Distilled: Local beer geniuses reunite for spumoni series

By Columbus Alive
From the November 28, 2013 edition

Back in February, I wrote that North High Brewing’s brewmaster Charlie Davis and The Daily Growler owner John W. Blakely were “beer geniuses” for coming up with a Strawberry Milk Stout. While that was a highly successful collaboration — due to popularity, the Strawberry Milk Stout is no longer available — the two have decided to take this process further and create an entire spumoni milk stout series.

Spumoni is an Italian ice cream concoction usually consisting of cherry, chocolate, vanilla and pistachio flavors all mixed together. Davis and Blakely substituted strawberry for cherry, and will release a vanilla — since chocolate milk stouts are already prevalent and Davis has experience with brewing a Vanilla Milk Stout — and Pistachio Milk Stout over the next few months at Upper Arlington’s The Daily Growler. It all culminates with the pièce de résistance, a Spumoni Milk Stout combining all three flavors.

“As far as brewing, Charlie is like [“Breaking Bad’s”] Heisenberg and I’m like Jesse. He really knows what’s going on. It’s weird because he insists on brewing in his tighty whities too,” Blakely said with a laugh.

All kidding aside, Davis is an intelligent brewer who likes to think outside the box. North High has been offering some interesting one-off and cask brews in the last year showcasing Davis’ willingness to experiment, with strong results.

“I have the utmost confidence in [the Strawberry and Vanilla Milk Stouts],” Davis said. “The pistachio should be really interesting, and the whole combination of the melted spumoni [will also] be an experiment worth trying.”

While the whole line of stouts is an experiment, Davis is taking steps to eliminate variables (much like Heisenberg would).

“I’m creating an extract [for each flavor] and using it with the finished product,” Davis said. “That way I can control the process more. I can take one aspect, the beer, and the other, the extract, and combine those two things in a very controlled manner.”

The Vanilla Milk Stout will be released Monday. The pistachio and spumoni versions will be available the first weeks of January and February, respectively.

Tim Johnson photo