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PEACH WEEKENDER | BEER

Toledo on Tap to spotlight Ohio brews

Rhinegeist to celebrate 3-year anniversary in June

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    A craft brewer pours a beer at one of the America On Tap festivals.

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    Trevor Sutherland, sales rep for Rhinegeist beer.

    JONATHAN REYNOLDS

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    Two men compare beers at one of the America On Tap festivals.

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    The crowd at one of the America On Tap festivals.

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    A craft brewer pours a beer at one of the America On Tap festivals.

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A craft brewer pours a beer at one of the America On Tap festivals.

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Trevor Sutherland, a regional sales manager for Cincinnati-based Rhinegeist brewery, is probably joking when he sums up the company’s vision by saying, “I hate to use the term world domination, but …”

Then again, he might not be.

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Trevor Sutherland, sales rep for Rhinegeist beer.

JONATHAN REYNOLDS Enlarge

Rhinegeist, which will celebrate its three-year anniversary this June, produced 31,400 barrels of beer in 2015, nearly tripling its total from 2014, making it one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in America. The numbers are going to likely explode in 2016, spearheaded by the brewery’s move into northwest Ohio and Lorain.

Tapping events were held Monday around Toledo, and Rhinegeist beers now appear on the shelves at local Kroger stores.

The company will be one of more than 75 craft brewers offering samples at this Saturday’s Toledo on Tap event at the SeaGate Convention Centre. Tickets can be purchased at Americaontap.com/​toledo-oh. A standard ticket costs $45 and will get you three hours of sampling, beginning at 5 p.m., a souvenir glass, and live entertainment.

For $60, you can start drinking an hour earlier and you get the glass, a T-shirt, and food voucher. Rock band Sunset Junkies will provide the entertainment.

Rhinegeist will bring its flagship beer, Truth, a West Coast IPA with a tropical fruit aroma, and grapefruit and mango flavor. Sutherland and his team will also be on hand with Panther, a robust porter produced in the winter, early spring. It has a hint of coffee and milk chocolate taste.

The single name for the beer and simple can design is all part of the company’s strategy.

“It’s all about unifying the brand and keeping things simple and to the point,” Sutherland said.

Though simple, the cans are distinctive, highlighted by the use of a skull under that banner Rhinegeist.

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“The name Rhinegeist actually translates to Ghost of the Rhine. It’s a tribute to the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District in Cincinnati. The can is a take on a ghost. Or some people even say it’s because a drop of beer brings life back to everything,” Sutherland said, chuckling.

Another Ohio brewer making inroads in northwest Ohio is northeast Ohio-based 17th State Brewing Company. Their beer can be found at more than 20 locations around the area, including Toledo’s Burger Bar 419, Bowling Green’s Campus Pollyeyes, and Perrysburg’s Kazmaier’s.

Company President Kristopher Mackey will be at the Toledo event with the 17th State Pale Ale and the 17th State Lighted Kolsch, a light, crisp golden ale.

“It’s very approachable and drinkable,” Mackey said of the Kolsch. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s a good introduction to craft beer.”

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Two men compare beers at one of the America On Tap festivals.

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For those wondering about the name, yes, Ohio is the 17th state, and the Lighted Kolsch is meant to honor Ohio accomplishments related to lighting, including Thomas Edison being from Ohio, Cleveland being the first city to be lighted by electricity in 1879, and Cleveland’s introduction of the traffic light in 1914.

“Come see us and talk to us. We’re just a couple of local Ohio guys trying to give this a go,” Mackey said.

Notes: Toledo Beer Week, a group dedicated to promoting craft beer in Toledo and the surrounding areas, will join with local bars and restaurants to raise funds for the Collingwood Arts Center. During the week of April 18-24, the businesses will hold individual events. “Passports” are available at the events. At the end of the week, if a person has had his passport stamped at five events, they will receive a prize.

The week culminates with a cask, or real ale festival, on April 24, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Collingwood Arts Center. There will be beers from more than 25 craft breweries, including Black Cloister, Black Frog, Maumee Bay Brewing, and Northriver Brewing. Tickets are $30.

More information about the businesses participating and the cask festival can be found at facebook.com/​ToledoBeerWeek or at toledobeerweek.org.

The Catawba Island Brewing Co. has released a Presidential Ale in honor of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum. The brew was unveiled at a fund-raising event that raised close to $2,000 at the brewery’s tasting room in Port Clinton on Friday night.

When developing the recipe, employees researched the types of foods the former president liked, eventually deciding to make an ale heavy on wheat and berries.

The Presidential Ale will be available this summer at the brewery, select bars across northwest Ohio, the centennial barbecue at the museum on May 29, and various other museum events throughout the summer. More information can be found at catawbaislandbrewing.com.

Contact Brian Dugger at: bdugger@theblade.com or on Twitter @DuggerCountry.

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