While many Ohio breweries experiment with beers featuring wild yeasts, only a few have dedicated the time and resources to developing sour/wild beer programs, in part because of the extended time and space required to bring many of these beers to fruition.
Urban Artifact Opened in April 2015 in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Northside, the project of four partners. One significant part of Urban Artifact’s initial embrace of local terroir was the decision to capture and propagate local yeast to be used in their beers. While this is a labor-intensive process—only about one in 100 of the yeasts they capture ever make further then the initial sample—it does give some of their barrel-aged beers distinctive flavors and local character that can’t be found at other breweries.
Jackie O’s One of the older and more well-established Ohio breweries, Jackie O’s in Athens has a wide range of sour and wild beers, including regularly bottled beers like their Berliner Weisse and Gose, a newer series of mixed-fermentation saisons, including Pockets of Sunlight, Hockhocking, and foeder-aged Elle, and a whole range of sour beers that may or may not be made again, like Funky South Paw, a paw paw beer aged with Brettanomyces, and Cab Cherry Man, a porter aged with cherries, Lactobacillus, and Brettanomyces in a cabernet barrel.
Kindred Beers While Columbus-based Kindred has been only been open a little over a year, they have already released three different beers from their barrel program, including Wanderlust, a mixed-fermentation saison, Spring Thaw, a mixed fermentation golden sour, and Everlasting, a dry-hopped mixed fermentation golden sour. Patrick Gangwer, who runs the barrel-aging program at Kindred, spent time as a cellarman at Jackie O’s before helping open Kindred.
Branch & Bone Artisan Ales Set to open in early 2018 in Dayton, Branch & Bone will specialize in mixed-fermentation saisons and fruited Ohio wild ales in addition to more traditional craft beer offerings. Brewer Brett Smith looks forward to focusing on an always evolving Berliner Weisse and Gose offering, building an extensive oak barrel aging program, and developing a spontaneous fermentation program.
Tom Morgan is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Dayton with a particular interest in Paul Laurence Dunbar. He has been homebrewing for fifteen years, and is always looking for an excuse to read, write, and talk about local beer. Besides volunteering at local breweries, he is also a BJCP National-level beer judge. You call follow him on Instagram at whatweredrinking