Things We Love: Matthew Barbee’s picks

From the July 10, 2014 edition

Matthew Barbee, owner of Rockmill Brewery in Lancaster, has managed to combine his passion for beer with his long-time passion for music. Recently, Barbee has been holding concerts in the brewery’s tasting room — most recently showcasing artist Foy Vance from Northern Ireland in June. “I like having our brand associated with unique and original things here in Ohio,” Barbee said, “so when music is happening that I’m really passionate about I like having the beer connected to that.” Rockmill will host artists Counterfeit Madison, Jordan O’ Jordan and Andrew Graham this Sunday, July 13.

The National

I got turned onto The National way back before I moved to Ohio, when I was in L.A. with a buddy of mine. It’s a very kind of emotional, atmospheric sound that I find relaxing. There’s a music festival in Cincinnati called Music Now that I got to sponsor the backstage for. So I had the beers set up backstage for The National and other bands.

Mission Coffee and Cafe Brioso

I like to do pour-overs every morning. I get Chemex and I get all my beans from Mission. I have been going there since they opened. They work with some of the top roasters from all over the world, and I get to take those beans home and make a fresh cup every morning. Café Brioso also has an amazing bean, and they’re one of my favorites in town as well.

Paul Kahan Restaurants

All of Paul Kahan’s restaurants, in general, are [some] of my favorite things. Avec and Blackbird are two of my favorite spots, and I recently went to Nico [Osteria], which blew my mind. Blackbird was my first, I believe, and then I anxiously awaited the opening of Avec and the others.

Mountain biking

There’s a mountain-biking trail close to the farm at Chestnut Ridge. I’ve been trying to figure out how to compensate for the exorbitant caloric intake of making and drinking beer. I got connected to Roll Bicycle Company [of Columbus], and they set me up with this amazing mountain bike. They actually stage rides down at the farm all the time. This biking culture is starting to make a connection to Rockmill. We have bikers coming down and doing loops and coming in for beer afterwards.

California hiking

I always liked being outside when I lived in California. I found myself always trying to escape the city and find a trail in the mountains. I miss the ocean and the mountains — absolutely. But being back in Ohio, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many things I can access here — like the mountain biking — and you can find places to hike around here, too.


My grandpa was a winemaker, so I grew up passionate about wine. I dabble in viticulture and enology. I have always been interested in wine and food, so it was a lot more recent I became interested in beer and food. I find wine particularly relaxing these days because I don’t have to critically assess it like I do my own stuff.


I was pleasantly surprised when I came back from L.A. that we had some wonderful yoga studios here in Columbus — like Bikram and Balanced. I love having access to places like that to relieve stress. In Chicago during the cold winter months I practiced Bikram, but even before that at Miami of Ohio I took classes during undergrad. I was really struggling with stress management there for a while and yoga has been a great tool for me.