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The Suburbanite
  • A wide array of craft beers for sampling at OctoBREWfest charity event.

  • If you’re the type of beer lover who avoids brews with the word Lite on their label, and you know the difference between a lager, a porter and a stout, then the Stark County Fairgrounds should be your Saturday-afternoon destination.

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  • If you’re the type of beer lover who avoids brews with the word Lite on their label, and you know the difference between a lager, a porter and a stout, then the Stark County Fairgrounds should be your Saturday-afternoon destination.
    The OctoBREWfest, a fundraising — as well as fun — event, will offer thirsty attendees three to four hours of unlimited sampling from a selection of 96 different beers from more than 50 breweries, many of them seasonal varieties.
    “We’re specializing in the exceptional beers that are coming out right now — harvest beers, some pumpkin ales, some fresh hops,” says Ricky Miller, one of the event’s organizers. “Quite a few of the local breweries are going to be there — Hoppin’ Frog, Great Lakes, Ohio Brewing Company, Thirsty Dog —  but the whole country is represented, along with some German beers.”
    The beer-list organizer is Vintage Estate Wine and Beer, a retailer in Boardman with an extensive inventory of craft beers. “They’ve used their tremendous influence in the beer industry to get rare stuff,” says Miller, an Alliance firefighter. “The breweries are happy to oblige them.”
    “A lot of these are seasonal beers that are only available for a short period of time,” says Sandy Reda of Vintage Estate, which has, for two years, organized a successful springtime craft-beer festival, The Big Tap-In, in Boardman. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for Canton to be exposed to a lot of different craft beers, plus we’re going to have some fun entertainment as well, and samples of food.”
    OctoBREWfest is a benefit for the Alliance Firefighters Charities, which impacts kids in the greater Stark County area through YMCA programs, the Red Cross, Akron Children’s Hospital’s Burn Camp, and an annual toy drive.
    “Some people might say it’s a high ticket price, but it’s not like we’re keeping it. This all benefits the kids,” Miller says. “Plus, it makes your beer taste better when you know it’s for a good cause.”
    General admission tickets for OctoBREWfest are $40, which includes beer and food samples from 3 to 6 p.m., a souvenir tasting glass, and live music. VIP tickets, $55, include all of the above, plus an extra hour of tasting (2 to 3 p.m.) and VIP food. A designated-driver ticket, with nonalcoholic beverages, is $20. Everyone attending OctoBREWfest must be 21 or older.
    Providing entertainment will be the Northeast Ohio Celtic Eagle Pipe Band, the Shankman Band and DJ Ben. There will be complimentary food samples from Rude Dawgs, Primo’s Restaurant, Tastefully Simple, Uncle Jim’s Mustard, Herman’s Hot Sauce and B-Hoppy Candy.
    According to Miller, beer is a shared interest among many Alliance firefighters. “At least half the guys on my shift brew, and they make delicious stuff. Some of the guys even grow their own hops,” he says. “When we had our picnic, three of the guys brewed up a keg and we sat around and told stories, laughed a lot and made fun of each other. (Beer) brings us all together."
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