Calling all hop-heads: You can now get your bitter fix in non-beer ways.

Calling all hop-heads: You can now get your bitter fix in non-beer ways.

Hops aren't just for bittering and brewing beer anymore. Columbus food-makers now add them to dishes and products for a boost of flavor. At Wolf's Ridge Brewing, for instance, chef Seth Lassak uses Cascade hops in his eggs Benedict hollandaise to impart slightly herbal and floral qualities. Likewise, Crimson Cup's coffee and training specialist, Brandon Bir, crafts a seasonal cold-brew coffee flavored with hops-their floral and spicy notes complement the roasts, he says-and dispensed from nitrogen taps. But coffee and hollandaise aren't the only new uses for hops, as two new Ohio producers prove.

Hopped Corncomes from Columbus biology teacher Doug Grieble. "About a year ago, I was brewing beer and making candy and caramel corn," he says. "I thought, 'These processes are similar. Has anyone turned caramel into a thick wort with a beer flavor?' " Grieble put his experiences to work, crafting kettle-style corn with hop extract in the caramel. He models flavors after beer styles, like his Intense Pale Ale corn, an ode to Columbus Brewing Co.'s popular Bodhi double IPA. Grieble hopes his puffed corn treats will replace standard bar-snack peanuts. He's off to a good start: breweries like Actual and Zaftig carry his popcorn, as do beer shops The Daily Growler, Buckeye Brewcraft and Crafted Drafts. hoppedcorn.com

Hopwateris a light soda created with the flavoring agents from hops. "It's not a brewed product," says Brandon Dawson, CEO of the Cincinnati-based company that now sells in Columbus bars and markets. "Hopwater is a soda. We distill the hops and extract the essential oils instead of brewing it." Hopwater's process retains some of the bitterness from hops, but mostly so it emphasizes their aromatic qualities. Dawson says the hop flavors come across as a pleasing dryness that balances the sugar in the drink. "It's more refreshing than people think it will be," he says, adding Hopwater, which comes in original, lime, grapefruit and ginger flavors, also serves as a good cocktail mixer.drinkhopwater.net

Beer of the month: Seventh SonBrewing'sOubliette

Winter is the time for sipping dark, malty-and maybe slightly boozy-stouts, like this 12 percent ABV brew. Taking its name from the French word related to forgetfulness (and doubling as a nod to Jim Henson's "The Labyrinth"), Seventh Son's Oubliette is silky smooth. Brewer Colin Vent coaxes the dark character by using midnight wheat, which imparts a deep, roasted flavor balanced with chocolate, coffee and dark fruit notes. It'll help you forget the cold of winter. Find Oubliette on tap at the Italian Village brewery and in limited release bottles, too.seventhsonbrewing.com