Best Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition

Best Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition

What’s On Tap for 2023 BREWERS CLICK HERE

The Cleveland Labor Day Weekend Oktoberfest “Best Oktoberfest Microbrew” competition will be held Fri, Sept 1st—Mon, Sept 4th, and Fri, Sept 8th—Sat, Sept 9th, 2023 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea, OH – just outside Cleveland. The hours for the competition are 4PM-Midnight both Fridays, Noon-Midnight both Saturdays, Noon-Midnight Sun, and Noon-8PM Monday. Friday night will feature the judging and awards ceremony, and on the 2nd Saturday, 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 will likely include:


Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Brewery

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 Brewery
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.

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Sibling Revelry Brewing Co.

Sibling Revelry Brewing Co.

Sibling 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.

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Saucy Brew Works

Saucy Brew Works

The story starts with our Brew Master Eric Anderson and Entrepreneur Brent Zimmerman. Beer fanatics. Always up for adventure. They decided to transform the Steelman Building into the kind of place that delivers nothing less than crazy good beer and legendary good times.

Eric graduated from the Master Brewing Program at the Siebel Institute of Technology. Traveled far and wide to learn the craft. Obsessed with quality. Uses creativity and background in microbiology to deliver experimental beers and next generation hybrids.

Brent Graduated from Miami University and the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Born Entrepreneur. Beer fanatic. Known for his unbreakable commitment to Cleveland and bringing business opportunities to the community that defy the status quo.

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Masthead Brewing Company

Masthead Brewing Company is located in the historic Bryant Building at 1261 Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. Our building was originally built in 1921 as an automotive dealership and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The taproom is a completely open floorplan with high ceilings perfectly suited for our operation.

The taproom features 300 seats, a 100’ long bar, and an additional 50 seat dog friendly patio with a view of downtown Cleveland. Masthead includes a full bar and kitchen focusing on American and Belgian style beers, Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, and a barrel aged beer program, which utilizes exclusively allocated whiskey barrels from top-rated distilleries.

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Railroad Brewing Co.

Railroad Brewing Company

Railroad Brewing Company is Lorain County’s first onsite craft brewery/distributor and taproom. They brew exceptional craft beer, have an onsite beer garden, and offer a dog friendly, family environment.


Railroad Brewing CompanyModeled after influences from the Colorado brewery scene, they sell beer on-site in their taproom, which often features live music, and to-go in growlers and 16oz cans. When available and cost-effective, they brew using locally sourced ingredients, like Chardon maply syrup.

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Schnitz Ale Brewery

Schnitz Ale Brewery

When it opens in mid-late September, Schnitz Ale is slated to be Parma’s first microbrewery, and will include a tap room, full-service bar, restaurant, and outdoor seating. The creation of Igor Djurin, whose family runs the neighboring Das Schnitzel Haus restaurant, Schnitz Ale Brewery will house six fermenters brewing everything from IPAs and Kölsch to Hefeweizens and seasonal beers.

Schnitz Ale BreweryIn preparation for the Cleveland Oktoberfest Schnitz Ale Brewery and Planted Flag Brewing collaborated to produce a well-balanced German-style beer. This piece of art is malty and sweet, but still has that perfect festival drinkability. It is just plain refreshing! And they can’t wait to share our “secret” bier with everyone at the Cleveland Oktoberfest!

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Boss Dog Brewing Co.

Boss Dog Brewing Co.

Boss Dog Brewing Company, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio was founded by brothers, Josh and Jason Sweet in 2016. Boss Dog prides itself on being a locally sourced full-service restaurant and 10BBL brewery with a massive dog-friendly patio.


Boss Dog Brewing CompanyIn the brewery, their signature craft beers flow from over 10 taps, and their gastropub-style menu is complete with bar snacks, pizzas, sandwiches, & entrees to complement their beers and satisfy every palette.

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Immigrant Son Brewery

Immigrant Son Brewery - Lakewood, Ohio

Immigrant Son Brewery serves Lakewood and the Greater Cleveland area residents with traditional-style beers and globally-=inspired exotic beers, as well as classic and new culinary pub fare in a newly renovated space that brings old world and new world together in design, experience and taste.

Immigrant Son Brewery of Lakewood, OhioOur core recipes are full of interesting and fresh flavors, but still focused on the subtleties of making great and balanced beer and distinctive foods.

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Planted Flag Brewing

Planted Flag Brewing - Medina, Ohio

Planted Flag Brewing is a 100% family and veteran owned business crafting delicious beer, cocktails, and food sourced from the best Ohio farms and Ohio businesses. We are located at 3594 Pearl Rd in Medina Township just minutes from I-71 and I-271 exits in Medina. Our 10 barrel brewery, taproom, bar and kitchen focuses on celebrating the best ingredients Ohio has to offer.

We feature rotating IPAs, Farmhouse Ales, Sours, and our specialty German style lagers all using Ohio malt. Planted Flag Brewing features a full kitchen focusing on sandwiches, soups, salads, and appetizers using chicken, beef and pork sourced from Ohio farms. We also have a great selection of spirits and all of our signature cocktails use handmade syrups and Ohio spirits. Our taproom and brewery is open and bright and our spacious outdoor seating features picnic tables, umbrellas, and scenic woodland views.

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Fat Head’s Brewery

Fat Head's Brewery

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 brewmaster 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.”

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Market Garden Brewery

Market Garden Brewery

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.
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  • Brauraiser (Classic Oktoberfest)
  • Haze Jude (IPA)
  • Luchy (Black Lager)
  • Yammy (Non-German Open)
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    The Brew Kettle

    The Brew Kettle

    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.

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    Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.

    Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

    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!

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    Nano Brew

    Nano Brew

    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


    Collision Bend Brewing Co.

    Collision Bend Brewing Company

    Collision Bend Brewing Company is an artisanal brewery and full-service restaurant, featuring crisp, bright beers brewed on site, served alongside freshly prepared Southern California street food.

    Located on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland’s Flats District, the brewery is housed in the newly renovated Hausheer Building on Old River Road. Built in 1863, the site first served as a chandlery, where Civil-War era-merchant ships stockpiled supplies before setting sail onto the Great Lakes.

    Today, beer is handcrafted by one of Cleveland’s preeminent brew masters, Luke Purcell, who helped launch the Great Lakes Brewing Company into national fame. Luke, and his team of brewers, carefully pair a variety of beers with an eclectic menu of food prepared from scratch that includes small plates to share and pizza from a wood-fired oven.

    Many of the brewing and food ingredients are locally sourced. A menu of fresh, natural food was designed specifically to compliment the unique flavors of beer and will continue to change as Luke releases new batches.

    Across an expansive, waterfront patio, diners can watch iron-ore freighters carefully inch themselves around the infamous Collision Bend – a U-shaped turn in the Cuyahoga that has tested ship captains for more than a century and sparked citywide debates about redirecting the river.

    Exclusive parking and private dock space for boats make Collision Bend Brewing Company the most accessible destination in the flats.

    Collision Bend Brewing Company is setting new standards in modern microbreweries. With an unrivaled fresh, natural menu and beers destine for national awards, the brewery is quickly becoming a Cleveland landmark on the Cuyahoga River.

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    Hansa Brewery

    Hansa Brewery

    Boris Music made big news when he broke ground in April of 2013 on his multi-million dollar construction project that would transform the corner of Lorain and W. 28th into a shiny new brewery, restaurant, and retail shop.

    Music and his specialty foods shop Hansa Import House have been fixtures in the Ohio City neighborhood for 40 years, longer even than Great Lakes Brewing. So it was welcome news when he announced his plans to construct a 15-barrel brewery and restaurant while improving his long-running specialty foods shop. That shop, long popular with Eastern European immigrants, carries a huge inventory of imported cheeses, meats, bread, and beers. Now, Boris’ dream has become a reality. We welcome you with open arms and cold beer to Cleveland’s newest, authentic Eastern European restaurant and brewery. PROST!

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    Noble Beast Brewing Co.

    Noble Beast Brewing Co.

    We’re a small family-run brewery and restaurant in beautiful downtown Cleveland. Our kitchen focuses on seasonal farm-fresh ingredients to create tasty bar grub. The brewery creates a mix of traditional European styles and experimental American ales with sporadic funky barrel releases.

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    info for microbreweries

    The Cleveland Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition will be held Friday-Monday Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 – Sept. 5, 2022, and Friday, Sept 9 – Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Microbrew Competition hours are from 4PM-Midnight both Fridays, Noon-Midnight both Saturdays, Noon-Midnight Sunday, and Noon-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 Open, IPA and Best of Show categories. Brewers may submit up to five beer styles for consideration.

    The Cleveland 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 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:

    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


    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