Here piggy piggy piggy!! Wooly piggy that is!!

Fuggles, one of the many Wooly pigs
wooly piglets…not so wooly yet


It’s winter in Ohio…what does that mean…50 degrees and rain today (Saturday) with snow predicted for Monday…As the saying goes, If you don’t like the weather in Ohio, just wait a few minutes it’ll change.

The plan for the day? A trip to Wooly Pig Farm Brewery near Fresno, Ohio.

View from the road to the brewery.


Wooly Pig Farm Brewery sits in the hills of Coshocton County. The brewery is located in a beautiful location.  I mean seriously, it’s very pretty now and it’s the dead of winter…that means nothing but dead grass and trees with no leaves.  I can’t wait to see what the place looks like once the weather breaks.  The brewery has only been open about six weeks.  As we drove up the gravel road we saw the brew-house and taproom on our left.  It’s a quaint little location from the outside with quite a bit of parking.  I am sure that the large parking area will be necessary once the weather breaks and the tourism season kicks in here in Ohio.  Everyone knows that when you are touring Amish country, you need beer…and wine…but we are just enjoying beer today.

The story behind Wooly Pig is pretty cool.  Kevin Ely is a former brewer at Uinta brewing in Salt Lake City, UT…their loss is our gain.  I found Kevin to be very personable and willing to talk about the brewery and what has gone into getting this endeavor off of the ground.

Chatting about the brewery with the Brewmaster, Kevin Ely

His wife Jael, grew up less than a mile from the site of Wooly Pig Farm Brewery.  She and her family have a been a part of the brewery since day one.  Jael is the mother to Astrid and Soren who we met on our trip.  Astrid was very informative regarding the wooly pigs…especially Fuggles…apparently, he doesn’t like to be petted as we were warned not to put our hands in his enclosure.  She also introduced us to a bunch of young piglets that are not wooly…yet…this brewery is a true family affair.  Jael Malenke, a biologist-turned-businesswoman and mother of Astrid and Soren.
Aaron Malenke, a farmer and fix-it-man, and his wife Lauren Malenke, a large animal veterinarian.
Todd Malenke, a blacksmith artist and carpenter, and Patti Malenke, museum curator and grandma extraordinaire.
Nate Malenke, a blacksmith knife-maker, and his wife Lucy Bryan Malenke, a writer and college professor.
It takes a great team to make great beer, and this team is united by love for each other, dedication to the land, and a shared quest for the next great brew.  They are definitely working towards the next great brew.

A tasting flight of 4 beers offered at Wooly Pig Farm Brewery

I ordered a flight of four tasters…Schwarzbier, IPL Eins, Fruited Gose and their Baltic Porter.  All of the beers were very good.

The Schwarzbier had hints of coffee and chocolate as well as an underlying smoke flavor.  I rated this a 4 on untappd.  The IPL Eins was very good, I tend to like IPA’s so I figured their India Pale Lager would be right up my alley.  The flavors of the Galaxy, Citra and Azacca hops were subtle and tasty in this lager.  This will be a great beer to drink on the patio this summer.  It seems very tropical to me.  I also gave this a 4 on untappd.  The Fruited Gose is a typical sour beer.  I like sour beers but they are not at the top of my list as far as drinking them on a regular basis.  I only gave this a 3.75 but that is biased as it isn’t my favorite style of beer…the last beer that I tried was the Baltic Porter, another good beer.

Taproom at Wooly Pig Farm Brewery

I am sure that there are many more trips to Wooly Pig Farm Brewery in my future.  They make solid good beer and it’s a fun place to go and visit.  Once the weather breaks here in Ohio and things dry out a bit, it will be a great to pay Kevin and Jael a visit and try more of their beers.  If you have a bit of time to kill and want to go for a “ride in the country”, I strongly suggest a trip to Wooly Pig Farm Brewery.  You will not be disappointed.


Two wooly pigs
The brewhouse at Wooly Pig Farm Brewery



Get Your Kicks…On Route 66 and other byways across the USA

Route 66, USA
Route 66, USA

In just under two weeks, my wonderful wife and I leave for the west coast and back.  The plans are to pick up Route 66 at St. Louis and then work our way west.

Preparations have begun…although, there are no reservations and no real destination other than the West Coast.

I plan on posting photos and comments as permitted during the crossing.  I have quite a few breweries along the route…wish us luck!!!

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Up in Smoke

This article is a bit of departure from the norm…I’m not visiting a brewery, I am visiting Sublime Smoke in Bolivar, Ohio.

The view of the building from the street.
The view of the building from the street.


sublime smoke logo

Quaint entrance leading to awesome food
Quaint entrance leading to awesome food

Zach Salapack started in the business by running a food truck in the Columbus, Ohio area but he decided to return home to Bolivar…that’s what I consider a win for all of us here in Tuscarawas and surrounding counties.

Beside the great BBQ food available, Zach also has one of the best selections of craft beers and microbrews available in Tuscarawas County.  There are usually 5 beers on tap and a large assortment of bottles available for consumption on the premises, or to go.  Growler fills are also available.  I recommend that you purchase one of Zach’s Sublime Smoke growlers…it’s a stainless steel growler with an attached lid which keeps the beer cold for quite awhile.

Zach loves to talk…he loves to talk beer, he loves to talk food…he loves to talk to all of the customers that come into the building.  He will answer any and all questions that you have regarding his food, the beer and the building that he’s located in; as well as any questions that you may have about the area.  He is customer service personified.

On to the food…I highly recommend the Texas style beef brisket sandwich with the spicy smoked pepper trio barbeque sauce.  Another favorite is the “burrito”.  This isn’t your normal burrito, it’s much better…picture a warm tortilla filled with your choice of meat (chicken, pork, beef) then add rice, beans, cheese, hominy and a slow simmered tomato salsa…now that’s a burrito…Julie’s favorite is the burrito with pork…oh and did I mention the size??  These are huge!  Don’t think about Taco Bell burritos when you get one of these because there is absolutely no comparison!!!  Another favorite is the Tri-tip Sandwich with a side of fries.  I don’t believe that this is available all of the time but when it is, definitely get it!!!

Tri-tip sandwich
Tri-tip sandwich

You also have to try the “Pork Sundae”.  This masterpiece is a meal in a bowl.  It starts out with a scoop of homemade corn spoon bread on the bottom, then layer on collard greens and coleslaw, top it all off will pulled pork and your choice of sauce.  This culinary masterpiece is guaranteed to make you feel like you’re in the deep south, not sitting in Bolivar, Ohio.  Another choice in a bowl is the Mac Daddy…it’s a bowl filled with homemade, southern style, baked mac and cheese and top it with pulled pork and your choice of sauce.  I personally prefer the spicy smoked pepper trio sauce.

Julie at Sublime Smoke
Julie enjoying lunch on a Saturday afternoon at Sublime Smoke

There is always a nice crowd present and you will find out very quickly that everyone likes to talk “craft beer”.  Currently, there is only seating for 12 inside the building.  There are several picnic tables located outside for seating when the weather is permitting.  Come July, there will be additional seating as Zach expands into the adjoining space.

Make sure that you follow Sublime Smoke on Facebook.

When you are in the area, make sure that you stop in and enjoy a cold beer and a bite to eat.  Tell Zach that you learned about his restaurant on my blog…I know that I would appreciate it if you spread the word about my blog and Zach will appreciate it if you spread the word about his business.

Enjoying a couple of cold beers at Sublime Smoke.
Enjoying a couple of cold beers at Sublime Smoke.
Zach and I at Sublime Smoke
Zach and I at his restaurant

Update: Zach has purchased the building that he has his business in.  In July, he opened the other side and now has seating for about fifty as well as a more extensive tap list…and unfortunately, he has added some “mindless corporate swill” for those that don’t enjoy craft beer.  Seriously, it doesn’t matter what you drink…come thirsty and with an appetite.  You will not be disappointed.











It’s a Great Lakes Christmas Ale

It’s that time of the year again…you know…the time of the year when He knows if you have been naughty or if you’ve been nice…I personally prefer the “naughty” type; you know black leather and stilettos naughty…

black leather

oh wait, that’s a tale for a different blog. This blog’s about beer; Christmas  ale or beer…

Let me start by saying, I’m not a fan of sugar and cinnamon rims on my beer glass but it seems this is the way that most bars, pubs and breweries insist on serving their Christmas ales…I find most often, that it’s the lovely ladies in the bar that are drinking Christmas Ale with a sugar and cinnamon rim on their glass, plus the occasional metro-sexual, of course, anytime that I have this wonderful Christmas Ale in the house, I have to pour it with a sugar and cinnamon rim for my beautiful wife.  I find the flavor from the cinnamon and sugar rim overpowers the flavors that are brewed into the beer…something that I don’t ever want to do.  I want to enjoy the nuances of the flavors actually brewed into the beer, not added afterward.

Julie's Christmas Ale with the sugar and cinnamon rim.
Julie’s Christmas Ale with the sugar and cinnamon rim.



I know, saying Christmas isn’t necessarily P.C. in this day and age but I refuse to go to “Holiday” instead of Christmas and fortunately, it looks as though one of the first craft breweries in Ohio is doing the same thing.  Their ale is not a “Holiday” ale, it’s Christmas Ale, plain and simple.

Back in the late 1980’s, brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway opened their operations in the Ohio City neighborhood.  The odds were not great that this would be a profitable endeavor but the brothers surrounded themselves with knowledgeable and passionate people who wanted to see the brothers produce a superb selection of craft beer available to the populace of Cleveland and the great state of Ohio.  What brewery was this???  Why Great Lakes Brewing Company, of course.


Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio is one of those breweries who is not caving in to political correctness…their Christmas Ale is just that…Christmas Ale!!  Let me say, GLBC does a fantastic job of producing a quality Christmas Ale year after year.  GLBC only produces their Christmas Ale for 8 weeks during the holiday season.  It’s the second highest selling beer that is brewed by Great Lakes.  Most of the Christmas Ale never makes it out of the Cleveland area.  I know people that will wait in line to purchase Christmas Ale on the first day of availability at the brewery as well as at the local supermarkets when it goes on the shelves.  The Christmas Ale is that good!!!  If you ever get the chance, you definitely need to visit the brewery and drink it fresh from the tap…if that isn’t an option run…don’t walk…to your nearest bar, supermarket, pub, local corner market, friend with a great beer selection, drive-thru…wherever you can get a taste of this delicious Christmas Ale.  I guarantee that you won’t regret it and you will be a convert…someone that makes sure to purchase at least a case of this delectable ale every Christmas.

Christmas at Rick and Julie's
Christmas at Rick and Julie’s

I know that the Christmas Holiday is now passed but with some perseverance you can still locate Christmas Ale.  You may have to put a few miles on your car, truck or bike but it will be worth it.  I recommend that you put a six-pack aside so that you can celebrate Christmas in July properly…by quaffing a few Christmas Ales.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  May 2016 be your best year yet.

Hilton Head and Savannah 2012 176


Make sure to follow Great Lakes Brewing Company Facebook and Twitter.

For other resources about beer, I have included a couple of links to twitter accounts for All About Beer and Beer Advocate:

Make sure to comment on my blog…I am always open to suggestions…this is certainly a work in progress…I’m sure that this blog will evolve as time passes.