ohio beer – PorchDrinking.com
2019 was a fun year for me in the beer world. I attended the Great American Beer Festival for the first time, published a lot of articles and drank a lot of great beer.
Here are my thoughts on the best beer of 2019, and the many happenings that occurred this past year in the world of craft beer.
Ohio’s Little Fish Brewing has partnered with a non-profit group supporting survivors of sexual assault to promote the importance of consent.
For the last two years, this brewery from the small college town of Athens has worked with Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program (SAOP) to release Consent, a barrel-aged sour ale brewed with tea. The beer was released on draft during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April, and was released in bottles for the first time during the last week of November.
Market Garden Brewery in the historic Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, has made a name for itself on the success of an unlikely flagship beer for a modern craft brewery. Prosperity Wheat is a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen, and it won the gold medal for the style at the Great American Beer Festival last month.
Leaves are falling, Ohio evenings are getting crisp and jack o’ lanterns are smiling from porches across the Buckeye state. It’s time for the Ohio Craft Brewers Association’s Ale-O-Ween in downtown Dayton!
Brink Brewing in the College Hill neighborhood of northern Cincinnati just opened in 2017, but they already have seven medals and awards from the Great American Beer Festival. In fact, they’ve never failed to medal in the three GABFs since their founding. Last week they brought home gold medals for their Hold the Reins English Mild and Moozie Milk Stout, as well as top honors for Very Small Brewing Company of the Year, which is awarded to a brewery producing fewer than 1,000 barrels of beer annually.
I’m just going to cut to the chase: We make some really good beers in Ohio, and if you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on October 3-5, you’ll get to taste quite a few of them. To help you plan your tasting tour, here are some of my favorite Ohio beers that will be poured at GABF.
Draped over a few rolling hills in eastern Ohio sits the property of a farmhouse brewery that comes by its agrarian title honestly. Wooly Pig Farm Brewery’s name isn’t marketing; the brewery is a working farm growing livestock and hop bines. Founder and brewmaster Kevin Ely specializes in rustic German lagers, and his bestseller is Rustic Helles, a Munich Helles served unfiltered and cloudy straight from the lagering tanks.
Since opening in June 2018, Branch & Bone Artisan Ales in Dayton, Ohio, has created eye-opening beers in a wide range of styles, including bright and juicy IPAs, crisp and inquisitive session sours, and velvety smooth stouts and coffee beers. Head brewer Brett Smith loves them all, having carried many recipes over from his homebrewing days, but the beers that really have his heart pour from two wooden vessels in the back room of the brewery: oak wine foeders Smith picked up from American Solera in Oklahoma City. They once held Italian Vin Santo.
A new beer from North High Brewing in Columbus, Ohio, is shining a light on the importance of agriculture in the world of craft beer. North High has partnered with Ohio Farm Bureau to brew Cover Crop Beer, a blonde ale brewed in honor of the centennial anniversary of the latter organization, which exists to promote and support Ohio farmers.
Ryan Blandford, head brewer at Cincinnati’s Taft’s Ale House, won his first gold medal at the World Beer Cup while working for crosstown brewery Fifty West in 2016. When he heard Fifty West’s 10 & 2 Barleywine announced, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I was jumping up and down and swearing,” laughed Blandford when we spoke on the phone last week. “As a young brewer you look up to these guys who are winning all these medals and when you’re fortunate enough to win one, well, you’re kind of freaking out.”
“It just feels right that this is a beer that comes from Cleveland,” says Great Lakes Brewing Company co-founder Pat Conway of his brewery’s Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. The iconic dark brew is named for the ill-fated iron ore freighter that sank on Lake Superior with all hands during a vicious storm on November 10, 1975.
This is my first official summer in California. Seattle gets warm, but with the level of sunburns I have gotten has skyrocketed! I mean, where are the clouds? Where is the rain break we get in the PNW?
How do we beat the heat? Beer! What else am I supposed to do? Beer is a whole lot cheaper than an AC unit… or at least that’s how I’m justifying it. Therefore, the only way to beat the heat is to drink some Hoof Hearted Brewing.
Pappy Van Winkle commands an awe factor in American spirits like no other bourbon does. It’s produced in small batches and can be incredibly difficult — and expensive — to acquire, with special bottles carrying four to five figure price tags. When Fifth Street Brewpub in the historic St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood of Dayton, Ohio, announced in April that they would be releasing a single batch of their Schmidion Damme Belgian Dark Strong Ale that had been aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels, it definitely caught my attention.
I don’t have a pretty photo of Carillon Brewing Company‘s Coriander Ale to show you. Carillon’s beers and, more importantly, the brewing techniques used to craft them, are from a time when the appearance of beer was only just beginning to matter with the emergence of pale malts and clear glassware. Their anachronistic visual appearance—often a bit murky—is part of the authenticity of enjoying a flight of beers inside Carillon’s reproduction 1850s barn brewery on the grounds of Carillon Historical Park, a living history museum by the banks of the Great Miami River in Dayton, OH.
The first time I tasted Rivertown Brewing’s Raspberry Flicker in their airy Monroe, Ohio, taproom on a sunny day in late January, it reminded me of childhood. I realize that’s an odd thing to say about an alcoholic beverage, but stay with me. No, my childhood did not involve me throwing back refreshing lagers. But it did involve raspberries.
Mexican-style craft lagers had a bit of a moment last year, and while the trend seems to have slowed a bit heading into the warmer months of 2018 (or more likely been enfolded into the broader craft lager movement), excellent examples still abound. While these adjunct lagers—a category once considered anathema in craft beer circles—offer a trendy marketing opportunity for some breweries, the draw goes deeper for others.
50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio by Rick Armon (Ohio University Press, 2017)
I sincerely believe Ohio is among the most exciting beer states in the country right now, though I am undoubtedly biased. I’ve lived in the Buckeye state for all fifteen years of my legal drinking life, and I’ve watched Ohio’s craft scene explode along with the rest of the country’s. While many of our breweries have gained national recognition, many more truly excellent breweries remain largely unheralded outside of our state borders. To be honest, it’s one of the things I love about our beer scene here; visitors don’t expect the incredible Belgian beers of Rockmill Brewery, or the farmhouse prowess of Little Fish, or the world-class lambics of Rivertown, or the all-around brilliance of Jackie O’s.
It’s a new year. There are possibilities to be explored, horizons to be reached, and resolutions to be broken. Most importantly, there are a host of winter seasonals that don’t have the word “Christmas” in their name waiting to be enjoyed for the next couple months.
That’s right, not every winter beer is brewed with the holidays in mind. Here in Ohio, it gets cold in November and stays cold till March, and that means we need a host of bracing beers to get us through the frigid days from December 26th till the Vernal Equinox. Fortunately, Ohio breweries are up to the task. Check out these blizzard-ready Buckeye brews the next time you’re in our beautiful state.
MadTree Brewing is a major player in the Ohio beer scene, and among the largest breweries in Cincinnati’s thriving craft market. The company built a new production brewery in early 2017, and have grown rapidly, but sustainably in the half decade since their founding. Their quirky but smart beer portfolio and attractive packaging are now available all around Ohio, as well as some areas of Indiana and Kentucky.
Little Fish Brewing sits at the western tip of Athens, Ohio, a small college town in the southwest region of the state. It’s at the very edge of town, with the county fairgrounds and a small state park separating it from the city proper and its compact and cozy downtown. The location geographically represents the philosophical space Little Fish occupies as a brewery, straddling the culture of the college town and the wilds of the southeastern Ohio Appalachian foothills. Little Fish Brewing Sunfish Saison serves as a shining example of the brewery’s dedication to conserving the resources found within that unique, beautiful location.