Winter Warmer Fest: A heady experience

A quartet of beer brands based in the Cincinnati area will make the trek up I-71 this coming Saturday to participate in the Ohio Craft Brewers Association’s 13th annual Winter Warmer Fest.

Grainworks Brewing, MadTree Brewing, Rhinegeist, and Streetside Brewery will join roughly 60 other Buckeye State brewers offering more than 200 beer varieties, including winter seasonals, limited-editions, and high-gravity (i.e., high-alcohol) beers at the Windows on the River complex in downtown Cleveland on Saturday, March 9 from 2–5 p.m.

“Ohio breweries are cranking out world-class beer, as evidenced by our recent strong showings at such events as the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup competitions,” says Justin Hemminger, deputy director of the Cleveland-based association.

“We highly encourage participating breweries to bring their ‘A-game’ beers to the fest, which has made this event bigger and better every year,” he continues. “The exceptional variety appeals to craft beer enthusiasts and newbies alike.”

Here are the local brewers taking part in the fest, and their planned offerings:

Grainworks Brewing Company, West Chester

poundsign nofilter New England IPA
Defroster Winter Warmer
Bagpipes of Bardstown BBA Scotch Ale
Old Motor Oil BBA Russian Imperial Stout

MadTree Brewing, Oakley

PsycHOPathy IPA
Bonsai Project – OH
DBA Rubus Cacao

Rhinegeist, OTR

Night Whale Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Saber Tooth Imperial IPA
Subliminal Jam Mixed Berry Sour Ale
Cheetah Lager
Wowie Ale with passion fruit and pineapple

Streetside Brewery, Columbia-Tusculum

Thique Mexican Hot Chocolate BA Imperial Stout with habanero, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon
Suh, Brah? New England IPA
Doodle Bob Imperial Brown with snickerdoodle coffee

Hemminger says the event can accommodate about 1,500 attendees, and that it sold out at that level last year. The fest is a fundraiser for the association, a non-profit organization founded to preserve, protect, and unify the state’s craft brewing industry.

General admission tickets are available in advance for $45, which includes a souvenir glass and tasting tickets for 20 four-ounce samples. (Designated driver admission is available for $15 and includes a food voucher.) Tickets can be purchased online at

Ohio Craft Beer Facts

Barrels of craft beer brewed in Ohio in 2017: 1,355,279 Ohio's craft beer scene is booming.

Craft beer industry’s economic impact in Ohio in 2016: $2.675 billion

Economic impact increase 2014–2016: $510 million

Jobs supported by the craft brewing industry in Ohio: 15,000+

Number of craft breweries operating in Ohio: 297

Number of known breweries in planning: 52

Craft beer consumption per capita in Ohio: 4.9 gallons per adult

Rank among states in economic impact: #7

Rank among the states in craft beer production: #5

Source: Ohio Craft Brewers Association
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Matthew Hall is a Mount Lookout-based freelance writer/editor specializing in covering architectural and design trends. His career includes stints with the Cincinnati Business Courier, the Cincinnati Enquirer, (an online bookseller) and Boutique Design magazine. He's also happy to be a later-in-life dad who adopted two children from Guatemala with his wife.