The brewery takes it’s name from the kink that the Wright Brothers -Dayton’s most famous sons- engineered into the wings of their first “plane” that allowed the first human flight.
Situated in down-town Dayton, Warped Wing has been in operation for just over a year now and seems to be garnering the interest of a good chunk of the region’s craft beer crowd with it’s range of eclectic and lovingly-made ales and beers.
We rolled in to the old converted steel foundry on Wyandot street that is the brewery’s home, just after 8pm, where a youngish crowd were enjoying some of the 5 or 6 beers available that night on tap; there was a good background hum of conversation and relaxed revelry all against the backdrop of the brewery plant itself – a magnificent vision of stainless steel vats, fermenters and pipework – where a magnificently-bearded brewery employee was busily washing off the plant after that days brew session.
The atmosphere inside was warm, convivial and welcoming – laden with the aromas of an earlier mash and heavily-hopped boil.
As I wanted to try everything in sight, I opted for a full flight of Warped Wing beers: Ermal’s Belgian-style cream ale, Flyin’ Rye IPA, Hop Smuggler IPA and Pirogue – a Belgian Quad style ale.
First-up, Ermal’s Belgian Cream Style Ale: this was a lovely hazy yellow and had ample spicy notes in the nose – with a satisfying peppery-spicy dryness that really quenched my thirst, even though it was just a small taste.
The Flyin’ Rye IPA was assertively hoppy, yet restrained enough to allow the cracker-bread, spicy, graininess of the rye to shine through – I liked this one a lot, as I have a peculiar fondness for beers brewed with rye.
Hop Smuggler was an odd choice of name for the next beer, as it makes very little attempt to smuggle the hops past you, preferring to allow their full power of their resinous dankness to smack you fully in the face; slightly hazy and beautifully balanced this was a great IPA.
Next the Pirogue. Belgian Quad style ale is not something that we get a lot of in the UK, but I wish we did – complex and powerful (9%!) it satisfied with every sip, and if I was only allowed to have one more glass of any of the Warped Wing beers, it’d be this one…just excellent.
And then as if it wasn’t enough to be sat in the brewery itself; drinking excellent, achingly fresh beer that had been brewed not more than a couple of feet away from me; Bill looked around and said “Hey, there’s Joe!”.
Bill explained that Joe was one of the founders of Warped Wing and we should go say hello, as Bill works closely with Joe’s brother Andrew.
As we talked, I handed Joe a YIMB card and he insisted – despite only coming in to the brewery for a post-basketball beer with friends – on giving me and our small party a whistle-stop tour of the plant. I can’t tell you how good it is to be given a tour by someone so obviously knowledgeable and proud of their brewery and business.
Warped Wing is doing all the right things: they’re brewing twice a day, six days a week, they have a modern canning line (they’re the only folks in Dayton who are canning their own), they have a barrel-ageing program on the go, and are supplying their excellent range of beers to 50 or so outlets – including at least one local stadium.
Warped Wing’s head brewer is a guy that came from the New Holland brewery and – unbelievably – doesn’t run a pilot system. He just runs full 66BBL test batches by dialling them in on the kit, and as Joe testifies: 99.9% of the time he gets it smack on and a great beer ensues.
I really enjoyed my evening at Warped Wing and now wished I’d asked more questions and taken many more notes and pictures…
I’d like to extend my thanks to Joe for taking the time out to show us around and telling us exactly how they do their thing.
I guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot more of Joe and his folks’ beers – the quality, branding and style, plus their obvious passion for doing what they love will see the Warped Wing empire expanding rapidly.
I insist that you go there and take in some of their beer and hospitality if you’re in the area.