Monthly Archives: April 2011

Ya Can’t Win ‘Em All

During my adventures this semester I have encountered many different new and interesting beers from Ohio.  For my last post I decided to get a little crazy and try some beers I would never have tried prior to this semester at school.


What are those beers?  Well, the brews hail from Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron, Ohio.  The brewery, founded in 2006 by Fred Karm, doesn’t have a restaurant or a bar/tasting room on site, but the beer is available for sale Monday through Saturday after lunch.  It’s best to call for times to make sure Hoppin’ Frog is open.  I’d hate for anyone to drive all the way out there to find it isn’t open for sales.  You can buy the beers at retailers throughout Ohio and other states, too.

I traveled to Falls Bootlegger State Liquor on Graham Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls for these brews.


B.O.R.I.S.  The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout – 9.4% ABV

Just the word “stout” scared me when I bought this beer.  Stout reminds me of Guinness, a stout I love only when paired with a shot of Jameson and Bailey’s.  (What can I say?  It’s the Irish in me!)  This beer poured like syrup and my nose was filled with the aromas of coffee and chocolate.  The first sip was robust.  Flavors of dark chocolate swirled around my mouth.  But…I just didn’t like it.  It’s going to sound harsh but it tasted like I was drinking mud and espresso.

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Photo courtesy of Hoppin' Frog Brewery

I’m sure people who appreciate a stout would love this beer but it was just too much for me.  The blog called Mug of Saint Arnold graded the beer as an A.  This guy probably has a much more developed palate than I have.  I’m not complaining though.


Bodacious Black and Tan – 7.6% ABV

I’ve always been a huge fan of those mixed beers; black and tan, black and gold, black and blue.  The flavors always mix so well together and there’s some excitement to drinking two beers at the same time.  Hoppin’ Frog took this love of mine and ruined it.  The beer is made from 67 percent India Pale Ale and 33 percent stout.  A traditional black and tan is made from Guinness and Bass, beautifully layered to please the eye and the palate.  This beer looked just as dark as the stout, which made me curious.

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Photo courtesy of Hoppin' Frog Brewery

This beer was just way too hoppy for my liking.  It’s another one of those beers that I don’t like but everyone else does.  The folks at Beer Advocate rated the beer with a B+ but the bitterness was overwhelming and made me nervous to try the next beer.


Wild Frog Wheat Ale – 6% ABV

Man, am I glad I decided to brave through to try this beer.  The beer poured a light caramel color and aromas of fruit hit my nose immediately.  That was weird to me because no fruit is used in the making of the beer.  The bottle suggests complimenting the flavors with an orange slice, which I would have done had I had one.

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Photo courtesy of Hoppin' Frog Brewery

It didn’t taste like any wheat beer I have ever tried before (and I’ve tried a lot in my research for this blog) but I liked that it was different from the rest.   The ratings on Rate Beer gave the brew an 86 out of 100.  It doesn’t surprise me that my feelings about the beer are different from most.


Other Brews

I wish Falls Bootlegger Liquore Store carried more of Hoppin’ Frog’s brews than the few I found but I’m glad I was exposed to this local treasure.  After surfing the website of Hoppin’ Frog I really want to try the Smashin’ Berry Ale, Smashin’ Berry Dark Ale, Frosted Frog Christmas Ale and the Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale.


Have you ever tried Hoppin’ Frog brews?  If so, what’s your favorite?








Beer and Sustainability

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Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company

It’s important to remember running a business isn’t just about a great product or phenomenal service; it’s also about good public relations and practicing social responsibility.  Being socially responsible can range from doing things like fundraising to practicing award-winning sustainability efforts and a million things in between.  Craft brewery Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio does both – fundraising to lead to sustainability.

Last year, brewpub owners Pat and Dan Conway received the Champions of the Decade Award from Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, a business network oriented towards sustainability.  A Cleveland resident nominated the brothers for their strong sustainability practices.

Sustainability at the Brewery

Beau Daane on the blog Weatherhead Masters Blog touches on the sustainability practices Great Lakes Brewing Company has taken.  I’m going to pull a page out of his book.

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

  • For starters, the company recycles used vegetable oil from cooking to fuel a beer delivery truck and a shuttle bus called The Fatty Wagon.
  • Some menu items, liked the cracked barely beer bread and pretzels, are made using recycled barely from the brewing process.
  • All menus, promotional items, beverage napkins and beer cases are made out of 100% recycled materials.
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company uses vermicomposting to fertilize the herbs and vegetables found on the menu.  What is vermicomposting?  Now, this may turn some of you off but it’s actually amazing!  Vermicomposting is the process of feeding worms paper, kitchen scraps, grains and cardboard and then using the worm castings as a top-notch organic fertilizer.  Castings are poop…that’s the gross part.
  • In the winter Great Lakes Brewing Company uses cold air from outside to cool the beer to reduce the use of electricity.
  • Bottles of beer that aren’t completely filled in the bottling process don’t just get thrown away; they’re used in menu items.
  • The brewery gets its herbs and vegetables from two organic farms it manages – Pint Size Farm and Ohio City Farm.

Great Lakes Brewing Company has implemented a non-profit organization and some events to illuminate its efforts.

The Burning River Fest

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Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company

Started in 2001, the Burning River Fest has been an event put on by Great Lakes Brewing Company to bring people together to remember the burning of the Cuyahoga River in 1969.

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

The event is supposed to celebrate the renewed sense of eco-consciousness the fire sparked.  Great Lakes Brewing Company brews a pale ale called Burning River to commemorate the event.  Click here for more information on the fire and the history of the Cuyahoga River from’s article on the 40th anniversary of the fire.

The Burning Rive Fest features displays from local environmental groups and educational organizations, local and organic food and live music.  The proceeds from the event benefit sustainability efforts of the Great Lakes that focus on water quality.  Since 2001, almost $250,000 has been awarded.

The Burning River Fest will take place this year on July 23 and 24 at the historic Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island.

The Burning River Foundation

Established in 2007 as a result of the support of the Burning River Fest, the foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose through grants, donations and community involvement is to provide far-reaching education and resources for the conservation, protection, exploration, prevention and sustainable future of our waterways, more specifically, the Great Lakes.

The Burning River Foundation has promoted sustainability through the donation of funds for:

The steps Great Lakes Brewing Company are taking to be eco-friendly are simple steps that many businesses can take to help make the world a greener place.  It’s important to preserve where we live, make it a better place for our kids, grandkids, great grandkids…you get the picture.