The First Peek at Spring in our Hearts

Leaving Kelleys each November is always bittersweet. Sweet because we are tired and want to leave and be restored so that we can come back and do it again. Bitter because it is hard to leave your home and the people that help you remember what that means.

“Home is where your Heart is” was one of my mom’s favorite expressions. We have it sewn into two pillows in the home that was built by a German immigrant named Godfried Schock. His wife Mary worked for my parents at the ice cream stand and these are some of my first memories of our business family home that has grown exponentially in these years since 1960.

Leaving this year was a little more difficult. Dad had a brush with death on August 7 and recovery from it had changed us all. Since then, more has happened than we could imagine but change, my friends, is what we are all being called to do, in one form or another.

We are excited to have Team Brewery returning in 2018. Our multi-national team of young newbies and old service veterans will be taking our little brewery by the lake to new places.

What’s new for 2018??

First we have decided to increase brew productions an offer our beer in cool growlers to go, giving our visitors another fun souvenir to take home and shares with their friends.

We hope to have a new outdoor look…details coming.

Our foods are in development stage. We take your favorites and add them to trends and creative comforts to offer a craft breakfast, lunch, and dinner that matches our small batch family-friendly, lakeview brewery.

Coming home to the new lights downtown and all the businesses surrounding them, and serving the families that will enjoy the place we call home, is the sweetest part of the return.

See you soon,

Patti, Doug, Jay and Petey

18th Annual Chili Cook-Off

Friday October 13 wasn’t spooky at all. It was the beginning of Chili Cook Off weekend and started with some of our favorite people. Denja!!! Dennis and Kenja and son Michael came over on their maiden voyage from Catawba in their new boat CARI ON (anyone remember that expression ???). Dennis is a National Hammered Dulcimer award winner, and Kenja is an educator. Their son Michael is a soccer enthusiast and also a life guard at a child’s rec center. They were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary and it was a great way to start the weekend, and book next year’s entertainment.

More Friday’s visitors included Ted and Sue Jannsen from Burton and Mim and Dan. Ted has won the Chili cook off 5 times and comes back to judge for “Chili God’s Favorite” category each year. This year he chose #6, Julie Mack’s chili as his favorite, and so did the Public. They also voted #2 as Most Original…for the second year in a row….and it is the KIB chili!!! The sweet and the spicy seems to get them every time.

We did not have a vegetarian entry this year, so if you have any other suggestions for voting and categories, please feel free to e-mail me,

The event keeps getting better every year, our 10 entries were new this year, with the #10 Mary Sennish, and husband Kyle, bringing some fun life of the party. We were all happy to hang out with some old schoolers, Jane and Becky Overcasher, Mike and Chrissy P and Chellie. Because of the Buckeye Babes and you, we raised $1200 in 3 hours for 2 causes. We will be sending half to Nancy at Island Safe Animal Sanctuary and the other half to a church in Puerto Rico that has a family that is leading large efforts in water and food and basic needs with UNICEF.

Also because of our awesome team, we were able to host a rehearsal dinner for the Shivilak family…and have an extraordinary Chili Cook Off #18.

Thank you for showing up and being part of our favorite fall event.

Happy Spring in February

Hello Friends-Happy Spring in February. It’s opening day at the Pump, and the first Ferry ride, so we know 2017 is ON!!

Hope this finds all of our island friends and readers happy and healthy. Jay is doing great during his 90th year, and amazes us each day with his dedication to the human story, to deeply realizing our reality and to finding the humor in absolutely everything including the politic of our current nation. He has a pure perception (he does not watch any television to this day) and his intelligence and strength and balance has taught those around him so much in the past 6 months. We hope you make plans to come visit him in the Spring. He looks forward to getting back to the island.

Doug has been busy on the new Dockhand Porter formulation and labeling process with Tim Adkins. It is sure to be a great addition to the brown beer spectrum that is evolving at the KiBrewery. He has a few surprises up his sleeve, so be sure to put the Blessing of the Brewery on your calendar. April 29; 1-4 PM

Details are on the new website.

This season, we are adding a daily tour/tasting at 2 PM at the outside bar. We will give a short history of the property, a tour of the brewing process and a look inside (not through) the brewery. It will be offered with the information about how we make and manage a batch of beer in our unique location. It will be followed by a tasting of beer and discounts on certain merchandise and snacks.

If you are having company this summer and want to reserve a day with a short tour and tasting and some lawn relaxation, please give us an e mail at We can make your party really personal and special.

We will still be offering our Island Wide Scavenger Hunt. From the downtown walking tour to the island wide highlighted map, this is a way that renters and locals can offer their guests an independent activity that is historical and ecologically significant.

Opening weekend this year will be April 21-22-23. The weekend before we may have breakfast on April 15-16 from 9-12, with coffees, drinks and carry out open at 8:30 AM. Please stay tuned as this will depend on our opening. We arrive on the island on the 10th.

Opening weekend (Earth Day) will be our 2nd Annual Bio Blitz. Check out our Facebook page for details and registration. Looking forward to our science teacher friend Ellen, and Dr Kreiger, a local water expert, walk us through the testing and descriptions of the basic findings in the local lake water for our 2017 season beginning. With Earth Day activities and science for everyone, we hope to see you for some great blitzing. And some great brews and breakfasts.

Following that we will be participating in Derby Day and Ohio Craft Beer Week. Stay tuned.

We look forward to seeing you soon. The spring is always fun to see old and new businesses and families open up their hearts to the island love. Looks like we have a wonderful new addition to both in the Finger household and Flea. The world needs a lot more art, and we are so excited it will be right down the street. Well I’m getting homesick just writing this. Cheers. Hay Danny..we are having LINKS this year!!!!! Regular and Turkey…..

Have some openings at the cottage this summer. If you have ever dreamed of staying there for a weekend and having an old fashioned experience, the best time to book is NOW. Cheers. Doug and Patti.k

Something Old and New

Hello brew friends. Thank you for tuning into our updated website. We are excited about what is new, and what we are bringing back that seem to be your faves.

Our events are going to start April 22 with our second Bio blitz. In honor of Earth Day. Our resident teacher extraordinaire, Ellen, and her sidekicks will supply the microscopes, the experiments and the science while we serve up some healthy and some decadent treats for your family. If you don’t have a family, just come on down and you can have some of ours. We usually have a couple extras around, that need some love.

During the Bio Blitz there will be testing on water quality, algae components, and overall local species identification. The Birders will also be joining us with a presentation and great resources for our growing population of travelers that find our birding to be exceptional at the island. Details to follow.

And speaking of love, we think you are going to love our new porter. It is named Deckhand Porter, and its brew date is also opening weekend. Come down and see the new ingredients and style that is going to be a new favorite on the island, we are sure.

One new thing for this season is our Brewery tour. Each day, a staff member will lead a tour ‘through’ the brew process and point out the cutting edge, and the old fashioned tools that Doug uses to make some of the best hand crafted beers in Ohio. You will also get ‘our brewing story,’ a history of the business and the equipment and what led us to become one of the smallest breweries in the country. Get your picture taken, taste all or just a few of the offerings, and enjoy the grounds of the KIB. From the native limestone outside bar to the expansive yard, the brewery tour is a way to enjoy a slice of what KI has to offer. Please make reservations as early as possible. Limited daily availability. or 419-656-4335.

Here comes Halloween

What happened to Fall? It seemed like last week we did an amazing Poker Paddle for Pooches. Even though the weather was not sunny or pleasant, the hearty kayakers showed up and played games for our charity in Port Clinton, Island House Animal Sanctuary. Our animal this year was saved in eight days and now in a restoration phase of health in one of the finest organizations I have ever seen. Thank you for your help in supporting causes that are so important in this world. Our returning kayakers were happy with all the activities on the island, the sales at the stores and all of the autumn love that surrounds us on the island.

After that weekend, the time flies like the winds and we breezed through October with the usual events that make us even more grateful to run a business on Kelleys island. Oct 8 was our seventeenth Octoberfest and was a sell out again this year. We have our menu down to five items (your favorites) and we make it all fresh from 1-4 PM. Although the way we serve the foods, and some of the offerings have changed, our supporters enjoyed the sauerkraut balls, the bratwurst casserole and the German potato salad immensely. With Weinershnitzel and cabbage, it is the perfect big meal on a fall day to get you ready for whatever big game is in the future. We had a small alternative menu that seemed to be a hit this year too.

Our chili cook off was peppered (haha) with so many Indians and Buckeye bling, it was hard to find the soup line. Having pints for $4 this year seemed to help the chili entries and the judges have more to say about the competition . the ballots were quite detailed with likes and dislikes. Put it on your calendar next year, especially you local chili gods, we need some new competition. We had a first time entry win, (#8) Mark O and a commercial brand win most original (#1), GFS. The Chili God’s choice was #2, our very own Jeff Effron, who was not present to win his crown (just kidding you get a certificate). The beautiful Katie won for white with #11 and #9, the Bear family recipe from the memorial in April, won Vegetarian.

We want to invite all of you to make ten quarts of your best and freeze it-and enter it next year (Oct 14), or better yet make a weekend of it and bring yours Hot the day of by noon. Enter by email at and we will send reminders this year. Thank you for all the years of Love at this event. This year we raised $700 for the ALS Foundation of Northwest Ohio, in memory of Ken Jannsen. A brewery family and the Chili god’s son. If you work for an organization that would like to be considered for next years event, please contact me about it.

Our beers have been raved about this year. Our Island Devil and Devil Sahadow and Gale Force Ale (IPA) have been our biggest sellers with our handcrafted fans and still have the popular Anniversary Ale for the ‘light’ beer drinkers. This year Doug will be developing a porter, so stay tuned for that.

October is also our wedding anniversary (ten this year) so we got we got to run into Cleveland and feel the vibe of the big sports season. So great to see the changes and although old haunts were just missing (thanks for the Wilbert’s reminder, Erin) seeing all the vibrant neighborhoods and the young people, you realize that change is inevitable and how you adapt to that change is your success.

We got back to the island just in time for our Kids Halloween party. After the bumpkins raided the Bag the moon they came down for a costume parade, a craft, a guessing game and a treat. We love to share our island memories with all the families and thank you for sharing your kids with us!!

After closing on the 30th, the following weekend we will be celebrating my dad’s 90th birthday with our sunshines on Nov 5 and 6. We will then vote and go on to our next season in life.

This winter we have some great menu plans, outdoor facelifts and great entertainment to book. We hope you stay in touch by e mail and on facebook. We love to hear your comments.

If you have any group needs for private parties, beer tastings with appetizers or any special non profit scavenger hunts for g=team building or fund raising, please have your organization phone me at 419-656-4335.

As always, we look forward to seeing you. Feel the Love and thank you for a great season.

Scavenger Hunt Fun

Small companies all over are looking for activities that promote team building and experiences for their growing supportive environments. Profit can be generated in many ways but companies that have cohesive workers are twice as likely to meet quotas.

Our scavenger hunt at the Kelleys Island Brewery was able to take a group of 34 executives and put them through fun exploration with experiential challenges that encourage a team of employees some real life skills to problem solve in a cohesive nature.

The team at Feukerberger from Findlay arrived after a great day of office meetings. After day two of a five day conference, how would you want to spend time with your peers than through a trip to an island for a fun scavenger hunt. How about a boat ride, a beer tasting and a golf cart ride with appetizers, dinner and dessert. The scavenger hunt highlights favorite stop ins and natural and architectural highlights.

If you are interested in hosting one for your group…contact Patti at 419-656-4335

The crazy guy on a bike

One of the things that is great about Kelleys Island in the spring is that it allows you to slow down a bit and connect to a sense of new beginnings. While the Earth is trying to bloom its early flowers, the seasonal islanders come back to open their homes and get ready for a busy season of entertaining and enjoying their families.

In the brewery business, we are privileged to meet people from all over the world. This weekend was especially dynamic, we met a cycling enthusiast on a trip of a life me. His name is Charles. He has been on the road for just about a month. He is on his way to the southernmost point of South America, called Ushuaia, Argentina. He will have traveled over 20,000 miles on his more than bilingual trip and he plans on meeting as many of his neighbors along the way as he can.

He took up cycling seriously seven years ago, when his trip took him from Quebec to Vancouver. This much longer journey is inspired greatly by that successful trip, and also the one that took seven months and went from Portugal to Uzbekistan, with a short visit to Iran. Charles will be riding all the way to San Francisco on his way to Argentina, to see his friend Simon Roy, who he took his first cross country cycle with, in this new home in California.

But first; his stop to Kelleys Island. He came here because he prefers rural villages and scenic areas for his traveling adventure. Also, being a geologist, he was intrigued about the Glacial Grooves, and how they could be so deep and twisted. Seeing them in person and with a local tour guide (thanks Roxeanne and Ken), he was able to see the ‘beautiful limestone’ and the stories that it tells. Although he has many motivations for riding the roads of multiple countries, and sets his own conditions each day (usually 50-100 miles), he said, “personally, I like to stop and relax in a park.” But also that many days “it feels good to push it.”

Destinations were not as important as the fact that he would be in the Southern most point in South America at some  me, preferable not in June, July, or August. The en re trip will be on paved roads except for the small boat he will have to take between Panama and Columbia. He also shared that ‘small experiences’ were what he looked for on the daily routine and that he doesn’t have a schedule. He is wanting to experience adventures, and enjoys not being in a hurry. He is impressed with the beauty of individual families no matter which country he finds them in.

When I asked Charles about his inspiration for such an adventure, he talked about his father. In 1966, before he was a teacher his dad taught in Columbia. With Charles’ love of maps and geography, and his slightly nerdy tendency toward memorizing Countries’ capitals, he thinks it is a natural match for someone who is never afraid to change and take an adventure, no matter where it leads.

He wants people to know along the way that he is not special, just normal. People can be genuine. He is sure that he will never forget this place, Kelleys Island because of its uniqueness, and because of its people. His choice to take a 20,000 mile bike ride is a personal statement about the unwillingness to sell his freedom to a corpora on. When you are alone and you don’t have a workday, your body and mind become natural again. This is overwhelmingly liberating. Sometimes this extreme feeling of freedom can be frightening. He writes his experiences on the blog to tell people whatever it is….you can do it. Whether you want to meet people, travel, absorb a culture, be active, pursue a certain landscape, you don’t need a lot of gear or money to be inspiring. Charles wants to be the “guy cycling to South America,” so that others will try their pursuit with confidence. If he can cycle that, I can do……. He spoke about the freedom he experiences is because of a courage. That courage led him to an island to have a beer, and will lead him to his next meeting with fellow enthusiasts from A cooperative counter culture that supplies kindness and necessities and the experience of a human connection for travelers of all walks of life. Charles is an inspiration that ‘If you take the chance and try it, your true character of your person will come out and it’s okay to be different. ‘ If you go to a resort in the Dominican Republic, don’t be afraid to go out. The place is about the people, not the value.

Even in a snow storm in May, Kelleys Island has the kindest and humblest people in its midst. We are so grateful to be able to bring people together One sip at at time.

Earth Day Bioblitz

I hope that these pictures can begin to convey the fun that 25 volunteers had on April 23 at the Earth Day Bioblitz . Through this event we identified Forders of macroinvertebrates to totaling 102 individuals and 5 phytoplankton. The quagga mussels were present in great numbers in the mud samples and made collection a little difficult! Dr Kreiger, the former director of the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University informed us that the robust population of this invasive species has created an ideal environment for scuds, of which we tallied 43 individuals in just 3 hours.!

Along with the mud sampling we also tallied phytoplankton and macroinvertebrates at the rock beach across the street from the Kelleys Island Brewery. Back in the brewery, microscopes were set up for everyone to take a look at the organisms. Bobbie Jo, Celia and Brandy headed up tallying and identifying and Patti and the crew made sure everyone was well fed and taken care of. The mission of the Bioblitz was to engage the participants with their Great lake, and in my opinion this happened. Thanks again, to all who participated and we will see you again next Earth Day for the 2nd Annual Bioblitz.

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