It’s safe to say, Columbus is officially a beer city. With over 40 breweries, and counting, on the Columbus Ale Trail, it can be quite the task to visit them all. If you are keeping track, that’s basically a brewery every 1.2 weeks. While extremely doable (if you are an avid beer lover), I want to make it a little bit easier by breaking them up into digestible chunks. Featured in this round-up are the downtown Columbus breweries from Franklinton, the Brewery District, and the Arena District. Due to their close proximity, a lot of these can be lumped together for an epic brewery hopping day.
Please remember to drink responsibly and always use a designated driver, the CBUS, or a rideshare service.
467 N. High St., Columbus
Food: Yes, newly revamped menu!
Serving up brews for the past 25 years, Barley’s is one of Columbus’ oldest breweries. Located right across the street from the Convention Center, it’s in an easy location to visit before one of the many events at Nationwide Arena or a game at Huntington Park. Barley’s is one of the few USA brewpubs continuing the tradition of brewing “real” ales. Every Friday they have Firkin Friday, which is when they tap a firkin (old English unit of volume, about ¼ of a barrel) the old-fashioned way by using gravity and a faucet to fill your glass.
Date night best bet: Take your date upstairs for some friendly competition on their old-fashioned arcade games in the Brewcadia room.
401 N. Front St., Columbus
Gordon Biersch was started in 1988 in California and from there it has grown to 35 locations across the US. Even though they are one of two chain breweries located in Columbus, all of their beers are still brewed on-site. They were inspired by the Reinheitsgebot of 1516, which was a purity law limiting the use of ingredients in beer. At GB, they only use malted barley, hops, yeast, and water to brew their beers.
Date night best bet: Pair this brewery with a hockey game and take advantage of their happy hour or late night menus.
503 S. Front St., Columbus
One of the only breweries in the old brewery district, this is the downtown location of Lancaster’s scenic Rockmill Brewery. In this industrial meets rustic design, you get the feel of being downtown, but with a cozy, country vibe. The tavern serves all of the beer brewed by Rockmill with some guest taps, seasonal cocktails, wine, and, of course, coffee. While we’ve only been for brunch (try the bier-mosa), we have heard great things about their happy hour and the chicken sandwich.
Date night best bet: Every Wednesday they have ½ off all bottles of wine. Perfect for sharing!
Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus
161 N. High St., Columbus
Food: Yes, this is a full restaurant.
Step into the bar and you will feel as if you have been transported back in time to the pre-prohibition era. And in actuality you have! The building was built in 1897 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks. Many of the architectural elements are originals, including the ornate bar. From the stained glass windows to the billiard room in the back, this place screams date night!
Date night best bet: Reserve the Owner’s Table on the second floor overlooking the bar for an intimate dinner.
Elevator Brewery – 13th Floor Taproom
165 N. 4th St., Columbus
Patio: Kind of, when the garage doors are up it is even better!
Walk a couple of blocks over from Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus and you will end up where the beer is actually brewed. The atmosphere here is a lot more laid back and has an industrial brewery feel. There is a garage door that stays open during the warm months and games to play if you are interested. Or you can just chill and talk to the bartender, because that is fun too.
Date night best bet: On the third Saturday of the month they hold brewery tours for $20, and all the proceeds go directly to the Ryan Stevens Fund for Life.
Platform Beer Co.
408 N. 6th St., Columbus
Food: Yes, rotating food trucks
Patio: Yes, two!
With a location in each of the three C’s (Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati), Platform Beer Co. is making a name for itself in the state of Ohio. Located northeast of Columbus in an industrial part of town, this brewery gives you an amazing sunset view of Columbus. Good thing they have a small rooftop patio!
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing
215 N 4th St., Columbus
Food: Yes, two options the taproom or dining room
Arguably one of the most innovative breweries in Columbus, everything about Wolf’s Ridge is pure beer-lover and foodie heaven. With its Instagram-friendly decor, you instantly feel as if you are not in Columbus anymore, making this the ultimate date night spot. The dining room (reservations are advised) gives you a more formal, upscale experience with unique menu options. Whereas the taproom filled with picnic tables, encourages community-style dining by offering snacks (those garlic fries are everything!) and shareables.
Date night best bet: They offer a Beer Class 101 throughout the year which includes a brewery tour, the hows and whys of specific beers, and a pint of your favorite brew at the end.
(Warning: with two seriously loved breweries in the same location, parking can sometimes be difficult to find.)
Brew Dog Franklinton
463 W. Town St., Columbus
Food: Yes, burgers and small bites.
Patio: Yes, two!
The newest of the downtown breweries, and in our opinion, the one not to be missed! This is BrewDog’s 3rd location in Columbus, the first is just southest in Canal Winchester and the second is in the Short North (both worth checking out!). The two-story building design with a rooftop bar has everyone going crazy this summer and we are hoping winter won’t show up anytime soon! With over 48 beers on tap, there is something for everyone here.
Date night best bet: Rooftop bar, sunset, city view, need we say more?!
From the sporty atmosphere to colorful beer cans and unique beer names, we can’t tell you exactly what it is, but Land-Grant is definitely one of the local favorites of the Columbus brewery scene. With a story behind every beer, most of them are in collaboration with local businesses and benefit local charities. They proudly support the Columbus Crew (#savethecrew) and the Buckeyes by brewing several beers in honor of them.
Date night best bet: Join the Euchre league that starts in January!
All images by Hannah Green unless otherwise noted.
Feature image credit: @brewdogfranklinton