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About- Kevin Risner

Kevin Risner

Kevin Risner

Kevin Risner is a product of Ohio. He has lived there for most of his life except for brief stints in England and Turkey. At the present, he resides in the Cleveland area where he teaches English (composition and ESL classes) at multiple universities. His publication history is meager, but what has been distributed includes some poetry, short fiction and travel narratives. Kevin's beer history stretches back to when he began indulging bitters, stouts and cask ales at hole-in-the-wall pubs in England. Not long after, for two sad years, he was deprived of delicious brews when living in Istanbul. Thankfully, at the present, he is not lacking in his choice of craft beers.

Posts By Kevin Risner

Fat Head’s Brewery | Sunshine Daydream

November 8, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

This is it, my friends. We are in November. At least for many of you throughout the country, the weather has shifted. The jet stream has begun to re-calibrate. Winds are picking up, the clouds are more uniform, and the precipitation has already started to solidify into the four-letter word most people loath to use. It’s inevitable, though. Unless you are in Yuma or Miami, or you have your sights set on Hawaii for a month, that thermometer isn’t going to budge much over 60 degrees for awhile. Your bright and sunny days are going to be at a minimum. Thankfully, a well-known brewery has just the antidote to shoo away the clouds and bring back the warmth for a little while. Fat Head’s Brewery’s Sunshine Daydream is at your beck and call; this session IPA is available all year long, rain or shine.

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The Bottlehouse Brewery & Meadery | Spring Gruit

July 12, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

In the Cleveland, OH area, there are breweries that most of the locals and others who are not so local mention right away as must-visits. The Bottlehouse Brewery and Meadery has become a steady favorite for many craft beer fans. This taproom and brewery has been receiving a larger number of recommendations from those who have experienced the beer, the mead, the cider and the sours created over the past six years.

Today, the beer gracing the spotlight is a more exotic ale, one that has received a bit more press this past year. It also happens to be on tap and in bottles this month, so the time was ripe to share this beautiful beverage with a wider audience. Let me introduce you to The Bottlehouse Brewery and Meadery’s Spring Gruit.

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Great Lakes Brewing Company | Holy Moses Raspberry White Ale

May 15, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Last January, I waxed nostalgic a bit. Great Lakes Brewing Company decided to re-introduce Holy Moses White Ale as a constant, everyday staple in the beer fridge at the local, and not-so-local, supermarket. I quivered with anticipation when I heard the news, and then I balked at their seasonal May release. It was a beer that would add raspberries to its refreshing citrus undertones, and at the time I did not think I would be ready for that transition. After GLBC’s foray into Holy Mimosas after the Holy Moses release earlier this year and after trying to make them myself—I used mango juice—the idea that there would be another form of Holy Moses to grace our shelves and our bellies was more exciting than the initial reveal. Now, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Holy Moses Raspberry White Ale has arrived, just in time for the warmer weather—FINALLY.

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Great Lakes Brewing Company | Holy Moses White Ale

January 17, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

As a wee lad of 21, I waltzed into the Great Lakes Brewing Company brewpub before a baseball game with my family, and I was able to buy a beer there legally for the first time in my life. This was a wildly new experience for me, as all I had encountered in the past had been Budweiser, MGD and similar beverages. Craft beer was uncharted territory. Therefore, as I stood there with a much larger selection, I opted for something I never bothered to try before, a beer whose label stood out from the others, a beer named after the founder of the city of Cleveland: Holy Moses White Ale.

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Great Lakes Brewing Cans Are Now Available!

June 1, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

The wait is overGreat Lakes Brewing Company cans are now available for purchase. The brewery made an announcement in March that it would begin packaging some of its products differently. GLBC has been creating a solid product for 29 years, and what better way to continue this legacy than by promoting some of their newer offerings just in time for the summer season?

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Great Lakes Brewing Company | Turntable Pils

February 9, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Turntable Pils graphic courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company, artwork by Darren Booth.

ABV: 5.3% | IBU: 35

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Great Lakes Brewing Company | Barrel Aged Christmas Ale

November 21, 2016 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

It is Christmas ale season: a festive time of year many people anticipate with a frothy fervor! However, it may be that you would rather hide away from the hubbub of ginger and cinnamon and all things Christmas. I enjoy a little bit of holiday cheer in my beer from time to time, and the weather has finally become chilly enough around these parts to warrant a few Christmas ales in my tummy. This year, Great Lakes Brewing Company is not simply rolling out their most popular beverage for all the good little boys and girls. They are also bottling their barrel-aged Christmas ale right after Thanksgiving for everyone to sip around the mistletoe. I received a nice 22-ounce bottle to try in advance of the bottle release later this week, and I am here to give you the details about the beer and what will take place very soon.

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Ultimate 6er | Cleveland Indians

October 25, 2016 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

It has been nineteen years since the Cleveland Indians made it back to the Fall Classic. But I suppose we cannot claim to have the biggest drought at the present especially with the opponent we have…

This time around, we have a scrappy, injury-laden team many have considered underdogs the entire way by almost all the sports analysts out there. But we like it that way. It’s just like Cleveland to be a fly in the ointment, the ones who people count out immediately. So in this Ultimate 6er we include  some of the best of Cleveland’s beer scene – with a few surprises that some people may not have considered to try as they head to their favorite bar to check out the Tribe battle with the best of ’em, or perhaps even watching the games in the comfort of home with a few close Cleveland Indians baseball fans.
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Great Lakes Brewing Company | Steady Rollin’ Session IPA

June 8, 2016 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Image courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company. Label artwork by Darren Booth.

I fell in love with a beer last summer. It was during Burning River Fest; Great Lakes Brewing Company had just released a new brew to the attendees of the festival. I enjoyed that beer immensely back then, and I waited patiently for it to make its inevitable return the following year. That following year is now, and make a return that beer did: Steady Rollin’ Session IPA has now been on the market this spring in sampler packs and hopefully can sneak into your cooler for retreats out on the water or at the park this summer.

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Fat Head’s Brewery | Pimp My Sleigh

December 10, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV: 10.5% | IBU: 30

We’re still getting into the holiday spirit; almost two weeks until the 25th arrives! Once again, I have a Belgian Ale for your enjoyment, this time from Fat Head’s Brewery brewed in the sunny Cleveland area. I’m not joking this time around; we’ve actually had a mild and somewhat sunny late fall with little snow. Hopefully that will change soon. As we wait for the wintry weather, I would advise you all to stock up on your heavy ales, and Fat Head Brewery’s Pimp My Sleigh is a perfect choice for your evenings around the Yule Log this holiday season.

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Platform Beer Co. | Esther Belgian Christmas Ale

November 16, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV — 9.5%

IBU — approximately 20

It’s that time of year. Yes, Christmas is coming up, quickly, and this year the amount of early Christmas seems to have reached an even higher level! Hints of the season have already begun popping up all over the place: in department stores, specialty shops, on your friends’ Facebook feeds. Truth be told, you don’t have to go to Bronner’s in Michigan to get your taste of the holidays early anymore. Additionally, Christmas ale releases have already happened, much to many people’s delight. Even though one the biggest cult beer followings in Cleveland is the Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company—which is awesome this year, by the way, better than the last couple of years—Platform Beer Company has released a very nice, very different style of ale for your holiday imbibing needs: Esther Belgian Christmas Ale.

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Event Preview | Burning River Fest

August 14, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

This piece was co-written by John Amantea and Kevin Risner.

August 28th & 29th: 6pm – 11pm

When you think about craft beer in Cleveland, one of the first breweries that pops into your head is Great Lakes Brewing Company. And for good reason. For over 25 years, GLBC has been brewing some awesome beer that has won many awards and has struck the fancy of people across the eastern US and beyond its distribution wingspan, which has been on the rise recently.

GLBC is not just known for its stellar selection of beers, the variety of which has expanded from its famed Christmas Ale to approachable IPAs like Chillwave, and unique surprises, such as one of its most recent session ales: Sharpshooter. They also have an excellent mission, centering on sustainability and eco-consciousness.

Ever since 2001, GLBC has put together a more unique beer festival that isn’t just about the beer, but a reflection upon the brewery’s legacy and its hope to protect its product, which is around 90% water. The Burning River Fest is named for an (in)famous event that occurred multiple times in the history of the city. Beginning in 1868, the Cuyahoga River has caught fire numerous times, the most noted of which occurring in 1969, as a result of heavy pollution and a dearth of industry regulation. From that point on, amidst a flurry of ridicule and scorn, Cleveland has shifted a greater focus to sustainability and cleaning up its waterways. The positive effort has led to this more mindful festival, focusing on these local issues.

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Arbor Brewing Company | Sacred Cow IPA

July 15, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV — 6.8%

IBU — 80

I had the great pleasure of attending my friend’s bachelor party last month in Michigan. The original plan on that last Saturday in June was to go to a baseball game. Rain put an X through those plans, and we detoured to Ann Arbor instead. One of our stops was to Arbor Brewing Company, where I indulged in what is now one of my favorite beers of all time: Sacred Cow IPA.

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Platform Beer Co. | Speed Merchant White IPA

June 23, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 1 min

6.6% ABV
60 IBU

Good day to all you fine folk. It is I, one of PD’s Cleveland beer reviewers, with another local beer for you to try if you ever make it to the Buckeye State, or NE Ohio. Platform Beer Co., one of the newcomers to the Cleveland beer scene with its one-year anniversary on July 4, has another wonderful summer brew for all the thirsty folk in town: Speed Merchant White IPA.

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Great Lakes Brewing | Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA

June 8, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 40

Sometimes change can be scary and uncomfortable. We tend to embrace constancy in most situations. When something unfamiliar greets us, there may also be skepticism. I noticed this when Great Lakes Brewing Company revealed their brand refresh. There was some outcry, some fear, mainly from social media users who did not want the labels and the image of GLBC to change. With tried and true marketing and a strong presence in many parts of the United States, why become different? Despite those worries by some, I feel changing things up can also spark interest and excitement. Personally, I was more intrigued when I first learned about the brand refresh. Let me tell you why I like what GLBC has done: the changes that have taken place embrace the 25+ years that this brewery has been a strong presence in the N.E. Ohio craft beer community. The history behind the brewery, its location and its facilities, runs even earlier; and the artwork by Darren Booth pays homage to the brewery and to the city as well. Each label is a story, a collage of images that explores the rich history of Cleveland and also of the company’s presence. Along with the new brand, we now have a new seasonal beer from Great Lakes: the Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA. It is a tasty IPA that was tapped during the last week of May at GLBC’s brewpub and has just been released to distribution markets on June 1.

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Platform Beer Co. | New Cleveland Palesner

May 13, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

I know it is not the case this year in some areas of the U.S., but this past week has been toasty in the Cleveland area. With temperatures almost reaching 90 degrees on the 8th and 9th, it is strange that not long before the first week of May we had weather forecasters talking about snow and wind chills.With summer at the doorstep, and already here, in some locales, a killer cavalry of refreshing brewskis have arrived. Therefore today, I share with you a delightful beer from Platform Beer Co., one of Cleveland’s newer breweries. Pictured above is a pint of Platform‘s New Cleveland Palesner.

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The Brew Kettle | All for One Session IPA

April 6, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV: 4.75% | IBU: 35

Over the decades, Cleveland sports has had many moments that have been hard to swallow. Despite Cleveland being one of the more pained sports cities, moments of intense optimism do pop up from time to time bringing a refreshing tint to the hues of cynicism. For example, there’s always the start of baseball season and the chants of “It’ll be this year!” Along with that, there’s annually a nice brew to go with that. Turning to basketball though, the return of LeBron James and the acquisition of many other stellar players has allowed my Cleveland Cavaliers to fare quite well in the second half of this year’s NBA season. Hope is blossoming again, albeit with the normal hint of caution. Still, The Brew Kettle, a local brewery in the Cleveland area, has begun distributing its All for One Session IPA to continue stoking the flames of the playoff push that is now imminent. Excitement has definitely returned to the CLE!  Read More

Portside Distillery and Brewery | 216

March 11, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV: 5.7%

For many readers and imbibers, Cleveland may not be the city that first pops up in a conversation about craft beer. Granted, it is not of Denver’s or Portland’s magnitude when it comes to the industry. Despite that, Cleveland and its surrounding environs have blossomed over the past decade when it comes to the quantity and quality of the beer the region produces. You have Great Lakes Brewing Company in greater Cleveland, Thirsty Dog in Akron, and I have also name-dropped a few other places on this wonderful website. Today, I shall provide you with another more recent addition to the beer scene in this fair city: Portside Distillery and Brewery. Their main beer is aptly labeled 216, after the area code familiar to those living in Cleveland.

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Ultimate 6er | Robert Burns Night

January 21, 2015 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Photo Credit: http://www.robertburns.org.uk

Next Sunday is the late, great Robert Burns’s birthday. For those who are not familiar with Burns, he was a well-known Scottish poet from the 18th century, considered the national poet of that fair land. Most people know about one of his many poems titled Auld Lang Syne, a little song we all sing tipsily around the New Year. Apart from that small element of Hogmanay, there are others who commemorate his life and his poetry by celebrating his birthdate every January 25. Robert Burns Night dinners have been popular events for many years now: parties that are not wanting in scotch, bagpipers, poetry readings, haggis, neaps, and tatties. In my experience, festival-goers will most likely find themselves at a brewery where there is a fresh tapping of a scotch ale, or more than one! Therefore, what better way to commemorate our dear friend Robbie than with a few of the best scotch ales out there*? Read More

12 Beers of Christmas Day 8 | Revolution Brewing Fistmas Ale

December 21, 2014 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Like many others on this site, I love ginger. Love it, love it, love it. Obviously then, gingerbread cookies are my favorite of all the Christmas-cookie options. Adding insult to injury, or the opposite in my case, there are now quite a few beers out there I can coin as liquid gingerbread. Or something very deliciously close to that. We already have a beer for this year’s 12 Beers of Christmas that is perfect for gingerbread lovers, a stout that is fuller than the typical one you would place in the “Christmas Ale” section at the store. Therefore, let’s have another example of ginger doing the right things: Revolution Brewing Fistmas Ale. Yes, our waltz with gingerbread can be sated once more! Read More