Ohio Craft Brewers Conference 2016

by Renee on February 5, 2016

ohio-craft-brewers-new1Groundhog Day not only promised an early spring in 2016, but an avalanche of great brew to come in Ohio. Held over the course of three days, the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference, put on by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, was held at the Dayton Convention Center Feb. 2-4. Only the second annual gathering, attendance doubled over last year–with reps from the state’s 160-plus breweries making the trek to the Gem City.

Tuesday afternoon the brewers and others in the industry met for their quarterly meeting at Carillon Brewing Company, where beer is brewed the way it was done in the 1850s–no easy feat! That evening, conference-goers were treated to several brew bus tours of many of Dayton’s 14 breweries. I had the chance to enjoy the beers of Yellow Springs Brewing and the Hairless Hare Brewery.

The highlight for most was the keynote address by Jim Koch of Boston Beer on Wednesday morning–many don’t realize that Samuel Adams beers are primarily brewed in Cincinnati, and the company is the largest member of the OCBA. Koch grew up in Ohio before heading Northeast to Boston, and he reminisced fondly of his years here. A sixth generation brewer, his Buckeye roots run deep–Koch told the gathered crowd he has a cousin named Scarlett Ann Grey.

For me personally, the highlight wasn’t Jim’s talk–when he made a personal call for craft brewers to stick Jim Paultogether against the Big Guys–the ones you’ll see advertising during this weekend’s SuperBowl–but afterward, when I had the chance to introduce him to Paul Benner, one of the founders of Platform Beer Company. Since Jim is the one who re-introduced my father, Jack McAuliffe, and New Albion Ale to the craft beer world back in 2013, it thrilled me to put him together with Paul, who is brewing the Original Craft Beer today. They talked about Jack’s amazing contributions to the craft beer world, and how things have changed since those early days in Sonoma, CA in the 70s.

Paul shared his reverence for the beer with Jim, and told him about Jack’s reaction when the Father of Craft Beer visited the brewery in 2014 for its debut to a Cleveland crowd: Jack had said the new New Albion really hits the mark. Jim was pleased to hear it–and thanked Paul for shepherding the historical ale to new audiences.

NABCoSo, it doesn’t really get much better than that on a sunny winter Wednesday in Ohio. Look for the next batch of New Albion Ale to come very soon from the fledgling Gypsy Brewing Company–an offshoot of Platform. Plans for this year include larger quantities of New Albion at your favorite Ohio restaurants and bars, possible packaging, and better swag. Maybe we’ll even brew one of Jack’s other original New Albion beers. Cheers to exciting brew news!


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