Local Brew Review

We tasted this Blackberry Ale and spent some time inside North Canton’s own Shale Brewing Company

Article by Chris Watson

Photography by Terry Fravel

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

Beer: Shale Blackberry Ale

Brewery: Shale Brewing Company

Style: Lager-based Fruit Beer

ABV: 4.3%

IBU: 10

Flavors: Sweet and fruit-forward, followed up by smooth bread and a refreshingly tart blackberry finish.

Aroma: Bright berry nose

Overall Impression: This purplish ale is a well-balanced and highly drinkable delight to be enjoyed year-round

Recommended Pairings Options from Shale Taproom

Jalapeño UnPoppers

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Barvarian Soft Pretzels

Whiskey Peach BBQ Chicken Flatbread

“Craft beer for all people is a sentiment that runs through the company to its heart.”

How did a craft brewery from North Canton, Ohio end up named after a field of sedimentary rock underlying much of Appalachia? About fifteen years ago, a group of fellows with a passion for homebrewing decided to get together and start up a real brewery. After running into conflicts with the originally chosen name, a friend of Owner Jeff Joliat suggested “Shale” as a nod to the booming natural gas and oil industry targeting the Utica Shale in the area. The name took hold, and years later Shale Brewing Company offers an extensive lineup of exquisite craft brews, many of which are themed after that self-same industry.

They’ve been brewing brown gold at the spacious Whipple Ave location in Jackson Township since 2018, where they lovingly and meticulously produce small batches of unique craft beers. But they aren’t pretentious about it in the slightest. In fact, their slogan is “craft beer for all people,” and that sentiment runs through the company to its heart. Making craft beers accessible and making everyone feel welcome are core to Shale philosophy.

“Our staff is inviting and treats all people as equals,” says General Manager Nick Maurer. “We really want to make it fun for everybody, and not be just another bar scene.”

Shale Brewing Company has put a focus on brewing eminently drinkable and desirable craft beers for every palate. Not only can a customer find anything from a stout to a seltzer, but the brews are delicious enough and approachable enough that patrons could enjoy styles outside their normal comfort zone.

“We serve every glass of Shale Blackberry Ale with a fresh blackberry to really enhance that flavor. It’s by far our best seller.”

Brewing in small batches of just a few half-barrels at a time provides a lot of flexibility to experiment with new and unique flavor profiles, which is how Shale Brewing Company created its most popular brew. The Shale Blackberry Ale is a lager-based fruit beer with real blackberry puree added after fermentation, and it’s a real crowd-pleaser. That’s why it ended up as a permanent resident on the Shale Brewing Company taps, found alongside other time-tested originals such as the Golden Lager, Cold Rolled Ale, Deep Driller Porter and Roughneck Red.

“We serve every glass of Shale Blackberry Ale with a fresh blackberry to really enhance that flavor. It’s by far our best seller,” says Nick. “Personally, I’m also partial to the Deep Driller Porter. It’s got a great flavor profile, robust and a little on the darker side. They’re both classics.”

The luscious libations aren’t the only reason to stop in, however. The edible fare is as scrumptious as it is thoughtfully devised, and prepared with largely locally grown produce. The Whipple Ave location holds Stump! Trivia nights every Tuesday, a classically entertaining evening out for friends or family. They co-host twice monthly bike rides with Ernie’s Bike Shop through the summer, with escalating prizes for returning participants. There are also quarterly ticketed dinners featuring four off-menu specialty courses and four brews to compliment. To top it all off, Shale Brewing Company is a caring community member and a partner in the North Canton Cares Food Pantry, providing their own resources to assist this local organization feeding hungry families.

Visit the Shale Brewing Company website at ShaleBrewing.com for more information on locations, events, menu items and more!

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