Beer Reviews (Ohio Beers)

In this section you will find reviews of beers brewed in Ohio (local beers!). Below you will find a running tab of the beers that have been reviewed, with brief descriptions of each beer and its rating.  A full review of each beer can be found by clicking on its name.

My rating scale is: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.

Skull Session Crimson Lager (Land Grant) Rating = 7  An Oktoberfest-like crimson colored lager that features bread and toffee flavored malts and finishes with spicy German hops.

Sohio Stout (Columbus Brewing Company) Rating = 8  Flavors and aromas of dark roasted Brioso coffee are enveloped by a chocolate malt base.  With no harsh edges its a smooth drinking coffee-forward stout.

Saison du Poisson (Little Fish) Rating = 8.5  It smells like a traditional saison with pilsner malts and spicy phenolics, but the taste is something more complex: vinuous, tart and mildly fruity.

Pool Party Pilsner (Land Grant) Rating = 7.5  A distinctive pilsner malt profile leads the way, complimented by Germanesque Southern Hemisphere hops Summer and Wakatu.

Grapefruit Walleye (North High) Rating = 8  An amply hopped citra pale ale gets a boost of fruitiness from the addition of grapefruit juice.  Think of it as a shandy for hopheads.

Gravity Wave (Land Grant) Rating = 8  A black IPA that features dark chocolate flavors from Midnight Wheat and Blackprinz malts, with a triple dry hop regimen that showcases Galaxy and Citra hops.

Winterborn (Seventh Son) Rating = 7  A pale ale made exclusively with Brettanomyces that brings out the pineapple fruitiness of Brett, tinged with some musty funk and a hint of tartness.

Deep Search (Land Grant) Rating = 8  A Baltic porter inspired by the Wes Anderson movie, The Life Aquatic. This winter lager is long on dark fruits and the chocolaty side of roasted malts.

Magnon (Actual) Rating = 8  Actual finally releases a straight up IPA featuring two new hop varieties, Eureka! and Lemondrop.  The result is a beer spilling over with herbal, fruity notes and crazy good head retention.

Cask Aged Noir (Rockmill) Rating = 9  A black saison aged in Whiskey barrels, this is an excellent beer that drinks like an elite barrel aged stout.  The vanilla from the barrel is to die for and the malts are long on chocolate and short on bitter roastiness.

Tenacity (Actual) Rating = 8  A complex beer that spent nearly a year aging in oak barrels while the “wild” yeast Brettanomyces worked its magic.  Tart and fruity, with subtle hints of balsamic vinegar this Brett beer leans toward a lighter version of a Flanders Red.

Defaced (Sideswipe) Rating = 8.5  An Imperial Red Ale that starts off with rich caramel and toffee flavors and finishes with a big punch of citrusy hops.  The net effect is reminds me of caramel coated oranges.

Dragonsaddle (Hoof Hearted) Rating = 7  A triple IPA that tips the scales at 11.5% abv and 128 IBU this is not a beer for the feint of heart.  Bursting at the seams with hop aroma, the taste is full of dank, piney, herbacious hop flavor but it also comes with more bitterness than I’ve come to expect from Hoof Hearted hop bombs.

Black Maple (Jackie O’s) Rating = 9  A pricey, hard to find imperial porter brewed with locally sourced maple syrup and aged in bourbon barrels.  Big on vanilla, oak, and maple but not overly roasty or boozy this one doesn’t disappoint.

4th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (Four String) Rating = 6  This imperial stout aged in OYO bourbon barrels is a no holds barred punch in the face, full of bourbon and booziness.

Clear Sky Daybreak (Wolf’s Ridge) Rating = 8  This golden cream ale infused with One-Line coffee and vanilla is a real eye opener. The bright fruity coffee flavors and golden color make for a mind expanding experience not to be missed.

South of Eleven (Hoof Hearted) Rating = 9  A world class double IPA in the same vein as Bodhi or Heady Topper.  The fruity, dank hop aroma is over the top, while the alcohol and bitterness are surprisingly restrained.

Humulus Nimbus (Seventh Son) Rating = 9  Billed as a super pale ale, this is an IPA in all but name. The exotic fruit flavors of the Mosaic hops pair nicely with the dank, piney flavors of the Simcoe hops. This is Columbus’ version of Zombie Dust.

Thudstaff (Hoof Hearted) Rating = 8  The taste is a mix of smooth chocolate flavors from the cacao nibs and fruity esters from the Belgian yeasts.  Think bananas dipped in milk chocolate and you’ll get an idea of what this beer brings to the table.

Barrel Aged Siberian Night (Thirsty Dog) Rating = 8  An intensely bourbon forward version of a GABF gold medal winning imperial stout.  A must try for bourbon lovers, but not recommended for those with delicate palates.

Fat Julian (Actual) Rating = 8  Surprisingly smooth and approachable for an imperial stout.  Chocked full of bittersweet chocolate flavors, this is Ohio’s version of Old Rasputin.

Dark Apparition (Jackie O’s) Rating = 9  Incredible complexity without resorting to adjuncts, an intense flavor profile yet still highly drinkable. Dark Apparition is a classic imperial stout in the same vein as Bell’s Expedition Stout.

Firecat (Seventh Son) Rating = 8  An imperial amber ale (9.4% sbv) that is made exclusively with Red X malts and a big dose of Amarillo, Simcoe and El Dorado hops.  The combination makes for juicy orange like flavors with a funky, dank twist.

Temporal (Actual) Rating = 7.5  An abbey ale in the style of the elusive Trappist “single” with understated fruity esters, spicy black pepper phenols and a dry finish. This is an easy drinking Belgian ale that won’t interfere with evening prayers.

Mr Owl (Seventh Son) Rating = 8  A hoppy brown ale that balances the cocoa and caramel flavors of a brown ale with ample amounts of citrusy hops that you would expect from a Seventh Son beer.

Barrel Aged Conductor Imperial Rye (Actual) Rating = 8  All of the tastiness of one of the best Rye IPAs out there, aged in once used bourbon barrels to add an additional layer of complexity.

Squashing Pumpkins (Sideswipe) Rating = 7  An autumn seasonal made with butternut squash and lightly spiced with cinnamon and cloves.  If you like your pumpkin beers restrained with just enough spice to accent the bready malts this beer is right up your alley.

Four String Imperial Stout (Four String) Rating = 7  A big complex, bruiser of a beer.  Drinks like a cross between a Belgian Quad and an Imperial Stout.  The finish is a little too sour for my tastes and seems out of place for the style.

Pixelated Sun (Sideswipe) Rating = 8  A hoppy American wheat ale that combines the aroma and flavor of Citra hops with the subtle lemony flavors and smooth mouthfeel of a wheat beer.  A highly refreshing summer seasonal.

Chickow! (Triple Digit) Rating = 8  This hazelnut double brown ale is a rich decadent beer spilling over with caramel, hazelnuts and chocolate.  The bold flavors and well hidden 10% abv justify the use of an exclamation point in the name.

Big Star White IPA (Four String) Rating = 7.5  This beer looks and smells like a Belgian Blonde, but the taste has a little more kick thanks to a generous addition of American hops.

Spacewalker American Belgo (Great Lakes) Rating = 7  Sweet, fruity flavors from the Belgian yeasts vie with citrus notes from the American hops for top billing in your taste receptors.  It’s a bold beer, but the whole is not necessarily better than the sum of the parts here.

Sunshine Daydream (Fat Head’s) Rating = 8  Fat Head’s entry into the session IPA market is a crisp, refreshing beer spilling over with citrusy hop deliciousness, and enough malts to keep the astringency and bitterness of the hops from derailing things. Perhaps the best session IPA I’ve tried.

Paw Paw Wheat (Jackie O’s) Rating = 7  This is Belgian-like ale that features mango like flavors from Ohio grown paw paw fruits.  Don’t be fooled by the name though, this is not your little sisters easy drinking fruit beer, it has a thick, coating mouthfeel and clocks in at 9% abv.

Death (Rivertown) Rating = 8  This strong (11%) rich malty beer brewed with Jolokai (Ghost) Peppers is a special release by Rivertown.  The heat from the peppers nicely balances the caramel and dark fruits of the malts.  Unlike almost every other pepper beer I’ve tried the capsaicin from the peppers compliments rather than overwhelms the flavors of the base beer.

Conductor Imperial Rye (Actual) Rating = 9  This is a bold Rye PA made that starts out like a balanced hop-forward American Pale Ale before a wave of rye spiciness kicks in.  It’s the best Rye PA I’ve tried anywhere, and one of the best beers ever brewed in Columbus.

Elegant Hoodlum Smoked Stout (Sideswipe) Rating = 7.5  Elegant Hoodlum is a complex character. Chocolate flavors lead the way but are balanced with just the right amount of smokiness and enough hops to keep the finish clean.

Brass Knuckles (Four Strings) Rating = 6  Bready, slightly sweet malt flavors blend with piney, moderately bitter hops.  There is not much in the way of citrus or tropical fruit highlights from the hops.

Curiousus (Actual Brewing) Rating = 7  A light bodied, effervescent beer that is tart and fruity.  A good introduction to sour beers, and a good low abv option for warm weather thirst quenching.

Candi-Man (Indigo Imp) Rating = 6.5  Similar in taste to many beers in the Indigo Imp lineup, fruity and mildly tart.  More like a high abv (7.2%) Berliner Weiss or a tart blonde ale than a Belgian Dubbel (as it is labelled).

Chillwave (Great Lakes) Rating = 9.5  If you are looking for a bold celebration of hop fruitiness, Chillwave is the beer for you.  The poster child for Mosaic hops it pushes the unconventional hop flavors and aromas up to the edge without going over the precipice

Big Vic Imperial IPA (Elevator Brewery) Rating = 7.5  Juicy tropical fruit flavors (oranges, pineapples, …) and a relatively restrained level of bitterness (for an Imperial IPA) make for a tasty and refreshing beer.  Probably my favorite Elevator beer.

Orthodox Winter IPA (Actual Brewing) Rating = 7  Labeled a Winter IPA by one of Columbus’ newest breweries, Actual Brewing, but it tastes very much like a hoppy Robust Porter.  Say hello to the new Edmund Fitzgerald.

PsycHOPathy (Mad Tree) Rating = 8  This beer is dry hopped with Chinook and Centennial hops which gives a big grassy hop nose, reminiscent of a fresh hop IPA. Relatively low levels of bitterness and highly drinkable.

Golden Ratio IPA (Seventh Son) Rating = 7.5   An IPA made with Ohio honey and southern hemisphere (New Zealand/Australia) hops.  This beer features a big nose of dank green hops mingled with tropical fruit aromas.

Coop Looter Saison (Sideswipe) Rating = 8   A Belgian-style Saison from the newly opened Sideswipe Brewing in Columbus.  This beer has a fruity nose, a crisp mouthfeel, and a dry, spicy finish that leaves black pepper notes lingering on your tongue. Its an impressive debut from a small local brewery.

Fork in the Road (Blank Slate) Rating = 8   Dark roasted Munich and CaraRed malts give it the appearance of an English Brown Ale.  At the same time Citra and Centennial hops give it a big grapefruit nose, notes of citrus and pine in the taste, and plenty of bitterness on the finish.  If you are a hophead living in Ohio this is a beer worth seeking out.

Zoetic (Yellow Springs) Rating = 7.5   A crisp, easy drinking American Pale Ale from Yellow Springs, OH.  The dominant feature of this beer is its grassy, freshly picked hop aroma.  The hop forward nose is paired with a moderate abv (5.3%), relatively little bitterness, and a light bodied mouthfeel.  I find this beer very reminiscent of Founders All Day IPA.

Knotty Brown (Wolf’s Ridge) Rating = 7.5   An English brown ale from one of the new breweries in Columbus.  This beer transforms from smooth chocolate malts at the beginning of the taste to relatively bitter dark coffee/espresso on the finish, that camps out and lingers on your tongue.

Trailhead Pale Ale (Fatheads) Rating = 8   A pale ale, fresh hopped with citra and simcoe hops that is available only on tap.  This beer is entirely about the fresh green hop flavors and aromas.  If you like wet hopped beers like Founders Harvest Ale, you’ll love this beer that took home a silver medal from the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.

Wulver (Thirsty Dog) Rating = 9   A Scotch Ale aged for 11 months in bourbon barrels.  As you might expect Wulver is very similar to Backwoods Bastard, but the bourbon is dialed back a little which allows the caramel to shine through, accented nicely by the vanilla notes from the oak barrels.  If you are looking for the ultimate Scotch Ale your quest ends here.         

Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Great Lakes) Rating = 7.5   A showcase for dark roasted chocolate malts that go down smooth and never come across as being burnt.  The liberal use of hops adds complexity and keeps the chocolate tastes from overstaying their welcome.  One of Ohio’s premier beers.

Summer Pale Ale (Indigo Imp) Rating = 7.5   An easy drinking, open fermented, bottle conditioned Belgian style pale ale.  A hazy amber beer in the Belgian blonde style, with fruity esters and candi sugar in the mix.

Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale (Hoppin’ Frog) Rating = 7  Has all of the pumpkin and spices to give an aroma and taste that are strongly reminiscent of pumpkin pie without the cloying sweetness that come with some pumpkin beers.  More pumpkin pie than Spooky Tooth, yet more drinkable than Warlock or Pumking.

Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Fatheads) Rating = 6   At 9.0% ABV this beer drinks like a strong ale accented by pumpkin pie spices. The pumpkin aspects of the beer are restrained.  A decent choice for a strong ale if you like that style, but a bit of an also ran in the world of pumpkin beers.   

White Rajah (The Brew Kettle) Rating = 9   A hop forward IPA that has more citrus fruit character than just about any beer out there.  This beer gets my vote for the best IPA around, and beat out nine other IPAs to come out on top in our blind taste test (see taste test section of the site for full details).  Not for those who look for hop-malt balance or sublteties in their beer.

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