This week, we can add one more high-quality, culinary product to the list of foods being made here in Columbus.
On Saturday night, Middle West Spirits and Cleveland chef Jonathon Sawyer (The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodle Cat) launched the product of a two-year-long partnership. Tavern Vinegar Co. is a line of craft-made, barrel-aged vinegars designed with the chef and home-cook in mind.
“We’re a culinary company first,” says Middle West Spirits co-owner Ryan Lang, adding Middle West and Sawyer bonded over their shared sustainable practices and locally sourcing philosophies. Sawyer, who had been making vinegar in the basement of his Cleveland home for years, moved the vinegar production to Middle West Spirits two years ago.
The result of this Ohio-focused collaboration is seven vinegar varieties made from beer and wine and aged (not distilled) in a variety of barrels. The techniques they are using, Lang says, are very old-school, taking some of the vinegars two years to properly ferment.
And they’re not just great in food—they fittingly work well in cocktails, too, as the team at Middle West proved on Saturday night, adding vinegars to specialty drinks (a favorite included OYO bourbon, Stout Vinegar, brown sugar simple syrup and black walnut bitters).
For now, bottles of Tavern Vinegar ($9-$12 for 200mL) can be found at the Middle West Spirits distillery (1230 Courtland Ave., Short North) and online at tavernvinegar.com. Tavern Vinegar Co. also recently signed with Jeni’s distribution company Eat Well, with hopes to get on specialty store shelves within the year.
Here’s a quick look at the first batch of Tavern Vinegar Co.’s offerings:
Craft Beer Vinegar (classic): Balancing vinegar with a cider-like profile, this vinegar is made from Middle West Spirits’ sour mash beer made from Ohio soft red winter wheat
Craft Beer Vinegar (select): Made from a single-origin strong German wheat beer and matured in oak bourbon barrels
Craft Beer Ale Vinegar: Crafted from an Old Man Winter Ale, this vinegar is malt-like with an aroma of English Ale, toasted oak butter and marmalade toast
Stout Beer Vinegar: Dark hued with tastes of soy sauce, molasses, coffee, roasted chickory and tamarind
Chardonnay Wine Vinegar: Fruity and tart with a dry oak finish, this vinegar is matured in oak barrels for 14 months
Riesling Wine Vinegar: Feminine notes of honey suckle, jasmine, elderflower and white peach. Crafted from a blend of dry Austrian Rieslings
Rose Wine Vinegar: Bright and balanced with cranberry and cherry notes. Crafted from a blend of rose wines from Le Grande Cote