Pretentious Barrel House focusing solely on sours

Written by on October 26, 2017 in Beer, Events - No comments


“You can do whatever the hell you want, it’s like the wild west.”

That’s what Joshua Martinez, owner and brewer for Pretentious Barrel House, says is the reason for his interest in sour beer, in which his new brewery is specializing.

“With clean [non-sour] beer brewing, there’s a bunch of different styles, they’re each very well defined, a lot of them have been made for hundreds of years, and there are great industry examples you can point to and say ‘this is how you make a German lager’ or ‘a pale ale,’ so there’s not a lot of room for creativity in those styles,” Martinez. “If you do too much of this or too little of that, you’re not being creative — you’re wrong.”

Martinez, who had previously helped friends launch Ethereal Brewing in Lexington, relocated to Columbus for his wife’s career and decided the time was right to pursue a brewery of his own, which opened last week on the near east side of Columbus.

“There’s actually a big shortage of industrial space in Columbus right now,” said Martinez. “I looked at four or five places but this was the best suited because I needed to have the potential to expand.”

One thing is noticeably missing from the brewery at Pretentious: a brew house. That’s because their wort is contract brewed at Four String Brewing Companys’s production facility, then fermented at Pretentious.

“It’s beneficial to me because I don’t have to spend half a million dollars on a brew system and pay five dudes for the laborious process of ordering and housing grain and dealing with the mess of mashing,” said Martinez. “With sours, most of the flavor comes from fermentation — we don’t really see a lot of difference from fine adjustments to the malt recipe.”

Pretentious currently has five beers on tap, all variants on a golden blonde sour called Truculent. In addition to the base beer, they have three different dry-hopped versions plus a ginger lime.

“I really wanted to highlight the amount of differentiation we can get from one single batch of beer,” said Martinez.

Their second batch of beers will debut next week, the base of which is a significantly more acidic red ale. Some of that red will be refermented on raspberries and bottled, with about 800 bottles to be sold exclusively at their taproom. Other beers are in the works, all of which will also be sours.

“We get asked a lot if we have non-sour beer, and no, we don’t, but I think our sour beers are pretty approachable, so even if you don’t really like sours, if you’re into hops or you’re into cocktails, we probably have something that you will enjoy,” said Martinez.

Pretentious Barrel House is open Thursday from 4-9pm, Friday from 4-10pm, Saturday from 11-10pm and Sunday from 2-8pm. Pretentious is located at 745 Taylor Ave, and the brewery frequently features food trucks.

Limited quantities of Pretentious beer are also available on tap around Columbus including at Growl, The Ohio Taproom, The Bottle Shop and Grandview Cafe.

About the Author

Cheryl Harrison. Editor of Drink Up Columbus. Geek of the craft beer/board game/sci-fi varieties. Fan of patios.

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