words and photos by Emily Anderson
As many of you are probably already aware, the Ohio Brewing Company is up and running at their new Highland Square location. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should. The brewpub features 20 taps of high-quality craft beer, half of which are OBC beers made fresh in-house. The liquor selection is wide, with signature cocktails like the OBC Manhattan on the menu. I’m not a wine drinker so I won’t judge the choices, but they looked pretty cool. You can get a flight of beer for $9, and tasters of bourbon are always available. The food menu is full of hearty sandwiches, fresh salads, PIZZA, and original appetizers like beet chips with garlic aioli.
If you’re like me, everything I mentioned above sounds like a pretty sweet deal, but you have some questions about the Ohio Brewing Company. Like, Is this the same OBC as the old one? Are the owners the same? What’s the deal with the pizza? Is this an environmentally and socially conscious business that I should support?
Thinking about these things as I ate a blue cheese burger with a tall O’Hoppy Ale at the OBC one day, a man walked up to me and asked me how everything was. Turns out this man was Chris Verich and he runs the place. I asked him to chat with me a bit and here’s what I learned:
Chris founded the OBC in 1997 in Niles, Ohio with his brother. He was inspired to open a brewery by his love for beer, home brewing, and world traveling. After a few years, the brewery was moved from Niles to Youngstown and Chris was bought out by his partners in 2004. Chris opened OBC again in 2008, this time in Akron, and after that location closed and OBC beers were produced “gypsy style” for a few years with the help of other local breweries like Platform in Cleveland. The new location comes with new ideas and a slightly different vibe. He was convincing and enthusiastic about his business plan.
The goal is simple – provide the people of Akron with good, homemade beer and food in a fun, cool environment. Chris says that this smaller operation gives him the opportunity to be more eclectic and try more things. He has a passion for classic styles, but uses local ingredients in his food and beer whenever possible. The pizza dough is made with spent grain from the brewing process, and the sauce has Cardinal Ale in it. The urinals are made from repurposed kegs.
Big plans this summer include lots of traveling the country for beer competitions, live music from local bands at the brew pub, opening the patio, and a walk-up pizza window that will serve extra-large pizza slices after 10pm.
Chris not only runs this operation, he is also a State Representative. Some social media accounts from previous OBC operations still exist, but the Facebook page is current and tap updates are posted daily. I for one am thankful to have a little brewery down the street from my apartment and I hope Chris enjoys sweet success at this location. Cheers!
Emily Anderson isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions after a few beers. Find her on Twitter @ohiobeergirl.