The Midwest is a pretty decent place to live if you love beer. (And if you don’t, you’re likely not welcome here anyways.) Think about it: Eberhard Anheuser and Adolphus Busch were from St. Louis. Milwaukee is practically synonymous with the stuff, once home to the world’s four largest breweries — Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller — within its limits. Hell, they even named their baseball team the Brewers, which plays in Miller Park. We’ve got Goose Island in Chicago. Motor City in Detroit. Three Floyds, home of the Dark Lord, in Indiana. Bell’s and Founder’s in Michigan. And yet the International Beer Fest, the largest competition of world beers in the Midwest, is rolling out its banners in none other than Cleveland, Ohio. Nor is it a fluke: The state has more than 45 active breweries, including the consistently award-winning Great Lakes and a number of deeply talented smaller breweries. Several of those (including Great Lakes) will be involved in the Fest, to be held at the I-X Center (6200 Riverside Dr.) May 13 and 14. Those Ohio representatives will be among 200 other breweries from around the world, all bringing a collective 800 beers to the table. Visitors to the Fest can sample some — even we don’t recommend sampling all — of those brews during three public tasting sessions. Expect plenty of beer geeks this weekend, and possibly a few heated conversations over just how much carbonation belongs in that double bock. Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer, both staples on The Brewing Network radio, are slated to make appearances, as is Chris Staten, the beer editor of Draft Magazine. Craft-brew expert and writer Lucy Saunders and author John Schlimm — a descendent of the Straub Brewery family — will be there as well. At least you’ll have an authority or five to help you settle that bock debacle. The festival is also hosting “Brew U,” an education series of talks and demonstrations about the finer points of beer geekdom. Twelve sessions are planned across the two days and three sessions of the festival, though not all are announced as of yet; subjects include an introduction to home-brewing and how to taste the difference between a porter and a stout. Great Lakes, Thirsty Dog, Buckyeve Brewing, Willoughby Brewing and Hoppin’ Frog are all among the presenters, in addition to Lake County’s The Brew Mentor and the president of the Society for Northeast Ohio Brewers (acronymed, of course, “SNOBs”). The inevitable buzz can be tempered at the tasting room, where Schlimm and Saunders are presiding over discussions on how to pair beer with food. (And no, they don’t mean that pizza drunkenly ordered at 2 a.m.) Brian Goodman of Cleveland’s Greenhouse Tavern is on the lineup as well. Sessions for the International Beer Festival are scheduled from 7-11 p.m. on Friday, May 13 and from 1-5 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. Tickets start at $45 for a single-session general admission, which means admission and access to open tastings and all public demonstrations. Visit ixbeerfest.com or call 877-772-5425 for more information.