Ohio, Goodbye Old Friend
It has been a long span of time between posts, and I know my 28 loyal readers have been waiting on baited breath. The Draughtsman has left Ohio for New York City, and it feels good to be back! One of my last visits to Ohio was a great weekend that involved paying a visit to Rockmill Brewery located in Lancaster just east of Columbus. Specializing in a small portfolio of Belgian-style beers, this modest and humble brewery is a nice escape from everything. Nestled in the farm lands of central Ohio, Rockmill’s beers are a worthy tribute to their Belgian brethren. This place is quiet, inviting, and most importantly, you can bring your dog.
Seventh Son Brewing + Rich Higgins
Sometimes you meet people who are really passionate about their craft or career, and it really inspires you to pursue your passions as well. Rich Higgins is a Master Cicerone, the equivalent of a Wine Master Sommelier, and one of only 6 in the world. This distinction means that he has an incredible in-depth knowledge of beer styles, brewing ingredients, methods, food pairings, and service. Rebekah and I had the pleasure of attending one of his seminars at the Seventh Son Brewery in Columbus, Ohio. It was a laid back, fun and educational look at some new imported beers from Europe, and a couple local beers from Seventh Son. A true beer ambassador and all around good guy, he travels across the country doing beer presentations and I would highly recommend attending if he happens to be in your town (check the link above for dates). For Columbus residents, Seventh Son is producing some great beers in a really well designed space. Check it out!
Grilling whole fish is extremely easy. When you buy it at the store, have the fish monger gut and descale the fish. Score, oil, and generously season both sides while stuffing the cavity with herbs (I used Basil, Dill, and Rosemary), lemon, and garlic. Grill it over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, the flesh on the inside should be opaque and the skin fairly crispy.
I failed to get a picture of beer in this one, but I paired it with Two Brothers Sidekick Extra Pale Ale. Deliciously dry, citrusy, and refreshing, it pairs well with grilled fish, spicy thai food, or sitting on a chair in the sun doing nothing.
Stillwater Artisan Ales Stateside Saison
As the outside temps start to heat up, the Saison is a more complex and rich departure from the standard lager and pilsner-style beers. This refreshing, spicy, crisp brew from Stillwater is a good place to start.
Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
In my ongoing journey to continuously try new breweries and beers, I often forget to revisit some of the breweries that made me love craft beer in the first place. In addition to Stone and Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head was one of my first introductions to microbrews. They embody what goofy craft breweries area all about, and gave me a sense of what real beer actually tasted like.
As many of you know, Sam Calgione is the amicable founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery located in Milton, Delaware. I highly recommend reading his book Brewing Up A Business, which is an entertaining and informative first-hand account of how he went from home brewing to building the Dogfish Head brewery into what it is today. He is as gifted a writer as he is brewer, and by this I mean he is really good.
Still reading this long-winded tumblr post? Good, now about the beer. Sitting in between the 60 minute and 90 minute IPA, this beer really is just right. Compared to its’ brethren, it is continuously hopped for 75 minutes and bottle conditioned. The bottle conditioning process involves adding priming sugars to the bottle where the existing yeast strains convert the sugars into carbon dioxide. Another interesting factor is the addition of maple syrup to the batch post-fermentation but before bottling. This unique process results in a complex, rich, malty sweet beer. The bitterness of the Cascade hops linger but are never overbearing. The detail of this beer is only matched by its’ great label; designed by musician, artist and writer Jon Langford. For lovers of IPAs and off-centered things, seek this one out.
Kenny Road Market
4658 Kenny Rd., Columbus, Ohio
It is fairly easy to drive by Kenny Road Market and not look twice, but this unassuming convenience store has one of the best craft beer selections in the city of Columbus. They offer an impressive selection of well know craft breweries, newly released seasonal beers, and esoteric imports. Bonus points for lottery tickets and U-Haul rental. Located northwest of the city of Columbus, a little off the beaten path but definitely worth the trip for stocking up the beer fridge.
Named after the only U.S. mountain range to run east-west, Uinta Brewing is a proud brewery hailing from Salt lake City, Utah. The company started brewing in 1993, but it took some time to make it all the way to Ohio. They now boast a diverse portfolio of beers organized in three different lines; The Classic Line, Organic Line, and Crooked Line. One thing that stands out to me about this brewery is their dedication to environmental stewardship, in 2001 they became the first 100% wind-powered company in Utah.
The first beer that have tried from this line is the Organic Baba Black Lager. It pours dark, but displays translucent shades of violet and brown around the edges when you hold it up to the light. The Baba tastes refreshingly light with the carbonation of a lager and a hint of coffee roast on the back end. I really enjoyed their “Hop Notch IPA”, and that will be covered in the next post.
Being a sucker for good packaging, what initially drew me to this beer was the minimalist label and strong graphic vector elements. The brewery spent most of 2010-2011 redesigning the logo, labels, packaging, bottles, and it really paid off. Another great detail is the 360-degree compass embossed on the bottle above the label, rarely do you see such a unique brand element on a beer bottle. Combining their attention to design detail, renewable power run brewery, OU kosher certification, and did I mention solid beers, these are some feel good brews.