Preview: Ohio Beer Festival at Brews Cafe

From the August 16, 2012 edition

In the picturesque town of Granville is Brews Cafe, one of the best beer bars you’re likely to find in a small town, or anywhere for that matter. With almost 40 craft beers on tap and about 200 different bottles, Brews is a place to which beer nerds flock. And they’ll be coming in droves this weekend for the Ohio Beer Festival event.

This Saturday Brews welcomes 10 of the best microbreweries from across Ohio for a tap takeover. Columbus’ own Zauber, Four String and Spruce Campbells brewing companies will be on hand. Even the increasingly popular, and thusly hard to find, Jackie O’s Brewery from Athens will be at the event.

If you can’t make it Saturday, visit another day. Brews is a great place for a beer and some grub. The casual open-air restaurant and bar is instantly welcoming. Belly up to the bar and you’ll be engaged in a friendly conversation in mere minutes. Come with a large group and you’ll be collectively bellowing with laughter before your second pint. The well-educated and friendly staff is perfect to guide you through the “World of Pure Imagination” beer-u-copia.

The draft selection ($4-$6) covers all styles, offering some wonderfully uncommon beers alongside some of the more well-known craft breweries. Sipping your first pint, you can peruse the massive beer coolers behind the bar and form a plan of attack for sampling the endless number of bottles ($3.25-$3.50 for most 12 ounce bottles, $8 for most bombers). Brews also serves wine and a limited liquor selection.

If beer is the reason to come to Brews, the upscale bar food is the reason to stay. The menu consists mainly of a number of hearty, delicious sandwiches, burgers, pizza and wings with some vegetarian and salads dishes as well. The Turkey Bacon Cheddar Melt ($9) consists of a pretzel bun stuffed with some of the most flavorful turkey I’ve ever tasted. The “OMG” Mashed Potato Stuffed Burger ($13) — featuring two beef patties filled with mashed potatoes and covered with sour cream and chive sauce — and the SheOHboygan Burger ($13), topped with Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds and bratwurst, are ridiculously awesome. All come with addictive homemade kettle chips.

Photo by Tim Johnson