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Drink614: Among disappointing chain breweries, Gordon Biersch delivers

Steve Croyle

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It’s easy to dismiss Gordon Biersch these days.  So many “chain” brewers tend to be a disappointment.

Some don’t really brew on site, and those that do, use extract recipes assembled at a corporate warehouse.

It’s OK, but with so many great local brewers cranking out great beer, it’s just not worthwhile.

The thing you need to remember, however, is that Gordon Biersch is a real brewery and these days, the suits at the corporate headquarters realize that they have to turn their brewers loose.

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Matt Crema started brewing at Rock Bottom Brewery in Chicago. He started busing tables and washing dishes all the while begging to get some time in the brewhouse.

When the GB location in Columbus found out Dan Griffin was leaving, Matt was tapped to move to Columbus.  It’s a decision he’s really happy with.

“I’ve only been here a few months, and I’m very busy so I don’t get around as much as I’d like, but I really like what Columbus has to offer,” he said.

Matt decided to bring his IPA game to Columbus and he’s produced two very good offerings.

The first is a classic take on the West Cost IPA. It’s a defly balanced beer with an easy drinking body and a clean, dry finish. The piney notes of American hops shine through.

He’s also got a hazy New England Style IPA that is markedly better than some of the more ballyhooed offerings kicking around town. It’s a tough style for a brewer who wants a clean beer that will maintain some stability in the serving tank, but Matt seems to have the formula down. Minor tweaks will follow in subsequent batches.

The brewhouse at Gordon Biersch, however, is a German-made system that excels at producing German lagers, goses, and clean golden ales, and because Gordon Biersch still wants to pay homage to its German roots, Matt’s brewing plenty of German beers that are everything you want in the style.

This summer is great opportunity to check out the Clippers, and enjoy pints at Gordon Biersch. The beer is worth the trip. Matt’s a damned fine brewer, whose star is only going to rise.

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Food & Drink

Kick off the weekend with Barroluco’s block party

614now

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Need Friday lunch plans? How about a latin-inspired block party?

Now that warm weather is upon us, downtown Argentinian concept Barroluco is celebrating its grand opening with a block party this weekend.

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Known for South American favorites such as empanadas and paella, Barroluco’s first brick and mortar location opened back in December at the former location of El Arepazo Latin Grill at 47 N. Pearl St. Barroluco’s original food truck also remains in operation.

Photo by Emma Kate Low

The alley behind Pearl St. will be closed off for a ribbon-cutting ceremony today (Friday) at 11:00AM, with a block party to follow. Specials and giveaways will be available through Saturday, April 27 in honor of the opening festivities.

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Food & Drink

North Star Short North getting a whole lot bigger, boozier

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The Northstar is growing! No, not the sky’s biggest star, but rather, Short North’s organic New American kitchen.

This year marks the restaurant’s 15 anniversary, and owners Kevin Malhame, Katy Malhame, and Darren Malhame have decided that it’s high time to update. Conveniently, the Malhame’s have held a lease at 945 N High St.—right next door to Northstar at 951 N High St.—for some time now and are ready to put it to use, reports Columbus Business First.

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The space will allow for an additional 1,000 square feet of dining room and, more excitingly, a full bar with wine, spirits, and dozens of Ohio beers on tap.

Work is slated to begin this summer. The restaurant will remain open during the expansion.

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Beer for Breakfast: Start the day at 4 Columbus breweries

Mike Thomas

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Is there such a thing as “too early” for a beer? We would humbly submit that no, there isn’t.

While everyone else is waiting until noon, raise a toast to the sunrise with these breakfast-themed creations from some of Columbus’ top breweries.

Note: always drink responsibly. We don’t want any angry calls from your boss saying you showed up to work completely tossed. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Wolf’s Ridge |215 N 4th St

The brewmaster at Wolf’s Ridge is clearly a strong believer in popping off in the AM. “Cinnamon Toast Brunch” – a cinnamon-infused twist on the brewery’s staple cream ale, is delicious at any time of the day. Need something with a little more kick to get you moving? Wolf’s Ridge cellar reserve bottle offering, “’17 All The Breakfast,” is an imperial breakfast-style ale that clocks in at 10.8% ABV.

Homestead Beer Co. | 811 Irving Wick Dr W, Heath

Columbus Beer Week is a celebration of the many, many great beers available throughout central Ohio. If you stand any chance of sampling them all, breakfast brewskis are a must. Luckily, Homestead Beer Co. has you covered with a Beer Week concoction that will take you back to the days of Saturday morning cartoons and rainbow-colored milk. Prepare yourself for Homestead’s Cocoa Pebbles porter, “Yabba Dabba Brew.”

Hoof Hearted Brewing | 850 N 4th St

Like their neighbors Wolf’s Ridge up the street, Hoof Hearted offers a sudsy take on cinnamon toast crunch. At 10.5% ABV, “Miracle Toast” will either start your day off on a strong note, or send you back to bed until noon.

Though not explicitly marketed as a breakfast beer, Hoof Hearted’s “Fitness Freak,” an imperial stout with coffee, vanilla and maple syrup added, has all of the morning-time flavors you crave. At a whopping 14%, it’s also a surefire way to transition from brunch to nap time.

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Platform | 408 N 6th St

If you don’t think a peanut butter cream puff from Schmidt’s qualifies as a breakfast item, what are you doing with your life? Cleveland-based Platform pays homage to a Columbus institution with the release of their “Schmidt’s Peanut Butter Fudge Puff” brew. This maibock style beer boasts a respectable 7.1% ABV – just enough for some AM fun without derailing your whole day.

What’s your go-to morning brew? Let us know in the comments!

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