by Jason Jugenheimer, Mahoning Valley Flight Crew
The Mahoning Valley Flight Crew loves craft beer. We love local craft beer. However, we feel its our mission, one we gladly accept, to explore other areas of the state and country in order to inform and give you an opportunity to learn about what’s out there in this glorious world of craft beer.
That being said, I’d like to share one of my new favorite breweries — a great place to eat, drink, and enjoy all aspects of craft beer. Craft beer drinkers are unique. It’s almost family like in the way you can just sit at the bar or share a long table at a brewpub and just fall into conversation with a total strangers discuss all things hoppy.
We’re kind of like a pack of wolves in that sense. Wolves are social animals who love to live and hunt in packs. Their pack is extended family. This is the vibe felt when visiting Wolf’s Ridge Brewing in Columbus. Total strangers become familiar over a pint of ale.
Wolf’s Ridge focuses on great beer and local ingredients. They are about community. They are about creating eclectic food that good and creative small batch beers. The facility houses both a restaurant and a tap room, which is where we spent some time.
Like any craft brewery, they provide staple beers like IPAs and stouts. However, the tap room is a wild collection of creative small batch options with styles that included flavors of coconut cream, lemon meringue and creamsicle. There were so many options that choosing five to fill a flight proved difficult. I choose three that sounded interesting and had our server choose two more for me. She didn’t disappoint.
Clear Sky Coconut Cream Pie (5% ABV)
This is a coconut and vanilla cream ale that pours extremely light. It has a very smooth flavor with an underlying flavor of coconut with hints of vanilla. The aroma will remind you of your favorite bottle of sun tan lotion.
Coconut Howling Moon (10% ABV)
This is an Imperial IPA with a deep golden color. It has a light hop aroma and flavor. It’s not particularly bitter, and the subtle coconut flavor separates it from a typical IPA.
Gin Barrel Gold Legacy (5% ABV)
This sour is a barrel-aged wild ale. The aroma includes hints of gin and fresh fruit. Its light bodied and slightly tart, drinks easy and leaves a lingering taste of a tart cherry.
Vanilla Coconut Rum Line (10.4% ABV)
This is a rum-barrel-aged beer that pours dark. It drinks a little heavy but is smooth without the bitterness one might expect. Flavors of chocolate and roasted dark malts are highlighted in this beer and blend well with the flavors extracted from the rum barrels. This was my favorite beer of the flight.
Dire Wolf Bourbon Barrel Coffee Vanilla (10.4% ABV)
I’ve never been a big fan of bourbon-barrel-aged beers, but this is one I definitely enjoyed and would order again. This beer definitely has the aroma of roasted malts and a bourbon aged beer, but the bourbon taste is very subtle. It’s almost lost in the background to flavors of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. This beer drinks smooth with a roasted coffee aftertaste.
All of the beers in the flight were excellent. I wish I had the chance to stay longer and try them all, but I had return back home to the Valley. However, the craft beer scene is too great there to ignore, and Wolf’s Ridge Brewery is definitely the first stop I’m making on my next visit to Columbus.