The beer-lover passbook returns for a fourth go-round

Last month, Columbus Craft Beer Week coincided with the launch of the 2018 Columbus Ale Trail. This is the fourth iteration of the Ale Trail, a partnership between the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, Experience Columbus, Drink Up Columbus, Cliff Original, The Ohio Taproom and Columbus Brew Adventures. The trail encourages users to pick up a passport, visit participating breweries, order a couple pints and collect stamps in the booklet. Launched in 2015, the first Ale Trail featured 20 breweries; this year the number of stops has grown to 41.

With the ever-expanding pool of participating breweries, the Ale Trail swag has shifted to a more progressive rollout. Instead of requiring a completed book to earn anything, explorers can now earn a pint glass at one of the Experience Columbus Visitors Centers after collecting four stamps. Twenty-one earns them a keychain crafted by Griffen Hollow Studio (redeemable at Experience Columbus or The Ohio Taproom), while all 41 nets a special pennant at The Ohio Taproom.

Breweries with multiple locations, such as BrewDog, Elevator Brewing, Four String Brewing, Ram Restaurant and Brewing and Rockmill Brewery now require only one stamp per brewery, as opposed to one stamp per location.

Greater Columbus has welcomed new breweries to this year's trail, including Endeavor Brewing (which replaced Zauber), Pretentious Barrel House and Random Precision Brewing. Even more significant is the growth of breweries beyond the outerbelt; these represent most of the additions to this year's Ale Trail, and include Buck's Brewing, DankHouse Brewing and Trek Brewing in Newark; Dalton Union Winery & Brewing in Marysville; and Double Edge Brewing in Lancaster.

Columbus Ale Trail passports are available from Experience Columbus or at any participating brewery.

The current trail runs through May 1, 2019. Visit columbusaletrail.com for more information.