With more than 50 breweries scattered throughout Ohio, you definitely have plenty of places to choose from to set off on an imbibing OHventure!
I by no means am a big enough beer connossiour to have traveled to all of these breweries. However, I have been to a good amount of pretty awesome beer joints along the way, and I have compiled a handy-dandy list of my recommendations. The following businesses are NOT paying me to do this...I just truly believe these are some great breweries! Please feel free to comment with your favorite spots! Click here to get an extensive list of breweries (not an OHventures page).
Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland: Without a doubt, Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) is the most popular and well-known brewery in the state. People clamor year 'round for the infamous Christmas Ale that appears during the holiday season (and right now in July) and the sweet & dry Dortmunder Gold; and the self-deprecating Burning River Pale Ale with citrus and hints of pine are adored all year long. They even pay homage to famous Ohioans with their beer names, such as Commodore Perry IPA (he would be proud).
I'd be hard pressed to find beer drinking Ohioans who haven't tried and fell in love with GLBC beers. But, not all have been to the actual brewery. Take it from me: GO! You can see above that you can indulge in a crisp and refreshing sampler of all of the beers at GLBC by going to the brewery in Cleveland. You also can enjoy some good food (such as the savory pot roast) in the historic building in which the brew-pub is situated. You can enjoy private tastings, tours, and even brew schools! Many more awesome events take place here throughout the year as well. It's one for the Bucket List for sure!
2. Columbus Brewing Company, Columbus: While Columbus Brewing Company is slightly off the beaten path (tucked away in - appropriately - the Brewery District), that's where it gets a bit of its charm. It is somewhat of a secret to those who dare not divert from the safe routes of High Street, Olentangy and Lane Avenues. This brewpub has a fantastic decor and an amazing menu that is surprising and fun. If you're looking for the best locally brewed craft beer, look no further. CBC offers more than 6 different beers (certain beers available only during certain seasons). My suggestion? Get the SAMPLER and taste all of the beers in all of their glory: The Columbus Apricot Ale and the 1859 Porter range from light and fruity to dark and hoppy, respectively. There's a beer for all personalities. I once visited in March in which the seasonal beer of the month was the "Arnold" in celebration of the Arnold Fitness Classic. It got its namesake by the very strong hoppy bite it had...I wish it were around all year, but that's why it's fun to go back and see what new beers they have. The food here is also equally as impressive. No matter what I get for the main course, I always get the spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer!
Photo by Rust Belt Brewing Company
3. Rust Belt Brewing Company, Youngstown: Rust Belt Brewing Company faces steep competition against Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, but holds its own! Truth is, Rust Belt Brewing Company (which just opened last year) has some great beers, such as the Rusted River Irish Red Ale and the Coke Oven Stout. It also has a great theme going for it, complete with awesome graphics and slogans: "Get Rusted." It truly is a must! They have tasting tours that can sometimes be found on Groupon!
4. Fat Head's Saloon, North Olmstead: Even though post is focused on beer, I have to say, the FOOD at Fat Head's Saloon is what is resonating in my memory. Take one look at the photo above of the gargantuan burger with roasted red peppers, bacon and cheese and a side of homemade chips and you will know what it's called Fat Head's! But of course the amazing food is paired with fantastic award winning beers like Head Hunter Pale Ale, Up In Smoke Porter, and Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale (is your mouth watering yet?! That stuff is yummmmy). Fat Head's also offers tours, which is an added bonus! And the ambience here is super laid back and perfect for a pre-concert meal & brews.
5. Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus, Columbus: This place has a really unique feature in that you can earn an MBA if you go here enough. Seriously. Go here at least once a month and try the special brewed-on-site Beer Of The Month, and you get your MBA (Masters in Beer Appreciation). Of course you have to live close by and become a regular to make this something plausible, but it's definitely worthwhile. Get a punch card and make it happen! The brewery is located right on High Street in downtown Columbus, and is perfect for the after-work crowd of young professionals. It has a beautiful tin roof and tasty eats as well! Some of the great beer highlights are India Red Ale, Double Columbus (an Imperial IPA), and Flat Ass Tired (American Amber). Brewery tours are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month at 4PM and are $20. There's also a number of retailers throughout Central Ohio where you can pick up a 6-pack!