Cleveland is great weekend destination

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 29, 2012

What do you call an event with over 200 stellar breweries from around the world pouring upwards of 800 select beers?

Why it is the Ohio International Beer Fest!

All hail the humble hop plant!

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The International Beer Fest returns to Cleveland International Exposition (IX) Center during the weekend of May 11 and 12. This unique event showcases the world of beers and beyond!

The IBF features appearances by celebrity brewers, respected authors and entertaining personalities sharing enlightening industry insights on the SPEAKeasy, Brew U and Tasting Room stages.

From discussions to demonstrations, renowned beer experts reveal how they have helped shape the industry. They will also interact with show attendees during live audience participation sessions.

According to Robert Peterson, president of the I-X Center, “We are proud that International Beer Fest has quickly grown to become the largest beer centric festival in the Midwest.”

Tickets may be purchased online at Event and activity schedules are online at or you can call 216.265.7468 for more information.

Of course you can also follow the International Beer Fest on Facebook and Twitter!

Yes it is quite a haul to CLE but here are a couple of additional reasons for a road trip to Ohio’s north coast!

I’ve talked with plenty of folks that have a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their bucket list. Combine a visit to the Rock Hall with the IBF and you’ve got another item checked off your list.

The Rock Hall has recently undergone a major renovation and I looking forward to checking out these changes. I’m hearing that there is much more content on display and that the place has become more visitor friendly.

The golf clubs are making the journey as I plan on hitting at least one of the area’s Metro Parks golf courses ( These are well maintained, challenging yet affordable places to chase a little white ball around.

It’s still a big maybe as there are construction and legal hurdles to overcome but Ohio’s first modern era casino may open during the weekend of the International Beer Fest.

The Horseshoe Casino is located downtown on Public Square and should attract both gamers and curiosity seekers to the city center.

Downtown Cleveland is a very walkable place and it’s a comfortable stroll from the Rock Hall to the casino or over to the Play House Square theater district.

This district features the most live performing art theaters between New York City and Chicago with many Broadway quality performances conducted there.

There’s a wide range of lodging in the area but one of my favorites is the La Quinta Airport North location. You can stay and park here walk over and ride Cleveland’s Rapid Transit light rail downtown.

There are stops for the casino, the Rock Hall, the Hard Rock Café and the shops at Tower Center. You’ll still need your wheels to get to the IX Center which is about a 5-10 minute freeway drive from the hotel. However the rest of city center’s attractions are easily accessible via the Rapid.

I’ve got plenty of itinerary suggestions but visit the Greater Cleveland Tourism office at for more details and ideas is a great start.

Why not make this a memorable weekend with a springtime getaway to northern Ohio?

Another closer to home beer event is the 7th annual Ohio Brew Week held in one of the college party capitols of the world-Athens. This year’s event runs from June 22 thru the 30.

Presently there are least 30 Ohio microbreweries scheduled to present their diverse styles of craft beers. There are also rumors that there may be surprise guest out of state brewery or two so you’ll have to be there to know for sure.

New to the festival this year are Ohio-made spirits that are distilled with local products. Reportedly there will be vodka, gin and whisky available to sample. I’ll pass on these taste tests so I’ll have to rely on third party reports.

The keynote speaker is Christian Moerlein owner Greg Hardman. He’s well known for his major role in reviving Cincinnati’s brewing history and the German lager style of craft brew so popular in the 1880s.

He has been focused on the redevelopment of the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine Brewery District since 2004.

But this event is much more than just having a cold one. There’s a BBQ cook off, live music and a “Taste of Athens” cuisine tasting featuring some of the areas fine eateries.

After all in addition to studying hard you know that students live to eat!

The daily schedule and more information can be found at

When planning your brew week trip why not take in some of the great attractions of the Hocking Hills?

A great place to start your planning process is by visiting the Athens Tourism office on-line at

Aloha! The Ironton Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a “Gardens of Aloha” air, land and cruise tour departing Thursday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012.

Your package includes roundtrip airfare to Honolulu, surface transportation, two night hotel in Waikiki, seven night Norwegian Cruise Lines Hawaiian Islands sailing.

Rates on this fairly inclusive vacation start at $2700 per person, 2 to a room.


Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the or dial 740.550.9540.