Earthworks now brewing in Heath

Written by on August 15, 2018 in Beer - No comments

Licking County gained its eighth craft brewer with the recent debut of Earthworks Brewing.

Earthworks released its first beer last week, an elderberry cherry ale named Elder Burried. The small batch production-only brewery takes its name from the area’s famous mounds built by the Hopewells more than 1500 years ago.

Owners Jaron McCoy, Steve Henry and Brady Newton are carving out a unique niche in the Central Ohio craft beer scene by brewing beers that come from the earth, so to speak. “There’s a reason we are named Earthworks,” said McCoy.

Henry is the head brewer with a background that includes a fist full of homebrew medals in addition to receiving the title of 2015 Brewer of the Year by the SODZ homebrew club and being a BJCP Beer Judge. His brewing philisophy: “We plan to stay small and stay weird.”

In addition to the elderberry cherry, Earthworks’ first few brews include a ginger lime ale, a paw paw ale, and a carrot IPA. The ingredients are all sourced locally, and in many cases foraged locally. When hiking or hunting around Licking County, the Earthworks crew is always on the lookout for ‘brewable’ materials. Last fall they foraged 350 pounds of paw paws and carefully hand sorted them for ripeness and suitability. The outcome was 150 pounds of paw paw puree which has now emerged from their freezer to provide the foundation for their newest beer. The elderberries were also foraged from area farms, meadows and forests, and a stockpile of staghorn sumac berries will soon be finding their way into a new brew. Other earthy ingredients currently in their sights include mushrooms, sassafras, birch bark, maple syrup, black cherry bark, and a wide range of herbs.

“Just as the original inhabitants of the area foraged for food, so do we,” said Henry.

What they don’t forage, they source locally, including fruits and vegetables and even local malt from Rustic Brew Farms in Marysville. Because of the limited availability of foraged materials, many of Earthworks beers will be seasonal or one-offs.

Earthworks beers are on tap in numerous locations around Licking County including The Beverage Source, Moe’s Original BBQ, Three Tigers, DankHouse Brewing, Bummie’s and Elliot’s.

Earthworks does not have a taproom, but their one-barrel brewing operation is located at 1889 Faye Drive NE in Heath.

About the Author

Bill Babbitt is a retired engineer, beer lover, and freelance writer for Beer Advocate Magazine.

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