Here’s the game: put together a six pack of the beers you think best represent Columbus. The beers have to be brewed in the greater Columbus area, and they have to be regularly available, although not necessarily in bottles or cans. It’s not an easy task. Harder still if you’re somewhat visible in the craft beer community and you might be facing some of the brewers you left off the list. No ties, no honorable mentions—just a virtual six pack. Here’s mine:
The first beer on my list is the obvious choice: Columbus IPA by Columbus Brewing Company. It’s a classic IPA that just continues to hold its own in a crowded category. Nobody in Columbus has brewed a better IPA, and most brewers in town would back me up on that.
Number two is going to be Commonhouse 614 Good. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, Commonhouse gives Columbus back a buck out of every 6 pack you buy of this beer, and that’s not a little deal. Moreover, this is a smooth and balanced amber ale. They call it an Ohio Common Ale, but it’s basically a flavorful, easy drinking amber.
Rockmill deserves credit for being one of the first brewers in Ohio to take a winemaker’s approach to beer, building their brand by coordinating tastings with chefs. Rockmill’s Dubbel is a deliciously complex ale that compares favorably with old school Trappist dubbels, and pairs wonderfully with food.
Wolf’s Ridge added coffee to a very delicate cream ale. It should have been a miserable failure. It wasn’t. Daybreak is so popular people forget that that the cream ale, Clear Sky was first. The deftness with which the addition of coffee is handled is a testament to the thoughtfulness Chris Davison brings to the brewhouse. Rock Star.
Seventh Son deserves a nod for their Super Pale Ale, Humulus Nimbus. It’s an aggressively hopped, west coast-inspired beer that straddles the alleged line between Pale Ales and India Pale Ales. This one’s for the hopheads, and it’s good.
This last pick is where I get into trouble because I’m leaving out a whole bunch of worthy contenders, but I’m going to pick Sexy Weekend by Sideswipe. I’ve really been digging light bodied beers lately (not that you can tell), and I’m consistently blown away with just how tasty this slammer is. I could drink it by the sixtel.