Cleveland, Pittsburgh breweries team up for OH-PA Session Pale Ale

By Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Cleveland and Pittsburgh don’t always see eye to eye — at least when it comes to professional football.

When it comes to beer, though? That’s a different story.

Buckeye Brewing, a production brewery in Cleveland, and Rivertowne Brewing, which has both restaurants and a production brewery around Pittsburgh, are collaborating on a special pale ale set for release either in late February or early March.

The beer, called OH-PA Session Pale Ale and brewed at Rivertowne, will be available in 12-ounce cans and on draft. Rivertowne brewmaster Andrew Maxwell expects the beer to be about 4.5 percent to 4.7 percent alcohol by volume.

“When you get session beers like that, you have to make sure that they don’t lack flavor,” he said. “And what we’ll do is have a real nice hop flavor and … a small bite.”

OH-PA Session Pale Ale was the brainchild of Heinen’s beer buyer Ed Thompkins, who’s well-regarded for his beer knowledge and support of local breweries.

The beer will be available exclusively at Heinen’s grocery stores in the Cleveland market. It also will be available at the usual Rivertowne locations in Pennsylvania.

The collaboration idea stemmed from a conversation over a few beers during Cleveland Beer Week last year. “The next thing you know we’re in Pittsburgh getting the plan together,” Thompkins said. “This shoots down the theory that you can’t drink beer all day and still have good ideas. Because the OH-PA came to me after multiple beers.”

He predicts the beer will be a big hit.

“I want to make a big deal about this,” he said. “This is where beer is fun. It’s relevant and it really attracts an audience because there are no boundaries. This has never been done before. You still kick over stones and find these new opportunities even as the market kind of gets saturated or the bubble builds. There are still cool things that you can do.”

Gangster beer

Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland has released a seasonal beer named after an infamous mobster.

Danny Greene Enforcer Imperial Stout is a big brew at 9.5 percent alcohol by volume.

“We brewed this beer to celebrate Cleveland’s Irish heritage, but menacing enough that we had to name it after notorious local mobster Danny Greene,” assistant general manager Jeff Draeger said in an email.

Greene was immortalized in books and the 2011 film Kill the Irishman. He was killed in a car bombing in October 1977.

The brewery is selling one-liter bottles for $13.50. Growlers are going for $19.50. It also is available on draft at the brewery.

Market Garden also plans to release a small batch of Bourbon Barrel Aged Danny Greene Enforcer for St. Patrick’s Day.

Craft beer dinner

The United Way of Portage County and Ray’s Place are teaming up for a craft beer dinner and fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at Ray’s, 135 Franklin Ave., Kent.

The event will feature beers from six different craft breweries. The actual beers won’t be announced before the tasting. After an introductory beer, five more beers will be paired with dishes created by Chef Robert Paone.

A silent auction with many items for beer fans and 50/50 raffle also will be held. Seating is limited and the deadline to register is Jan. 21. Tickets are $35.

Proceeds benefit the United Way of Portage County. Reservations can be made by sending a check to the United Way of Portage County, P.O. Box 845, Ravenna, OH 44266, or calling Barb Zoller at 330-297-1424, ext. 114.

Beer dinner II

Kevin O’Bryan’s Irish Pub, 1761 S. Main St., Akron, will hold a six-course beer pairing dinner from 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 25.

The event will feature Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, Domaine DuPage, Fat Head’s Head Hunter, Sixpoint Resin, Great Divide Hibernation Ale, and Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean.

Tickets are $30, plus tax and tip. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 330-724-9782.

Top bar

Nano Brew Cleveland has been named one of the 100 best bars in America for 2014 by Draft Magazine.

The nanobrewery, just down the street from Market Garden Brewery and Great Lakes Brewing Co. in the Ohio City neighborhood, is the only Ohio bar to make the cut this year.

Last year, the Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood, McNulty’s Bier Markt in Cleveland and La Cave du Vin in Cleveland Heights were honored.

To see the entire 2014 list, go to

Beer samplers

• The Akron Beacon Journal has updated an online map of breweries in Ohio. Check it out at

• The NPD Group, a market research company, reports that most men would rather give up beer and pornography than go bald.

• Heineken is the world’s most influential beer site, according to an analysis by Zephyr Adventures and the Beer Bloggers Conference. Beer Advocate was second and New Belgium Brewing third.

• Elevator Brewing in Columbus is releasing small-batch beers this year at its restaurant featuring herbs such as juniper, mugwort, heather and rosemary. There will be a new herbal beer each month.

• Samuel Adams has released a new West Coast-style IPA called Rebel IPA.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or Read his beer blog at Follow him on Twitter at @armonrick.

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