Brew Week Makes A Splash

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As seen inĀ The Athens NEWS:

Brew week makes a splash
Rain doesn’t much dampen “Last Call” celebration Saturday
By: McKenzie Powell
Athens NEWS Contributor

O hio Brew Week wrapped up its eventful eight-day festival with Last Call on Court Street Saturday.

Last Call featured dozens of craft breweries from all over Ohio, along with various art and food vendors and performances from six local bands.

The brewing companies were sheltered under large labeled tents and spread up and down Court Street. Despite the gloomy weather, community members and out-of-town guests gathered to share these featured brews from companies such as Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company, Toledo’s Great Black Swamp Brewing Company and Cincinnati’s Rhinegeist Brewery.

“The purpose is to highlight the Ohio craft beer industry. So we bring almost any micro-brewery who wants to participate down to Athens and put them on tap,” said Weston Lombard, director of Ohio Brew Week.

Stretching over two blocks, the beer garden was used as a method to spread more than just tasty beer. “It just really pulls the whole community together; it shows that it’s not just about the beer, not just about the brewers, but it’s about Athens County and all of Ohio,” said Ohio Brew Week attendee Todd Schwartz.

Bob Morris of the Great Black Swamp Brewing Company agreed. “It’s a great chance for the public to enjoy Ohio beers and realize the great selection of beers they have locally here in Ohio,” he said. “These craft beers are much better than the national beers you can buy across the country. It’s phenomenal.”

While Last Call was an ideal gathering place for local residents and taste-testers, it also served as a unique opportunity for brewers to meet one another and discuss their work in a comrade-like fashion.

“There’s this sense of wanting to help each other all make it, and that’s fairly unique to, I would say, every industry in the world,” said Rhinegeist Brewery’s Nate Seiberling. “There’s nowhere else that is so supportive of new people coming into the market.”

Referred to as a “big beer, music, food festival” by Lombard, Last Call included local acts Blind Eye, Laura Nadeau, Keesey, the Summoners, Shouts and Whispers, the Wild Honeybees and DJ B-Funk. These performances were staged near the northern end of North Court Street and lasted from 2-11 p.m.

Many art vendors also made appearances at the event, including Passion Works Studio and Crabby ArtWorks. Food venders sold funnel cakes and other typical festival foods alongside interesting items such as fried peanut butter and jelly.

Ohio Brew Week is an annual event held exclusively in Athens. First held in 2006, this week is focused on featuring the products of more than 40 Ohio craft and small breweries throughout uptown and Athens area bars and restaurants. Attendees typically come from all over the state and country to taste the featured craft brews and enjoy what the Athens community has to offer.

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