Ohio has a rich history of microbreweries, and more than 45 active breweries are spread across the state. Summer weather brings hot, thirsty residents to the many beer festivals held each year. Some of these festivals reach into the fall for Oktoberfest celebrations, stemming from southwest Ohio's German heritage. These events often feature local breweries alongside international craft beers, tempting visitors with differing tastes.
Drink to the end of winter in Cleveland's Sachsenheim Hall during Winter Warmer Fest. In April, enjoy food and entertainment with your beer at the Big Tap In, held every year in Boardman. Head back to Cleveland's IX Center in May for the International Beer Fest. In 2011, the inaugural event poured nearly 800 beers from more than 200 breweries. Beer-making demonstrations, celebrity brewers and authors highlight the event. Cleveland's Beer Week brings a third round to the city, and an appealing way to drink to fall. Beer Week events, held in October in local neighborhoods across the city, raise awareness for the craft-brewing industry in Ohio and promote local patronage.
A charity beer festival called Bock and Rock livens up July in Minster, just a bit south of Lima. Here, you can celebrate beer, food and music, all for a good cause. In November, a bit west of Lima in the town of Ohio City, is the Annual Microbrew Extravaganza at Massimo de Milano. Look for a wide selection of microbrews and a catered dinner.
The Columbus Oktoberfest comes early -- in September -- to the Ohio Expo Center. This festival has been around for more than 40 years, and recently became sponsored by the Schmidt & Cox families. The event offers shopping in addition to the expected beer, food and entertainment featured at other festivals.
In an unusual combination of cycling and beer, Marietta hosts the Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival each August. The festival celebrates beer, along with the beautiful river city's many miles of bike trails. Live music takes center stage throughout the event. Athens' Ohio Brew Week started in 2006. Events are scheduled at several locations around town. For festivalgoers' safety, limo shuttle tickets are available for the entire event. The July celebration also features a contest for Ms. Beer Week Ambassador.
In Fairfield, just north of Cincinnati, is Jungle Jim's International Beerfest. Jungle Jim's International Market hosts the event annually in June. Choose from more than 350 beers to sample from all over the world, as well as a variety of foods. The festival offers cheaper tickets for those who want to attend the festival without indulging in the beer tastings. End the summer at Historic Fountain Square during the Cincinnati Beer Fest. There are more than 200 varieties of beer available each year. As the festival and evening progress, join in as patrons belt out "Genius of Beer," a song about Fountain Square. In October, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens hosts an event called Zoo Brew. It hosts a tap full of Sam Adams brews, as well as food and live music for a grown-up night out. In Dayton, also in October, head to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds for the Big Beer & Barley Wines Festival.
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