Monday, June 8, 2015

Meet the Brewers at Barley's Ale House

Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend the 20th Annual Meet the Brewers event at Barley's Ale House downtown across from the convention center.  If you are a fan of craft beers brewed here in Columbus, this event was something like being invited to a secret club meeting.  I had the opportunity to meet and/or actually talk with brewmasters from all the following:

  • Barley's
  • Buckeye Lake
  • Columbus Brewing Company
  • Four String
  • Granville Brewing
  • Homestead Brewing
  • Hoof Hearted
  • Lineage
  • North High
  • Pigskin Brew Co.
  • Seventh Son
  • Sidewswipe
  • Smokehouse Brewing
  • Weasel Boy
  • Wolf's Ridge
  • Zaftig
  • Zauber

(If I missed any of the breweries in attendance on the list above, please know that this was unintentional.  For example, I thought I saw someone from Land Grant there but was told they didn't make it.)

The event begins after the assembled brewmasters have tasted the homebrew contest entries submitted for the year and brought in samples of a beer from their brewery.  The brewmasters judge the entries and pick a winner.  The previous year's winner's beer is brewed and sold on tap in the bar along with all the other breweries' products... so it's a busy time for the Barley's bartenders!

I spoke with both Mike and Jess Byrne of Lineage Brewing about how I enjoyed visiting their taproom and how great a space it is, and how much I appreciated their willingness to brew lots of different styles of beer (and do them all well).

Angelo Signorino of Barley's told me about their Infinity Grand Cru (a great beer that I really enjoy), which he says will be coming up on tap very soon, and the Point of Origin ale they brew each year when the Origins Game Fair comes to the convention center (which drives a LOT of traffic to Barley's).  Angelo is the master of ceremonies for the event and says they'll be expanding their brewing capacity soon.

Geoff Towne of Zauber and I talked at length about the beers they produce, their taproom in Grandview, and how he came about creating the brewery.  He said that Digfest at the Grandview Yard next weekend is one of his favorite beer events.  Geoff and I also talked about homebrewing, and how it's good to focus on the flavor first, then get the color right. (I recently brewed a Belgian tripel that turned out much darker than its style normally is.  I had the same issue with my last tripel, which I think is due to the extract caramelizing during the boil.  Adding it later in the boil may fix that.)

Lenny Kolada and Sam Hickey of Smokehouse Brewing talked with me a little about their plans to brew some different beer styles.  They brought a keg of Brewtus Maximus, a Belgian Quad, with them to tap at the event.  Sam did an amazing job with that beer.  I very much enjoyed it, and look forward to visiting Smokehouse to have it again.  Sam gave me some brewing advice for my next Belgian homebrewing attempts which I plan to take to heart.

There wasn't time for me to talk to all the brewmasters there, which was unfortunate.  They all seem to be a great bunch of people and they're doing some great brewing, too.  I'm sure there was much I could have learned from all of them.  Oh well, there's always next year!

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