Exploring the Columbus Ale Trail in a weekend
Columbus, Ohio. I’ll admit that I knew nothing about this city until a few months back when I made a trip out there. Chances are, you probably don’t know much either. But much to my surprise, a weekend in Columbus was barely enough to experience even a sliver of what the city has to offer.
I’ve been to a number of “foodie cities” in the US – Portland, New Orleans, Charleston, etc, but Columbus was never really on my agenda as a food/drink destination. Let me get right to the point and say that the 2 days I spent there convinced me that it absolutely should be on your travel list if you are interested in good food, a hopping beer scene, fantastic local coffee, food markets – basically all the signs of a vibrant local food community.
I absolutely LOVED that they have a “beer trail” and a “coffee trail” highlighting local breweries and coffee shops, respectively. It’s apparent that they love their brews! Kris and I had some tough decisions to make as to the breweries we would visit in our short time there, but we managed to get to 4 different ones(one off the trail), and concluded that the beer scene is hopping indeed!
On our first night, we stopped at the taproom of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, which was a great start for us beer lovers. There are over 20 taps, and the whole vibe is pretty chill with lots of locals. Kris and I both got flights to begin to get a taste of what’s on offer. Wolf’s Ridge had some super interesting beers – including an orange creamsicle cream ale, a coconut Imperial IPA, a smoked lager, and a whole other host of amber ales, saisons, porters, etc. From what we heard chatting with some locals, Wolf Ridge changes their taps frequently, but always have some unique brews and some solid standbys – perfect! They also have a full-fledged restaurant out front, but a visit to the taproom is a must.
We spent an entire afternoon at Seventh Son Brewing in the Italian village. This was my favorite stop – the brewery itself is set in a converted garage with a huge, open taproom and a large patio. We enjoyed flights at the bar and chatted with the friendly bartenders. I especially enjoyed the Saison and Kris’ favorite was the Humulus Nimbus pale ale. If you get hungry, grab food from a food truck in their parking lot.
A short walk away from Seventh Son, is Hoof Hearted. They are not a participating brewery (yet) on the trail as they are so new, but I highly recommend a stop here. The taproom is one of the most modern looking I have seen with bright, open spaces, and their beers are fun, as is saying their name fast repeatedly ;) Plus, each beer here comes with its own playing card with a cartoon drawing and description so makes for good conversation. All in all, a funky place with good beer. The food looked good too, although we didn’t get any.
First of all, this is a brewery that allows you to come brew your own beer. Whaaaat? Basically, they have a bunch of different types of beer that you can choose from, and they will help you brew it. For real. Pretty cool, right? Definitely something I’d do if I lived in Columbus! The beers here were decent, the people watching was good, and it was cool to see the brewing action right behind the bar, but this would not be my top choice if you are pressed for time.
All in all, a great weekend of brewery hopping! Check out more info about the ale trail HERE. Oh, if you visit four breweries, you can get a commemorative pint glass at one of the Experience Columbus Visitor Centers. Go to all 28 and get a custom deck of playing cards!
Although we went to these over 2 days, they are within walking distance of each other. In general, most of the breweries on the trail are located downtown and can be accessed by walk, or by Uber, so that makes life really easy.
The beer scene is really exciting, as is the coffee and the food scene too – stay tuned for my upcoming posts on those!
We were guests of Experience Columbus for our weekend trip, but all opinions are my own.