Columbus Ohio Breweries – Wolf’s Ridge and Seventh Son

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company


My first stop on my visit was Wolf’s Ridge brewing Company where sadly I was not able to try any Hoppy beers because they had run out recently. The brewery felt more like a restaurant and bar than a brewery but I got the vibe of a proper place that respects good cocktails and knows quality beer.

I tried two Saison beers while I was there. The regular version had prominent herbal dry hop character with fairly viscous mouth feel and was under-carbonated. It seemed to focus more on the herbal hop character than on the yeast or the malts. This was not really my style of Saison. The barrel aged version on the other hand was bright with notes of lemon lime effervescence with citrus peel bitterness on the finish. The beer delightfully danced on the border between citrusy and juicy.

The barleywine I tried had a nice soft mouthfeel with a fairly thin body and stayed more on the sweet side without being overly bitter. The beer had flavors of caramel and plum with mild rye spice sweetness to finish it off. This definitely one of the better barley wines I have had recently. The coffee milk stout was tasty with strong coffee roast on the nose and flavors blending nicely with burnt toffee, roasted coffee and a smoky finish that lingers on the tongue. While the beer was well done, I found the smoky finish a bit too much for me.

I finished with the Imperial Stout which was quite nice and blended nicely with flavors of bitter chocolate, marshmallow, and subtle cherry notes. The beer hid its alcohol quite well and had a nice soft and creamy body. This was quite the excellent Imperial Stout and along with the version at seventh son, was up there as my favorite for this trip. Overall I had some solid beers at Wolfs Ridge although I wish I could have tried some of their IPAs. I ended up bringing some of the Imperial Stout home from my trip and made sure to only give my husband two of the 4 bottles because it has a thick chocolate character to it that I rarely find in my local stouts.

Top Three:
Barrel Aged Saison
Barleywine
Imperial Stout

Seventh Son Brewing


In contrast with Wolf’s Ridge, Seventh Son is much more open and the only food available is with a food truck. They had fairly large amount of seating outside in the sun and a fairly open bar area as well. They had quite the variety of beers on tap so I went with the ones that sounded most interesting to me to get a good sampling.

I started with Gleen IPA, which was resinous and had a nice dry finish. The beer had mild notes of citrus hops and white wine. The beer was somewhat subdued in hop aromas but it was nicely balanced and easy drinking. Similarly, the double IPA, though slightly higher in alcohol was just as dry. It had notes of marijuana on the nose and the beer did not have significant noticeable bitterness on the finish or prominent hop aromas. Still I could tell it was excellently made.

The Brett pale ale had a cloudy orange color with some mild funk from the Brett. The beer was also super dry and not particularly bitter, showing a nice balance between everything. The Imperial Stout was thick with notes of bitter chocolate, mild raisins, and a mild lingering sweetness. This beer also hid the alcohol quite well and was my other top favorite Imperial Stout of the trip. I was overall impressed with the ability of the Brewers to make such bone dry IPAs.

Top 2:
Imperial Stout
Brett Pale

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Boise Breweries – Lost Grove and Payette

Lost Grove Brewing

I started with the Golden ale which was crisp and easy drinking with mild fruit. While not particularly flavorful, this was a delicious beer that would be easy to drink pint of. The lemonade stout, milk stout made with lemon zest, was so mild in the lemon department that I would not have known the added any if it was not listed on the menu. It was fairly standard for milk stout and had a nice amount of roast while not being overly sweet.

Their first site IPA was strongly herbal with lingering lemon zest character on the finish. While the beer was somewhat soft in body, it was not particularly hoppy or dry and fairly disappointing to me. The second chance IPA, was also fairly lemon forward and while nicely balanced with the pine and bitterness at the finish, it did not have the level of aroma to make the beer particularly appealing.

The Saison with sour sop had some light notes of vanilla, mild funk, and a nice dry finish. The beer was overall nicely balanced and had a light fruity character, making it one of the better beers of this brewery. The kettle sour, was creamy and had hints of white cake, though it was not particularly tart. The beer had hints of citrus and guava overall too mild in flavor for me.

Overall, I was not particularly impressed by the beers at Lost Grove though the Saison was one beer that stood out as better than the rest. The beers were all fairly middle-of-the-road, nothing to recommend visiting over other breweries in the area.

Top choice:
Saison with Sour Sop

Payette Brewing


I tried four tasters during my visit to Payette brewing and decided to leave it at that. They had a nice wide open tasting room with fairly expansive outdoor area. The top list was also quite expensive, though I went for what sounded most interesting to me to get a quick taste.

The Pilsner was quite light in body and lacking in flavor. Though drinkable, it was not particularly flavorful. The pale ale was easy drinking with fruity hops. Though not bitter, the beer was lacking in hop aroma and did not have the flavor I would’ve expected for a beer highlighting mosaic hops.

The Porter was fruit forward and fairly thin with a lingering finish that I did not care for. The Porter was fairly below average. The hazy IPA, was very lightly hazy with notes of tropical fruit and lemon. It was fairly light bodied and light in bitterness with hints of melon and bubblegum on the finish. It was fairly average for a first attempt at a hazy. I can’t even tell from my photo which one was the hazy because none of them is hazy.

Nothing at Payette that I tried was particularly good or exciting. Even if this had been my first stop of the day, I would likely have stopped after these four tasters.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Boise Breweries – Barbarian and Boise Brewing Company

Barbarian Brewing

I tried six tasters that barbarian brewing based upon recommendations from my friend suggesting that this is the best spot in the city. None of the beers particularly stood out as favorites and the sours were not particularly exciting compared to my top 5 sour producers in the country. For sours from a small brewery they are fairly average and I preferred the sours at Woodland Empire personally.

I started with wheezing the juice, a hazy IPA. It was creamy with strong hop acidity, suggesting that it was quite fresh, with notes of pineapple but otherwise fairly muted hop aroma. The acidity was a bit overpowering the rest of the beer. The Imperial Stout was lightly smoky with notes of cherry though overall not a ton of flavor.

Blackbirds sour was acidic and berry forward with a nice tart finish while not overly sweet with an acidity that lingered at the finish from the berries. This was the better of the sours, although I have had better examples of a similar beer. The Red Sonja, was nicely balanced red sour with light oak and a strong tart finish that balanced nicely with notes of white cake.

Tooth stains, blueberry sour with coffee, was an interesting blend of blueberries and coffee though the coffee overpowered. The beer was quite tart and acidic on the finish although I did not particularly care for the mixture flavors. Pisco sour, an interesting take on the Peruvian mixed drink, had mild oak character and on Nitro at least had a similar mouth feel to the original drink. Overall, it felt a little bit too subdued in flavor for the style and the drink it is meant to imitate.

While I had a couple of sours that I enjoyed here, they were not at the level that I would suggest someone make a trip specifically to visit them. Fans of sours would likely enjoy the blackbird and/or Red Sonja, though they are both fairly average in the sour category. Still a sour fan will likely find one or two sours they enjoy here as long as they aren’t expecting world-class sours.

Top two:
Blackbirds berry sour
Red Sonja

Boise Brewing Company

I tried six tasters at one of the older breweries in Boise on my second day in town. While I was not expecting much, I was quite impressed by the flavor and balance of the various IPAs and Hoppy beers that I tried. I started with the red session, which I expected to be more of a balanced smooth red ale but instead was a take off the session IPA style with a little more malt character. The beer was super dry with an herbal hop bite, mild bitterness, and light caramel malt base that worked in line with the session IPA style.

The Porter was fairly thin with notes of cherry and coffee and mild caramel. It was fairly average and not particularly remarkable. The Irish red was decent, with cherry character from the malts and a dry finish. I would’ve preferred a little bit more roasting malt base or body to the beer. The American pale ale was quite dry with a medium bitterness on the finish and a nice mixture of herbal hop right with tropical fruit on the finish. It was nice because the bitterness did not linger on the tongue and the hops were not particularly overpowering.

The two IPAs, called obstruction and hip check, were both quite excellent with extremely dry finish and fairly mild bitterness. Of the two I preferred obstruction with its hint of tropical fruit character, though neither one of the two was particularly hop aroma forward. Hip check was a bit more malt forward, balancing toasty malts with resin and pine. Though both beers claimed to be 100 IBUs, I did not experienced them to be that bitter. Though none of the beers were particularly hypermodern, or exploding with hop aromas, they were excellently crafted and none of them lingered on the tongue more than they should.

Top two:
pale ale
obstruction IPA

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Boise Breweries – Clairvoyant and Woodland Empire

Clairvoyant

My first brewery in Boise was clairvoyant. They had a solid lineup of traditional styles with a nice tasting room with five dollar pints. I tried four tasters before moving onto the next spot.

The English pale was delicious with notes of apricot and light earth the hops over a soft body. While I would’ve preferred to be lower alcohol, it was nicely balanced and easy drinking, my favorite of the bunch. The Brown ale had light notes of coffee with mild roast and a good dry finish. It was fairly thin though and lacking in flavor.

The IPA was crisp and dry with mild herbal Hoppy bite and light resin. Though the beer did not have much hop aroma, it was nicely balanced and easy drinking. The Belgian Dubbel was tasty with notes of raisin and mild caramel with a nice dry finish, not overly sweet. Though they did not brewer any hypermodern styles, I was generally impressed by the beers I had at clairvoyant and could have easily drank a pint or two of the English pale.

Top 2:
English Pale
IPA

Woodland Empire brewery

Woodland Empire was quite the impressive brewery with a good lineup and some solid reasonably priced sours. I tried a few of their base beers before moving onto the sours. They had a fairly good-sized indoor area with seating as well as an outdoor patio where most the people tended to go after ordering.

Electric warrior stout was nice and roast the with mild bitterness and a creamy body on Nitro with an excellent dry finish. The amber was smooth and easy drinking with notes of dark fruit though not particularly flavorful or interesting. The Helles was clean and light with mild hop character and good dry finish. The place to stand IPA was nice and juicy with a resinous background, light bitterness, and notes of bubblegum, citrus, and tropical fruit. This was one of my favorites of the bunch.

The double IPA was resinous and lightly bitter though fairly subdued in hop aroma. It was fairly decent. I also ordered a bottle of their cranberry sour to drink on-site because it was only six dollars for a 500 mL bottle. It was nice and oaky with subdued fruit and mild white cake flavor with light funk on the finish. I brought home a few bottles of this beer. While I was there, I also tried the mandarin orange sour, though it was a bit more subdued in fruit.

Overall I enjoyed the beers at Woodland Empire brewery and if in the area would return for their barrel aged sours. Though I quite enjoyed their sours, I didn’t have anything that would suggest they are at the level of De Garde or Jester King. B

Top two:
milk stout
IPA

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Sacramento Breweries – Moksa and New Glory

Moksa Brewing

Moksa has some hype around it because it is headed by Derek Gallanosa, who brewed for Abnormal Brewing in San Diego, making a name for himself before moving to Sacramento. I stopped by to try some beers at the Sacramento location and he is continuing to brew beers of the same quality.

I started with the zesty time Saison, which was nice and dry with earthy notes and mild fruit character. The flavors were nice and balanced. Orchard Cooler IPA was decent, dry and resinous with very little hop aroma with prominent malt flavors. I did not care for this one and it seems hard to believe that it used to be a hazy IPA.

Pineapple Superfuz, a hazy IPA with pineapple was deliciously juicy with a nice light yellow haze and a creamy body with prominent pineapple character and an acidic hop bite at the finish I brought home a crowler of this beer. I finished with cold steeped, an Imperial Stout with Jamaican blue Mountain coffee. It was wonderfully balanced with a creamy body, notes of toffee and cherry from the coffee with some nice roast to balance it out. The beer hid the alcohol quite well, making it scary drinkable.

Moksa has a good-sized tasting room with plenty of seating and room for food trucks to set up outside. I also found the tasting room to be much quieter than Moonraker.

Top 2:
Pineapple Superfuz Hazy IPA
Zesty Time Saison

New glory

New Glory is fairly new at the time of this writing but they had quite the extensive availability of beers in cans. I tried three different IPAs as well as some other styles and at this time do not recommend you go out of your way to try them for the IPAs, although they show promise. I was quite impressed by their barrel aged Imperial Stout as well as the gose.

All three IPAs I tried tasted basically the same. They were all fairly muted in hop aroma and none of them were particularly creamy. The closest they resembled to me was beers from Aslin brewery in Virginia, where I also thought the IPAs could be better. Liquid Grove was the most flavorful of the three but still fairly mild in citrus character. New trick was slightly boozy in the finish. It is possible that these beers were not as fresh, which would explain the lack of hop aroma.

The bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout hid the alcohol quite well and had notes of strong fudge and molasses with light warming alcohol on the finish. The beer was scarily drinkable for the high alcohol content. The wine barrel aged gose was slightly puckering with mild oak character and notes of lemon finishing with a hint of salt. This beer was quite nicely balanced and enjoyable. I would have considered buying cans if they were available.

I was also a little bit surprised by the price of the tasters at this brewery. They were charging $3.50 for a taster of their hazy IPA. This might seem reasonable if they were getting closer to the level of Moonraker but it seemed a bit ridiculous to me. You are much better off trying a few splashes and then ordering pints. Overall, New Glory is a worthwhile addition to the Sacramento beer scene and a great spot for the locals to enjoy. In time they may get closer to Moonraker in hazy IPA flavor.

Top 2:
BBA Imperial Stout
Wine Barrel aged Gose

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Exploring San Diego's Craft Breweries