Herald Staff Writer
For almost three years, Wadsworth Brewing Company has brought the craft beer movement to the Grizzly community.
After seeing the successes of several small breweries around the area, brewer Ernie Joy and his wife, Ericha, had the idea to open one of their own in Downtown Wadsworth. They opened the brewpub in January, 2017.
Toward the end of his college career at Kent State University, Ernie worked at a bar in Akron called “Mr. Bilbo’s, now known as “The Lockview.” This is where he was introduced to the world of craft beer, trying different varieties of brews after his shifts. His favorite styles of beer are India pale ales (IPAs) and stouts.
He started learning how to make beer around 12 years ago, brewing at home every week and having fun doing it. There was certainly a learning curve, though.
“I didn’t brew enough or read enough about it then to really understand everything until I was brewing here four batches a week, over and over, week after week, and it wasn’t until that point, probably six months or more into brewing here every week, that I knew what to expect more,” he explains.
The first beer he made was one similar to a pale ale by Bass Brewery, which during part of the 19th century was the largest and first ever global beer brewery.
Craft beer is sometimes viewed as a form of science, art or both, but Ernie doesn’t really view it that way. Rather, he treats his craft more as “recipe development,” tweaking recipes and trying new things to create his own unique brews.
Ernie manages to find time for experimentation as well. Test Batch Sundays are a weekly tradition where Ernie puts a flavorful twist on one of their already existing creations, or sometimes brews up a whole new beer.
“Thelma Lou,” a blonde ale named after Ernie’s mother-in-law, and “River Styx Monster,” a double IPA that weighs in at 9.4% alcohol by volume, are two of the brewery’s most popular, and oldest offerings. “Those two beers we’ve had since day one,” he explains. They also offer seasonal brews such as “Apple Pie a-la-malt,” and their popular Christmas time beer, “Under the Mistletoe,” a chocolate mint stout.
The brewery is BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) friendly, but they also have their own kitchen that serves up pizzas, nachos and their most popular food item, soft pretzels with beer cheese. “We sell probably more of that than anything,” he says. Wine and hard ciders are also available for those who don’t like beer or are gluten-free.
The brewery even offers a couple of events, such as a weekly trivia night Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m., as well as a popular Girl Scout cookie pairing event.
Wadsworth Brewing Company sits at 126 Main St. in Downtown Wadsworth. For tap list, food menu and information, visit www.wadsworthbrewingcompany.com.