Distilled: Wolf Ridge Brewery now serving a respectable slate of beers

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From the February 6, 2014 edition

Wolf Ridge Brewery opened a few months ago, and received a fair amount of positive publicity and word-of-mouth recommendations for its food. But what about the beer? When the downtown brew pub opened, only one or two of in-house beers were available.

Now Wolf Ridge has about 10 of its own brews on tap with respectable variety of styles represented. And of the five I sampled in a flight ($8), most were just as respectable qualitatively.

First, I’ll start with my least favorite, the Clear Sky Cream Ale. It’s by no means terrible, a solid representation of a style that’s just not a personal favorite. I look for bigger flavors and cream ales are generally more populously palatable. My lone quibble was it didn’t have quite the big carbonation I desired.

The other respectable brew just didn’t have the complexity I wanted was the 3 a.m. IPA. It’s a rightly executed version of an IPA but just lacked enough oomph for me to be excited about it.

The two beers I enjoyed most were the Knotty Brown English Brown Ale and the Canis Lycaon American Stout. I’d recommend the Canis over the Knotty only because I got a very slight medicinal aftertaste from the latter. Although it was only noticeable towards the end of the sample, meaning other factors — like tasting five samples and some of Wolf Ridge’s delicious small plates — may have thrown my taste buds off.

The beer that I expected to be my favorite — to paraphrase Dennis Green (minus the fury) — was what I thought it was. The Zane's Trace Roggenbier (a style too rarely seen) had the right mixture of rye and malt, with hints of spice and sour, even if I would’ve liked these elements to be a bit stronger. Still, it’s what I’ll be ordering next time at Wolf Ridge.

Wolf Ridge is a welcome addition to the Columbus beer scene, with some fantastic grub to boot. And the space is quite appealing, even if I wish the bar was bigger. Anyhow, belly up to it and give these beers a try.

Photo by Tim Johnson