Tasty brews await Columbus beer lovers willing to make the drive.

If you look at a map of breweries around Columbus, you’ll notice an increasing concentration beyond the city’s borders. Given the rapidly growing market for beer everywhere, it should come as no surprise that so many small towns and suburbs are supporting a brewery—or even multiple. The result: Beer is becoming a destination, a chance to hop in the car and discover something different than Columbus’ sudsy standard-bearers. Here are eight brewery taprooms, all within an hour’s drive from Downtown Columbus.

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31 W. Winter St., Delaware, 740-417-4690, staasbrewing.com

Liz and Donald Staas’s brewpub recently celebrated six years in business. Located a block off Delaware’s main street, the corner brewery was quickly embraced as a neighborhood watering hole when it opened. Two years ago, the couple welcomed their daughter to their family, and last year they upgraded to a one-barrel brewing system. Other than that? Not much has changed. The duo have brewed more than 1,000 batches of all-grain beer, creating roughly 100 different styles. While their menu runs the gamut from IPAs to porters to saisons, English and Belgian styles are the house specialties, such as the ESB, golden ale and Belgian quad.

The taproom is open only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. On Saturdays, they see more out-of-town visitors, including beer aficionados collecting stamps on their Columbus Ale Trail passports, but familiar faces tend to fill the space on Thursdays and Fridays. “I can honestly expect to know the name of every single person who comes in for the first four hours,” Donald says. Like the Staases, many regulars live within walking distance of the pub.

While the Staases are always experimenting with new beers, they have no plans to order a massive system and start distribution. “We try and keep it fresh,” Liz says. “We are still finding new beers to brew. Every now and then we’ll kick around bigger ideas. But no, we like what we’re doing already, and we really enjoy it.”

Atmosphere: The Cheers of Delaware, Staas is a cozy and convivial corner pub featuring a rotating selection of all-grain beers (meaning no extracts).
Signature beer: The Evangelist Belgian Quadrupel (10.5% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 28

Nocterra Brewing Co.

41 Depot St., Powell, 614-896-8000, 
nocterrabrewing.com

Atmosphere: Within months of opening, Nocterra Brewing transformed an old railroad depot building, hidden down a side street in Powell, into a lively and family-friendly hangout. The spacious grounds include taproom seating on old French school chairs, a raised platform with a chalkboard wall for the kids, covered porches and a beer garden with picnic tables, fire pits and cornhole. Food trucks park behind the taproom, and the occasional freight train rolls by, to the excitement of kids of all ages.
Signature beer: Beta Flash New England IPA (6.7% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 18

Outerbelt Brewing

3560 Dolson Court, Carroll, 740-993-0448, outerbeltbrewing.com

Atmosphere: One of Central Ohio’s newest breweries, Outerbelt Brewing set up shop in an old Lowe’s store in June 2019. The taproom and production line inhabit half of the 25,000-square-foot building. Compared to many of the neighborhood breweries opening these days, Outerbelt was designed for scale. Ten house beers are on tap at any given time, and many are being canned already. Owners Dan Griffin, Davey Landis and Robert Landis hope to start kegging and distributing their beers soon.

Signature beer: Outerbelt IPA (7% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 24

Three Tigers Brewing Co.

140 N. Prospect St., Granville, 740-920-4680, threetigersbrewing.com

Atmosphere: Located a block off Granville’s picturesque main drag, Three Tigers combines the expertise of house-brewed beers with Vietnamese-inspired street food at Mai Chau on Prospect. The taproom is split in half: The bar side features full service, while guests on the kitchen side order at the counter. Visitors can sip a kolsch or hazy IPA while noshing on steamed buns, wings and banh mi. Three Tigers recently became a community rallying point when head brewer Patrick Gangwer died; breweries across the region stepped in to support Three Tigers and Gangwer’s family.

Signature beer: My Two Cents IPA (7.5% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 32 

Buckeye Lake Brewery

5176 Walnut Road, Buckeye Lake, 740-535-6225, buckeyelakebrewery.com

Atmosphere: Buckeye Lake Brewery sits a block away from its namesake and has become a signature part of any visit to the waterfront. Many of its beers nod to the easy-going nature of lake life: low alcohol but flavorful brews like the Blue Goose cream ale, Buckeye Lake blonde, Hennosy’s Irish red and Pontoon pale ale. The brewery features an umbrella-covered patio strung with lights and hop vines growing up strings. The adjoining Chef Shack serves tacos, sandwiches, fish and chips, and jambalaya.

Signature beer: Blue Goose Cream Ale (5.1% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 32 

Yellow Springs Brewery

305 Walnut St., Yellow Springs, 937-767-0222, yellowspringsbrewery.com

Atmosphere: Almost exactly an hour from Columbus, Yellow Springs Brewery sits conveniently next to the Little Miami Scenic Trail, making it a popular stop for cyclists. While the taproom sports a standard light-industry-turned-brewery vibe, the multi-level back patio features games, bike racks and a view of the trail. Inside, employees’ artwork adorns the walls. Locally made snacks, food trucks, board games and a well-executed roster of pale ales, saisons, brown ales and IPAs round out the experience.

Signature beer: Zoetic American Pale Ale (5.2% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 59 

Eldridge & Fiske Brewing Co.

9 E. Columbus St., Lithopolis, 614-829-3186, eldridgefiske.com

Atmosphere: Even though Eldridge & Fiske opened this year, the space and design have the feel of a beloved old neighborhood pub. The establishment takes its name from its two founders—Dave Eldridge and Tim Fiske—and inhabits a century-old building that once housed a hardware store. The exposed brick walls and wood accents are the cozy backdrop for sipping light pub ales: ciders, kolsches, English milds, hefeweizens and Vienna lagers.

Signature beer: Raspberry Pomegranate Kolsch (4.2% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 17 

DankHouse Brewing Co.

161 Forry St., Newark, 740-915-6413, 
dankhousebrewing.com

Atmosphere: The word “dank”—meaning funky, earthy, rich—has long been popular with potheads, but it’s also catching on with beer lovers. Owned by Josh and Heather Lange, DankHouse Brewing’s taproom and production facility sit on 8 acres of land in Newark. Guests have the choice of enjoying a dank IPA or two on the spacious patio, or inside the gray and white taproom that’s tinged with green light. Add in live music, local food trucks and something called “Angry Yoga,” and DankHouse quickly becomes a destination.

Signature beer: Super Fantastic IPA (7% ABV)
Miles from Downtown: 40