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Go 419: Toledo, Bowling Green breweries have fun with Battle of I-75 IPA

Earnest Brew Works and Juniper Brewing Company are raising a glass and starting a friendly competition of their own for the storied Battle of I-75.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — On Tuesday, the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University will meet for their annual football fracas in the Battle of I-75.

And what is more synonymous with a storied football matchup than a plate of wings or passionate cheers and boos? A cold beer.

Two local breweries, inspired by the rivalry that saw its first game in 1919, are raising a glass and starting a friendly competition of their own.

For the brewmasters of Toledo's Earnest Brew Works and Bowling Green's Juniper Brewing Company, a collaboration was a no-brainer.

"I'm a Toledo alum, so is my business partner Keith," Scot Yarnell, the brewmaster and owner of Earnest, said. "We can put this idea together and brew a beer."

Zach Tracy, the brewmaster and co-owner of Juniper, shared the same idea, just from a BGSU Falcon's perspective.

"My wife and I both being BGSU grads, it just kind of played perfectly into this whole idea of this collaboration," Tracy said.

Each brewery created a hazy-style Battle of I-75 IPA. Both will be available on tap at Juniper on Friday, but Earnest will only have its own beer due to licensing, Yarnell said.

For the collaboration, the breweries chose a standard malt base and then diverged with their own hops and yeast for different flavor profiles.

"We both have ideas of things that have worked for both of our breweries in the past, but we're also trying some new things as well," Tracy said. "So it was kind of a combination of familiar and new, I think, with both of us."

Credit: Jon Monk
The Battle of I-75 IPA will be available on Friday, November 11th at Juniper Brewing Co.

While the marketing pits the two beers against each other, Yarnell said it should be a fun learning experience for both breweries.

"For us, it's not a competition, it's more of curiosity," he said. "Which one do you prefer? Which one do you like best?"

The friendly competition is expected to not only help celebrate a historic football rivalry but also connect patrons from one brewery with another.

"I think that that was the idea that Scott and Keith had with this whole thing, which was super cool," Tracy said. "The idea and the goal would be to drive people to one another's breweries."

For those who can't make it to Bowling Green on Friday, the two IPAs will also be available in the Toledo area this weekend as well.

"Swig will have it, I think the Village Idiot is going to have it, Casual Pint will have it in Toledo," Yarnell said.

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