As an Ohio resident, I’m not sure how many people outside of Ohio (or inside) know about Ohio’s growing craft beer industry. While researching, I found out some interesting facts, such as Ohio is ranked 10th in the nation for most breweries according to brewersassociation.org. The website also ranks Ohio 4th in the nation for barrels of craft beer produced per year (1,274,331 barrels), though that’s nothing compared to the top 3 states. I was actually shocked, though I should not have been. Everywhere I turn craft beer is there. You’ll understand what I mean by that later on. Anyway, according to ohiocraftbeer.org, Ohio now has 130 + breweries which is more than double the number (58) of breweries in 2012.
Ok! Enough stats, now for the good stuff…BEER!
To me, there are Ohio breweries that are fairly well-known and widely distributed more than others. In my opinion, the well-known include Great Lakes Brewing, Fat Heads Brewing (who hasn’t seen that gigantic head on a bottle) and Thirsty Dog Brewing.
Speaking of Thirsty Dog, 12 Dogs of Christmas is the shit, especially when the glass is rimmed with cinnamon, sugar and honey. It’s a crowd pleaser among my crew.Thirsty Dog also won Brewery of the Year in 2014 at the New York National Beer competition. So, if you haven’t heard of these brewers, look for them next time you’re beer shopping.
One brewery you may not have heard of is Jackie O’s. Located smack dab in the middle of Athens, Ohio (Ohio University), this brewery is awesome based on location alone, but the beers and food speak for themselves. A personal favorite is the Razz Wheat, made with 420 lbs of raspberry puree. Though that sounds sweet, surprisingly it’s not.
Favorite Ohio Breweries
Catawba Island Brewing: The brewery is located in northern Ohio on Catawba Island on Lake Erie. I recently went to a Catawba Island tap takeover and I’ve got to say it is at the top of my list for Ohio beer. The tap featured IPA’s, a Kolsch, a house ale and two unique styles. Of those, there was a Hot Blonde Mango Habanero Ale which was excellent and the other was a-not-so excellent Bubble Gum Blonde Ale. I twitch every time I think of it. Other than the Bubble Gum, I’m very impressed with Catawba’s selections.
MadTree Brewing: MadTree is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. My top two favorites include Gnarly Brown and Happy Amber. Gnarly Brown is a nut brown ale with a hint of vanilla and brown sugar and is 7% ABV. Happy Amber is a dry-hopped amber that tastes hoppy with hints of caramel and just 6% ABV. It just so happens the only place I can find this beer in my area is at a local greenhouse where they have Happy Amber Who would have guessed that?
Elevator Brewing & Draught Haus: Located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, the Elevator Haus has an upscale feel and menu, paired with a variety of beers. The Mogabi American Wheat just won the bronze at the GABF, their first medal since 2007. A favorite of mine though is the Three Frogs India Pale Ale. Truthfully I wasn’t impressed at first taste right out of the cold fridge, but after the beer warmed up a bit, so did I.
As I said at the beginning, craft beer is all around me these days. Breweries are popping up here and there and next summer central Ohio will be home to BrewDog’s first US site. The Scotland-based brewery will open right up the road from where I live. I’m excited to take a tour and try their goods!
Craft beers are also making their way into more and more arenas. The other night when I attended the Blue Jackets game, Nationwide Arena had several to choose from, more so then the previous year. Many bars, pubs and ale houses around me feature a wide variety of craft beers. I even had a sampling of Ohio beers at an elementary school! Granted it was their Oktoberfest but still, craft beer is everywhere!