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Wolf’s Ridge offers brew-times-2 in its award-winning coffee beer

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It’s a fairly universal problem: Is it too early for a beer? Too late for a coffee? Enter coffee beer. Lucky for us, Columbus is home to some of the best coffee beer around.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing was recently awarded a coveted silver medal at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, whose winners are recognized world-wide as the best of the best. Clear Sky Daybreak, its best-selling unusual coffee beer, has made Chris Davison, the brewery’s head brewmaster, a sort of local celebrity among craft beer enthusiasts and beer buyers.

“People who don’t know much about beer know about this competition,” he said. “Members of our staff have had relatives congratulate them and beer buyers all over town are yelling ‘congratulations!’ to our drivers.”

Photos: Rebecca Tien

With nearly 9,500 entries from 2,700 breweries and only about 300 awards to go around, the award from the Great American Beer Festival is an important win for Columbus’s Wolf’s Ridge Brewing. “The competition keeps getting fiercer,” Davison said. “Wolf’s Ridge has been entering the competition since 2014, and this is our first win.”

Davison is extremely passionate about his craft. He’s also open to experimentation. “The first time I wanted to experiment (with coffee beer), I just grabbed some coffee from the restaurant and it produced really good beer,” he said. He decided he wanted to know more about the coffee he was using and figure out what would be best for the beer, so he reached out to Dave Forman and Mick Evans of Columbus-based One Line Coffee. The men have become friends and collaborators over the years, and Davison says the partnership is to credit for the award-winning brew.

Coffee is complex, said Forman, director of coffee for One Line. “Within a cup of coffee, there can be up to 800 distinct molecular structures we can taste and smell. A lot are shared with fruits and flowers, things like that,” he said. “When we taste an apple, we taste malic acid and we associate that flavor with apple, but it can also be in coffee. I’ve literally had a coffee that tastes more like a carnation than a peony. That’s always been the way we’ve talked about coffee. Finding a brewer that understands that was awesome.”

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Fortunately for coffee beer lovers, the feeling is mutual. “They work with farms with good practices, and it is really very high-quality coffee,” Davison said. “In general, we are very fortunate to be working with One Line Coffee. [Our collaboration] started because it was the convenient answer, but they truly do make some of the best coffee in the country,” he said. “The beer would not be what it is without them, their support, and knowledge.”

Coffee beers are typically dark, heavy and robust. What makes Clear Sky Daybreak stand out is its blonde appearance and slightly shifting flavor profile. “Because it’s not a Starbucks coffee or something like that, the exact same bean is not always available. So for Clear Sky Daybreak, which we are brewing year-round, it can sometimes have a more chocolatey or nutty profile and other times it’s more fruity and mellow,” Davison said. “We do try to have consistency in the beer, and the consumer really likes a medium-roast flavor that’s a little more chocolate-forward than fruity.”

Achieving that perfect flavor profile was not a simple feat. It took Davison’s persistence and some tweaking. “We tried adding cold brew; we tried crushing the beans and sieving it. There are all kinds of ways you can edit,” he said. “The profile I prefer comes from using the whole bean. That combination helps extract the oil from the coffee bean, so you get the flavor and aroma without the acidity. It’s a smooth flavor.”

In the award-winning beer, One Line’s Colombia El Progreso coffee beans really shine. “What I really love is that if someone is drinking the beer and asking about it, they can get a cup of the coffee right now [from Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s restaurant],” Davison said. Additionally, Wolf’s Ridge uses only real Madagascar Vanilla beans in the beer. “They are expensive, but we have strong feelings about how real vanilla is better. It makes almost any beer better,” he said. The high-quality vanilla adds a hint of sweetness, without being “sweet” per se.

Both Davison and Forman says they feel honored to have been part of the creation of this popular beer. “We are super happy for them, and they are one of my favorite customers because of all the collaborative work we do,” Forman said. “If Wolf’s Ridge is successful, then that’s good for us, too.” Davison said he’s humbled by the win, given the tough competition. “We put an incredible amount of passion and thought into this. Since I have been a professional brewer, it’s something I’ve dreamt about.”

Visit Wolf’s Ridge Brewing at 215 N 4th St. For hours and operations, visit wolfridgebrewing.com.

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Food & Drink

National Brisket Day is Today!

Julian Foglietti

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Photo by Brian Kaiser

With meat shortages starting to take their toll and National Brisket Day here at last - we've gathered a roundup of some spots you can go to to get your brisket fix.

Legacy Smoke House

With their main location in Hilliard and a food truck moving throughout the city, Legacy Smoke House is a solid choice for brisket on National Brisket Day, just be sure to get there while supplies last. Enjoy!

Pecan Pennys

Just off Main Street, Pecan Pennys is ready to fulfill your brisket needs. If your looking to feed a family though be sure to get your orders in advance as they're requesting 24 hours notice on dinner bundles.

Ray-Ray's Hog Pit

With locations in Franklinton, Westerville, Clintonville and Powell Ray Ray's Hog Pit is open for business with brisket stocked at all locations. #NationalBrisketDay is the best day!

Hoggy’s Restaurant and Catering

Located on Bethel Road, Hoggy’s will be stocking brisket for both dine-in or carryout. Feel free to stop in or stop by!

The Pit

With a new location opened up on Parsons Ave. The Pit BBQ will be offering brisket for the National day. Celebrate with some tasty brisket!

City Barbeque

City Barbeque will be offering brisket for the National day! So get excited and get ready for some yummy BBQ brisket!

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Community

{UPDATED} Indoor Dining: what’s NOT opening?

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Los Gauchos

PINS Mechanical Co.

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Hey Pinheads. We're so excited to hear that our world is beginning to reopen! Many of you have reached out asking about our opening plans so we wanted to provide a brief update on Pins Mechanical Co. While we fully trust and support the decisions of our local leaders, it’s our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our team members and guests, while not sacrificing the experience that makes Pins, Pins! With that in mind, none of our locations will be opening in May. There are many unknowns with COVID-19 and we hope that taking this extra time will help our guests and teammates feel better about the measures we’ve put in place to keep all of us safe. For example, on top of our already stringent cleaning procedures, we’re installing UV technology at all locations (ensuring you always have clean balls to play with). We’re looking forward to welcoming back our kick-ass team to train and adjust to this new normal. Once our people feel comfortable + confident, we’ll know it’s time to get rollin’ again! Thank you for your incredible support, online sales, photo shares + kind words over the last two months. Even when you couldn’t show up, you showed up and we’ll never forget it! We’re hopeful that everyone will be safe and smart as we begin to reopen the doors to the small businesses that make our communities so special. See you soon, Pinheads!

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Old North Arcade

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Dear friends, . As you are most likely aware, Governor DeWine has permitted the reopening of bars and restaurants for dine-in seating effective 5/21. We are very grateful that our leadership is now offering businesses the choice to do what they think is right. We offer no judgment for the bars and restaurants that are/have chosen to open. However, for our particular business, and for our staff, we still think it's too early. We are going to remain closed this week and next but do hope to open soon. Your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated and we cannot wait to see you all. It is important to us that we apply an extra layer of safety and precaution on top of the govermental recommendations. Tentatively, we are looking at the end of May to reopen in a very limited capacity but we're following local and national developments very closesly so will be quick to bail if things turn south. Your continued support has been quite humbling. Thank you. Stay healthy, support local, and be more than kind to one another. . Cautiously optimistic, . ONA Staff

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Watershed Kitchen + Bar

101 Beer kitchen

They are delaying opening dine-in service until May 26th.

Matt the Miller's Tavern

Stay tuned on social for patio and dine-in updates!

J. Gumbo's

J. Gumbo's will continue to stay open for online ordering for pick up and delivery - stay tuned for dine-in updates.

Mouton on High

The Whitney House

The Whitney House will be opening Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 11 am.

The Guild House

Stay tuned for opening dates!

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Stay safe everyone 💕

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Smoked On High

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

The Woodbury

The Woodbury will be opening its doors for dine-in service on June 1 2020.

Roosters

Roosters are not opening dine-in until May 26th 2020.

The Eagle

The Eagle is temporarily closed - stay tuned on social for updates!

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In light of the government mandated closure of dine-in business for an indeterminable period of time, we’ve made the incredibly hard decision to temporarily close The Eagle Columbus. . Given the truly unprecedented and quickly evolving nature of this health crisis, we’ve been forced to make the best decisions we can, with the information we have. As the true scale of this crisis has been revealed, it’s become impossible to deny the impact this mandate will have on our business and team members. This decision was made as all of our decisions have been: with the health, happiness, well being and best interests of our guests and team members in mind. . The state of Thunderdome Restaurant Group is strong and we look forward to seeing and serving you all on the other side of this. Truth, courage, and be well.

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Lavash Cafe

Tiger + Lily

Tiger + Lily is sticking to carry out for the time being. Follow them on social for updates for dine-in!

Yats Grandview

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is continuing to stick to curbside pickup, delivery, or touchless pick-up.

Harvest Pizza

Bareburger Columbus

Bareburger is opening for dine-in on May 26th, 2020.

Mezze

City Barbeque

Local Cantina - Creekside, Grandview, Dublin, Westerville, Hilliard Locations

Creekside Local Cantina is delaying opening indoor dining until May 26, 2020.

OH Pizza and Brew

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Coronavirus

Don’t be that guy/gal who forces your favorite bar/restaurant to permanently close; here are the rules

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Once the flood of COVID-related documentaries start to infiltrate our Netflix and Hulu feeds, one of the most debated topics will be which smoking gun the auteur chooses. NBA player Rudy Gobert recklessly rubbing his hands over every microphone during a press conference days before testing positive comes to mind first. The spring break bro who wouldn’t let the virus stop him from raging will make its rounds. Even the scene at Standard Hall made some people’s skin crawl.

The Ohio Investigative Unit will be doing its best to monitor situations at restaurants and bars in order to prevent any future anecdotes like the ones listed above. Local law enforcement agencies will be assisting the OIU to make sure that establishments are complying with the Dine Safe Ohio order. With the issues that were brought up following the opening of outside dining on May 15, the OIU has made specific stipulations for patrons to follow:

  • 6-foot social distancing between employees AND members of the public
  • patrons must be seated while eating and/or drinking 
  • no more than 10 people to a table
  • no billiards, video/arcade games, dancing, or card playing
  • patrons must follow specific guidelines put in place by restaurant/bar

For those who have no shame dancing by themselves in public, you’re golden. However, patrons can be written up for not following the OIU’s guidelines. 

Some people may be able to shoulder a citation, but bars and restaurants are the ones who have the most to lose here. In a press conference on May 18, Gov. Mike DeWine mentioned that OIU will issue citations that could result in the permanent loss of liquor licenses.

So once again the ball is in the consumer’s court: follow these very simple rules and avoid the risk of putting your favorite restaurants and bars out of business for good. In 2020, being spring break bro is the worst look.

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