Monday, February 9, 2015

Temperance Row Brewing Co. - Westerville

Some time ago, I read an article in Columbus Alive about Temperance Row Brewing Co.  I'd almost forgotten about it, when I was in Westerville checking out the Buckeye Brewcraft homebrew shop.  (Here's a post about Buckeye Brewcraft on my Begin Brewing blog.)

Temperance Row Brewing is connected to the back of Uptown Deli & Brew in Westerville. You can order their beer in the deli and order deli food while in the brewery. Sitting there, though, you can clearly tell that they are two separate businesses.

During my visit on Sunday, the brewery's menu listed a Pilsner, Scottish Ale, IPA, Pale Ale, Christmas Ale, Porter, and Winter Warmer.

As a home brewer, I know that it's possible to cover up your brewing mistakes and shortcomings by hopping the heck out of your beer.  Let's say you've brewed a basic Pilsner.  If you didn't choose a good mix of malts, maybe had some stale grain, or didn't control the fermentation temperature very well, it will show in the beer.  An inexperienced brewmaster will sometimes compensate for these shortcomings in their recipes, ingredients, or brewing processes by adding a lot of extra hops (or additional hops varieties) to the beer.  This will give the beer the impression of complexity and hide many of the flaws from the person sipping it.  Given the popularity of IPAs and hoppy beer styles, many of your customers probably won't notice or care.

That's why it's really cool when you run into a brewery like Temperance Row.  These guys don't have to hide flaws with a wheelbarrow full of hops. They're delivering well-made, tasty beers that properly represent the styles they're offering.

The Scottish Ale was one of the best I've ever tasted.  There was enough hops bitterness to know that you were drinking a beer of the style, but not so much that you couldn't taste the underlying malt.  It was mildly sweet, mildly to moderately bitter, a lovely color, bright and clear, and tasted great.  I'd be only too happy to go back for another pint.

But as good as the Scottish Ale was, my wife and I loved the Winter Warmer even more.  At 10% alcohol by volume, there was a bit of warmth in the back of your throat after you drank it, just as there should be for the style.  The sweet malt, date, and hops flavors were balanced to perfection.  It may well have been the best Winter Warmer I've ever had - and I wasn't sure there was a better one than The Brew Kettle's.

My understanding is that Scott Francis is the brewmaster there.  If so, based on the beers we had last night, you ROCK Mr. Francis!  I look forward to returning and perhaps someday meeting you.

Temperance Row Brewing Co.
41 North State Street

Westerville, OH
(614) 891-2337

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