Breweries with offerings on draft

Breweries with offerings on draft

Columbus imbibing options proliferated in 2013, offering beer enthusiasts new opportunities to buy, drink and brew to their heart's content. No doubt this influx of hops and barley is changing the way we drink.

The Spot: North High Brewing

On Tap: North High is Central Ohio's first brew-on-premises store. Customers brew 15-gallon batches under the guidance of experienced brewers. "Most of our customers don't know brewing," owner Tim Ward says, "so we explain what you're doing and why you're doing it." While you brew, enjoy one of 10 house brews and take in the decorations like tap handles made from old Ohio Stadium benches.

The One to Get: Got milk stout? The Queen Maudine stout uses lactose, a sugar unfermentable by yeast, to create a sweet, silky beer almost like a milkshake

The Spot: Seventh Son Brewing

On Tap: This Italian Village gem features a brightly lit bar, a patio with a fire pit and regular food trucks serving in the parking lot out front. You can typically find seven to eight of their nuanced beers on tap.

The One to Get: The brewery lends its names to the strong ale, balancing the caramel-like malt center of an amber with a rich blend of seven hops.

The Spot: The Actual Brewing Co.

On Tap: Inside this warehouse brewery there aren't just tanks for making beer-there's a lab to create yeast cultures, water filtration tanks designed to mimic water from all over the world and even a room where they roast coffee. This is what happens when scientists decide to make beer, says brewer Fred Lee. Founded in 2010, Actual's first beers have only been available at select bars since September, with plans to expand this year.

The One to Get: The Orthodox Winter IPA, a malty and full bodied beer sans cinnamon, for people who don't want their winter ale to taste like pie.

The Spot: Staas Brewing Company

On Tap: Donald and Liz Staas have made Delaware a beer destination with their wide selection of all-grain (no extracts) beers. Grab a seat at the walnut bar to enjoy one of 12 house brews on tap. "We're all old classics, so we have a lot of English and Belgian styles," Donald says.

The One to Get: The Belgian Quad draws the beer lovers. A dark ale brewed from Belgian yeast, with rich, malty character and a 10 percent ABV bite.

The Spot: Wolf's Ridge Brewing

On Tap: WRB earns marks with a menu of beef and lamb burgers and duck tacos, but in-house brews like the harvest wheat or the spicy Duke's Holiday ale make an impression, too. And that's the point: "The beer and the food are all part of the same continuum," co-owner and brewer Alan Szuter says.

The One to Get: The sessionable Knotty Brown Ale is more like a porter: lightly hopped with a dry finish. The name nods to the brewpub's rustic woodwork.

Growler Shops

Need to bring something to a party? A growler is always apropos

Columbus imbibing options proliferated in 2013, offering beer enthusiasts new opportunities to buy, drink and brew to their heart's content. No doubt this influx of hops and barley is changing the way we drink.

The Spot: The Daily Growler

On Tap: As Upper Arlington's beer filling station, Daily Growler offers 60 taps. Enjoy 5-ounce flights or a pint on premises before taking a growler to go. A daily special provides a cost-effective way to work through the beer menu.

The One to Get: White Rajah from The Brew Kettle. "It was the first Ohio beer to capture the essence of the West Coast IPA: very grapefruity, kind of bitter, kind of a mouth pucker," notes owner John Blakely.

The Spot: Savor Growl

On Tap: Savor Growl's mark in the beer scene is sheer volume of their offerings. The Clintonville mini market includes the city's largest walk-in: 1,200 square feet loaded with 500 beers. Add to that a wall of 60 taps for growler fills. "We like helping the smaller breweries sell their beer from kegs, so they don't have to go through bottling and distributing," owner Firas Habli points out.

The One to Get: Goose Island's Matilda Lambicus combines a Belgian pale ale with a lambic, letting transient or "wild" bacteria do the dirty work of fermentation. Expect a dry mouthfeel with fruity and sour flavors.

The Spot: The Ohio Taproom

On Tap: This Grandview corner shop pours exclusively Ohio beers; their counter pressure system purges bottles of oxygen and adds CO2. They fill growlers (64 ounces) or half-size howlers (32 ounces) and more: "We'll fill 'most anything that somebody brings in," owner John Evans offers.

The One to Get: Cincinnati represent! Fill a growler with Rhinegeist's Snaggle Tooth Tiger, a heavily hopped British IPA with spicy berry notes.

Breweries in the bottle

Reach for a bottle of local brew in your fridge at home

Columbus imbibing options proliferated in 2013, offering beer enthusiasts new opportunities to buy, drink and brew to their heart's content. No doubt this influx of hops and barley is changing the way we drink.

The Spot: Granville Brewing Co.

On the Shelves: Jay Parsons and Ross Kirk are high school friends brewing out of a renovated barn in Granville, producing Belgian styles with intimidating names like The Reaper and The Betrayer. Drink their beers on tap at Brew's Cafe, or find bottles at Crafted Drafts or Barrel & Bottle.

The One to Get: The Oppressor, a Belgian imperial amber, is like a bulked-up Fat Tire, boasting a richer flavor and higher ABV.

The Spot: Sideswipe Brewing

On the Shelves: Craig O'Herron turned his nine-year home-brewing passion into a full-fledged nanobrewery in January. His first batch of beers with fighting-inspired names like the Fisticuffs IPA (O'Herron is a trained martial artist) available only in 22-ounce bottles arrived on store shelves in December. Find his beers at stores including Savor Market, Ohio Taproom, Grain + Grape and Weiland's.

The One to Get: Elegant Hoodlum, a rich and robust smoked stout that started out great from the beginning, O'Herron says, and only got better.