2 Comments September 21st, 2012

The Actual Brewing Co.

Posted by Kyle and Mike

A common love of beer often creates a feeling of brotherhood. So do beards. Both instances were in full effect when we visited Fred Lee and Rob Camstra over at The Actual Brewing Co.

Through a slightly convoluted back-and-forth on The Twitter, Fred and Rob invited us out. When we arrived — after pleasantries were exchanged — the first words out of Fred’s mouth were, “So… you guys want a beer?” We gladly obliged. Within moments we each had a fluted glass in hand, filled with a pilot version of their French farmhouse ale.

The beer was pretty incredible. It started out extremely subtle; a solid Bière de Garde with some slight hints of peppercorn. The peppercorn stayed on the tongue after every sip, though, and after every new sip, that spice built and built and built. Halfway through the glass, the peppercorn was blatant, but not over the top, lending the perfect amount of contrast to the grassy body.

As we drank, Fred and Rob showed us around the facility. They showed us their 20-gallon pilot system, which was hand-crafted, and very impressive on its own. They also showed us what will become their full-scale production line — including a giant vat that used to be in a dairy factory — once they finish hacking everything together. And they showed us their lab, cobbled together from space-age eBay acquisitions, where they check quality control and cultivate their own yeast strains. This is where we really got in over our heads, science-wise, and asked some very dumb questions that the guys were kind enough to answer. (They are, by far, two of the smartest beer dudes we’ve met.)

After the tour, we all sat in the back and shot the shit. We talked about the current beer scene in Columbus, ancient philosophy, upcoming breweries, secularism, and Actual’s future plans, which include an even bigger production facility and a Downtown brewpub.

Near the end of the conversation, while Fred was waxing poetic about the brewery’s roots, he said, “We’re not trying to say we make the best beer in the world, or we’re better than any other breweries. We just want to make honest, straightforward beer.” That really seemed to stick out to us. In a time where craft beer is becoming more and more competitive, and it seems every month someone is touting the “highest-rated this-or-that,” these guys just want to make good beer.

If that French farmhouse ale was any indication, they’ve certainly got the chops to do it.

Actual is awaiting licensing approval to start full-scale production, and hope to be operational by November. Once approved, they plan to launch with two or three varieties, available locally in 750ml bottles. Keep an eye out.

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  1. < Aunt Judy September 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Hey Fred,
    You’re gonna Get Famous!!! And I can say I knew you when…..

    I miss you! Come see us! Oxford isn’t so far away!!
    Aunt Judy

  2. < Laura Rees September 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    A. The above comment is adorable and I love it the most.
    B. Please do announce here when they do release their beer for public consumption. I’ve had a minor interest in pairing beer with food lately, that’s snowballing into kind of a minor obsession.

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