The Trip to Indianapolis: Day Three: Salt Fork State Park, Southside Brewing Company, Blackhand Gorge, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Land-Grant Brewing Company, The Wandering Griffin

The Trip to Indianapolis: Day Three: Salt Fork State Park, Southside Brewing Company, Blackhand Gorge, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Land-Grant Brewing Company, The Wandering Griffin

Salt Fork State Park

The subtitle I used for the recap article about Day Three was “I woke up in Washington and ended up in Dayton, how did I get here?” And its pretty accurate. Counting West Virginia (which I was only supposed to be in for all of about six to eight minutes) I traveled in three states and a fair bit of distance. So lets discuss how I got from Washington (Pennsylvania) to Dayton (Ohio) all in one day, and what all I did therein.

Also, before we go on, I believe my picture above of the lake at Salt Fork State Park is an optical allusion (that or maybe I’ve finally fully lost it and I’m going nuts); but to me it feels like if you stare at the picture long enough it looks like the waves are moving. Let me know if you see it… or if I have just lost my marbles. (Maybe its both?)

Day three saw me leaving my hotel outside of The Meadows Casino around 9:30AM, and heading to Ohio. Unfortunately, I have to go through West Virginia to get to Ohio in this part of the region… and that involves me getting pulled over by a West Virginia State Trooper. Sigh. So it goes I guess, but it does suck, and is a needless 190$ expense to add to the total cost of my trip, it also made me a bit later getting to my first stop which was the Salt Fork State Park.

There is a large beautiful lake at Salt Fork State Park, as well as several hiking trails over by the golf course. The lake was gorgeous and so serene, and at 10:30-11AM the park and lake area was completely empty. Just me, some blobby dead jellyfish looking things on the beach, lots of deer footprints, and the sad, quiet, solemn sound of the waves of the lake lapping onto the beach. I sat by the beach for a fair bit of time, just taking in the quiet and solitude, the solemnity of the here and now and the sereneness of it all.

The wooded trails there were nice though easy and not much to see, but they were quiet, serene, and peaceful. The whole place had a very serene atmosphere, a malaise or laze-faire peace and serenity to it all. Seeing nobody in sight pretty much the entire time I was in the state park certainly helped add the elusive nature of the place, like I had stumbled back in time and found a beach and lake and small wooded grove that only I knew about and nobody else ever would.

From here I traveled further into Ohio on my way to Columbus. Stopping briefly at a brewery / winery / restaurant / pizzeria on a hill. The restaurant was called Georgetown Tavern on the Hill; the brewery located there was called Southside Brewing Company. Had a gorgeous view of a vineyard and down an impressive hill.

The pizza was very good, and the beer was refreshing and nice on a beautiful, gorgeous, sunny day.

Blueberry Wheat

Beer: Blueberry Wheat
Brewery: Southside Brewing Co.
Style: Wheat Beer – American Pale Wheat
ABV: 6%
Untappd Description: Traditional wheat beer with a hint of blueberry.

It was refreshing, and nice and there was a hint of blueberry. Perfectly acceptable on a sunny day in early November as a quick-stop pint to grab while breaking up the drive through Ohio.

My Untappd Rating: ***.5
Global Untappd Rating: (Only 9 ratings, not enough for a global rating yet.)

Next up, I stopped at Blackhand Gorge. Which was a series of trails on two sides of a main road. On one side, you had a trail along the creek / river which also included being able to walk down into what was the remains of the Erie Canal; and on the other side you had a walk that took you through a rock tunnel and you could also climb to the top of this giant rock plateau. The one side of the river was more of a bike trail that stretched for miles and miles, the other was a hiking trail. Both were very cool, and had numerous spots to stop and take pictures.

The drive to Blackhand Gorge was interesting. At one point on the highway a firetruck was coming up behind me, so I got over for it, and soon after it passed me, its hose came unattached from the top, and followed behind the firetruck like a long kite tail until it eventually completely unattached. The firetruck unaware the entire time kept speeding on. I was making sure to keep a good 10 – 15 feet back from the hose, which was trailing for probably about 20 – 30 feet from the firetruck itself. Once it became unattached and flew back, I had to quickly swerve so it didn’t hit the car, and it nearly clipped the car behind me who was riding my tail pretty aggressively.

After the Gorge it was finally time to head into Columbus. On the way there, I passed the Longerberger Basket building, office, headquarters, what have you. Reminded me of my aunt who used to sell their baskets, as well as my (ex) mother in law who did as well.

Once in Columbus, the first brewery to hit was Wolf’s Ridge Brewing. Parking was about a half block away, and was only 3$ for 6 hours, which for a city, is fantastic. Also, next to the parking lot was Elevator Brewing, where they were working on inside – unfortunately they weren’t open yet, and were still doing the work on the building, so I had to skip them. Wolf’s Ridge Brewing though more than made up for it.

Due to COVID, instead of eating and sitting inside, they turned the alley to the side of their brewery into a make-shift patio with a construction set barrier around the place. I had two full drafts there while reading and talking to an amazing bartender / server. Very beautiful and sweet lady who chatted with me about their brewery, my trip, Indianapolis, Harrisburg, and all kinds of things.


The first beer I got was the Buchenrauch. I can’t turn down a Rauchbier when I see it on a menu. I just can’t. Always have to give it a try, just to see how the brewery handles doing such a hard beer style. Luckily (and unsurprising for anyone who knows Wolf’s Ridge Brewing) they absolutely nailed it.

Beer: Buchenrauch
Brewery: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing
Style: Rauchbier
ABV: 5.7%
Untappd Description:

2016 Gold Medal winner: San Diego International Beer Competition

2016 Gold Medal: Alltech Commonwealth Cup

2017 Silver: Alltech Commonwealth Cup

2016 Bronze: Indiana Brewers’ Cup

2015 Bronze Medal winner: San Diego International Beer Competition

This traditional smoked lager style hails from Bamberg Germany. The name literally means “beech smoke,” which pays homage to the time honored tradition of smoking the malt over beech wood to create the signature smooth smokiness. Mahogany in color and rich in flavors of campfire smoke and crusty bread. Buchenrauch is crisp and savory. The lager yeast and cold aging provide smooth drinkability and will leave you wanting more than just one.

Delicious, lovely beer. Compared to the medals and awards this beer has won, my recommendation means very little, but I do certainly highly recommend it. If you are in the Columbus area, this is worth the stop at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing alone.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.69 (as of 11.27.20)

Dire Wolf

Beer: Dire Wolf
Brewery: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Russian Imperial
ABV: 10.4%
Untappd Description: 2017 Gold: Beer Army Beer Wars

2016 Silver Medal: Best of Craft Beer Awards

2015 Gold Medal winner: San Diego International Beer Competition

Canis Dirus, or “fearsome dog,” is the scientific name for the Dire Wolf. One of the largest known breeds of wolf, the Dire Wolf went extinct at the end of the last ice age. Similarly, the Russian Imperial Stout was a beer style destined for extinction until craft brewers in America began to resurrect historical styles. Our Imperial Stout is named for the Dire Wolf because it is big, bold, and fearsome. Brewed with copious amounts of oats and brown sugar. Black as night with a dense tan head and chewy texture. Notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and espresso stand against a hefty bitterness to balance this monstrous beer.

Another style I absolutely love – Russian Imperial Stouts (RIS). For any Game of Thrones geeks out there, the name is great too. This was a boozy, heavy, delicious, rich, strong and very powerful beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****.5
Global Untappd Rating: 4.04 (as of 11.27.20)

Sadly, I had to move on and say goodbye to the bartender and the great brewery. I had enough time to hit one more brewery in Columbus before heading out to Dayton, my stop for the night (to shorten the trip for the next day). The second brewery I got to try out in Columbus was Land-Grant Brewing Company. Which was kind of set in a hipster like location, right across the street from BrewDog Ohio. Their ordering system was all on the phone, and was actually a bit of a challenge, as you had to pick your flight of beers all from their online menu which made things a bit more difficult than need be, but I don’t begrudge any breweries right now with strong COVID-19 / coronavirus safety protocols.

At Land-Grant Brewing, I ordered a flight that I had to wolf down pretty quickly to be able to get to Dayton in time for both the brewery there and the hotel and to call it on the day, and be somewhat near Indianapolis for tomorrow. According to Untappd, Land-Grant Brewing is a micro brewery; obviously located in Columbus Ohio, it has 531 Unique Beers, and over 163K ratings, with an average rating of 3.7 (as of 11.27.20). There is no Untappd description for the brewery.

The flight I ordered was:

  • Beard Crumbs
  • Make Mine Irish
  • Skull Session
  • Son of a Mudder
  • Bottomless Coffee
Beard Crumbs by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Beard Crumbs
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 42
Untappd Description: Beard Crumbs is a smooth dark stout teeming with notes of chocolate, coffee, and an extra punch of holiday cheer via the addition of carmelized raisins. It delivers the joy of an oatmeal raisin cookie, minus the crumbly clean up.

It’s a festive ale that old Saint Nick himself would love.

This was a fun, tasty oatmeal stout. Ginger, nutmeg, or cinnamon rounded out the chocolate and coffee to make it feel more ‘festive’ and like a Christmas or Thanksgiving beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.71 (as of 11.27.20)

Make Mine Irish

Beer: Make Mine Irish
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Coffee
ABV: 8.4%
IBU: 33
Untappd Description: Sometimes a well brewed cup of coffee isn’t quite enough on its own. Sometimes a well brewed glass of beer needs a little something extra to push it over the top. Both benefit from a warming dose of whiskey. For that reason we brewed this hearty Irish Coffee Stout with Stauf’s whiskey-barrel-aged coffee beans, creating a compound of smooth chocolaty stout, roasted coffee, and rich, smoky whiskey. So when you’re craving a beer, a coffee, or a whiskey, might as well make yours Irish.

A good ‘Irish’ coffee stout. Strong and bold and powerful. Good full stout flavor even in a taster, very nice.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.89 (as of 11.27.20)

Skull Session by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Skull Session
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Lager – Red
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 15
Untappd Description: This easy drinking Scarlet Lager owes a tip of its cap to a timeless autumn tradition. A chance to clear your mind before Saturday’s main event. This beer draws its ruddy hue from Red X malt, while maintaining a bright, classic balance from the addition of Tettnang and Chinook hops. This is a lager that’s in formation and ready to march.

An interesting lager. A lot going on flavor wise, but still pretty crispy. A fun and interesting take on the lager style. Wouldn’t mind trying some more Red Lagers in the future especially back home; see how other breweries do the style.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.63 (as of 11.27.20)

Son of a Mudder by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Son of a Mudder
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale – American
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 30
Untappd Description: Nevermind the conditions. This Brown Ale’s father was a Mudder, and his mother was a Mudder. This is a true and true American Brown Ale with a subtle hop presence at the turn and toffee, caramel, and coffee notes waiting at the finish line. When they’re calling for rain, dig in deep and grab a Mudder. It’s a sure thing.

I love brown ales, and I think the older I’m getting (ugh, scary thought) the more I’m enjoying them even moreso. This was no exception. Fantastic brown ale that is true to the style.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.6 (as of 11.27.20)

Bottomless Coffee by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Bottomless Coffee
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Lager – Vienna
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Perfect any time of day, this easy drinking Vienna Lager gets a rich, roasty pick-me-up from a big old pot of Stauf’s India Malabar Coffee beans—roasted right here in Columbus, Ohio. Grab a stool, get comfortable, and we’ll keep your cup topped-off.

Another interesting lager take. A coffee Vienna lager. Not your normal thought for a lager is coffee. This works really well though actually, and I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would. I always love it when a beer exceeds my expectations.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.51 (as of 11.27.20)

Sadly, I pretty much had to wolf these beers down and bolt, and couldn’t stay and enjoy the ambiance of the place. In an outdoor patio next door looked like there was a big game of trivia going down. Not sure if this was tied in with Land-Grant Brewing or with the BrewDog from across the street. It might have been a communal area or for just the one brewery. If I had to guess, I would say it was tied in with Land-Grant Brewing or maybe the old school bar nearby too. I don’t think it was tied in with BrewDog. But it looked impressive with a big seating area, a huge screen for the trivia, and a lot of people…. hopefully socially distanced and wearing masks when not drinking.

But, I was off now to my last stop, and had to book it too. I had to get to Dayton, and had to get there fast. I was heading to The Wandering Griffin, a brewery just outside of Dayton (technically considered Beaver Creek, Ohio) and right by my motel stop for the night. From Land-Grant to The Wandering Griffin its a 1 Hour and 1 Minute drive if Google Maps is to be believed. I wanna say I made it there a bit faster than that… but not going to incriminate myself.

The Wandering Griffin (courtesy of their Facebook and media pages)

I get to Dayton (or Beaver Creek) just before shutting down. I sit outside on their patio and enjoy a pint of Oktoberfest (2020). The place had an Applebee’s turned brewery vibe to it, or pick your own chain restaurant type place. Chili’s, Red Robin, Jiffy State, or whatever is local to your area type place. Not taking anything away from the place, it was nice, great patio area, nice bartender / server / worker, and the beer was good too.

According to Untappd, The Wandering Griffin is a brew pub in Beaver Creek, Ohio. They have 41 Unique Beers with 2,400+ ratings and an average global rating of 3.66 (as of 11.27.20). Their description reads: “We are The Wandering Griffin Brewery. We brew some really killer beer. We have lots and lots of room (over 10,000 square-feet) for you to drink our killer beer. Our floor is brown. We also have one really big ass patio. You can drink our killer beer there to. We also make some really killer grub. Did we mention that our beer is really good? We look forward to seeing you soon. Really. Parking? We have the largest parking lot in Dayton. Bring the bus! Brewery, full-service restaurant, beer garden and 3 bars. Great space for your event – large or small! Conveniently located off 675 exit 15 near WSU, WPAFB and Nutter Center.”

I ordered the Oktoberfest (2020), and went out to the patio to sit, it soon started to drizzle slightly, but nothing horribly, and I had a table umbrella over my head, so I enjoyed my pint.

Oktoberfest by The Wandering Griffin

Beer: Oktoberfest (2020)
Brewery: The Wandering Griffin
Style: Lager – Amber
ABV: 6%
IBU: 28
Untappd Description:

Prost! Our 2020 Oktoberfest is brewed using a blend of select German hops, Pale, Munich, and Vienna malts. Together, these ingredients bring notes of freshly toasted bread and a touch of fruit character to the brew. At 6% ABV and 28 IBU, this year’s Oktoberfest is a big yodel to beer’s biggest party…Even if we’re doing it from 6′ apart.
Küss unseren Arsch COVID!!!

I enjoyed it. It was a little weaker than some Marzens – probably because (according to their Untappd page for it) its a Lager – Amber rather than a Marzen, but it was still serviceable, especially after I’ve already stopped at two breweries in Columbus and the one earlier in the day (like a lifetime ago) in Georgetown. Was a nice enough end cap to the day.

My Untappd Rating: ***.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.63 (as of 11.27.20)

After bidding adieu to the bartender / server I hopped the two blocks over to my motel and finally crashed for the day. Day three in the books. It brought me from Washington Pennsylvania to Dayton Ohio. As I carried my stuff into the motel, it started raining (more than a drizzle, but not hard), my friends at home said it had poured earlier in the day. Fun note – this would be the only rain and “bad weather” on the entirety of my trip. And it was overnight while in Dayton. Can’t say a bad thing about the weather I had in early November while traveling from PA to IN. I got extremely fortunate there. So as Tuesday came to a close, I had another wonderful day on my trip. I went to a State Park, went to another hiking place (Blackhand Gorge), visited four breweries in three different cities of Ohio (Georgetown, Columbus, and Dayton) and pretty much traveled the entire way across Ohio. Tomorrow brings on Day Four and takes me into Indianapolis to finally make it to the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library – the reason and purpose for my trip. So make sure to come on back to check in with us here at The Beer Thrillers for that! We still also have Days Five, Six, and Seven to get through! Be sure to come back to read the conclusion to the whole trip!

Thanks for reading everyone. Hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc. Make sure to shop craft beer and not just scoop up the Goose Island Bourbon County crap, help the local breweries in these hard times, especially as the virus numbers keep getting higher and higher and shut downs look imminent. Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

The Trip to Indianapolis – Full Articles:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Recap Articles:

August (2019) Road Trip Series:

Rickett’s Glen (2020) Road Trip Series:

Monocacy Battlefield Road Trip:

Visiting Reading Pennsylvania:

  • A Visit to Reading
  • The Birthday Trip to Reading Pennsylvania – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

A Road Trip to The PA Grand Canyon:

  • Visiting Wellsboro PA and the Grand Canyon

Hiking Hawk Rock

  • Hiking Hawk Rock and Visiting Liquid Noise Brewery

Hiking Pinnacle Trail and Pulpit Rock

  • Hiking to Pinnacle Overlook, Pulpit Rock, Visiting 1787 Brewing and Schaylor Brewing

Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania:

  • Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania – Pour Man’s Brewing, Black Forest Brewery

Hiking Sunset Rocks and Checking Out Maxie’s Brewhouse:

Other Brewery Hopping Articles:

My Article for Breweries in PA:

My Podcast About Breweries in Central PA:

Some other brewery tour and road trip articles:

Also, be sure to check out some of our other beer reviews in recent history:

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