And now comes part the fourth of our Columbus Ale Trail adventures. In case you didn’t know, I’m on a mission to visit all 28 stops in this year’s Ale Trail, and I’m blogging about them every time I collect four more stops. (Read about stops one, two, and three!)
The first stop for this round: Elevator Brewing‘s 13th Floor Taproom. The taproom is connected to their brewing facility – heck, it’s a corner of the brewery – a few blocks away from the restaurant.
Theirs is a great example of the taprooms that sprung up a few years ago when Ohio laws relaxed. Breweries were allowed to serve directly to customers, so they roped off corners of their facilities, pulled up tables and chairs, tapped some kegs, and away they went.
Elevator’s is pretty rustic but charming. The bar and seats are made from old kegs, the lights from barrel staves. There’s a wall of merchandise you can purchase. The draft list is written out on a chalkboard.
There are also a couple vintage gaming systems off to the side, and I’ve seen cornhole set up there, too. Depending on when you visit (and where they are in production) you may find bins of spent grains, barrels, or stacks of bottles. On one wall are maps where you can pin your hometown.
Stop #2 (and that makes 14 total, which means we’re halfway!) was Zauber Brewing. Zauber (which means “magic”) specializes in German and Belgian style brews. Their taproom is set up like a German beer hall, with long communal tables and plenty of soccer on the TVs. There’s also Das Kaffeehaus in one corner, serving coffee and German pastries all day.
One bonus of stopping at Zauber is eating at Explorers Club. Since closing their Merion Village brick-and-mortar, Explorers Club has taken over the kitchen at Zauber while continuing their food truck. Explorers Club food pairs well with the beers: nachos, beer brats, fried plantains, mofongo and Cuban sandwiches. (Pssst there’s also weekend brunch.)
Zauber makes plenty of straightforward and very drinkable beers. I’m partial to the Myopic Red and the Berzerker Belgian IPA in particular.
Lineage rotates through a pretty wide selection of beers. I’ve had everything from lagers to IPAs to stouts to pumpkin ales to cream ales to Berlinerweiss sours and on and on.
For fun, you can read my profile on them in last spring’s Columbus Monthly, where the four founding members of Lineage were named 2016 Tastemakers.
The fourth stop was up to Powell to Ill Mannered Brewing‘s taproom. It’s been too long since I’ve visited. The brewery, which started between four homebrewing friends, has been open for almost a year and a half, and already in that time they’ve expanded their production considerably.
Like Lineage, they brew a wide range of styles: stouts, brown ales, old ales, IPAs, you name it. Keep an eye on their website for an updated tap list.
I sipped an Oldmanski old ale. You don’t see many examples of this style crop up. They tend to be dark and malty, without being as heavy as a stout or porter. I’m a fan, especially in the cold winter months.
But with so many different beers available, a tasting flight may be necessary.
Ill Mannered’s taproom is small, with a couple four-tops, maybe eight seats at the bar, and a couple more tables outside. But it’s cozy and welcoming, they have some snacks, you can bring in food from nearby restaurants, and a seat at the bar has you viewing the brewery itself.
You should try the Ale Trail yourself! Learn more about it at cbusaletrail.com. Pick up a brew book at any central Ohio brewery or at Experience Columbus, and start collecting stamps! You’ve got until April 30, 2017 to visit all 28.