Dia de las Cervezas

By Jim Witmer

Photo: Dia trio ladies by Lynn Becker of L. Hetherington Studio; photo: Laurel Coffey

With perfect timing for the season, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA) is planning a frightfully cool event, the inaugural kickoff of Dia de las Cervezas, which will feature 30-plus breweries from around the state.

Dayton’s Top of the Market was chosen as the site for this all-Ohio event, which will offer plenty of selections from smaller breweries not currently providing state-wide distribution.

In addition to the obvious craft beer appeal, there will be other attractions. “We’ve got two killer surf rock bands scheduled for entertainment, our face painter is an amazing artist who does remarkable Day of the Dead designs, we’ve got a tarot card reader who is really enthusiastic about the event, and our food options rock,” says Mary MacDonald, the OCBA’s executive director. “This event is going to rock.”

According to MacDonald, this event is a great primer for Hauntfest on Fifth Street in the Oregon District and was encouraged by participating brewery Toxic, located in the heart of the Oregon District. “We deliberately chose the hours as 5 to 9 p.m. so that folks who want to can enjoy both events,” she adds. “We’re even planning a ‘procession’ from Dia de las Cervezas to Hauntfest for those who want to make their way there when our event shuts down.”

If the event has a good turn-out, look for it to continue.

“We love the Dayton region, the craft beer drinkers, and breweries here. And, having had a great conference here in February, we knew we wanted to host it in Dayton,” MacDonald says. “The plan would be to keep it in Dayton if it’s popular.”

Seasonal beers will be the star of the show, and some will be one-off’s such as the Yellow Springs Brewery (YSB) S’more Handsome Brown Ale made solely with this event in mind. YSB’s Chris Hutson says the new release “embodies some of our favorite things about fall.” Their perennial favorite, Barrel Aged Bloodsmoke, is an imperial smoked red ale aged in rye whiskey barrels from smooth ambler. “With about two and half years of age on this beer, it is drinking the best it has to date,” Hutson says.

Dayton’s Eudora brewer/owner Neil Chabut will bring his Oktoberfest and Mother Fuggle to Dia de las Cervezas. “Our Oktoberfest is one of our best-selling seasonals if not the best,” he says. “It’s brewed as a lager, as it should be, and it’s also made with all four varieties of ‘noble’ hops [Saaz, Tettnang, Hallertau, and Spalt]. But it’s not really the hops that make this beer amazing; it’s the pleasant maltiness and carameliness—signature qualities of the Marzen style. Five point five percent ABV [alcohol by volume] and 25 IBUs.”

Most likely, the highest ABV beer will be a local one. Dayton Beer Company will bring its Midnight Dream Russian Imperial Stout. It’s 16 percent and aged in raspberries.

MadTree (Cincinnati) will have Barrel Aged Ye Old Battering Ram, a Barleywine style ale. From the brewery description: “This beer doesn’t wait to be let in. Dark as night but scarier. Barricade your palate and batten down the hatches ‘cause Olde Battering Ram is coming.”

Black Cloister (Toledo) will offer their Barrel Aged Scotsman, their one-year anniversary release aged in 12-year-old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels, with pronounced kettle caramelization. Flapjack-O-Latern is their pumpkin beer made with rum barrel-aged maple syrup. “It’s our fastest selling seasonal, it’s a pumpkin pancake,” brewer/owner/pastor Tom Schaeffer says.

Fall is typically dominated by a variety of pumpkin-style beers, so Dayton’s Warped Wing (WWBC) goes a different direction with Creepshow Smoked Porter. “Drawing inspiration from a few documented haunts in our Dayton’s rich, historic and creepy lore,” says WWBC’s Nick Bowman. “It will keep your good spirits up and the bad spirits away on a chilled, smoky, fall night.”

Dia de las Cervezas takes place on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 5 – 9 p.m. at Top of the Market, 32 Webster St. in Dayton. General admission tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door and include a souvenir glass with 40 tasting tickets. VIP tickets are $60 in advance, $75 at the door and include the general admission benefits, early entry at 4 p.m. as well as access to a VIP members-only section with food and beer. Designated driver tickets are available for $20 each and include a non-alcoholic beverage and food voucher. The event is 21 and over with ID required for admission. For tickets or more information, please visit BeerFestTickets.com/DiadelasCervezas. 

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Reach DCP beer writer Jim Witmer at JimWitmer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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