Upcoming Events: Christmas Beer Release Parties
I always complain when stores put up Christmas decorations in September and October. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas—it’s my favorite holiday. I just think the beginning of fall is too early for retailers to display Christmas merchandise. What about Halloween and Thanksgiving—don’t they deserve a little time to shine?
That said, there’s an exception to every rule. The exception in this case? Breweries. It’s never too early to release Christmas beers, wonderful ales that combines the spices of the season (think orange peel, honey, ginger, vanilla and cloves)! Northeast Ohio’s most notable breweries—Thirsty Dog and Great Lakes—are preparing to do just that. Even better is that proceeds from their upcoming release parties, which are free and open to the public, will go to worthwhile causes.
The fun starts this Saturday, October 12, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company Taphouse in Akron. From 12:25 (very clever) to 10 p.m., guests can enjoy the first tapping of 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale and $1 hot dogs. The Humane Society of Summit County will be on site with adoptable dogs, and $1 from each pint sold will be donated to the organization. Don’t forget about Santa Claus—he’ll be present for pictures between 1 and 4 p.m.
Also on Saturday, a similar event will take place at Thirsty Dog’s Cleveland location in the East Bank of the Flats. The 12 Dogs of Christmas tapping party—which is kid and dog friendly—starts at 1 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear Santa and reindeer hats. The Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter will be on hand with furry friends in need of a home. The event will feature a live DJ, Christmas music, photos with Santa and his rescue pups, a dog kissing booth and a beer barrel raffle. Proceeds from the raffle, as well as each pint sold between 2 and 6 p.m., will benefit the animal shelter.
On Thursday, October 24, Great Lakes Brewing Company will host its annual First Pour party—celebrating the eight-week release of the company’s Christmas Ale—at their Ohio City brewpub on Market Avenue. The restaurant will open at 11 a.m. with the first pour occurring 30 minutes later. Highlights of the day will include a performance by the Cleveland Carolers, food specials, a beer garden, beer-infused donuts from Brewnuts, a live DJ, photos with Santa, special barrel-aged beer tastings, new merchandise for purchase and the sale of Christmas Ale yule logs (with proceeds benefitting the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center). The event is first-come, first-served, as reservations cannot be accommodated. Lines form early, so plan accordingly—in years past, people have arrived at 7:30 a.m.!
The unofficial start of the holiday season in Cleveland is upon us and I couldn’t be more excited. Great Lakes and Thirsty Dog produce tremendous Christmas beers. Last year, I gave the slight edge to Thirsty Dog. I’m curious to see what this year brings. Pro tip: When ordering Christmas beers on draft, make sure to ask for cinnamon on the rim.
Finally, kudos to both companies for using their release parties to call attention to important social causes. See you at Thirsty Dog this Saturday. As for October 24, I better start laying the groundwork for a sick day at work (cough, cough). Cheers!