBL Brewhouse, 30 BBL Fermentation Tanks, and 30 and 60 BBL Brites.

Double Wing BreweryIn addition to producing Double Wing Beers and POC Pilsener, Double Wing is also a full service contract brewery.

Christian Moerlein Brewery

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company

WEBSITE: christianmoerlein.com

The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company was born in 1853, in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Christian Moerlein—a bavarian immigrant and blacksmith— loved brewing hearty, European beers, and his craftsmanship was rewarded with top honors wherever his beers were exhibited. Moerlein’s beers were not only popular in Cincinnati, but they were commonly exported to Europe and South America.

Though the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company continued operating after Moerlein’s death in 1897, America’s prohibition period forced the country’s breweries to close. But in 1981, when the Moerlein brand was reintroduced to Cincinnati, the updated beer was on the leading edge of the craft beer revolution. Soon, it became the first beer to certifiably pass the strict Reinheitsgebot Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. True to the law since Christian was the brewmaster, the beer contains only four ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast.

In 2004, Christian Moerlein was purchased by greater Cincinnati resident and beer baron Gregory Hardman, who follows the same guidelines of true quality and great taste set by the brewery’s founder: Christian Moerlein. This commitment to excellence makes Moerlein quite simply a better beer.

Granite City Brewery

Granite City Brewing Company

WEBSITE: gcfb.com

Granite City Food & Brewery commenced operations in St. Cloud, Minn., in June 1999 and has grown to include 30 restaurants in 13 states, including their recently opened location in Legacy Village. Granite City has won awards nationwide for Best Restaurant, Best Brunch, Best Patio, Best Beer, Best Martini, Best Burger, and more, including the prestigious Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concept Winner. Granite City is passionate about creating fresh menu items from scratch and uses its patented brewing process to deliver the best brews.

Granite City Food & Brewery is a polished casual American restaurant featuring fresh, high-quality menu items prepared from made-from-scratch recipes.  Signature dishes include Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Linguini, Barramundi Buerre Blanc and a host of other innovative menu items, as well as burgers, flatbreads, salads and steaks.

Granite City Food & Brewery’s signature brews, which are made on-site, include The Duke (Pale Ale), The Bennie (Bock), The Batch (Double IPA), The Northern (American Style Light Lager) and The Stout.  Seasonal brews are featured throughout the year.

The handcrafted beers –also available in growlers – are moderately priced and offer unique styles and flavors not typically produced by major breweries.  The patented brewing process, known as Fermentus Interruptus™, makes replicating the same great taste simple and efficient throughout all Granite City Food and Brewery restaurants.

Nano Brew

Nano Brew

WEBSITE: nanobrewcleveland.com

Nano Brew Cleveland is a friendly neighborhood brewpub with 24 beers on draft both at the inside bar and at the lively outdoor Beer Garden Bar. Enjoy a freshly brewed beer from our 1 barrel brewhouse or any of the other local craft breweries we feature on draft. Brewmaster Andy Tveekrem brings over two decades of award-winning brewing experience to this small but mighty brewhouse to turn out adventurous and at times experimental brews. From one of a kind brews to recipes that might make it to full scale production at our Market Garden Brewery & Distillery just down the block, the lineup of beers will change daily.
See Market Garden
Portside Brewery

Portside Brewery

WEBSITE: portsidedistillery.com

P

ortside Distillery was the brainchild of a group of Cleveland natives. One day while enjoying a pint of Guinness at The Harp, a group of friends had a revolutionary idea – to create the best distillery/brewery/restaurant in the country!

A hand-made still and a state-of-the-art brew kettle later and the dream became a reality! The Portside Distillery team is now making flavorful batches of flavorful spirits and delicious hand-crafted beers. We think they are among the best you will Portside Brewery & Distilleryever try, but don’t take our word for it, try them for yourself!

We hand-craft all of our beers in small batches and fill them flavor and body. Our Brew Master Dan Malz finds the best ingrediants to make the finest beers in Cleveland!

Platform Beer Company

Platform Beer Company

WEBSITE: platformbeerco.com

When you stop by Platform Beer Co. for a drink, we want you to expect not only a great beer, but a beer you’ve yet to try. Foregoing traditional flagship lineups, we brew a constant rotation of seasonal craft beers. Our goal is to introduce drinkers to unfamiliar beer styles as well as unequaled examples of the classics.

Alongside our house beers, we will have beers brewed by our Platform Brewers Group incubator program. Home brewers who are working their way through the brewing incubator will have a chance to showcase their beers at our taphouse and get real world feedback. We hope to arm them with the knowledge and experience to take their favorite hobby to the next level.

  • Speed Merchant, White IPA
  • New Cleveland, Palesner
  • Uber Zwolf, Imperial Weizenbock
  • Go-zuh, Gose Style

info for microbreweries

The Cleveland Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition will be held Friday-Monday Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2nd-Sept. 5th, 2016. Microbrew Competition hours are from 4PM-Midnight Fri, 2PM-Midnight Sat & Sun, and from 2PM-8PM Monday. Oktoberfest will provide volunteers to pour, so brewers need not be present to participate, with the exception of Friday night. Since medals are handed out Friday night, we would like to have at least one brewery rep from each brewery present. An 8′ x 10′ space will be provided to each participating brewer. No fee will be charged for space. Only established breweries will be considered for inclusion. Though non-German beer styles are permitted, this being an Oktoberfest, we’d prefer that brewers concentrate on German styles (see categories below). Non-German styles will only be eligible for awards in the People’s Choice and Best of Show categories. Brewers may submit up to three beer styles for consideration.

The Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest will purchase as much beer as necessary to meet demand, which for most brewers should be roughly 9 kegs total (not per style), though brewers who went through more than that in previous years are free to bring more. Should demand exceed supply, Oktoberfest would wish to purchase additional kegs from any brewers who are able to restock on the fly. Oktoberfest will provide keg tubs, though we ask that entrants bring their own jocky boxes. Ice will be freely available upon request. Brewers wishing to participate should email webmaster@clevelandoktoberfest.com. Prior to the competition, we like to have a list of beers being submitted by each brewer. This gives our judging panel a chance to properly prepare to judge all entries. Note that Oktoberfest reserves the right to accept or reject any application for any reason. Space is limited, so brewers who wish to participate should submit applications for consideration as soon as possible.

On Friday there will be a panel judging, and on Monday the People’s Choice ballots will be tallied and a winner announced. The panel judging Friday night will award the best beer in four separate categories, as well as a Best in Show.

Brewers may submit into multiple categories.  Should a brewer wish to bring a beer that does not fit into one of the categories listed below, that’s fine, though again, that beer would only be eligible for the People’s Choice and Best in Show awards.

the categories are:

GERMAN CATEGORIES
  1. Best “Classic” Oktoberfest
  2. Best German Light Lager
  3. Best German Ale
  4. Best German Bock or Dark Lager
  5. All German Best of Show
OTHER CATEGORIES
  1. Best IPA
  2. Open: Non-German Styles
  3. Best of the Rest of the World
  4. People’s Choice (The People’s Choice award will be judged by Oktoberfest patrons, who will be issued punchable cards and must purchase at least five 3oz. samples to be eligible to vote. When a patron purchases a sample, their card will be punched. The cards will double as ballots, which must be submitted no later than one hour prior to the close of Oktoberfest on Monday. After the ballots are counted, the winner will be announced and the award handed out, or delivered to the brewer if not present.)
  5. Overall Best of Show

Oktoberfest will provide volunteers to dispense beer, though Brewers are encouraged to have a rep on hand to speak about their beer and brewing process. We encourage brewers to decorate their space to make it easily recognizable. Brewers are also welcome to sell other promotional items, such as T-Shirts and beer cozies, though glassware may not be sold.

The Best Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition will be located in the Bier Garten. When loading and unloading, Microbrew Reps will be allowed to drive right up to rear of the Bier Garten using the Vendor Entrance or Main Entrance, though if using the Main Entrance, all vehicles must be off the Midway one hour prior to gate opening. There will be a refrigerated truck behind of the Bier Garten to hold all beer not in use. There will also be an easily accessible ice chest in the Bier Garten for icing down kegs, and each brewer’s station will be furnished with two keg tubs (though again, brewers will need to bring their own jocky boxes). To view a map of the grounds, click here (the Vendor Entrance is located in the upper left hand corner of the map).

If you have any questions please feel free to call Rich Croft at 216-650-1665 or email webmaster@clevelandoktoberfest.com.