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PEACH WEEKENDER | RAISE A GLASS

Local brewers capitalize on local festival

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    Crowds line up to sample beer at the 11th annual Glass City Beer Festival.

    The Blade/Brian Dugger
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    Chris Harris, owner of Black Frog Brewery, during the 11th annual Glass City Beer Festival.

    Blade photos by Brian Dugger

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    Chris Harris, center, meets guests at the Black Frog Brewery line during the 11th annual Glass City Beer Festival.

    Blade photos by Brian Dugger

It was a good sign that two hours into this year’s Glass City Beer Festival Toledo’s Black Cloister Brewing was down to one beer tap, the other two quickly drained by the more than 2,000 attendees to this year’s event at the Lucas County Rec Center.

The Rec Center space was split in half, with local breweries, and a few out-of-town breweries on the right. The left side of the hall featured guest breweries like Cincinnati’s Rhinegeist. In the middle, was the band 56Daze, cranking out familiar cover tunes.

The lines for local breweries were long all night.

“We are pleased to feature six local breweries, a number that has grown each year over the past several festivals,” said Joel Sensenig, a committee member for the event. “Earnest Brew Works opened this past fall, and many people are likely getting their first taste of Earnest beers. The local section of the festival is always a popular spot, as craft beer enthusiasts love supporting the growing Toledo brewing community.”

Earnest Brew Works’ Keefe Snyder, who was at the event with co-owner Scot Yarnell, was pleased how his first Glass City event went. Earnest brought three samples for the crowd: New Sincerity (West Coast IPA), Honey buzz (Honey double IPA), and the Evil Ernie (Imperial stout).

“This has been a great way for us to connect with Toledo at large. People come here with all kinds of expectations of what beer is, and it’s great for them to have the chance to try so many different beers and styles,” Snyder said.

The 11th annual event sold tickets online for the first time, making it much easier for guests. The online sales also probably boosted the number of VIP tickets, which reached an all-time high. Those ticket holders got into the event earlier, received additional pours, and enjoyed a catered dinner. Proceeds from the night went to the Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation and Camp Courageous & the Arc of Northwest Ohio.

More than anything, the night was about showcasing northwest Ohio’s growing craft beer market.

“This is an exciting night,” Black Frog Brewery owner Chris Harris said. “It’s great having all these people come out and trying our beer.”

Black Frog was offering samples of the Autumn Amber (Amber ale), Endangered Species (West Coast IPA), and Smooth Smoke (Honey smoked porter).

Next year’s event has already been scheduled for March 2.

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This year’s Burning Snowman Festival in Port Clinton on Feb. 25 turned into a record-breaker. The warm temperatures didn’t do much for the snowman, but it helped bring out approximately 10,000 people, compared to last year’s 6,000. Proceeds benefited three children’s charities: United Way in Ottawa County, Rettsyndrome.org, and Mr. Ed’s Kids for Christmas. Close to $35,000 will be split between the three charities.

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Shannon Fink, the head brewer at Black Cloister Brewing Co. hosted five female home-brewers on March 8 for a celebration of International Women’s Day. The six women brewed a honey beer, with local wildflower honey.

The beer will go on tap at Black Cloister around March 22, with a portion of all sales going to the Pink Boots Society, which was created to assist, inspire, and encourage women beer industry professionals to further their careers through education. Fink, who began home brewing in 2011, is a member of the group.

“I think it is exciting that more women are being introduced to or discovering home-brewing,” Fink said. “It’s also important for women who are in the beer industry to have access to education that helps to further their careers in the industry, and that is what the Pink Boots Society focuses on.”

Contact Brian Dugger at: bdugger@theblade.com or on Twitter @DuggerCountry.

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