Brewing My Own at North High Brewing Co - Columbus, Ohio, USA

Occasionally, I come across a brewery with a unique hands-on opportunity. North High Brewing Co in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, USA is one such brewery. North High opened six and a half years ago as a small, street-front brewery and taproom on High Street, the city's primary North-South thoroughfare. It's centrally located between the Ohio State University campus and the Short North Arts District, with lots of opportunity for drive-by and walk-in customers. It wasn't long before North High outgrew their original space and expanded to a much larger production facility not far away. The original taproom remains a hub for craft beer drinkers, and the original brew house is a "brew your own" facility.

Brew Day Not yet having hands-on brewing experience, I decided that North High's program would be the perfect way for me to get my feet wet with zero investment in home brewing equipment and supplies. I gathered my stepmom Kim and we set out to the brewery on a re…

Outerbelt Brewing Co. - Carroll, Ohio, USA - Preview

It's not yet open to the public, but Outerbelt Brewing Co (Carroll, Ohio, USA) is already distributing to local bars and restaurants in the greater Columbus area. I had the pleasure of previewing the brewery and taproom while still under construction. The public opening is fast approaching in the April 2019 time frame, and it will be worth the short drive from Columbus.

Head brewer/minority owner Dan Griffin and brewer Dominic Kirchgessner showed me around on a recent afternoon and allowed me to taste some of their creations. Dan has been brewing professionally for several years, most recently at Gordon Biersch Columbus. Dom honed his brewing skills at Columbus' Sideswipe Brewing Co, where I visit frequently. The connection to Sideswipe led me to check out Outerbelt.

The building is massive and 12,000 sq ft will go to the brewery, housing a 6,000 sq ft taproom, a 30 bbl brew house, special event space and a large 3+ seasons covered patio. The plan is for the bar to be full-ser…

Great Leap Brewing 大跃啤酒 - Beijing, China

On my recent quick trip to Beijing I made time to visit two craft breweries. One of them was Great Leap Brewing (大跃啤酒). There are three Great Leap locations in the city but my schedule only allowed me to choose one. Great Leap #45, a pizzeria in the Chaoyang District, was on my way to the airport, so that's the one I selected.

The #45 Building The taxi driver dropped me on a street corner near the brewery and it took several minutes of desperately walking around and employing the help of an English speaking stranger to help me find the brewery entrance; it was off a side-street and not highly visible. The brown building was utilitarian looking. It appeared that the brewery consumed the entire ground floor, with apartments on the upper floors.

Since I wasn't able to visit the other Great Leap locations, I can't say if they have a similar aesthetic. The dining room at #45 had an industrial feel with concrete, exposed ductwork and large, heavy, communal tables. There were fer…

Wooly Pig Farm Brewery - Fresno, Ohio, USA

Another weekend, another microbrewery opening. The craft beer explosion shows no signs of slowing down as new, small breweries continue to open and fill in gaps on the map. I had the pleasure of visiting Wooly Pig Farm Brewery (Fresno, Ohio, USA) during its grand opening weekend.

The Farm Fresno, Ohio was unknown to me until I visited Wooly Pig. It's a township east of Columbus and south of Cleveland, with a fair amount of farmland and more animals than people. And now it's home to a farm-based craft brewery named for the fuzzy porcine residents of the farm. In fact, as I concluded my 90-minute drive from Columbus, I was greeted by the wooly (mangalitsa) pigs who were grazing in the pasture adjacent to the gravel parking lot. The pigs were curious as I walked up to the fence (it's electric, so don't touch!) to say hello and to photograph them. I didn't get too close to the cute piglets, as their mothers were vocally protective of them.

My first glimpse of the farm…