Frugal Foodie Mama: Exploring the Local Brewery Scene in Columbus, Ohio

Friday, July 27, 2018

Exploring the Local Brewery Scene in Columbus, Ohio

With over 40 breweries & microbreweries, Columbus, Ohio is quickly becoming a must-visit destination for craft beer enthusiasts...

With over 40 breweries & microbreweries, Columbus, Ohio is quickly becoming a must-visit destination for craft beer enthusiasts.
This post was created in partnership with Experience ColumbusAs always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.


When I moved back to my home state of West Virginia after living in the Columbus, Ohio area for 8 years, Columbus was just then starting to experience a growing craft beer movement. While local breweries were very few in number (think maybe Barley's, Columbus Brewing Company, & Elevator Brewing downtown), craft beer tap takeovers in local bars had started to become more & more popular. In fact, these tap takeovers is how I first experienced and fell in love with craft beers.

Fast forward 8 years later, and the craft beer scene in Columbus has totally evolved into a full-fledged local brewery movement. In fact, there are now over 40 breweries & counting in the Columbus area alone! I knew I had to get back to C-bus to explore the local brewery scene. I spent two days in the city- even embarking on a guided brewery tour- and I didn't even get to a fourth of the breweries in the city!

Even though I didn't get to experience everything Columbus's local brewery scene has to offer on this most recent visit, I did get a good taste of what the city has been brewing up since I moved away. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite craft beer gems from Ohio's state capital...

Breweries that Brunch.

My first brunch & brew combo experience was at Rockmill Tavern in Columbus's Brewery District. The tavern itself is actually an extension of their brewery which is located on a farm in Lancaster, Ohio.

One of my favorite discoveries in Columbus was dining at a couple of breweries that also happen to have a killer weekend brunch menu. I mean, how can you go wrong when combining locally crafted beers with brunch favorites like thick cut bacon, decadent french toast, & fried chicken? ;)

My first brunch & brew combo experience was at Rockmill Tavern in Columbus's Brewery District. The tavern itself is actually an extension of their brewery which is located on a farm in Lancaster, Ohio. The brewery uses water from the farm's 90 foot deep limestone well to brew their Belgian inspired farmhouse ales. The tavern carries a rotating tap of at least a dozen of the beers brewed at the farm at any one time.

The cornmeal crusted cheese curds served with a side of warm maple syrup from Rockmill Tavern in Columbus, Ohio

So what should you order when you are brunching it at Rockmill? Start with the Bier-Mosa, a tasty mix of their Witbier & orange juice. Then order their cornmeal crusted cheese curds served with a side of warm maple syrup (pictured above). For the main event, go with the Fried Chicken Biscuit if you are craving something savory or the French Toast with a brioche custard if you are wanting something a little more on the sweet side. And a side of their crispy Witbier bacon is essential, you all. 

You should most definitely do a flight of their beers to get a trust taste of what all Rockmill Brewery in Columbus, Ohio has to offer

And you should most definitely do a flight of their beers to get a trust taste of what all Rockmill Brewery has to offer! My personal favorite happened to be the Cask Aged Tripel which is aged in whiskey barrels from Middle West Spirits, a local micro-distillery. 

Offering 12 taps, a full brunch menu, and pool access (yes, a pool!), Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen in Columbus, Ohio offers a modern vibe with a touch of the eccentric with their 80's inspired artwork adorning most of the walls in the restaurant.

For brunch stop #2 during our weekend stay, we headed to Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen in the Italian Village area of Columbus. Coming from a gal who hasn't ventured to the Italian Village since her days of going to cask tappings at St. James Tavern in 2010, I hardly even recognized the area! 

As one of my longtime beer drinking buddies & current Columbus resident friends stated when we met for a few brews later that day, these new local breweries have decided to open up shop in some of the less than savory areas of Columbus and have helped to "gentrify" them. The breweries move in, the business comes, and the area starts to reinvent itself. 

Get an order of the Brunch Ballz at Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen when in Columbus, Ohio- they are donut holes on crack, you all

And Hoof Hearted Brewery has been a part of the reinvention of the Italian Village area. Offering 12 taps, a full brunch menu, and pool access (yes, a pool!), this brewery & kitchen offers a modern vibe with a touch of the eccentric with their 80's inspired artwork adorning most of the walls in the restaurant.


Offering 12 taps, a full brunch menu, and pool access (yes, a pool!), Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen in Columbus, Ohio offers a modern vibe with a touch of the eccentric with their 80's inspired artwork adorning most of the walls in the restaurant.


The BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato) from the brunch menu at Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen in Columbus, Ohio

So what should you order when you are brunching it at Hoof Hearted? First be sure to order yourself a Bloody Mary- they use their own Bloody Mary mix & a pepper infused vodka. Another great option would be a pint of their How Can We Make This Look Casual? brew, their stout flavored with vanilla beans & cacao nibs.  Next, get an order of the Brunch Ballz- they are donut holes on crack, you all. We also went with the BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato- pictured above) and the Nacho Breakfast. You heard that right- nachos for breakfast!


Sample All the Local Beers with a Built-In DD.


One of the best ways to really get a feel for the growing local brewery scene in Columbus, Ohio is to book a guided tour with Columbus Brew Adventures.

One of the best ways to really get a feel for the growing local brewery scene in Columbus is to book a guided tour with Columbus Brew Adventures. Why book a tour versus going it on your own? 

  1. Your guides know their stuff. They know the history of the city as well as the behind the scenes tidbits of each brewery. They are passionate about local beer & the local food scene.
  2. No planning! Let the tour service do all of the hard work. Choose one of their already established brew tours or work with CBA to create your own private, personalized tour.
  3. Everything is included in your ticket price- the transportation, light snacks/appetizers, the brewery tours, and the tastings. 
  4. And the absolute best reason to book a brewery tour? You get a built-in designated driver! ;)

One of the best ways to really get a feel for the growing local brewery scene in Columbus, Ohio is to book a guided tour with Columbus Brew Adventures.

We embarked on the 3 1/2 hour Grandview & Brewery Triangle tour making stops to tour & sample beers at Smokehouse Brewing, Actual Brewing Company (pictured above), & the Four String Brewing Taproom (pictured below). 


One of the best ways to really get a feel for the growing local brewery scene in Columbus, Ohio is to book a guided tour with Columbus Brew Adventures.



Casual Spots to Grab a Brew or Two.


When you are looking for a more chill, laid back spot to enjoy a few locally brewed beers, then a stop at The Daily Growler near German Village should be a part of your agenda while in Columbus. While not an actual brewery, The Daily Growler does boast 60 taps with a majority of those taps dedicated to locally produced or Ohio made beers.

When you are looking for a more chill, laid back spot to enjoy a few locally brewed beers, then a stop at The Daily Growler near German Village should be a part of your agenda while in Columbus. While not an actual brewery, The Daily Growler does boast 60 taps with a majority of those taps dedicated to locally produced or Ohio made beers. In fact, I got a little preview of Wolf's Ridge Brewery when the bartender at the Growler suggested I give their Clear Sky Daybreak Coffee Vanilla Cream Ale (pictured above, left) a try when I told him that I am a stout & porter lover, but I was looking for more of a lighter summer beer. Boom! He knew right away to suggest. 

The Daily Growler has indoor & outdoor patio seating, plus an entire space upstairs complete with pinball machines. You can also order food from the Big Mamma's Burritos kitchen right next to the bar.


If you are looking for a brewery & bar with a great outdoor space, then Seventh Son Brewing in the Italian Village is the place for you. They have four flagship beers on tap as well as a nice selection of monthly & seasonal beers. Not only can you get great locally brewed beer there, but they also have a rotating selection of food trucks at the brewery seven days a week. 

If you are looking for a brewery & bar with a great outdoor space, then Seventh Son Brewing in the Italian Village of Columbus, Ohio is the place for you. They have four flagship beers on tap as well as a nice selection of monthly & seasonal beers.

Grab a ticket at the bar & pencil in your own flight of beers from Seventh Son's tap selection. My personal favorite was the Chester Copperpot (I definitely appreciated the Goonies reference!)- an Altbier style ale with a nice smokiness & herbal notes.


When You Want a Classy Dinner with Your Beer.


Comprised of a brewery, tap room, & a dining room, Wolf's Ridge Brewing in Columbus, Ohio is a must-do if you are looking for a fancy dinner out, but still want a good beer with your meal.
Photos courtesy of Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Comprised of a brewery, tap room, & a dining room, Wolf's Ridge Brewing is a must-do if you are looking for a fancy dinner out, but still want a good beer with your meal. Led by Chef Seth Lassak, the menu in the Wolf's Ridge dining room changes seasonally & dishes are created with beer pairings in mind. The brewery's head brewer, Chris Davison, started with out with a humble beginning in homebrewing. At just 32 years old, he is now an award winning brewer who is in charge of brewing beers for an entire dining room as well as special brews for the taproom & a full-fledged line of bottled beers under the Wolf's Ridge label. 

Impressed yet? ;) Wait until you try the food, my friends...

Comprised of a brewery, tap room, & a dining room, Wolf's Ridge Brewing in Columbus, Ohio is a must-do if you are looking for a fancy dinner out, but still want a good beer with your meal.
Photo courtesy of Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Wolf's Ridge has a full lunch and dinner menu, as well as an impressive weekend brunch menu (yep, another brewery that brunches!). And have I mentioned their kids menu? Wowzers! If you decide to dine there on the weekend, I would definitely recommend making a reservation in advance as it gets quite busy in the dining room. 

With over 40 breweries & microbreweries, Columbus, Ohio is quickly becoming a must-visit destination for craft beer enthusiasts.


Have you been to Columbus, Ohio recently?
What is your favorite brewery in Ohio's capital city?



For more information & to start planning your local brewery adventure in Columbus, Ohio soon, be sure to visit the Experience Columbus website!


Looking for the perfect spot to call home base during your brewery adventures in Columbus? You cannot go wrong by booking a room at the swanky Westin, a historic boutique hotel conveniently located in downtown Columbus, Ohio!

Looking for the perfect spot to call home base during your brewery adventures in Columbus? You cannot go wrong by booking a room at the swanky Westin, a historic boutique hotel conveniently located in downtown Columbus! It is walking distance to German Village & the Brewery District, & a short Lyft ride to the all other areas of downtown. They also offer a 3:00pm late check-out on Sundays for those us who may have overdid the local brewery scene just a tad on a Saturday night. ;)


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