In case you haven’t noticed, Ohio’s Craft Beer scene is kicking the rest of the country’s ass when it comes to producing the best beers that the nation has to offer. Not only are they high-quality, but there’s also over 100 of them scattered throughout every corner of the state. With so many to choose from, it was a pretty ridiculous task to try to locate the finest of the fine beers in Ohio. But we, being the beer junkies that we are, easily conquered fits of intoxication, hangovers, and morning-after cottonmouth to present to you the following: The 10 Best Breweries In Ohio, Ranked.
But, before we get the ball rolling, let’s just give you a little insight into how we went about ranking all of these breweries. First, we had to consider the reach of certain breweries. Of course there are plenty of fantastic individual beers, and even whole collections from smaller breweries, but, if they hadn’t reached the capacity to spread across the entire state, we had to take that into consideration. Second, we took into consideration the diversity and quality of the actual products. Sure, anyone can load down a beer with tons of hops and call it an IPA, but a true IPA is a work of art, and every beer-lover will respect that. Finally, we thought about the brands themselves, and what each brand gets its recognition from. So… shall we?
10. North High Brewing Co. – Columbus, OH
Hitting the ground running must be second nature to these guys. It’s been a short life for them, but they’re already a heavy hitter when it comes to Ohio’s brewing scene. Instead of taking their sweet ass time with everything, they barreled out with a ton of unique styles, and just started perfecting from there. It’s not about naming the beers, nor some kind of crazy advertising: It’s about letting the beer speak for itself.
Featuring everything from a Russian Imperial Stout to the Wheat Beers that we’re all accustomed to; it’s quite a feat to reach the heights that they have thus far. Regardless of the season, they’re going to have you covered with an incredible Craft Beer. Our personal favorite is their Cream Ale, which, unlike some Cream Ales, actually has a bit of a sweeter side to us, and didn’t disappoint.
Ultimately, they probably won’t have much brand recognition outside of Columbus, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not deserving of this list. North High comes from a way of thought where quality is everything, and anything else is just nonsense. You have to respect a brewery that has a mission and knows how to get sh*t done.
9. Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. – Akron, OH
Frogs! Frogs everywhere! Well, except in the beer. Seriously, what an excellent job at branding, but a brand would be nothing without the tastes to back it up, and Hoppin’ Frog delivers. If you have yet to try their Turbo Shandy yet, then you need to make sure that you grab a bottle before the summer ends. Seriously, just do it.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try every other beer that they have on their lineup as well, though. They have to have mad scientists crafting all of these beers behind the scenes, because the hops were prevalent, the spices accompanied appropriately, and the tastes were both bold and complex at the same time. Wow, just wow.
Not only do they have complexity, but a whole lot of options for how you want that complexity served up. Clever branding, mad men brewing, and a beautiful taproom? You know we’ll be coming back for more.
8. The Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. – Akron, OH
Dog days of summer got you down? Well, we’re right there with you. There aren’t many companies that can compare to the branding of Thirsty Dog. Everything, right down to the Dog Bone Taps, has something to do with man’s best friend. Don’t believe us? Well, let’s start with a few names of their beers. There’s a Belgian Trippel Ale that goes by the name “Cerberus,” a Lager known as Labrador Lager, and even a Robust Porter that has earned the title of Old Leghumper.
Not only is their branding consistent, but so is their commitment to giving each beer its own unique identity. While every beer we tried was utterly amazing, we have to give a lot of credit to both the Citra Dog and Hoppus Maximus. These are two that we’ve seen consistently throughout the state, and it’s no wonder. The “Citra Dog” has, as the name implies, quite a bit of a citrus tang to it, but also had a bold, hoppy characteristic to it that does wonders for the taste buds, and Hoppus Maximus is just plain robust. The hops are pretty zealous, but this is one for the true hops-lovers out there.
Credit: Ohio Booze Blog
At the end of the day, Thirsty Dog has risen to fame due to its loyal following in Ohio, and it has yet to disappoint its faithful followers. With a huge dining hall, an unbelievable selection of seasonal beers, and plenty of love for our canine companions; it’s no wonder why Thirsty Dog has quickly risen in popularity. We can’t wait for both their Pumpkin Ale and 12 Dogs of Christmas to resurface again. We’ll be waiting.
7. Elevator Brewing Co. – Columbus, OH
Credit: Elevator Brewing Co.
Talk about drinkability… Elevator Brewing may not have all of the options of other breweries, but they’ve definitely taken the time to perfect the art with what they do have. Easily a favorite among the Columbus crowd, you don’t have to look far to see where their allegiance lies. With a brew that goes by the name Bleeding Buckeye, you’re sure to see this brewery’s beers show up at more than a few OSU tailgates.
Credit: Elevator Brewing Co.
Not only OSU fans have bought in, though. With one hell of a restaurant to complement the brewery, plenty of patrons come pouring in every day they’re open to pair their favorite beers with some amazing food. Our personal favorite combination was definitely their Blackened Walleye paired with Bear Ass Pale Ale. Two regional favorites together? Aw yeah.
Credit: Elevator Brewing Co.
While they’ve been around for quite awhile now, you just have to believe that they’re still one of those breweries that’s still on the rise. When you ask most people in Columbus about their favorite beers, more than likely, Elevator’s name will come up. This leads us to beg the question: When will they expand? Guess we’ll just have to stay tuned!
6. MadTree Brewing Co. – Cincinnati, OH
It’s no secret that Cincinnati has one of the best craft beer scenes in the country. Go anywhere around the city, and you’ll hear people arguing over their favorite local brewery. One thing’s for sure: MadTree always comes up when people mention their favorite beers. A lot of that probably comes from the fact that MadTree was one of the first craft breweries to start the revolution. They were the first craft beer brewery to can their beer in Ohio, and now they’ve become a household name.
With instant classics such as their nutty Gnarly Brown and hop-loaded Psychopathy, MadTree has an immediate advantage over others when it comes to being a recognizable source for crafts. While they did stick to their originals for quite awhile, they’ve also spread out quite a bit by experimenting with a few new beers. Both Sol Drifter and Lyft have seemed to pick up steam over the past few months. In fact, it’s hard to go to a bar downtown without seeing at least one of them on tap.
In the competitive world of crafts, MadTree has successfully climbed to the top tier among Ohio’s beers, and something tells us that it won’t be long before they take the nation by storm. For now, though, they plan on sticking close to home to build a solid foundation that they can continue to build off of. Oh, and if you get the chance to stop into their taproom (it’s amazing), make sure to grab a Galaxy High. With 120 IBUs, it’s one incredible beer.
5. Fat Head’s Brewing – Middleburg Heights, OH
Fathead’s Bumbleberry has spent many, many summer nights with us. In fact, we believe that some of those nights just wouldn’t have been the same without it. To whoever decided to mix blueberry and honey into the same beer: we salute you. What’s so good about it? Well, we can start out with the fact that it’s super refreshing, and that means a lot when you’re sweating your ass off on a humid summer night.
That’s not to say that they don’t have plenty of robust, stronger flavors as well, though. It seems like every beer that they put on the market has some of the craziest descriptions when it comes to the ingredients, but they all come together to form something magical. If you’re looking for something unique, we suggest the Hop Juju, which is very bitter, but still has subtle hints of a variety of spices.
We have no idea who the fatheads were behind these beers, but we can probably guess that their heads are only so fat because they had to house massive brains. That’s the only way that they could have produced something this amazing. We look forward to spending many, many more nights with your beers, Fat Head’s.
4. Jackie O’s Brewery – Athens, OH
Instead of offering that shitty light beer that everyone has become so accustomed to, Jackie O’s dared to be a voice of reason. Since opening, many colleges students have developed a taste for real beer, and it all started with that Firefly Amber Ale.
Hold up a second. Let’s just talk about those crazy ass drawings on the side of their cans… someone can make some serious art. Not only are the designs on the outside pretty wild, but so are the contents within. They’ve even gone out of their way to make a beer with paw paws within. In case you were wondering, paw paws are a fruit native to Ohio, so it doesn’t get much more “Ohio proud” than this.
And now it’s not just college students who enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of their beers. Go to any city in the state and you’re going to find at least one place that carries it.
3. Rhinegeist – Cincinnati, OH
Ever seen a ghost get resurrected? Nah, we haven’t either. That was until we saw the pictures of the ancient brewery that Rhinegeist (translation: “Ghost of the Rhine”) decided to remodel quite a bit. We can attest to the fact that the stuff they’re putting out these days is definitely an excellent product.
It hasn’t been long since they resurrected the brewery, but they’ve made waves throughout the state. No matter where you go, you hear people talking about Cincinnati’s new beer company with the “little ghost head,” and that’s definitely a testament to their branding. Everything, right down to the taps and vans that deliver their beer, falls back into their identity.
That goes without the fact that many of their beers have gotten excellent rating from beer experts everywhere. You don’t have to be an “expert” to understand, though. All you have to do is take a few sips. Oh, and their new Puma Pilsner is one of the best pilsners we’ve ever had. Kudos to you, Rhinegeist.
2. Listermann/Triple Digit – Cincinnati, OH
A little experimentation and messing with flavors can get you everywhere, and this is definitely true for Cincinnati’s own Listermann & Triple Digit. If you haven’t heard yet, they have an amazing Peanut Butter Porter, a Hazlenut Brown Ale, and plenty of other options that blow us away every time that we come through.
Not only are they crazy about their flavor infusions, but they’re also all about teaming up with other local breweries to craft something as unique as it gets. With recent collaborations with Blank Slate and MadTree, it’s no wonder that everyone loves to team up with them. In fact, after talking to a few of the guys behind the scenes, we can assure you that they always have something new on the horizon.
We’ve even heard rumors that you may be able to grab a bacon-flavored beer at certain points during the year. Yes, your prayers have been answered. You can get everything that you want, all in the same glass. Listermann, you’re too good to us.
1. Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Cleveland, OH
Even Santa knows that Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a Great Lake’s Christmas Ale. In fact, we’d bet that most of Ohio’s beer consumers would agree with that statement. That’s probably why you can never really get your hands on a pack before they sell out. Every. Damn. Time. Once you get it, though… oh yeah.
That’s not to say that every one of their beers won’t blow your mind, because they will. Have you tried Lake Erie Monster lately? Edmund Fitzgerald? Burning River? Literally every single beer they have is impressive. In fact, we have yet to discover one that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy.
You just have to pay serious homage to the brewmaster and anyone who works alongside him. It takes a lot of creativity and dedication to the art to make as many varieties as they have. You may never agree on a favorite among the group, but you’re sure to find a new favorite after trying every beer that they have to offer, and that’s a fact.
Didn’t see your favorite brewery on here? Don’t worry, we’re going to be writing about the most underrated breweries soon! Let us know your favorite, and we’ll have to check them out!