Endeavor Brewing & Spirits is a Popular Spot for Beer and Creative Cocktails

This Grandview-area “brewstillery” offers beverages that appeal to a wide variety of tastes and has already won awards for its nascent spirits lineup.

Nicholas Dekker
From left: Endeavor Brewing & Spirits bartenders Lucas Row (seated) and Kari Day with co-founder Scott Talmage and cofounder and brewmaster Cameron Lloyd

Endeavor Brewing & Spirits takes pride in the unique claim that it is Columbus’ only “brewstillery.” The Fifth by Northwest operation began as a brewery five years ago before adding a small in-house still to produce gin, vodka, rum and whiskey.

It started with beer. The trio behind the brewery—Scott Talmage, Tyler Provo and Cameron Lloyd—drew inspiration from their collective international adventures. “We were dreaming up ideas in Tyler’s basement,” Talmage says, “and the thing that united all of us is that we’re beer and spirits geeks and all lived abroad. Tyler in England, France, Italy; Cameron in Germany; me in Scotland and Chile. We put together our stories and experiences of beer and spirits around the world.”

Endeavor makes its home on Fifth Avenue, the original site of the now-shuttered Zauber Brewing. The Endeavor team was able to purchase the taproom and brewing facility as a turnkey operation in 2017, and quickly launched the brewery that September.

Lloyd, who worked at Zauber, heads the brewing and distilling operations. Talmage says they follow the maxim of “rewarding attention but not demanding it.” This means the diverse beer menu doesn’t clamor for approval with over-the-top ingredients, but instead thoughtfully explores a variety of styles.

“We believe in beer and spirits that aren’t going to punch you in the face, but are balanced and subtle,” Talmage says. “Not some pastry stout that you only want three sips of or some IPA that will burn your face off. Every one of our beers uses different yeasts, hops and malts. They’re all true to style, but they’re creative in other aspects.”

A good example is the Icelandic Saga, a beer inspired by Talmage’s camping trip to Iceland. “It’s so unique, I don’t know if I’ve had another beer like it in the U.S.,” he says, calling it Endeavor’s signature beer. He pitched a list of ingredients to Lloyd, who wove them together in a low-alcohol brew that forgoes flavoring or aromatic hops and instead uses wheat, malts, sage and star anise. “It fits a lot of different people’s palates because it finishes so clean,” Talmage says. “It’s the best example of what we are right now.”

Shortly after the brewery got on its feet, the founders added a small still. “It was always a discussion of having a distillery,” Talmage says. “The question was the feasibility.” At the end of 2018 they embarked on the yearlong process of opening the distillery. They started selling unaged spirits like rum, gin and vodka in 2020; in the spring of 2022, they unveiled their first collection of aged spirits.

And it seems to be going quite well. Endeavor took home six medals at the 2022 U.S. Open Whiskey & Spirits Championships. “It’s great to get that external validation that we make good liquid,” Talmage jokes. Endeavor’s opening roster included a vodka, white rum, botanical gin and dry

gin. The white rum, distilled from turbinado sugar, took home a silver, while the juniper-forward dry gin collected a bronze in its category. Likewise, all four of Endeavor’s aged spirits—fresh out of barrels in early 2022—took home medals at the competition. The bourbon whiskey snagged a bronze, malt whiskey and cask rum took silver, and the cask gin grabbed a gold.

Guests can sip Endeavor’s spirits at the bar or taste them in the cocktail menu. Talmage is particularly proud of the cask gin and cask rum. The cask gin takes Endeavor’s botanical gin and ages it in toasted cherry wood, which imparts floral notes and a stone-fruit sweetness. Talmage notes that it sips like a whiskey. Meanwhile, the cask rum is white rum aged in French and Brazilian oak. With its cinnamon and gingerbread flavors, Talmage says it’s often mistaken for a spiced rum.

In the “Fortes” section of the drink menu, Endeavor combines the brewstillery’s two strengths into beer-centric drinks fortified with spirits. Each one has a punny name, like the Lenny Spruce is Not Afraid, featuring Endeavor bourbon whiskey, Märzen lager and sweet vermouth.

Just like Zauber before it, Endeavor is a haven for Columbus soccer fans, even serving as the epicenter for the Save the Crew movement, which announced its success in the taproom. It’s a home for supporters of every ilk, often showing European matches on its many TV screens.

“Our goal is to have something for every palate,” Talmage says. “Within these spirits and the beer, if you like alcohol, we have a pint or a glass of something you’ll like.” 

Four Endeavor Drinks Varieties to Try

Altura Latin Lager: A beer that brings together the three founders’ ideas. Talmage wanted to use smoked Patagonia malts; Provo suggested flaked corn; and Lloyd was inspired by dry-hopped Czech pilsner. They combined all three for a light and sweet lager reminiscent of popular Latin American brands; Lloyd uses a citrus-heavy New Zealand hop to build in a natural lime flavor.

Gaul: This whopping 11 percent ABV imperial IPA is described as a “symphony of flavors.” The hoppy punch has a dry finish, with notes of honey, apricot and lime.

Blueberry Smash: A popular cocktail that blends house vodka, St. Germain, blueberry-infused simple syrup, lemon juice and sparkling wine.

Planter’s Punch: For this take on the classic tiki drink, the bar enhances Endeavor rum with lime juice, demerara syrup, allspice dram and bitters.

Endeavor Brewing & Spirits

909 W. Fifth Ave., Fifth by Northwest, 614-732-0086

This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.