Beer notes: Original Thirsty Dog sign resurfaces; Flying Monkeys, Deschutes arrive

By Rick Armon Beacon Journal staff writer

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The original thirsty dog sign that hung outside the brewpub in North Canton is now at the brewery in Akron. (Rick Armon/Akron Beacon Journal)

Beer signs can be community landmarks.

Remember the excitement when the Genesee Beer sign in downtown Auburn, N.Y., was put up again and then relit after 40 years of being dark? Or the fuss when the “R” sign was put back atop the old Rainier Brewery in Seattle?

Well, maybe you don’t. But trust me, it was a big deal for those communities.

Now, the original Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. sign that hung above its first brewpub in North Canton has made a comeback. (The brewpubs went out of business, but the production brewery remains on Grant Street in Akron.)

The circular9-foot sign that features the iconic Thirsty Dog pooch with a beer mug in its mouth now adorns the brewery’s icehouse building.

The neon sign had been sitting in co-owner John Najeway’s barn for the last eight years.

Asked why he put it up now, he responded: “I finally had a place to put it.” The brewery recently expanded into the adjacent building.

A few years ago, Najeway had plans to put the sign inside the brewery tasting room against one of the walls, but then he stacked barrels there. The sign would have been out of sight so it continued to sit in the barn.

In other Thirsty Dog news, the brewery has signed up with a new distributor that will bring its beer into New York City. Thirsty Dog has been distributed in Long Island, but not the city.

Hello, Flying Monkeys

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery will change your impression of Canadian beer.

Turns out Canada isn’t just Labatt, Molson, Kokanee, Sleeman, Moosehead and Alexander Keith’s. It’s also bold, high-alcohol, knock-your-socks-off beer.

“I’m definitely not about subtlety when it comes to flavor,” said Peter Chiodo, whose business card describes him as founder, beer whisperer and lion tamer.

Flying Monkeys, located about 60 miles north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario, has started distributing in Ohio and the U.S.

Chiodo, a graduate of the University of Alabama, is fulfilling a dream by selling his beer here.

“The U.S. craft beer consumer, they’ve embraced the market so much,” he said during a recent visit to Lizardville in Copley Township. “Why would you not want to give somebody some liquid gold down here, really?”

Flying Monkeys is selling Smashbomb Atomic IPA, StereoVision Kristall Wheat and the Chocolate Manifesto here.

The brewery, which carries the motto “Normal is Weird,” also has one of the most entertaining beer websites around. Check it out at www.theflying
monkeys.ca.

Hello, Deschutes

Deschutes Brewery, the fifth-largest craft brewer in the U.S., made its official Ohio debut last week.

The Bend, Ore., brewer is offering its Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale and Inversion IPA.

“Ohio is a huge state for us,” brand ambassador Lauranne “Lou” Crooks said during a tasting at Acme Fresh Market on West Market Street in Akron. “It’s the biggest launch we’ve ever done. There’s over 12 of us here from Oregon who flew out for this launch.

“There are so many great local breweries out here in Ohio, we’re just excited to be recognized as the new kid on the block,” she added about the response. “We’re the transfer kid. Everybody wants to know who we are.”

Winter Beerfest

Craig Johnson is thinking big with the inaugural Cleveland Winter Beerfest.

He’s expecting 5,000 to 6,000 people to attend the two-day event, set for Friday and Saturday at the Cleveland Convention Center.

The festival will feature about 87 breweries and 330 beers. VIP and regular admission tickets are $45 and $35 in advance, respectively. The VIP tickets simply allow you to get in and have a crack at the specialty beers an hour early.

For more details about the event, see www.cleveland
beerfest.com.

Hops workshop

Ohio brewers spend about $4 million a year on hops.

That presents a great opportunity for Ohio farmers, the Ohio State University Extension and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center say.

The Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will host a “Hops Workshop” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 13 at the research center in Wooster. The workshop includes light breakfast and lunch.

Tickets are $25. The deadline to register is Friday. For more details or to register, email mcglothin.4@osu.edu or call 740-289-2071, ext. 132.

Beer sampler

Americans drop an average of $1,270 a year on beer, according to a new online survey conducted by Survey Analytics, a Seattle company.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrick.


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