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Local farmer reinvents the bean, combats diabetes with proprietary cold-brew

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The first day Steve Johnson walked into the (614) offices, we knew he’d soon land on these pages.

Not just because he brought a six-pack of free stuff—but because how could you not wanna know more about a 63-year-old cattle farmer who invented a proprietary cold-brew coffee to fuel his mountain biking pursuits and fight off diabetes?

Meet, Steve, the owner of Off The Beaten Path, who like the name, tends to walk his own way through the local culinary scene. He’s invented his own tap system to furnish local businesses, and his nitrogen-infused (think Guinness) coffee, in flavors like Bourbon Pecan and Snickerdoodle, is low-to-no calories.

He’s also full of hot takes on why cold-brew is the only true way (you don’t like over-boiling your veggies until they’re mush, right?), proselytizing a product that is less bitter than hot coffee, has more antioxidants, and promises faster muscle recovery—which is likely part of what landed OTBP on shelves at Paradise Garage, where a clear crossover exists between coffee and cycling culture.

It’s a more efficient fuel than the regular stuff, too, with 20 percent more caffeine than regular coffee.

Steve’s always rolling, but we were able to take a moment out of his day on the farm to warm up on cold-brewed coffee.

What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?

Iced coffee is merely ice cubes in hot brewed coffee. Any time you hot brew coffee, it makes it more acidic, lowers the caffeine and kills the flavor. Cold brewing coffee is basically brewing coffee in the absence of heat. My cold brew goes through a patented chilled overnight process, uniquely different from the norm.   

We’d be remiss to leave out your age, and how that typically doesn’t match up with mountain biking and cold brew. What do the people your age think of an old cattle farmer making this stuff?

The short answer? They think I’m nuts. I still love my roots and still love my cattle, but I was looking for a new direction and for a way to increase my level of fitness. As I assimilated into the mountain biking culture, it was there that I got the idea to cold brew coffee.

How can you tell a good cup of coffee or tea from a bad one? In other words, what are the big red flags to take note of when taking your first sip?

A good cup of coffee or tea will have a pleasant aroma, a smooth taste, and a positive flavor profile. Anything else—look out. In a bad cup of coffee, you can smell of bitterness even before you taste it.    

Besides cold-brewed (obviously), how do you prefer your morning cup of joe?

Here is the perfect cup of coffee; it’s cold brewed, filled with nitrogen and then it is served at 180° F! In order to get this, I developed the Hot Tap, which is temperature limited and allows the nitrogen infusion to stay constant.

How has your diabetes played a role in this?

I started mountain biking 4 years ago to control my diabetic situation. The exercise allowed me to avoid medication. I average riding 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year. I also found that coffee consumption helps me control my blood sugar levels. 

Coffee is somewhat an acquired taste for people, do you think cold brew coffee makes it a little easier for people to enjoy coffee?

Yes, cold brewed coffee tastes much better than hot brewed, but the nitrogen infusion creates such a great flavorful creamy profile, most people don’t even need to add any cream or sugar to my coffee or teas.

Can you give us an elevator pitch as to why people should switch from energy drinks to cold brew coffee or tea?

Feel like you need an energy drink?  Skip the additives and sugar and Try Off the Beaten Path cold brewed coffee and teas! Coffee and water, tea and water, zero additives and 10 calories or less.

By  / Stock & Barrel March 2018


Off the Beaten Path On Tap

The Walrus

The Angry Baker (3 locations)

Polaris Grill

The Guild House

Lemongrass Fusion Bistro

Zoup! (Easton)

Dicks Den

Woodlands Tavern

On Shelves

Lucky’s Market

The Hills Market (Downtown)

Weiland’s Market

Savor Growl

Paradise Garage

Delivery

Yellowbird Foodshed

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Food & Drink

Clintonville Brunch Crawl: We dare you to squeeze all 3 stops into 1 day

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Clintonville is lovely this time of year, especially when you make three separate stops for brunch. 

Whether the weather is gracing the charming little burgh with a healthy dose of vitamin D or giving it a couple spins around the Lazy Susan that is Ohio’s climate, a trifecta of morning food destinations is sure to keep your mood afloat.

BLunch  • 2973 N High St.

blunchcolumbus.com

Yes, we know that Columbus now is home to a Drunch AND a BLunch.

Snicker all ya want—if you do, you’d be missing out on one of the culinary scene’s welcome newcomers—a half-day cafe that carries the comforts of a First Watch, but with the sophisticated execution of Tasi or Katalina’s.

The White Family has decades of hospitality under their belt—the family owned Galena’s Mudflats until recently, and dad Jeff has been running the OSU Faculty Club for the past 20 years.

Those two were training grounds for son Jeff, once a young, eager dishwasher and now head chef for the White’s new “daylight eatery and bar.” Mom Jane, despite her own admission that in the family’s tavern-running days breakfast didn’t get served until halfway through afternoon, now relishes an intimate spot where people can maintain their own balance between booze and breakfast.

A full-bar at brunch is a rarity in the peculiar little burg, and positioned near Lineage, Old Skool, and Condado, BLunch could be the perfect starting point for a casual Clintonville crawl.

Then again, you may not have another stop after Chef Jeff gets done with ya. He and the White family have concepted a bennies-and-batter focused menu, where you’ll be sure to come back after a healthy amount of indecision. Me? I’ve been dreaming about the Bananas Foster pancakes (topped with ice cream) and the huevos rancheros over masa cake for weeks. – Travis Hoewischer

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Dough Mama • 3335 N High St.

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Dough Mama is the top of my list for my favorite breakfast joint. I love so much about this place.

The atmosphere is super chill, laid back, and inviting. The food is so so good. I would call it comfort food with an extra sprinkle of love and thought.

From pie to salad, it’s all good.

They use a variety of local and seasonal ingredients and support some of my favorite local delicacies with Dan the Baker bread and Thunderkiss coffee … YUM! They also have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options.

I am smitten with the Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy muffin. This place is my go to for a yummy drippy egg, roasted potatoes, salad, a sweet treat and a perfect cup of coffee.

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My husband loves Grammie’s Sammie and a piece of Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie. I somehow manage to splurge here and feel really really good about it.

Their menu has some great staples but they also always have specials that look and are amazing.

Right now they serve both lunch and breakfast during the day and I’ve heard it through the grapevine that they will soon be open in the evening and serving dinner. I cannot wait to see what delicious dishes they create for that menu. – Jana Rock

Baba’s • 2515 Summit St.

babascolumbus.com

Baba’s is my go-to breakfast spot in Columbus. You can grab a breakfast sandwich on their homemade griddle muffins (aka little pillows of heaven), order a rack of ribs, or in the spirit of Alabama Worley, have a slice of perfect pie and a cup of Thunderkiss coffee.

Their delicious baked goods are made in house, they smoke all of their own meats and their produce and coffee are all sourced locally, though their espresso will send you to the moon.

The service is fast, their team is super-friendly and there are never any pretentious vibes in the super chill atmosphere they have created on the corner of Hudson and Summit.

They’ve made a beautiful impact in their short existence in the SoHud neighborhood, fostering local artistic connections and bringing beautiful new mural art that rotates different artist from the community throughout the year. Don’t forget to grab one of their perfect cinnamon rolls for later. — Vanessa Jean Speckman

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Food & Drink

Harvest Pizzeria sowing last seeds in German Village

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Eight years ago, Harvest Pizzeria cropped up in a small space in German Village. Today, the local pizza chain announced the closure of its flagship location.

Harvest Pizzeria German Village will open its doors for the final time on Saturday, April 27th.

“Despite the success of Harvest in German Village and our strong ties to the neighborhood, the owner of the property will not honor our renewal of the lease,” wrote founder Chris Crader in an email. “…the landlord’s demands for a new lease at a higher rate would not allow our little pizzeria to remain viable.

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Crader added that he is proud of the strides Harvest German Village has made over the years, and thankful for the community that’s supported it. He hopes they can return to the neighborhood when the right spot presents itself.

As far as the employees go, Crader wrote that with the success of the other locations, the German Village workers will be able to join a team at another restaurant.

“Harvest sincerely thanks all of its loyal supporters and we hope to see you at our other locations soon,” wrote Crader.

This news follows the announcement of the Grandview Harvest closing back in February. Read more here.

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Food & Drink

Crawfish boils claw their way into Columbus Saturday

Mike Thomas

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What’s the deal with crawfish boils? Sure, they’re delicious, but as a true land-lubbing midwesterner, my knowledge of this particular culinary phenomenon is fairly lacking.

That said, I definitely can’t tell you why there are multiple crawfish boils going down this Saturday. Best not to overthink it—just enjoy the experience!

Pecan Penny’s |113 East Main Street
Saturday at 4 PM – 7 PM

Sponsored by Brewdog, downtown BBQ joint Pecan Penny’s is kicking off patio season with an all-you-can-eat Crawfish boil, complete with giveaways and a DJ.

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Rehab Tavern | 456 W Town St
2 PM – 6 PM

Rehab’s own 4/20 crawfish boil kicks off at 2:00. Your $15.75 entrance fee will net you a pint of beer in addition to all-you-can-eat crawfish and fixins’!

Can’t make either of these, or want to try the boil experience before committing to a large-scale event? Check out Kai’s Crab Boil or Boiling Seafood Crawfish—both on Bethel Road —for first-rate seafood experiences you won’t soon forget.

Why are there two crawfish boils on the same day? Why are there two crawfish restaurants on the same road? We may never know, and honestly, who cares? Crawfish is the bomb! Just put on your bib and get crackin’!

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