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The Brews of Summer: Find your delight this season at Columbus breweries

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It’s blazing hot. You’re tired and thirsty. Or maybe you’re ready to party when the sun goes down. What’s better than a cold summer brew? A cold summer local brew, that’s what. With dozens of craft breweries around Columbus putting their literal creative juices to work, and many more around the state, there’s bound to be something that can quench your thirst and satisfy your taste buds.

Fruit’s Still Forward

Fruit- flavored brews are still the rage, with citrus, peach, and tropical fruit abounding in juicy infusions. For those of you who like a little grapefruit flavor but don’t like the intensity of most grapefruit beers, check out Parsons North Brewing Company’s grapefruit wheat. The flavor is more floral than citrus, smooth without the usual bitterness of zest.

If you do like the intensity of traditional grapefruit brews, go for North High Brewing’s Grapefruit Walleye APA. It has the tartness and bitterness of the full fruit, but remains balanced and juicy.

Cleveland’s Saucy Brew Works plans to open their Columbus brew pub in late summer, but in the meantime, look for cans of their Don’t Stop Wit It Belgian- style Tangerine Wit. With the spice of coriander plus the fruitiness of tangerine, this one is a perfect all- day poolside refresher.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

For a heartier fruit-forward beer, Homestead Brewing’s Bimini Road double IPA bursts with pineapple, mango, and mint avors that complement the intensity of its hops.

If you’re looking for something unique, Wild Ohio’s tea beers (yes, that’s a thing) are great for summer. With flavors like peach, lemonade, and blueberry with a hint of lavender, most of their brews are light and refreshing—sort of a slightly fizzy, alcoholic iced tea, and much more enticing than the term “tea beer” sounds in print. One of the best things about these brews is that, being brewed from tea leaves instead of barley, they’re an option for gluten- sensitive drinkers.

Backyard Best Bets

Combustion Brewing’s Sir Veza Jalapeño Infused Mexican Lager has the distinctive aroma and avor of jalapeño, with none of the bite. It seems impossible with every sip, yet it’s true. This is a beer that could be equally at home with the chips and salsa tray or riding shotgun in your mower’s cup holder.

Nocterra’s Mexican Lager, on the other hand, has the sweet fullness of corn first and foremost. My mind instantly went to the backyard barbecue, with smoky, grilled burgers, tangy sauces, and creamy side dishes. This is a beer that can bring an extra dimension to summer food.

Zaftig’s Alina Pale Ale is another light, summery, easily-drinkable selection. It’s refreshing, with an all- around hoppy balance perfect for outdoor events and parties. Likewise, Land Grant’s Pool Party Pilsner is crisp, aromatic, and great for any hot- weather occasion.

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Summer Sours

Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a gose but were wary of its sour and salty sides. Nocterra has two brews that might change your mind: The Tahitian and Hawaiian Swell Lines. Tahitian Swell Line is fruit-punch-quality pink guava forward, with a finish of strawberry; Hawaiian uses passionfruit and mango. The salt and tartness balance the sweetness of the fruit. They’re complex, but not overwhelming. If a salted slice of juicy watermelon is your thing, Warped Wing offers a “funky” Magic Melon gose, slightly salty, just a little sweet, and tart with juice.

Ill Mannered Brewing Co. brings its Pseudo Insubordination Berliner Weisse to the party, this time infused with peach—semi-sour, fruity, and bright. Sour and peach may sound like a contradiction in terms, but Ill Mannered makes it work nicely.

Still Not Convinced?

If you really, really, aren’t willing to drink craft beer, you could go with something from the big corporate brewery and still support the local workforce. But, really, why not try something more creative? If the selections so far don’t pique your interest (while they should), there’s more variety to be found.

Brew Brothers’ Staycation, a margarita- inspired gose, is refreshing and crisp, with coriander, sea salt, and lemon/lime zest. It’s not a true margarita, but it might be the next best thing, with a low ABV that will treat you better than tequila will.

MadTree Brewing, in Cincinnati, has a brut rosé IPA that is bolder and heavier than many other rosé brews. Brew Brothers’ Jerry is a sour red ale but infused with cherries and aged in wine barrels for another intense experience.

If you’re more of a stout drinker, The Brew Kettle (located in Strongsville) offers the smooth and summery Kitka coconut chocolate milk stout. Or go high-ABV with Zaftig’s 17%-intense Ol’ Rugger Russian Imperial Stout, available with a coconut variation.

No matter what your preferences are, make it a point to try these or some of the many other local seasonal brews. You may find some new hot-weather favorites.

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Food & Drink

Cameron Mitchell announces closure of Short North restaurant

Regina Fox

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After just over a year in business, a Short North Cameron Mitchell restaurant will close next week.

Harvey & Ed’s will close permanently on October 29 according to a release from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. No reason was cited.

A new concept by Cameron Mitchell will open in its place in spring of 2020. Stay tuned for more information on the new venture.

Harvey & Ed's opened in June 2018. The New York delicatessen-inspired restaurant specialized in homemade matzo ball soup, popular deli-style sandwiches, smoked fish towers, and more traditional favorites.

All current Harvey & Ed’s managers and associates will be assigned to other Cameron Mitchell Restaurant locations.

Guests are encouraged to stop by for “one last nosh” during the final week of business.

Harvey & Ed's is located at 698 N. High St. For more information, visit harveyandeds.com.

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Draft Picks: Local craft brews to please the mainstream beer drinker

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It’s football season again, and what better game-time beverage is there than cold, refreshing beer? Maybe you want to support local businesses instead of handing more money to Corporate America, but you know some of your squad will at out refuse to drink your favorite IPAs and ales, and will ask you for a Bud Light.

Or maybe you even want a break from those big flavors and want something drinkable, with a lower ABV, to go with your chips and burgers. What to do? We have some answers.

THE FOUR-LETTER WORD

Much of the mainstream beer drinker's hesitation with, and even aversion to, craft beers lies in one ingredient: hops. Americans have a love a air with hops. Many, if not most, craft breweries center their offerings around the almighty IPA. Hops are citrusy, pungent, flavorful...and bitter.

For those mainstream beer drinkers, “hops” truly is a four-letter word. Sure, hops balance sugars and add crispness and flavor, but flavor is a funny thing.

There’s a lot to be said for individual tastes. One person’s “I can’t drink mass-market beer; I need a beer with flavor” is another person’s “OMG, how can people drink IPAs? I need a beer with flavor.”

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Look for low IBUs—and by low, I mean in the teens or even single digits. While an “average” IPA has bitterness in the 40-60 range, and IPAs in the 20s and 30s are fairly mild, anything with an IBU over about 18 had Erin grimacing and sticking her tongue out with a vehement “No. No way.”

Another appeal of mass-market brews is their low ABV and the associated low carbs. Corporate beer is seen to be healthier, by those standards. But most of the craft beers we tested have similar ABV to the mass market beers.

The biggest drawback to these local beers is that you can’t grab and go at the corner gas station or even in most mainstream grocery coolers. Giant Eagle and Kroger carry a few; smaller groceries like Hill’s and Weiland’s carry some; specialty beer and wine shops carry some, but many are only available on draft, by the growler, either in the brewer’s tap room or at a specialty store.

The upside to this is that breweries are happy to tell you where to find their products, and buying by the growler ensures that you’re getting some of the freshest beer available. And, anyhow, you have two or three half-used packages of Solo cups already, right?

THE RUNDOWN

Lagers, pilsners, Oktoberfest, and Kolsch-style beers are going to be your best bets for low-ABV, low-IBU, mainstream- friendly options.

Dayton’s Warped Wing Brewing Company sells its Trotwood lager in cans as well as draft. Called “a beer’s beer” by the company, it’s malty and smooth, unassuming and balanced, a lot like Budweiwer and a little more flavorful.

Nocterra’s outstanding Trail Break helles lager, made with all German malt and hops, is easy drinking at its easiest. Another excellent choice is Old Dog Alehouse & Brewing’s Monk’s Tale—a smooth helles that started as a summer brew, but will be extended into the fall.

If crisp pilsners are more your thing, check out North High Brewing’s Life sparkling ale, full of complex flavor, or Commonhouse Ales’ Czech Please, a clean, no-frills brew with a nice finish.

Elevator’s Heiferweizen and Grove City Brewing Company’s Jolly Orange are similar to Blue Moon, delicious with a slice of orange, each having its own slightly distinct character—Heiferweizen a little lemony, Jolly Orange a little spicy.

Mexican-style lagers, similar to Corona, are generally easy-drinking and popular, with or without limes. Grove City’s A Poco was Erin’s closest estimation to a cold Corona. Land Grant’s Urban Sombrero has faint spicy and oral notes that add character.

Combustion’s Sir Veza was a universal hit with my friends. Curtis described it “light, like a light beer, but with the flavor of a lager.” At 4.5% ABV, that’s not far off.

“I'll tell you what, it smells good,” Zack said. Janie chimed in, “This would be a great beer pong beer!” Now, maybe you’re not having “that” kind of tailgate (or maybe you are), but any beer that stands up to beer pong is a testament to drinkability.

Oktoberfest-style beers generally also fit the bill. Elevator’s Oktoberfest is heavy on the malt, similar to Rolling Rock, but other brands are sweeter and heavier, reminiscent of Sam Adams beers.

Looking further into fall, Grove City’s Alumni lager is scheduled to return in November. Around the same time, Chicago’s Forbidden Root Brewing Company is scheduled to open its Easton brewery and taproom, including their super- drinkable Hoodie Weather Vienna lager.

For something slightly different (and a little further out of Central Ohio) but still excellent with salty snacks and grilled burgers, seek out Catawba Island Brewing Company’s Hot Blonde Mango Habanero Ale. It’s not like anything you’ll buy in the beer cooler of your corner store, but it’s slightly fruity, a bit spicy, and will add a little kick to your game-time cookout.

Not so much of a beer drinker, or having an upscale morning tailgate? How about mead-mosas? Yes, you read that right. Mead-mosas. Skip the wine-aisle bubbly, head to one of many specialty groceries or the taproom on the East side, and grab one of Uprising Meadworks’ bottles, like the ginger-lime Copper Knob, to mix with your orange juice.

So pass up the drive-through this football season, and try something local. You’ll find easy-going selections with flavor, reasonable ABV, and great drinkability, that your mainstream- beer-fan friends, and even you, will love.

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Food & Drink

You’ll hardly recognize newly-renovated GasWerks, fun features added

Regina Fox

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After a months-long renovation, Park Street enthusiasts can finally return to one of its most popular establishments: GasWerks.

The bar reopened over the weekend, debuting several new features including two live music stages, a large dance floor, and a food menu prepared right out of a vintage COTA bus permanently located inside the bar.

Guests can also test their skills at new games like skee-ball, and a 15-foot Space Invaders game, as well as other classics on vintage systems.

Outside, the patio features corn hole, new chairs and tables, and an open-sided Airstream camper with comfortable seating for social gathering.

What hasn't changed is GasWerks great drink specials, playful atmosphere, and welcoming spirit. The bar is located at 487 Park St. and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm- 2am, Friday from 4pm-2am, Saturday from 3pm- 2am, and closed Sunday through Tuesday. To learn more, visit gaswerksbar.com.

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