This past Friday, I spent the morning hanging out with Greg and Megan Whiting, owners of Hightower Brewing in Rayland, OH.
If you haven’t heard of Hightower Brewing before, you should probably look them up. Their beers are awesome, the owners are even more awesome, and they plan to kick out some even more awesome beers in moving forward. If you haven’t heard of Hightower yet, you’re sure to hear of them soon.
I heard of Hightower a few months back when a member of the Fueled By Hops Facebook group was bragging about some of their beers. So, of course, I had to take a closer look at them.
So, I asked Hightower if they wanted to be one of the first breweries interviewed on our Behind the Hops podcast. I was ecstatic when they agreed to do it.
On Friday, I headed out to Rayland, OH (about an hour and twenty minutes from Pittsburgh) to do the interview with them. For those of you who don’t know where Rayland, OH is, just picture a place about 10-15 minutes north of Wheeling, WV.
Ok, so, I’ll be the first to admit that Rayland, OH isn’t the most populated area. In fact, driving up to Rayland, the last thing you’d expect to encounter is an awesome brewery.
Once I got off the highway and made a series of turns on backroads heading uphill, I came up a small sign signaling the entrance to Hightower’s parking lot.
Pulling in to the parking lot of the brewery, you’ll notice a house behind the brewery. Yes, that is the home of Greg and Megan Whiting, the husband/wife duo that owns and operates the brewery. In fact, Greg and Megan are the only employees of the brewery.
Now, the brewery is in a country setting and is pretty secluded. At first, this alarmed me. However, when I got out of my car and saw the beautiful countryside, I knew exactly when Greg and Megan chose this location for their brewery… it’s absolutely beautiful.
The Story of the Brewery
I wont give away too many details here, since Greg and Megan will be on an upcoming episode of our podcast, Behind The Hops. However, I’ll give you a brief rundown.
Greg started homebrewing a few years back and eventually opened a brewery in his garage. (Yes, he actually sold beer from his garage)
Greg started brewing West Coast IPAs but quickly switched over to the New England IPAs (which I’m a big fan of).
After some time, he quickly outgrew the garage environment and opened up a much larger location on his property.
About six weeks ago, Greg and Megan opened their current location on the front of their property. This property includes a large bar area, quite a few tables, and a family/dog-friendly outdoor area where they host musical acts and food trucks for the guests.
So, How’s the Beer?
In short, the beer is awesome. For being a small brewery, in a very small town, Hightower is pumping out some fantastic brews.
When I arrived, I had the Fragments of Reality Double IPA. This beer is hopped with Mosaic, Citra, CTZ and Idaho #7, so you grab lots of great flavors. I got a lot of mango flavors, however, I’m sure some could easily grab notes of pineapple and grapefruit.
This beer is rates a 4.2 on Untappd and honestly, that might be a little light on the scale. I’d personally give this beer closer to a 4.3 or 4.4 – yes, it’s that good.
On the way out, I grabbed a few 4-packs of Through My Lens – Pineapple, Mango Sour. I didn’t try it at the brewery, however, I did have some when I got home. I have to admit, this beer was awesome. I loved it so much that I shared the rest of the beers with some of the members of Fueled By Hops.
What impressed me most?
So, it’s impressive that Greg and Megan are a husband/wife duo who runs all facets of the business. Seriously, these guys not only brew all the beer, but they also do all of the bartending. To me, that’s quite impressive given the number of hours they likely work. (You don’t mind supporting some hard-working small business owners)
Greg impressed me with his love of beer and his desire to brew some of the best beers out there. Greg explained to me that if he isn’t 100% satisified with a batch, he’ll “dump it down the drain”. I love hearing this because it shows that Greg is a perfectionist who will stop at nothing to brew great beer.
Is it worth checking out?
Yes, absolutely. I honestly can’t say enough good stuff about these guys. First, the brewery is gorgeous and the beer is fantastic. That should be enough to get you to check it out.
Second, Greg and Megan are just awesome people who are constantly striving to create the best beer out there. Once you meet these two, you’ll want to support them. They are a great duo who are customer-focused. You almost feel like you’re part of the family when you walk in there.
You can hear more about the Hightower Brewing story on our upcoming podcast, Behind the Hops.