If you haven't been to Athens yet, this would be the time to go. My wife and I are both OU graduates and share fond memories of the place. And the best time to visit is the summer, when the hordes of students haven't overrun the town.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend personally this year, but am actively seeking volunteers to go and report back to this blog. Feel free to post a comment if you are willing to volunteer.
Below is a press release from the folks promoting the event:
May 23, 2007
OHIO BREW WEEK CELEBRATES OHIO’S CRAFT BEERS
ATHENS, OH—Ohio Brew Week celebrates the diversity of Ohio’s micro-brewed beers and the independent establishments that serve them. The second year of the state’s newest festival will be held July 16-21st in Athens, Ohio at restaurants and venues throughout the downtown area. Ohio Brew Week will feature 50 craft beers from 15 microbreweries around the state. The weeklong event includes seminars on the history of beer, the history of taverns, home brewing demonstrations, beer-related videos and movies, cooking with beer demonstrations, pool tournaments, local musicians and beer song contests. The week culminates with the presentation of the People’s Choice Award during Saturday’s Boogie on the Bricks community festival.
Julie Bradford, editor and co-owner of All About Beer magazine and successful website, will be the keynote speaker for Brew Week. Bradford will speak about cooking with beer, beer/food pairings, women & beer and beer’s impact on society.
This year there will be a cooking with Ohio microbrews competition for amateurs and professionals and beer-related entrees, appetizers and desserts at most restaurants in the area. Prizes will be awarded in several categories. Bradford and other food writers will serve on the panel.
In addition, there will be a progressive dart tournament at participating venues throughout the week. A Brew Choo Choo ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is being planned, along with an Art Walk through the Historic Arts District in Nelsonville. Formal tasting of individual breweries’ microbrews will be held a different places every night throughout the week. Most of the restaurants and taverns will feature beer-flavored foods, including beer ice cream, and paw paw beer. Each restaurant will also have live musical entertainment each evening. The Official Brew Week meatball eating competition will be held on Thursday.
“Ohio Brew Week celebrates the rich flavors of Ohio microbrews and the contributions this growing industry of Ohio microbreweries makes to the state,” says Dan Gates, director of Ohio Brew Week. “Ohio’s Brew Week is the only week-long event in the world that provides the opportunity to talk directly with brewers, hear nationally-known beer experts and brew writers and editors, and sample some of the tastiest beers made on the planet.”
Ohio Brew Week will be celebration of tastes, adds Gates. “The breweries all have new and flavorful microbrews for this year and the restaurants are creating unusual beer-related foods. Visitors will get a real taste of our Appalachian culture, regional foods, and these craft beers.”
Last year’s first Brew Week showed that interest in micro-brewing is growing in the state and the rest of the U.S., says Jon Sparhawk, one of the originators of the event, “because people are thirsty for new experiences. The visitors last year enjoyed learning about the art form of micro brewing and sampling some of the most interesting and flavorful microbrews around. They also enjoyed experiencing the rich artistic talents in the Athens area: our artisans, chefs and the fun, comfortable places to gather and socialize. 2007 promises to be even more entertaining.”
Throughout the week, 17 restaurants, pubs and taverns in the Athens area will be featuring speakers, demonstrations and beer-related foods and specials. Most of the venues are within easy walking distance of each other. The local bus system will be circulating along the tasting route as well. Attendees will vote on their favorite micro-brewed beer throughout the week with the People’s Choice Award being presented during the band concert on Saturday, July 21.
Athens provides a relaxed and scenic atmosphere for exploring the new flavors of microbrews and for networking with other brewers, and other microbrew fans, adds Gates.
Ohio Brew Week is co-sponsored by Dine Across America and the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau and WWS Communications.