Ohio Brew Week is a nine-day annual festival where breweries from across Ohio come together in Athens to promote the local beer industry. It was celebrated this year from July 13-21. 

Events were held across Athens, such as the Annual Meatball Eating Contest, held at Red Brick Tavern; Pint Night, held at Courtside Pizza where deals were offered on beers; Fruity Friday, held at The J-Bar where drinks and fruits came together; and many more. The festivities and events led up to Last Call, which is the annual Ohio Brew Week block party. This year, hundreds of people attended Last Call, according to the event's Facebook page. 

The performance stage featured artists such as Amethystone, a rock group; DJ Barticus, a DJ based in Athens who has previously played in Casa Nueva and other locations; Aubree Riley, a local singer who has been performing for audiences since she was 12 years old; and many others.

Jeooy Johnson, a dishwasher at Lui Lui Restaurant, has lived in Athens his entire life. He remembers Ohio Brew Week as being really small in the beginning, but now it is becoming “really really popular.”

“Everybody knows about Brew Week now,” Johnson said. “I like it because all my friends come into town.”

Derek Jackson, a bartender at Tony’s Tavern, has lived in Athens for 13 years. He said craft beer was brand-new when he first moved to the area. 

“People love a good beer, and Athens is a perfect place to come down because Athens is beautiful,” Jackson said. “Brew Week is always great as people come in and respect Athens.”

Jackson’s favorite part about Brew Week is all the people who come from out of town, who he said are always nice. He wishes Brew Week was two weeks.

However, Zenzi Mda, a junior studying theater, said that this year’s Brew Week was not as big as some previous years.

“I have seen it when there are so many people walking down the street and people drinking,” Mda said.

Mda thinks that Athens gets a drinking reputation from the “touristy people,” but not from Athens residents. She said she would like Brew Week more if there were less “belligerent people.”

Victor Nirio, who has been a bartender at Red Brick for more than a year, describes Brew Week as a good idea because it gives people an incentive to come to Athens. He finds it interesting that all the breweries from Ohio come together and share a nice weekend, and he appreciated the increased traffic uptown.

“I like working when it is busier, with more people you get more tips,” Nirio said.

Brew Week also attracted a lot of couples, one of them being Mike and Brecka Russo, who came from Cincinnati to celebrate Brew Week. Both went to school at OU. The Russos especially liked going to Devil’s Kettle Brewing, a brewery on Columbus Road. 

“We played bingo there, and it was so much fun,” Mike, who described The J-Bar as “Christmas in July,” said. “They had a food truck with great local food, and we just tried different beers. We were outside on the patio just hanging out. It was very entertaining because there were a lot of different people.” 

Brecka agreed with her husband. She likes that there are new events being organized and added every year. Brecka said she loved all the events as there was something for everybody. Her favorite part about Brew Week is buying T-shirts.

“ I have been buying shirts like a mad woman,” Brecka said. “Whether it’s the individual brew shirts or the Brew Week T-shirts.”

Mike also said that Athens still has a lot to offer for a small college-town, and he wishes they could have shared the weekend with more friends. 

“It’s not just about the drinking that brings us back,” he said.



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