Examine the back of almost any product these days and you’ll probably find a mark or sticker on it letting you know that it was made in China. Similar to this, in American craft brewing, is the fact that most of our beer comes from California or Colorado. “Places starting with the letter ‘C'” conspiracies aside, this is certainly the norm.
If anyone thinks that I’m exaggerating, consider this: I was on the narrow-gauge railroad from Durango to Silverton, Colorado (just like the C.W. McCall song) and they had a beer on the train just for the train ride! Now, that’s a beer-centric state!
There are certainly many good breweries to be found anywhere and everywhere. The point is that those two western states seem to produce the lion’s share of our drinks. Their names are synonymous with quality beer.
When I think of the state of Ohio, I think of rugged, blue collar, working class Joes. Ham-and-eggers trudging off at 4:30 in the morning to their job at the factory. Burly descendents of central European countries shoveling their driveways as lake-effect blizzards blow in off of Lake Erie. Until recently, I never thought of Ohio when I thought of beer.
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery is located in Akron and they’re producing some of the boldest, most flavorful beers in the country. Their beer clobbers your palate with massive flavor and assaults your taste buds with an army of hops. I first noticed their selection while perusing the catalogue of a new-to-the-area distributor. After pulling up some reviews on various websites, I knew we had to have their beer in our arsenal.
Right now I’m digging their B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher. It’s a beast of an oatmeal imperial stout weighing in at 9.4% alcohol and an unusually-high hop content. Black as a coal mine at night, The Crusher’s got loads of dark chocolate and enough coffee scents to make you think that someone set Columbia on fire. Notes of vanilla, toffee and herbal hops round out the nose. Espresso roast and dark dried fruits dominate the palate with hints of milk chocolate, citrusy hops and whipped cream. Its texture is silky, satiny, slippery smooth.
One of the most delicious beers I’ve had in a long time. Ohio, you’re officially on the beer map. I can’t wait to see what else Hoppin’ Frog’s got for us.