Buzzed: With New Taproom, Wolf's Ridge Catching Up with the Pack

Anthony Dominic
A flight of beer at the new Wolf's Ridge Brewing taproom.

When we talk craft beer, 99 percent of the time we're referring to small-batch ales. If you're in the market for a Columbus-brewed lager, you can count your options on one hand. Unlike many ales, which can be brewed in less than three weeks, lagers can take twice as long to turn around-a commitment of time and tanks that microbreweries rarely justify.

"There's less room to hide flaws [in a lager]," says Chris Davison, head brewer at Wolf's Ridge Brewing. "You have to brew it cleanly, take plenty of time to get right temperatures, choose your ingredients wisely. If one is off, you'll notice it right away, unlike with a big stout."

Two lagers are among the 20 draft selections at Wolf's Ridge's new taproom, which opened in January. Davison calls the Golden Standard, a Bavarian-style, gently hopped helles, his "all-day drinker." It's refreshingly reserved (only 5 percent ABV) with hints of bread and citrus. Its sweeter, breadier, boozier sibling is the Sustinator doppelbock.

Try both lagers in a flight (three brews for $7 or five for $12) with any combo of the Dire Wolf stouts. Davison serves four riffs on his base imperial ale, each infused with a different ingredient: chili, coconut, chocolate and coffee. All pack the advertised flavors, but none as much as the coffee version. Thanks to One Line Coffee's espresso blend, it's brimming with cocoa, toffee and roasted-nut flavors.