5 O'Clock Somewhere: Brews Cafe

  • Joe Maiorana photo
  • Joe Maiorana photo
  • Joe Maiorana photo
From the 08/12/2009 edition

Let's go ahead and call Granville the state capital of pleasant surprises. Located about 35 miles east of Columbus, through a somewhat dreadful stretch of State Rt. 161, this tiny hamlet has everything to love about a small Midwestern town.

Grab an ice cream at Whit's Frozen Custard. Stroll a bit along Broadway. Then hit Brews Cafe, one of the most charming spots in Central Ohio.

The bar will likely be somewhat quiet until Denison University students return later this month. But summertime is prime time for beer lovers, so grab a seat outside on the second-floor patio overlooking Broadway and prepare to be wowed.

The hand-carved wooden bottle that serves as the front door handle is a sign of the unparalleled suds inside. This is our beer issue, and Brews is definitely a beer bar.

For starters, there are 36 on tap - a stunning collection of ales, lagers, barley wines, fruit beers and porters that rotates often and includes something for every taste. In addition, more than 200 types of bottles are brought in from around the globe, a number that shames most specialty carry-outs.

The list is far too long to memorize or even print. It's safe to say they'll have your favorite seasonal microbrew. Most drafts run $4.50. Domestic bottles cost $2.75, with their craft and import cousins starting at $3.25.

A focus on beer sometimes means less emphasis on food, but Brews offers a smattering of deli sandwiches, entree salads, a traditional Cuban and many offerings prepared in a brick oven.

Try the Barbeque Slider Trio - a small sammy each of Kansas City beef brisket, Carolina pulled pork and porter barbecue pulled chicken served with fries and coleslaw. For $10, it's the perfect complement to the high-end beer you're downing in a delightful frenzy.

When the cafe closes, head up to Brews Too, a smaller bar on the third floor that served as a Masonic temple during the early 1900s. It's got a smaller beer selection, live music on weekends, pool, darts and the same great vibe.