Photos by OHventures
It's safe to say that for most of us, our ears will perk up at the mention of the word "beer." I mean, what goes better with watching the Browns or Bengals play on a crisp autumn afternoon than a bottle of bubbly booze? Or what allows you unwind after an exhausting hike through Ohio's fall foliage than a pint of pilsner? I think you know where I am getting at - beer and adventures go perfectly together. And not just in the fall, but all year long. So rather than go on an adventure and then have a brew, why not combine two and go on a Brew Adventure?!
With Columbus Brew Adventures introduced to us this September, now you can. Bethia Woolf, the same person who brought you Columbus Food Adventures (where we embarked on a Taco Truck Tour last year), has teamed up with Jim Ellison to bring us all another exciting way to treat yourself! With Columbus Brew Adventures, you can leave your worries behind when it comes to getting a designated driver! That's because as part of your tour you are driven around in a conversion van from brewery to brewery, and you can even have a cab called for you at the end of the evening if you are a little too loose to get behind the wheel.
At a cost of just $55-$65 per person, not only do you have the luxury of a completely mapped out bar hop, you also get generous samples of some of the best beers in all of Columbus (and Ohio) while learning fun facts and the stories behind the breweries and the brews themselves, from both Jim & Bethia, as well as the staff and owners of the places you visit on the tour! Because the tours are limited in size (you can only fit so many rowdy adults in the back of a conversion van), you must pre-order your tickets on the Columbus Brew Adventures official website. The tours fill up fast, so it's best to plan ahead, especially if you have a large group!
There are currently seven different tours offered, which all vary in theme, usually according to geography. The current tours available are: The Grandview Brewery Tour, The Downtown Brewery Tour, Pitchers & Pizza Tour, Meet The Brewers Tour, Southeast Ohio (Athens) Brewery Tour, Granville & Buckeye Lake Brewery Tour, and the Columbus Distilleries Tour (this one deviates from the beer theme and turns it up a notch with locally brewed liquors from Watershed Distillery and Middle West Spirits!).
I had the privilege of being invited to join Jim Ellison on a Downtown Brewery Tour on Saturday, November 9. Without hesitation, I carved time out of my schedule (twist my arm, why don't you?) and happily made my way to the meeting location for the start of the tour: Columbus Brewing Company (CBC). This would be the first of four stops we would make that day. The tour would start at 2;30 PM and last about 3.5 hours or so.
The CBC was a great spot to start, since it is located in what is known as the "Brewery District" of Columbus (in the south central portion of the city. It's located near German Village not by coincidence, but because most of the beers were/are German). Ironically, CBC is currently the one and only brewery still located in the Brewery District (at its height, the Brewery District was home to 5 breweries in the late 1800s and early 1900s, before prohibition). All of these little tidbits of info were factoids that I learned while on the Brew Tour, from our server at CBC, Jamie.
Seated around a large rectangular table in a private section of the restaurant/bar, Jamie served us up a bounty of food to start us off - it would be dangerous to start the tour on an empty stomach! We had calamari, flatbread pizza, chicken wings, and a gargantuan pile of loaded nachos she referred to as "Nacho Jenga." We were told that CBC attempts to incorporate beer in its food as much as possible, as evidenced by their beer cheese soup and pub nachos.
After we were adequately fed, Jamie served us three very different and very flavorful beer samples made at CBC. While I was impressed by all of the beers at CBC, the one that stood out from the crowd was the Bodhi, a double IPA that has been voted best in all of Ohio by Aleheads.com! With 8.5 percent alcohol, it has a sweet finish that had me begging for more! Alas, we had to make room for the beers at the rest of the breweries on the tour (you can read more about Columbus Brewing Company on my Yelp Review)!