Ohio Brewery News
We love to write about brewery collaborations on this blog because it gets to the heart of what makes the craft beer industry special. Competition is good: it drives businesses to put out the best quality products, offer the highest levels of service and continually innovate to meet customer demand. But where companies in many industries compete for their own betterment, craft breweries often collaborate to improve collectively. BrewDog’s CollabFest, happening now through Sunday, Nov. 22, shows off that spirit of innovation through teamwork as each BrewDog location has paired up with another Ohio brewery to create five unique beers. The BrewDog collaborations with Branch & Bone Artisan Ales, Pretentious Barrel House, Saucy Brew Works, Sonder Brewing and Wolf’s Ridge Brewing will be on tap at all BrewDog locations this weekend. Get more information on the collaboration beers at facebook.com/dogtapcolumbus or order crowlers for Columbus-area delivery at brewdog.com
Several Cleveland area breweries are altering their services in reaction to Cuyahoga County’s recently issued stay-at-home advisory:
- Collision Bend Brewing Company is closing their brewpub until spring starting Monday, Nov.23. The brewery will continue to brew, package and distribute beer to local retailers during their taproom closure.
- Goldhorn Brewery is also closing their taproom indefinitely starting today. They will continue to brew, package and distribute beer, and are planning to have a few pop-up can pickup days over the next few weeks.
- Market Garden Brewpub and Nano Brew Cleveland have shut down restaurant operations for the duration of the stay-at-home advisory. Carry out beer will still be available at the Market Garden production brewery store.
- Crooked Pecker Brewing has shifted to can release pickup only. Fans are encouraged to sign up for their newsletter for info on upcoming can releases at crookedpeckerbrewing.com
We are tracking service changes at breweries across the state on our website: ohiocraftbeer.org/map
Cheers to five years of beers from Birdfish Brewing! Festivities kick off today with a special commemorative metallic gold print Rastal Aviero goblet free with purchase of any sour beer on tap. Birdfish is releasing two new sour beers just for the occasion, but glasses are limited to one per customer while supplies last. If you can’t make it in today, you can drop by the taproom in Columbiana starting at noon on Saturday, Nov. 21 to grab a metallic silver print Rastal Craft Master glass with purchase of a Too Hip to Sip hazy IPA. You can also take home a four-pack of Grynch seasonal Christmas ale in the taproom or through online order for curbside pickup starting Saturday. More info on the anniversary glassware and other details on this weekend’s celebration are available at facebook.com/birdfishbrew
Ohio loves its heavily spiced holiday beers, enough so that practically every brewery in northeast Ohio is offering one that follows in the footsteps of the iconic Great Lakes Christmas Ale. But because craft breweries are at the forefront of beverage innovation, several breweries are breaking the mold and offering non-traditional holiday beers that feature some other favorite flavors of the winter season. Second Crossing Brew Co. has two such beers on tap at their tasting room in Rockford. The first is a twist on their signature Panther porter, infused with peppermint to add a brightness to the original beer’s lush chocolate and coffee notes. The second brew, named The Cringer, is a fruited Berliner weisse made with cranberry and ginger (on the wordplay scale, a portmanteau rates much higher than a pun; kudos to the Second Crossing crew on that one.) Grab a pint or fill your growler to enjoy at home. Details at facebook.com/secondcrossing
Wooly Pig Farm Brewery co-owner/brewer Kevin Ely is serious about his German-style beers. The rural Coshocton County brewery generally has a dozen or more varieties available, from traditional favorites like Helles and Schwarzbier to American twists like the India Pale Lager. Ely also shows great care and respect to some underappreciated German styles, like their recent collaboration with Fretboard Brewing on an Ungespundet lager called Ooh Ahh (a spoonerism of the way this beer is ordered from a bar in Germany: “a U,” pronounced “ahh ooh.”) “Ungespundet” translates as “unplugged” or “unbunged,” meaning that the beer is matured in a vessel exposed to air. This leads to lower carbonation and allows the drinker to experience the flavors with less of a bite on the taste buds. The Fretboard half of this collaboration will be available on draft and in cans at their Blue Ash taproom starting Tuesday, Nov. 24. Wooly Pig is reserving the release of their version of Ooh Ahh for their anniversary weekend kicking off Friday, Dec. 4. Watch Kevin Ely and Fretboard’s Kevin Moreland talk about the beer on Fretboard’s YouTube channel.
Ohio breweries once again made a strong showing at the annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers competition, winning a total of five medals in the 12 categories. MadTree Brewing paced the field with two medals, a silver and a bronze both in the Specialty + Experimental Beer category. Cuvee 2020 took the silver medal, a blend of Russian imperial stout, imperial brown ale and rye brown ale, aged in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels. The bronze went to Joon, a gin barrel aged Kolsch conditioned on chamomile and elderflower. Three other Ohio beers earned silver medals at FoBAB, including Streetside Brewery’s Horchata Demogorgon imperial stout, Derive Brewing’s Sins of the Flesh Belgian golden strong ale with raspberries, and Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s Terre du Sauvage Green dry-hopped farmhouse sour ale (the beer’s second FoBAB medal win after earning gold in 2017.) Read the recap of all the competition winners at porchdrinking.com
The coronavirus pandemic has caused extraordinary hardship in the brewing industry as small businesses attempt to stay afloat and navigate ever-changing conditions that challenge their operations and public health in general. With all the bad news and dire forecasts grabbing headlines, it’s worth shining a light on those glimmers of hope that occasionally pop up. Despite everything, brewery opening and closing numbers look remarkably similar to 2018 and 2019 numbers and the numbers of known breweries in planning still consistently hovers around 50. Added to that list this week was Athens-based Little Fish Brewing’s planned expansion into Dayton. Owners Jimmy Stockwell and Sean White announced that they will be building out a barrel aging facility and taproom on Webster Street in downtown Dayton; construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2021. Read Mark Fisher’s coverage of the Little Fish expansion at dayton.com