Columbus Beer Guide: Four odd facts about local brewers
The "Smarty Pants" Route
Many Columbus brewers began their careers out of their garages and kitchens. The 1979 law that allowed home brewing paved the way for home brewers to turn their hobbies into full-time jobs. But that's not so for everyone. Zauber Brewing's Geoff Towne took what he calls the "smarty pants" route. Towne earned a professional certificate in brewing at the University of California, Davis before working for Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Boston Beer Co. Likewise, his head brewer, Cameron Lloyd, is a certified brewmaster, having studied at the Versuchs und Lehranstalt fur Brauerei in Berlin, Germany.
It's Alive! Franken Brewing Systems
Brewhouses can be purchased as a complete set, and while it's beneficial having a pre-packaged system, there's a cheaper way to assemble a brewery. It's called franken brewing-basically rigging secondhand tanks to function like traditional equipment. That's what Rich Hennosy did to create Buckeye Lake Brewing. He purchased used winery equipment and modified it to create a brewing system.
For Dan Cochran at Four String Brewing in Grandview, the process was even less formal. Cochran found it cheaper to modify used dairy equipment (one of his fermenters dates back to the 1950s). Another fermenter once held salad dressing at the Marzetti plant.
True to its name, Lineage Brewing provides a family tree of equipment on its website. The Clintonville brewery's system traces its roots to 10 different breweries, including local Four String, Oregon's Pelican Brewing and Colorado's Black Shirt Brewing.
Get a Kick
Sideswipe's Craig O'Herron began brewing while studying muay thai kickboxing in Thailand. With no good beer to drink, he began shipping in supplies from the U.S. to brew his own. Returning to the States several years later, he continued brewing before putting his martial arts career on hold to open Sideswipe in 2013. This knowledge helps explain some of his beer names, like Fisticuffs IPA.
North High Brewing started as an MBA project.
North High founders Gavin Meyers and Tim Ward met at Ohio State in the MBA program. The two partnered on a project that proposed a brew-on-premises spot inspired by Brew Kettle in Strongsville, Ohio. They noticed Brew Kettle had a months-long waiting list to use their system and that Central Ohio had no similar offering. So after graduation, the two set out to turn their project into a reality. Meyers is quick to joke that while their logo says "established 2011" the brewery opened to customers in the last days of 2012. It says 2011, he notes, because that's the year he quit his day job to start the brewery.