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A few centuries ago, sour beer was just called beer. In those days, all beers were inherently sour due to the lack of proper sanitation practices that were eventually developed to keep extra yeast and bacteria out. That yeasty bacteria was and still is the very essence of what gives sour beer their characteristic tart [...]
Danny Hamen



A few centuries ago, sour beer was just called beer. In those days, all beers were inherently sour due to the lack of proper sanitation practices that were eventually developed to keep extra yeast and bacteria out. That yeasty bacteria was and still is the very essence of what gives sour beer their characteristic tart flavor. Remember that Miller Light you found that had been left chilling in your fridge well beyond its expiration date? Remember how it tasted sour? This is why.

In recent years, there has been an unlikely paradigm shift as to where sour beer fits into our cultural hierarchy, once considered a soiled product, now hailed as an artisan achievement. Many contemporary brewers would still serve beer that had mistakenly gone sour as a happy accident, as long as it still tasted good, typically adding fruit during fermentation to compliment the acidic flavor. These unintended successes have created a movement of sour beer lovers, inspiring many brewers to start making sour beers on purpose.

“There has been this weird cultural shift because fruity beer used to have a negative connotation. When you had a beer that was bad, you added fruit to it to cover that up. For me, I take the best beers that I have and add fruit to them.”

Meet Joshua Martinez, a thirsty young brewer from San Diego. With a bag full of brewing knowledge gained from Ethereal Brewing operating out of Lexington, he decided to start a business in Columbus dedicated to sour beers, Pretentious Barrel House.

“It was more of an exploration than anything else. There are not a lot of ‘experts’ on sour beer. There are a lot of people that are really good at it, but no one has been doing it for very long in America,” he said. “I always tell everyone that I just kind of make it up as I go. Fortunately, everything is going well, but I know as much about what I am doing as much as any other brewer will tell you—that you are learning as you go, everyday.”

The good news for sourheads is that any beer can be sour, leaving room for myriad variety of varieties and flavor profiles. In homage to his grand opening just November, the city, highlighting an array of Columbus brewers who are playing around with the sour beer concept.

Sybarite W/ Spice

Pretentious Barrel House • 745 Taylor Ave.

Literally meaning a person who is self-indulgent in their fondness for sensuous luxury, the Sybarite w/ Spice is the perfect example of how rich and sumptuous sours can be, as well as showing off the broad range of flavors you can achieve when brewing sour beer.  Starting with their base sour red ale, Martinez adds an array of holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to create a complex yet balanced holiday spiced beer. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, rather the notes of nutmeg resonate gently on the palate, pairing well with the citrusy bite of flavor. The beer is light and airy, making for a crisp, refreshing, and accessible foray into the world of sours.


Wolf’s Ridge • 215 N Fourth St.

Originating from Goslar, Germany, a Gose style beer is brewed with at least half of the grain bill being malted wheat, providing a cloudy yellow color, a refreshing twang, and a salty finish. Wolf Ridge’s take on the classic sour has a citrusy nose with a touch of rose petals, a foggy straw color, and a lemony bite. The beer is crisp and live-bodied, the tartness evened out by the saltiness of the malted wheat, making for a refreshingly balanced sour beer. Unfortunately, Wolf’s Ridge only has done.

The Vintner

Lineage Brewing • 2971 N High St.

The Vintner, concocted by Lineage Brewing, the relatively new and first brewery in historically semi-dry Clintonville, serves as example for the clever chemistry at play in the world of sour beers. The Vintner, a word from old French meaning “wine merchant,” takes a traditional French style saison, brewed along with German Hallertau Blanc hops, and blends in the juice of Sauvignon Blanc grapes, achieving a winey, fruity beverage, that although is pleasantly mild, is also uniquely strange, but without offending an “unsoured” palette. It creates a different mouth feel to a beer, that dry while still being wet sensation, but possessing enough familiar fermented flavor as to never let you forget that you’re still sipping a sour beer.


Seventh Son Brewing Co. • 1101 N Fourth St.

Served up at the ever growing Seventh Son Brewery in ever changing Weinland Park, and occasionally available in bottle around Columbus, is the funky and spicy Plowshare. This Saison, a style of French beer whose name translates directly to season, tastes as it is labeled, a well seasoned beer. Brewed from an amalgam of multiple grains, and crawling with two different types of yeast, this beer packs a considerable kick of peppery and orangey spice. This beer is also further seasoned, like all sours, and has that saccharine stench, off-putting at first, but delightfully enveloping after a few sips. If you’re lucky enough to drink a few glasses, don’t be surprised to find yourself fondly licking the final remnants of flavor from your lips.

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Arts & Culture

Columbus rockstar lands spot on eccentric putt-putt show




Photo by Medusa Lullaby McGee

Reality shows sure do attract their fair share of eccentric contestants, people who seem too bizarre for this world. That usually comes with the territory when you’re dealing with naked people trying to survive in the woods or game show contestants swallowing every species of worm imaginable.

Heading into its second season, extreme miniature golf competition show Holey Moley--hosted by NBA All-Star Stephen Curry and comedian Rob Riggle--does not sell you short on its bounty of peculiar putters. Columbus rock star Lizard McGee of indie rock band Earwig fits the mold of quirky golf professionals, internet influencers, and celebrities who are chosen for the show to a T.

“I was definitely not a shoo-in when I started, but I pushed the Rock Star angle,” McGee said. “The sharp David Bowie-inspired suit that I wore helped.”

It can be gathered that part of McGee’s selection on the show had to do with his work on the appropriately-named new duo The Müligans. The golf rock band (I thought math rock was going too far) also features Nashville singer-songwriter Trapper Haskins. McGee is also a suitable pick for the show given that he has a true Scottish-style 9-hole course on his remote property in Southern Ohio.

While waiting for the show to air, be sure to check out the debut single from The Müligans, “Heart Shaped Bruise.” The introspective track helps the listener gain the experience of getting hit by a wild golf ball, the perfect segue into Holey Moley’s uncontrolled chaos. You can download the song for free on Bandcamp by clicking here.

You can also watch a music video, which also serves as a Holey Moley promotion, by clicking here.

“I had a blast and I’m very happy with how I perform on the show,” McGee said. “It’s encouraged me to set even bigger goals for myself. The sky’s the limit.”

The second season of Holey Moley tees off this upcoming Thursday on ABC at 9 p.m. Make sure to tune in a week later to see McGee’s wacky performance on the season’s second episode.

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Veggin’ Out: Vegan chik’n and waffles from Lifestyle Café are a must-order

Mitch Hooper



Veggin' Out is a new series from 614Now taking you around the city finding vegetarian and vegan options that break the traditional mindset of eating plant-based. While there are plenty of great spots serving greens and salads, this series is focused on a different approach: plant-based food that serves to bridge the gap for meat eaters as well as vegheads looking to simply satisfy a craving.

With all the restaurants around the city specializing specifically in chicken and waffles, it's only fair vegetarians and vegans have an option, too. And thankfully Lifestyle Cafe, located on 891 Oak St., is here to balance the scales.

Lifestyle Cafe is an exclusively vegan restaurant started by Shanna "Chef Bae" Dean and Dawn Dickson where the menu spans breakfast, lunch, and dinner with options ranging from vegan breakfast BLTs to vegan shrimp quesadillas. But, the focus today is on the most important meal of the day, breakfast. And more specifically, we are looking at one of Chef Bae's specialties: the gluten-free Lifestyle Waffles served with oven-fried soy-based chik'n topped with red pepper infused maple syrup and vegan maple cream.

Photo by Olivia K. James

The dish starts with the waffles; a careful combination of Red Mills Gluten-free Flour with a cinnamon and coconut sugar brûlée. They are crispy on the outside while still light and fluffy on the inside. There's also many flavors complementing each other in this dish; the sweet coconut and the spicy cinnamon pair nicely with the sweet and spicy red pepper infused 100 percent maple syrup. It's all rounded out with the vegan maple cream which is drizzled atop the creation.

And not to be forgotten, there's also the vegan chik'n Chef Bae and her sous-chef Christi Jackson are making nearly every day (except Monday). While the chik'n is oven baked, it's exterior is crispy and salty just like its real meat counterpart would be had it been deep fried. And again, those flavors come back complementing each other. This time it's the chik'n providing salty contrasts against the sweet ingredients as well as soaking up some of the spice from the red pepper maple syrup.

Photo by Olivia K. James

As mentioned above, Lifestyle Café is open nearly every day of the week except for Mondays. During social distancing and shelter-in-place, delivery through third-party services are available as well as curbside pick-up.

To keep up with Lifestyle Cafe, visit

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To mask or not to mask, that is the question




As we near the Ohio peak of the coronavirus outbreak, government leaders are working to develop the guidelines around the re-opening of the local economy. One of the areas of debate is shaping up to be around the public wearing of masks.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that all New Yorkers will be required to wear masks or have their mouth and nose covered while out in public and where you cannot maintain the 6-foot social distancing rule. The governor said there could potentially be civil penalties if there is widespread non-compliance. 

As for Ohio, so far both Gov. DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton have only 'strongly suggested' the wearing of masks while out in public. However in Thursday's press conference, DeWine said wearing masks, "will be part of what we do until we're done with this virus in a year or so."

That has business owners expecting mandatory mask rules to be part of re-opening guidelines which the Governor says will begin slowly, starting May 1.

Despite the official urging as to the importance of wearing masks in public, a quick trip to the supermarket shows compliance rates fairly low as of this date. This may be due to the relative shortage of mask availability or to public confusion surrounding early declarations from public health officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General, that 'masks do not work for the general public'.

Yet Gov. DeWine in remarks Friday said the wearing of masks will be commonplace by both workers and consumers and 'part of our daily lives for some time to come'.

Adding to the confusion, the Surgeon General doubled down in comments to FoxNews Tuesday saying, ""What the World Health Organization and the CDC have reaffirmed in the last few days is that they do not recommend the general public wear masks," Adams told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "There was a study in 2015 looking at medical students. And medical students wearing surgical masks touch their faces on average 23 times. We know a major way that you can get respiratory diseases like coronavirus is by touching a surface and then touching your face."

Despite the changing narrative, state officials are widely expected to make the wearing of face masks part of our lives for the near future. The only question is whether this will come in the form of a legal declaration with enforcement penalties

Now it's your turn to tell us what you think...

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