Just a few short years ago, a central Ohioan could count the number of local brewing operations on the fingers of one hand.
Today, the city’s craft beer scene is decidedly larger – and growing by the day as new breweries open their doors. Seventh Son Brewing tapped its first kegs in April, and Wolf’s Ridge Brewing was slated to open in May.
It took some time for the local craft brewing trend to reach Columbus, but it makes a lot of sense for the community, says Jen Burton, co-owner of Seventh Son.
“Columbus is a popular place to test products and is home to a very eclectic mix of people. Columbus needs things that other places such as New York are oversaturated with,” Burton says. “Also, there has been a push for local college grads to stay in Columbus.”
Every announcement of a new craft brewery has been met with excitement, and that enthusiasm from central Ohioans has been the push a lot of amateur brewers needed to go pro.
“I’ve been brewing since 1994, and we wanted to become involved in Ohio,” says Four String Brewing owner Dan Cochran.
Options these days range from stouts and porters to imperial IPAs and Belgian tripels.
IPAs in particular are popular, from Hoof Hearted Brewing’s Musk of the Minotaur IPA (notes of pine, stone fruit, floral and pine resin) to Four String’s Big Star White IPA (citrus with notes of grapefruit). Stouts are also proving a common choice for breweries, such as Seventh Son, which offers Black Sheep (a foreign export stout), and North High Brewing, which offers milk stouts in chocolate and strawberry.
Though the average beer style is represented by several local breweries, each brewery has something unique to offer.
North High, for instance, does not limit patrons to its on-tap options. It also sells home-brewing supplies and has facilities for beer lovers to brew their own beers on premise.
“We know people who were driving two hours to Strongsville, Ohio (home of brew-on-premise operation the Brew Kettle) to drink craft beer,” says co-founder Tim Ward. “So we saw an opportunity that wasn’t being filled.”
Central Ohio’s current microbrew line-up includes:
-Barley’s Brewing Company, Short North
-Barley’s Smokehouse & Brewpub, Grandview Heights area
-Buckeye Lake Brewery, Buckeye Lake (Licking County)
-Columbus Brewing Company, Brewery District
-Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus, downtown Columbus
-Four String Brewing, Short North
-Gordon Biersch Brewery, Arena District
-Granville Brewing Company, Granville
-Hoof Hearted Brewing, Marengo (Morrow County)
-Hoster Brewing Company, Franklinton area
-Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, Athens
-North High Brewing, Short North
-Rockmill Brewery, Lancaster
-Seventh Son Brewing, Short North
-Weasel Boy Brewing, Zanesville
-Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, downtown Columbus
-Zauber Brewing Company, Grandview Heights
Amanda King is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growl at the Moon
So you’ve found a beer you like on tap, but it’s not sold in bottles or cans. How can you bring it home with you?
It’s another emerging Columbus trend to the rescue: growlers.
The half-gallon, refillable, recloseable glass bottles are available at a variety of central Ohio spots that offer beer on tap. They’re proving so popular – quite possibly, at least in part, because of the growing number of local craft beer options – that some businesses are offering growlers as their main selling points.
“The beer is a lot fresher and is unpasteurized, and contains no additives, unlike beers and cans,” says John Blakely, owner of the Daily Growler in Upper Arlington. “We have ours specialty made – we chill them in a walk-in cooler. … They are more eco-friendly than cans or bottles; customers bring them in, and we sterilize them and bring them a new, clean one.”
Savor Growl in Clintonville and the Ohio Taproom in Grandview are two other growler-centric businesses. On top of that, Whole Foods (with locations in Upper Arlington and Northwest Columbus), the Barrel and Bottle (at the North Market) and House Beer (in the Short North), as do such restaurants as 101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin and World of Beer in the Brewery District and Easton Town Center.