When the garage door is open on summer nights at Warped Wing Brewing Company, you’re treated to the mesmerizing sight of Dayton’s skyline draped with the colors of the sunset.
It’s the best place in the city to watch said sunset, not because it’s so much more captivating there than on the riverfront, but because—at Warped Wing—you can enjoy it while drinking a beer. And not just any beer, but a beer that captures the spirit of Dayton’s revitalizing urban core every bit as much as Rhinegeist does our own.
The most visible signs of that revitalization are in the neighborhoods surrounding the brewery, Webster Station and the Oregon District, where local developers are breathing new life into old factories and creating new multi-family developments from scratch. It’s impressive stuff; more impressive if you understand just how poorly Dayton’s urban core faired in the decades prior to Warped Wing’s opening.
But that's a complicated and vexing topic, so let's confine our focus to the city's craft beer market. Simply put, it didn't have one. And while the reasons for that are many, most significant were the onerous brewing permit fees levied by the state of Ohio. Well, those fees were abolished in 2013, and just a year later Dayton was swimming in the stuff. Craft breweries were popping up everywhere, none larger or more ambitious than Warped Wing, which opened in January 2014.
The name is homage to Dayton’s aviation history. One of the key innovations of the Wright brothers’ first aircraft was that each of its wings could independently change its angle of incline or warp. The more warped the wing, the more lift was generated. (Modern planes use airfoils and flaps to create pressure variations, but the principle remains the same.)
Another homage is the space itself, which hits me right in my Rust Belt nostalgia bone. Once the Buckeye Iron and Glassworks Foundry, it has been transformed into a 13,000-square-foot tap room with a towering ceiling, reclaimed accents, and that alluring industrial aesthetic we all know and love. It’s a looker outside and in, and it’s contributing to Dayton’s downtown turnaround in the best way possible.
There’s food too. The Spent Grain Grill opened within Warped Wing in 2016. It offers a full menu comprising snacks, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, tacos, and desserts. Go for the beer-battered cheese curds, stay for the sriracha barbecue chicken tacos.
Then, at last, we come to the beer. Here’s three to try:
Ermal’s Cream Ale: Halfway between an East Coast cream ale and a Belgian wit, with a light body fronting mild spicy and citrusy accents.
Gamma Bomb IPA: An American IPA that’s righteously hoppy and features hints of pine.
Trotwood Lager: A light lager that’s reminiscent of the average In-Bev beer, though it's easy to recommend because it pairs so well with the fried delights coming out of the kitchen.
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Warped Wing Brewing Company is located at 26 Wyandot Street (45402).