Behind Bars: Bill Adams at Porch Growler

Erica Thompson
Photo by Rob Hardin

Have you heard? Worthington is changing.

“The older generation … is starting to move out because their kids are gone and they're empty nesters,” said Bill Adams, owner of the recently opened Porch Growler, a craft beer tasting room and growler fill spot. “First, Clintonville was the place, and that secret's out.”

On Saturday afternoons, it's common to see a 30-something couple popping in for a beer with their infant child in tow. “Five or 10 years ago, [that] was not Worthington,” Adams said.

But even though millennials and Gen Xers patronize the establishment, once the site of a Jubilee Foods grocery store, Adams is especially excited about converting older, retired crowds.

“They don't know what the hell craft beer is,” he said. When they come in, the staff is ready with sampler flights of pilsners, saisons, IPAs and stouts. “By the end of that flight, they're like, ‘All right, I can tell the difference.' … I love seeing that light in their eye.”

Patrons can select from an impressive 60 handles, including local beers like CBC Bodhi and Land-Grant Glory, as well as out-of-state beers. Offering everything challenges Ohio to get even better and compete with the best-of-the-best, Adams said.

With gray walls, exposed ceilings and a bar made of reclaimed barnwood, Adams wanted to achieve a “warehouse, rustic” aesthetic like bars Downtown or in the Short North, but without leaving the suburbs.

With a name like the Porch Growler, the taproom wouldn't be complete without a spacious patio, and people have been taking advantage of the heated area during the recent chilly weeks. Directly across the street is Pizza Primo, which customers can order and receive without leaving the bar.

For entertainment, there is one Stargate pinball machine, a stack of board games and a few TVs, primarily for soccer games.

“I don't want you to come out here and then be a zombie to the game,” Adams said. “I want you to be social and interactive.”

A project manager who still works a full-time job Downtown, Adams has found purpose in opening Porch Growler.

“I had a very successful career, but it was leaving me a little bit like, ‘I should be more passionate about what I do,'” he said. “You get to a point in your life where you're like, ‘There's got to be something more.'”

If all goes well, Adams' goal would be to make Porch Growler his sole profession.

“I want to be viewed as a socially fun joint for the locals,” he said. “We want to do tastings and things to help educate people, so [they] get the passion bug that I got.”