Northeast Ohio Breweries Tap Unique Beers for Cask Day

38 craft breweries across northeast Ohio will feature unique, small batch beers in their taprooms to celebrate Winter Warmer Cask Day on Saturday, March 6. The event, organized by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA), takes the place of the annual Winter Warmer Fest, a fundraising event celebrating rare, seasonal, strong and award-winning beers made in Ohio.

With public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 still in place, OCBA was forced to cancel the traditional Winter Warmer Fest this year, but not without a plan to give craft beer fans a taste of what makes the event so great. Over the past 15 years, Winter Warmer Fest has built a reputation as the premier showcase of Ohio’s best craft beers. The festival is one of the few tasting events in the nation to offer a dedicated section for beer casks: small, hand-tapped kegs containing unique, flavor-infused brews available exclusively at the event.

To channel the spirit of the festival, OCBA created Winter Warmer Cask Day, inviting member breweries in Cleveland and the surrounding areas to hold a coordinated beer release on Saturday, March 6. Each participating brewery will offer a new beer in their taproom for the event, be it a small batch cask infusion, a special barrel-aged beer tapping, or another unique release. 38 breweries have committed to celebrating Winter Warmer Cask Day, featuring more than 60 unique beers on the day of the event.

Unlike the traditional Winter Warmer Fest, Cask Day is not a ticketed event, so craft beer fans can simply visit their favorite brewery taprooms to sample the beers being released. To help people plan their visits and make responsible choices while supporting their local breweries, OCBA has published the list of beers available at each brewery, what time they are being tapped and any available carry out options. The list is available online at

Each participating brewery will also be offering limited edition Winter Warmer glassware made specifically for Cask Day. The glass is a 13 ounce stemless snifter chosen to accentuate the aromatic qualities of the strong beers that have come to define the festival. The full-size glasses, provided to OCBA by Boelter Beverage, are significantly larger than the collectible taster glasses that are given to Winter Warmer Fest patrons every year. Participating breweries have the option of selling the glasses to customers or giving them away on the day of the event.

Since the onset of the pandemic, OCBA has been forced to cancel several fundraising events. Winter Warmer Fest has traditionally been the non-profit organization’s largest fundraiser, and this year’s cancellation presents a financial challenge. To mitigate some of the lost income, OCBA sold limited edition Winter Warmer sweatshirts at the end of 2020.

“Winter Warmer Fest is a Cleveland institution, so we felt it was necessary to carry on the tradition in some fashion,” said OCBA executive director Mary MacDonald. “Just as the pandemic has dealt a blow to breweries and small businesses across the state, we’re also feeling the pinch from the loss of event revenue. We’ve been successful with some alternative fundraisers like Ohio Pint Day and our online ExBEERiences auction, which have helped to make up some of the income gap from canceled events. Most importantly, we’ve tried to structure our own fundraisers in a way that they also direct business to our member breweries.”

OCBA continues to monitor public health conditions in hopes of bringing back large-scale beer tasting events when it’s safe to do so. Winter Warmer Fest is currently scheduled to return to Windows on the River in Cleveland on Saturday, March 5, 2022.

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