During the last six months of 2013 I discovered some rockin’ brews being served up in our neighborhood, from local taps at dives and restaurants to fledging breweries pouring their own beers with great plans on the horizon for our local beer scene. I’m looking forward to carrying this on in 2014. But in addition to covering locally served beer, Bushwick Brews will also feature the occasional “field trip” giving you the scoop on awesome beer happenings that may require a venture on the L or the M trains.
This week’s adventure is I confess a pet project of mine and a bit of a stretch for even the most adventurous local travelers. The setting is the grand though small town of Wooster, Ohio, where I spent 13 years of my childhood and had my first formative sips of homebrew. At a whopping population of 35,000 folks, Wooster cannot lay claim to the world’s most bumpin’ night life, but as of Fall 2012 it can hold its head high in the craft beer community as that’s when Paul Fryman opened JAFB (Just A Fucking Brewery) Wooster Brewing.
JAFB is housed in an old brick building in downtown Wooster, with a large taproom serving up to 13 taps at any giving time and space to drink at a long wooden bar or a collection of sturdy picnic tables made for the brewery by Paul’s father. Two of their best brews are the JAFB IPA and the Wooster New Stout, quintessential styles with quality execution by Paul and his team. The JAFB IPA is a translucent amber with a white head and a dominating aroma of grapefruit. The aroma is indicative of taste, again largely grapefruit and seriously hoppy, finding balance in some caramel malt. The Wooster New Stout is an opaque dark brown boarding on black with a frothy tan head. It has a rich aroma and taste of toffee and chocolate and roasted coffee, with a robust body to it and dry on the tongue on the finish.
Paul Fryman grew up outside Wooster and went to college at Allegheny in Pennsylvania where he studied economics. His education could have foretold a bleak future working long hours with little sunlight as a CPA were it not for a semester abroad in Germany that changed his life. There Paul discovered quality beer, which became a crucial player in his thesis on the economics of microbreweries within the larger American beer world. After school Paul followed his taste buds, working stints at Great Divide Brewing in Denver, Great Adirondack Brewing right here in New York, and Snake River Brewing in Wyoming, before bringing it home himself.
Where can you find Paul’s delicious brews? While I know that Wooster is a top tourist destination for those looking to discover the lifestyle of the Amish (I only wish I were joking), somehow I’m not thinking it’s in the top 5 roster for many Bushwickians. But you’re in luck. JAFB beer has been served on occasion at Pony Bar in Hell’s Kitchen and in 2014 we’re looking to see it on tap in a more local Bushwick vicinity. More to come on that!
JAFB Wooster Brewing gets 5/5 stars – 1 for bringing fine brews to Wooster,Ohio, 1 for it’s hopilicious JAFB IPA, 1 for the robust and delicious Wooster New Stout, and 2 for all the future holds for this fine brewery, from bourbon aged ales to Bushwick distribution.
JAFB Wooster Brewing is located at 120 Beall Ave in Wooster, Ohio. Hours are Tues – Thurs 4pm – 9pm, Fri 3pm – 12 am, Sat 1pm – 12am, and Sun 1pm – 8pm. Beers are all $4.50 and $5.50 for a pour.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks. Erin wants to know which brews you’re drinking locally. So let her know where you’re at, what you’re drinking, and hashtag it #bushwickbrews on Instagram and Twitter. She’ll be doing the same!