Hoppin' Frog is now a staple at many Columbus carryouts, and drinkers across the country have been hankering for its brews. B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher won the gold medal in the imperial stout category at this year's Great American Beer Festival.

About the brewery

Hoppin' Frog labels are plastered with pictures of a cartoon frog - sometimes in an Afro wig, sometimes wearing sunglasses, always raising a toast. The Akron brewery's mascot is like an amphibian version of Spuds MacKenzie, rendered with Microsoft Paint 98.

Don't let somewhat goofy packaging keep you from experiencing one of the greatest breweries in Ohio. Founded by esteemed brewmaster Fred Karm, the operation cooks up tasty, ambitious beers in styles that are familiar (India pale ale) and decidedly not (Belgian-style double IPA).

Hoppin' Frog is now a staple at many Columbus carryouts, and drinkers across the country have been hankering for its brews. B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher won the gold medal in the imperial stout category at this year's Great American Beer Festival.

About the beer

Russian imperial stouts are considered among the boldest, baddest ales of all time. Thick, heavy, dark and potent, they're brewed with tons of roasted malt and grain, which often produce overwhelming flavors of coffee, toffee and burnt barley.

B.O.R.I.S. has that intensity - he's the crusher, after all - and complexity, too. The beer stays true to its roots while offering something unique and memorable.

Scents of molasses and alcohol join those typical of the style. The taste is pleasantly sweet for a Russian imperial, and the addition of oatmeal adds to a creamier mouthfeel than the pitch-black elixir would suggest at first glance. A decent amount of hops rounds out the back end and sharpens each of the hearty flavors present throughout.

Photo by Jodi Miller