Ohio Brewery News
When Columbus Brewing Company earned a bronze medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup competition, the beer’s name induced a swell of appreciative laughter from the thousand or so brewers in attendance. “TBD Peach Sour” was not just a clever name: in fact, it was the first sour beer Columbus Brewing Company had ever produced. The wood aged sour program birthed by that initial award-winning beer – rechristened as Crocodile Tongue – has spawned some truly excellent beers, primarily available on draft at the brewery taproom when it was open pre-pandemic. The first bottles from that program are available for order now, including Crocodile Tongue and Domestique, aged in wine barrels for 26 months. Pre-order now for pickup at the brewery Dec. 18-20: columbusbrewing.com
While it may seem like we’ve been covering Christmas beers since July, it’s not for lack of material. Marc Bona published a story at cleveland.com detailing winter seasonal brews from more than 60 northeast Ohio breweries, and that’s just a fraction of the holiday ales currently available statewide. Contributing heavily to that total is Bascule Brewery, which tapped the first of three planned Christmas beers this week. Red Rye’der is the brewery’s take on the traditional Midwest winter warmer, a rye ale brewed with rosemary and citrus. Coming soon from Bascule’s Winter Hibernation series are BascYULE roasted chestnut English strong ale and Nikolaos Belgian dark strong ale with honey, dried fig and mulling spices. Red Rye’der is available now on draft and to-go in growlers from the taproom in Lorain. Follow Bascule on Facebook for info on future releases: facebook.com/basculebreweryandpublichouse
With the immense impact that coronavirus has had on the way we socialize, it’s important not to lose sight of how breweries have operated as community hubs both before and during the pandemic. That spirit of community has been a factor in the more than 40 new brewery openings that have happened in 2020 alone, despite the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. North Water Brewing, which opened in Kent during Thanksgiving week, worked local giving into their business plan from the start. “We are building our themes around non-profits, community projects, trying to create a more cohesive community,” owner Don Schjeldahl told Spectrum News 1. According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association’s most recent economic impact study, Ohio breweries donated more than $1.15 million and 13,000 volunteer hours to charitable causes in 2018. Learn more about North Water Brewing’s community goals by following them at facebook.com/northwaterbrewing
The newest beer release from Moeller Brew Barn might create more questions than it answers:
- Anyone who has visited the brewery’s original location in Maria Stein can rightly imagine that the brewery draws a lot of inspiration from their setting in the heart of Ohio farm country. Could that be the meaning behind the punny name Hay-Z Pale Ale?
- The beer is billed as “first edition” and picks up its fruity and floral aromas from heavy late additions of Mosaic, Centennial, Amarillo and Galena hops. What will future editions look like? (Hazy, I presume, but what will they taste and smell like?)
- Despite being released on tap on Dec. 10 and with cans to follow shortly, the beer carries the year 2021 on its packaging. Is Moeller Brew Barn through with the year 2020? Totally understandable; I think we all are.
More details on 2021 First Edition Hay-Z Pale Ale can be found at facebook.com/moellerbrewbarn
Breweries are faced with crucial decisions about how to get through the winter during the pandemic. Despite making large investments in physical barriers, sanitation processes and personal protective equipment to keep their customers and employees safe, a steep drop in customer traffic is heavily cutting into revenues. Meanwhile, political gridlock is stalling badly-needed relief funding for small businesses and their employees. Homestead Beer Company recently decided to stop seating customers at their taproom in Heath. “That was probably the most unpopular decision I’ve made since I became CEO,” Homestead’s Joe Wilson explained to Columbus Alive. “I’m losing my best opportunity for [profit] margin, and I am really hurting my employees that work on that side of the building.” Homestead will continue to offer beer for carry out and delivery, including newly released cans of Engine No. 7 hazy IPA and their popular Bison imperial stout; place your order at homesteadbeerco.com
As the first wave of coronavirus hit back in March, Fibonacci Brewing was quick to alter their service model as the state imposed a prohibition on dine-in/drink-in service. Owners Bob and Betty Bollas utilized an already built-in drive-thru window in their building to facilitate carry out sales and reduce potential points of interaction and virus spread. They also started making daily beer deliveries within Hamilton County, often with same-day service. Now with the surge of new COVID-19 cases, Fibonacci has again closed their taproom to seated customers for the winter months. This time though, they’re also shipping beer to serve customers throughout the state of Ohio. Fibonacci is offering bottles and crowler cans of a dozen beers, including 55N 3W rye whiskey barrel aged wee heavy and Pride of the Valley paw paw sour ale. See the full list of available beers and place your shipping order at fibbrew.com. We’re keeping track of all Ohio Craft Brewers Association members offering beer shipping and home delivery at ohiocraftbeer.org/map
We’ve got a late addition to the Ohio Craft ExBEERiences Silent Auction this week. To benefit the mission of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, the Yellow Springs Brewery donated “Beer + Birds,” a 30-minute meet and greet with members of the Glen Helen Raptor Center and the brewery team. The winner of this ExBEERience and a friend will get to meet three Ohio native raptors up close in the beer garden at Yellow Springs Brewery. A brewery swag bag is also included in the package. The Glen Helen Raptor Center is a non-profit organization formed to educate the public about raptors and their role in Ohio ecosystems, as well as rehabilitate injured raptors with the goal of releasing them back to the wild. Bidding for this and other auction item ends at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, so get your bids in now! More details at ohiocraftbeer.org/auction