GBT's Top Pick of 2018: Wooly Pig Farm Brewery
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
This is an archived copy of what was originally posted in Facebook.
Every stop along the Great Brewery Tour has been special... I'm meeting tons of great people, hearing amazing stories about how the breweries came to be, and obviously drinking some fantastic beers each night. When the tour was booked, the brewery that really jumped out at me was the Wooly Pig Farm Brewery near Fresno, OH. No slight intended towards any of the others, I'm just saying for some reason the story and location of the Wooly Pig Farm Brewery (WPFB) just intrigued me, and for whatever reason I had been really looking forward to this one. So Saturday night was the night, and boy was I not disappointed!
WPFB is in a VERY rural area in East/Central Ohio, which is a gorgeous part of the state. Rolling hills, streams, rivers and lakes, and many old farms with beautiful farm houses and barns and so on. I rolled into the area mid morning, found a nice park near a babbling little river, and sat under the shade of an enormous old tree playing guitar, working on some new songs (and eventually taking a nap). It was horrible ;-)
Wooly Pig Farm Brewery - Fresno, OH
The beers are currently only available at the taproom, on tap and to go.
As early evening approached I found my way to the brewery, which was tucked away on a hillside of the sprawling farm. The brewery/taproom has a large covered patio (on which I played), and lots of lawn surrounding it, which were filled with families and little kids and dogs running about. It was pretty hot on the patio when I arrived, so after setting up my gear I bellied up to the bar in the air conditioned taproom and dug into the selection.
The taproom is very cozy. A nice wooden bar, some picnic tables on one side, and the walls decorated with Wooly Pig t-shirts and such. Many rustic decorative touches, each of which had interesting stories attached (ask them about their connection to the actual R2D2!). Brewmeister Kevin, his wife Jael, her mom, brothers, sister-in-law, and even infant nephew were on hand, either helping with pours or just being friendly and taking in the festive atmosphere. One of the reasons I was so looking forward to this top was that Kevin had previously been at the Uinta brewery in Utah, responsible for the great Hop Nosh IPAs, so I knew this man was no novice!
My first brew of the night was an India Farm Lager (5.6%). A seriously refreshing lager, a little hoppy but not overly so, and a smooth drinker. Fantastic after coming in from the heat.
The Coffee Pils (4.9%) was next. If you've been following my posts along the tour, you know I'm in a bit of a coffee beer kick, and this one became an instant favorite. It's a German Pilsner, so it's lighter bodied and a real crisp drink, yet this fantastic coffee flavor is in there without over powering. If iced coffee tasted like this, I'd drink it, but I guess I'll just have to settle for coffee pilsner, darn it...
The sun sank below a distant tree line during my first set, so it wasn't too brutal, but I still worked up a decent sweat during my set, and the relief came in the form of the Wooly Pig Classic Gost (5.2%). They also have a fruited Gost, which looked very refreshing, but I stuck with the recommended Classic Gost. Normally I'm a bit afraid of Gosts <eyeroll>, as they can be ridiculously sour, but this one was light and golden and delicious and crisp, and actually reminded me of a dry champaign served nice and cold. It was so refreshing after the heat outside, I could have spent the rest of the evening downing the Classic Gost.
The Hoppy Pils (4.9%) was another very refreshing drink. I noticed some of the folks ordering seem afraid of seeing "hoppy" in some of the beer descriptions, thanks in large part to the big IPA trend of the last few years and the way some breweries seem to be on a quest to make the hoppiest beer possible while still being liquid, but WPFB's "hoppy" pils, "hoppy" lager, etc. are NOT overly hopped beers. In these, like in this pilsner, the hops operate as they should... adding a nice balance of floral and sometimes citrusy overtones without being too bitter or tasting like a pint of pine cone juice. The Hoppy Pils was crisp and clean, with just enough light flavor to keep it interesting and thirst quenching.
IPL Eins (6%) is another fantastic one. A German lager, clear golden pour, yet a rich head. It's like a German lager but a little more floral, a hint of fruity, and another very refreshing, thirst quenching finish. Medium bodied yet crisp. Another that I could see enjoying in larger quantities, and will search out.
The folks at Wooly Pig Farm Brewery, not only the family itself but all the folks I met, where just so incredibly friendly. During my sets the crowd was attentive and enthusiastic, lots of singing along, etc. which always makes it so much fun. I also have to give a big THANK YOU to the ladies of The Real McCoy BBQ. I can't sing and play on a full stomach, so I usually pass on the incredible food at these breweries, but I saw that they were bringing their special mozzarella stuffed meatballs, which sounded amazing. I asked if they'd be serving late and told them I hoped to try them after my show, and during my 2nd set they brought me a sample platter with the amazing meatballs, pulled pork BBQ, slaw, etc. and a kind note. It was all scrumptious and totally hit the spot at the end of the night, so THANK YOU ladies! I will be back, and look forward to sampling your other dishes!
Next stop... next Friday at Working Class Brewery in Cleveland, then Lockport Brewery in Boliver, OH on Saturday, which is the last stop on this leg of the tour... then on to New England in October!