By Jim Cyphert
Mahoning Valley Flight Crew
A trip to Portland, Ore., inspired Celina Wolfe and Travis Romine to do something different here in the Mahoning Valley.
Combining ideas from that trip with experiences working at Boardman’s Blue Wolf Tavern and Canfield’s The Phoenix, the partners opened The Village Pump at 5231 Canfield-Niles Road in Canfield in February 2016.
General manager/bartender Wolfe said executive chef Romine loves crafting unique dishes. A passion for craft beer came right along with a love of cooking.
IF YOU GO
What: The Village Pump
Where: 5231 Canfield-Niles Rd., Canfield
When: Mon.-Thurs.: 3 to 10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat.: 3 to 11 p.m.
“Travis loves pairing craft beers with dishes,” Wolfe said. “People are willing to try new things. That’s exciting!”
The Village Pump supports Ohio craft beer, especially local brewers.
“When we were in the planning process, we visited Birdfish Brewing,” Wolfe said. “They were only about a month old. We loved their beer, and talked about carrying it as soon as they were ready.”
Wolfe loves that local brewers support one another.
“Birdfish told us about Noble Creature before it opened,” Wolfe said. “Modern Methods’ owner Adam Keck’s dad is a customer of ours. They all come in to eat and support us, so we support them. Plus, it’s good beer.”
Wolfe said Ohio has many great breweries.
“We’re trying to go all Ohio, for the most part,” Wolfe said. “But there are some must-haves from outside of Ohio.”
Cavalier Distributing and Premium Beverage Supply recommend many of those must-haves.
Wolfe said staff members have many conversations about beer.
“We let the staff try whatever they want,” Wolfe said. “Will Lazaroff, our bartender, is very knowledgeable about craft beer. We get excited when we’re tapping something new.”
The Village Pump team goes the extra mile to truly understand all beers on tap. The team tastes every new beer.
“Even though it might not be their style, staff members try all new beers so they can explain them to customers. They learn details such as where the brewery is and what style the beer is.”
But if it’s not craft, it’s not on tap at The Village Pump.
For those customers looking for domestic beers, The Village Pump always has a lighter craft beer on tap. Wolfe said more often than not, customers are willing to try the craft beer.
“We love good craft beer, and we get excited when people are enthusiastic about it,” Wolfe said. “There’s a craft beer for everyone, and local is best.”
Here are the craft beers Flight Crew members thought were the best during our visit to The Village Pump:
Maine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something (5.5% ABV)
Dave Shively: “The board was peppered with Buckeye State breweries. Only one selection failed to meet that criterion – A Tiny Beautiful Something by Maine Beer Co. This four-ounce glass on my flight turned out to be just that, a tiny beautiful thing! This American Pale Ale was hazy, golden-straw colored, and had a hint of tangerine and grapefruit in its finish. This beer with a poetic name was single hopped, and had a relatively average ABV of 5.5 percent. My selection reinforced my strong opinion of this brewery. I haven’t been disappointed with any beer from Maine Beer Co. I encourage you to discover this brewery.”
Jackie O’s Dark Apparition (10% ABV)
Joe Sanfilippo: “This apparition won’t leave you shaking after you try it. Jackie O’s Dark Apparition Russian Imperial Stout is brewed with chocolate, coffee and caramel – to name a few – and has an earthy, spicy hop character. Looking for that perfect Stout as we start into the fall season? This beer has A TON of flavor. Give it a try.”
Columbus Brewing Bodhi (8.3% ABV)
Roger Gillespie: “In Hinduism, the word ‘Bodhi’ means awakening or enlightenment. This amazing DIPA has become the standard by which I judge every IPA that crosses my lips. Bodhi showcases a unique blend of hops highlighting the true nature of the Citra. It carries an impressive 80 IBUs and 8.3 percent ABV. It has an aroma of dank pine and a really nice aftertaste. I highly recommend it.”
Noble Creature Conversationalist (5.3% ABV)
Jason Jugenheimer: “A wise local brewer told me that if you want to know the quality of a brewery’s beer, order its Pilsner. Now I’ve known the quality of Ira Gerhart’s beer, but I’ve always ordered IPAs and Sours there. I finally heeded the advice and pulled the Conversationalist off the board. What I was treated to was an Old World-style Pilsner that hit the palate semi-sweet with flavors of hay and honey. It was malty and finished with the dry bitterness you’d come to expect from a Pilsner. So, while I didn’t order it first, I’ll definitely order it again.”
Urban Artifact The Gadget (8.3% ABV)
Brian Long: “Having 1,260 pounds of both blackberries and raspberries in this American Wild Ale, it was no wonder the fresh fruit aroma was staggering. This beer poured a dark plum, almost like a thick wine, but was much more like a medium-bodied ale than expected. As far as fruity Sours go, this had a serious tart kick, but it was pleasant.”
Birdfish Bitches Be Trippin’ (9.2% ABV)
Jim Cyphert: “The Village Pump was Birdfish Brewing’s first wholesale customer and the first location this Belgian Tripel was available besides the brewery. It’s smooth and easy to drink, because it’s brewed with Pilsner and wheat malts and Belgian Candi sugar to help dry it out. Birdfish used European Styrain Goldings for bittering hops, and Czech Saaz hops later for flavor and aroma. A special ingredient – Black Tellicherry Peppercorns – added late in the boil, provides a bit of spice and aroma.”
Recommended Flight Pattern: Head to The Village Pump to get a taste of the passion Celina and Travis put into everything they do.