For Columbus beer nerds such as myself, it feels like Christmas. Columbus Brewing Company, the city’s oldest and most decorated brewery—boasting six medals over the past nine years at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup—has given us the gift we’ve all been waiting for: a taproom.
The long awaited pourhouse has finally come to the city after the 31 year-old company relocated to a larger warehouse with room to expand three years ago.
“We started brewing in a small space in the brewery district, so for a long time there simply wasn’t space for a taproom,” says CBC Operations Manager Tony Corder. “So once we moved into our new location [at 2555 Harrison Rd] several years ago, we were finally able to expand.”
The taproom, which is physically connected to the brewing space, feels sleek and modern with polished wood chairs and exposed ceiling rafters. A nice interior touch comes in the form of a wrap-around mural bedecking the interior, depicting what serious CBC fans will recall as the different mythical beasts featured on each of the brewery’s Insane Wanderer IPA series.
The new space features 24 taps that combine tried-and-true favorites, such as Columbus IPA and my all-time favorite red ale, Uncle Rusty. With a slate of ambitious, exciting brews not available anywhere else, there’s sure to be an ale or lager available for every taste. Currently featured on the menu are a pair of sour ales from the brewery’s sour program, an initiative many likely aren’t yet aware of.
“We’re a few years into our sour program, and we’re doing things authentically,” says Corder.
While kettle-souring techniques allow for a quickly produced beer, the quality of sour ales aged on wood over longer periods of time simply o er better results. Corder also notes that while the brewery does have plans to bottle and distribute a select number of these sour beers, the CBC taproom is currently the only place they’re commercially available.
One of these beers on tap now is Crocodile Tongue, an oak-aged blonde sour ale with brettanomyces yeast that is aged on peaches. While this beer has never been distributed by the brewery, it did take home a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup in 2018.
Also available is Somethin’ Tequila, a tequila barrel-aged sour with lime and grapefruit peel that took a year and a half of careful aging to peak. And if sour beer isn’t your thing but you’re still feeling adventurous, worry not, as the brewery also offers a rotating selection of beers from its barrel-aging program.
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One of these, Baggared, represents an under-appreciated style perfect for cooler: the scotch ale. Rich with a malty sweetness with a touch of peat to boot, Baggared sets itself apart from many big barrel-aged beers for one main reason.
“We aged it in scotch barrels instead of bourbon barrels, which are normally used. I think it’s unique, and it’s really exceptional,” says Corder.
Other big, barrel-aged beers perfect for the encroaching winter weather include Steel Dawn, an imperial stout featuring vanilla bean and coffee adjuncts, and Derailed Meeting, a hefty imperial brown ale aged on Weller Bourbon barrels.
Another interesting seasonal highlight at the CBC taproom is its voluminous slate of wet-hopped IPAs. These brews (another seasonal favorite of yours truly), can only be made once a year, as newly-harvested hops are overnighted from as far away as Washington state to create an impressive series of IPAs featuring single hop varietals. Different ales showcase fresh Cashmere, Citra, Simcoe, and Idaho 7 hops; there are a remarkable number of beers done in this style considering the costs of brewing them. The newly picked hops lend a bright, earthy flavor to the IPAs that is simply not achievable without a fresh harvest.
While no hot food is served from the space, the taproom hosts a rotating variety of food trucks each week. For the month of November, visitors can expect to see local favorites like Dos Hermanos on Nov. 9 and Nov. 23. Other food trucks include Paddy Wagon, Por’Ketta, and Blu Olive.
The taproom, which opened its doors on September 18, lets patrons select their pour size, with options for different beers ranging from 0.1 L to 0.4 L. A variety of perennial favorites and taproom exclusives can be purchased to go, in 32 oz. crowlers (large-volume cans sealed to order) or 64 oz. growlers.
And while you still have some time before the winter holidays roll around, why not treat yourself to an early present with a stop at the new Columbus Brewing Taproom? Chances are you’ve been waiting a while for this one.
The new Columbus Brewing Company is located on 2555 Harrison Rd. For hours and operations, visit columbusbrewing.com.