Tap Talk Vol. 3
HiHO Brewing Co.
“Researchers”: Mike Searl & Alex Hall, 02-07-2019

Patrons line the bar at HiHO Brewing Co.
Stephen Mule
As always, we at the Falls Free Press are willing to shoulder the burden of sampling beer at area breweries and report our findings. This time around, we visited HiHO Brewing Co.

HiHO, located at 1707 Front Street, has quickly become a Cuyahoga Falls institution since opening in 2017—even with the “coming soon” sign still hanging two years later. The taproom is large and open, with live music occasionally featured despite somewhat unforgiving acoustics. The food menu is larger than most breweries; we sampled the Brimfield Bread Oven hot pretzel sticks and were more impressed by the beer mustard accompaniment than the red pepper aioli.

HiHO owners Ali and Jon Hovan began home brewing in 2007 before Jon began studying to become a certified beer judge and completed a program in Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering. The Hovans returned to their home state of Ohio in 2015 and opened HiHO two years later.

We sampled 12 HiHO beers during our visit in late December—each $10 flight is served in frustrating carriers that can’t slide around the tables, lest the contents spill. As for the beer itself, the True Pilsner, Gorges Blonde Ale, and Chuckery Trail Red Ale are probably the best choices for new craft beer drinkers—the Pilsner has a touch more alcohol at 6% abv, while the Blonde has a refreshing hint of citrus. The Signal Tree ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is pleasant but forgettable, while the HiHO Ho Ho Holiday Ale’s aroma boasts notes of honey and chocolate alongside traditional holiday spice flavors, but the Winter Warmer Ale almost steals its thunder. We appreciated the collaboration with Akron Honey Co. that contributed sweetness, but a dry/bitter aftertaste nearly ruined it. The “Touchdown Brown Ale” should please Northeast Ohio football fans, at least in name, but the smooth flavor finishes bitter. The Bossy Lady IPA packs a lot of flavor, but its bitterness is mild for a 6.8% abv brew. On the other hand, the 2-Hour Delay White IPA punches up the bitterness to a fault, resulting in a near-ammonia quality. Mr. Mike’s “Shake it Off” Oatmeal Stout uses subtle bitterness for flavor balance, meanwhile, and the Roasted Coffee Ale, with coffee sourced from Akron Coffee Roasters, is drinkable compared to a coffee stout. Finally, the 11.3% abv Diamond Back Barleywine is dangerously smooth, but perhaps a touch too sweet.

The HiHO Ho Ho Holiday Ale, Bossy Lady IPA, Roasted Coffee Ale, and Mr. Mike’s Oatmeal Stout were our favorites overall, but we found the beers overall flat—good starts, but weak finishes. That being said, we remind readers that we’re not beer experts, so it’s best to visit HiHO for your own taste test. You might even see us there.

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