The local beer scene continues to expand

It's the common theme year after year in Columbus brewing: growth. There are changes, renovations, closings and canceled plans, to be sure, but by and large beer — and brewing — in Columbus is only expanding.

And it's not just in the city proper. Nearly every suburb has or will have a brewery to call its own. More and more smaller towns outside Columbus boast their own breweries, from Newark to Heath, Lancaster to Marysville. The Columbus Ale Trail, which encourages beer aficionados to trek across Central Ohio in search of beer, saw a record number of completions this year, and the new trail — the fourth annual — now features 41 stops. By comparison, the 2015 inaugural trail featured 20.

And as usual, more is on the way. Every neighborhood, from the existing to the emerging, will soon claim its own watering hole. Parsons North Brewing Company is coming to Parsons Avenue, Nocterra Brewing will join Powell this fall, Olentangy River Brewing Company is under construction in Lewis Center. Arizona-based Blasted Barley Beer Company seems to be making progress on their brewpub by the Columbus Commons. Ohio Brewing Company, based in Northeast Ohio, is planning a huge brewery and taproom in Milo-Grogan. And that Columbus Brewing Company brewpub is still in progress.

Here's a look at what Columbus breweries have been up to, and what's on the horizon.

The Actual Brewing Company

655 N. James Rd., East Side

(614) 636-3825

actualbrewing.com

Style range: rye beers, stouts, light lager, saisons

Signature: Fat Julian imperial stout

Actual continues to brew, bottle and can with “tender loving science” from its East Side taproom, although the operation is preparing a westward expansion. The brewery is aiming to open a taproom on the southern end of Clintonville this September. Sitting in the same plaza as Lucky's Market, the taproom will include a small patio, a secondary brewery run by veteran Columbus brewer Scott Francis and a menu crafted by Alana Shock of the now-shuttered Alana's Food & Wine.

Barley's Brewing Company

467 N. High St., Short North

(614) 228-2537

barleysbrewing.com

Style range: English styles

Signature: MacLenny's Scottish ale

Barley's refreshed its branding and revamped its menu last year, and this year it continues on the steady. The brewpub plays host to local crowds and visitors from the Convention Center across the street, all while making use of the Brewcadia arcade and bar upstairs, along with private events in the Underground space. In addition to the mainstay beers, Barley's continues to brew exciting one-offs and to offer Firkin Friday specials.

The Brew Brothers at Scioto Downs

6000 S. High St., South Side

(614) 295-4700

sciotodowns.com/venue/restaurants/brew-brothers

Style range:pale ale, amber ales, stout

Signature: Redhead amber ale

Brew Brothers is now in its third year as the in-house food and drink option for the Scioto Downs entertainment complex. The brewpub pairs house-made brews with an easy-to-like menu of pizzas, burgers and other pub favorites. Stylistically the brewpub plays it safe, but it draws visitors with a large restaurant space, live music, a patio and plenty of food and drink specials.

BrewDog

96 Gender Rd., Canal Winchester

(614) 908-3051

brewdog.com/usa/bars/usa/dogtap-columbus

Style range: IPAs, stouts

Signature: Punk IPA

BrewDog didn't hesitate after opening its massive production and distribution facility in Canal Winchester last year. No sooner had the doors opened than BrewDog announced the DogHouse, a partly crowd-funded hotel connected to their new Overworks sour beer facility. Before you could blink, BrewDog USA CEO Tanisha Robinson was pushing the plunger to blow a hole in the earth, in a typical BrewDog groundbreaking for the hotel. The other big news is the addition of Short North and Franklinton brewpubs; the Franklinton stop features a rooftop patio looking toward Downtown. Community involvement has been the other focus, from special events and collaborations, to floating the idea of buying the Columbus Crew SC.

Columbus Brewing Company

2555 Harrison Rd., West Side

(614) 224-3626

columbusbrewing.com

Style range:American IPAs

Signature: Bodhi IPA

CBC has hit its stride with its West Side production facility, offering a larger rotation of bottled beers like Bodhi, Creeper, Thunderlips and the SFW farmhouse-style ale. This year the brewer launched volume one of its Insane Wanderer IPA, a recurring series that uses a different blend of hops each time. Owner and brewmaster Eric Bean says plans continue for a taproom at the production facility, as well as development of a CBC brewpub in the proposed East Market in the renovated Franklin Trolley House near Franklin Park.

Combustion Brewery & Taproom

80 W. Church St. #101, Pickerington

(614) 834-9595

combustionbrewing.com

Style range: blonde ales, IPAs, stouts

Signature: Combustion IPA

Combustion Brewery has entered its second year of serving Pickerington as the neighborhood brewery, and it seems to have been warmly embraced. Located in the former Pickerington Creamery building, the brewery has expanded its tap list to include a wide range of styles, all of which are augmented by a menu of house-made bar snacks, plenty of live music and a steady rotation of local food trucks.

Commonhouse Ales

535 Short St., Brewery District

commonhouseales.com

Style range: California common, IPAs, wheat beers

Signature: Six.One For Good Ale

Commonhouse Ales continues as the city's only certified B Corp brewery, which means it is held to rigorous accountability standards and sends a portion of its proceeds to the Commonhouse Shares fund through the Columbus Foundation. To date Commonhouse has given over $10,000 to local nonprofits through the fund. Its offerings, bottled and sold around the city, have expanded to include the Czech, Please pilsner and the IPA for the People, a brew created through a public tasting and vote.

Elevator Brewing Company

165 N. Fourth St., Downtown

(614) 679-2337

elevatorbrewery.com

Style range:German lagers, IPAs, red ales

Signature: Bleeding Buckeye red ale

Elevator continues operating its 13th Floor Taproom in its Fourth Street brewery and its companion restaurant on High Street, Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus. The brewery keeps busy with steady production of bottled beers, and Elevator has also hosted more specialty bottle releases.

Endeavor Brewing Company

909 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview

(614) 456-7074

endeavorbrewingco.com

Style range: lagers, IPAs, Belgian strong ales

Signature: Latin Lager

Endeavor is a new brewery in an old space. Last fall, Zauber Brewing closed its doors and the space was quickly flipped into Endeavor. Although the branding, beers and menu have changed, the large communal seating, the easy-drinking brews and the dedication to showing Premier League soccer have remained the same.

Four String Brewing

985 W. Sixth Ave., Grandview

(614) 725-1282

fourstringbrewing.com

Style range:pale ales, IPAs, lagers

Signature: Brass Knuckle pale ale

Like Elevator, Four String Brewing continues to operate two facilities: the original Grandview taproom and a West Side production house and taproom. Both taprooms are humming along, while the production facility contract brews for a number of breweries, including a few in town. This year Four String supplemented its already-popular Hilltop Heritage Lager with a light version.

Gordon Biersch Columbus

401 N. Front St., Arena District

(614) 246-2900

gordonbiersch.com/locations/columbus

Style range: German lagers, IPA

Signature: Golden Export

Colorado-based Gordon Biersch continues from its Arena District outpost, maintaining a roster of German- and Czech-style brews like the Golden Export lager, Marzen, Maibock and others to pair with the restaurant menu.

Grove City Brewing Company

3946 Broadway, Grove City

(614) 991-0422

grovecitybrewingcompany.com

Style range: pale ale, IPA, porter

Signature: Indian Trails IPA

Like Combustion Brewing in Pickerington, Grove City Brewing Company has been warmly embraced as the neighborhood brewery. The owners of Plum Run Winery in Grove City are into their second year of operating the brewery, and it just seems to get busier and busier. The brewing operation, headed up by Trevor Luther, supplements a full food menu and events like trivia nights, live music, yoga classes and special beer tappings.

Hofbrauhaus Columbus

800 Goodale St., Grandview

(614) 294-2437

hofbrauhauscolumbus.com

Style range: German

Signature: Premium lager

The Hofbrauhaus chain, modeled on the Munich brewery, is nearing four years in Columbus. The operation is significant, with a burgeoning portfolio of beers, expanded food menus and a total liquid output in the hundreds of thousands of liters. The operation features four year-round beers: a light lager, a dunkel, a premium lager and a hefeweizen. A specialty brew is tapped at a ceremony the first Tuesday of each month.

Hoof Hearted Brewpub & Kitchen

850 N. Fourth St., Italian Village

(614) 401-4033

hoofheartedkitchen.com

Style range: Hazy IPAs

Signature: Musk of the Minotaur, Everybody Wants Some

Hoof Hearted's Italian Village brewpub is entering its third year of serving up colorful dishes to go with its irreverently branded and much-sought-after beers. A member of the brewery has also excelled at roasting coffee, which is used at the brewpub and its partner restaurants and brewed into an addictive cold brew. Hoof Hearted is also the only brewery in Columbus to boast its own pool; in warm weather guests can sip hazy IPAs and lactose-infused pales poolside.

Ill Mannered Brewing Company

30 Grace Dr., Powell

(614) 859-6819

illmanneredbeer.com

Style range: IPAs, hoppy wheat, stouts

Signature: Bitter Ex Double IPA

Nearing its third anniversary, Ill Mannered is poised for significant change this year. After maxing out a Powell taproom, the brewery is building a new standalone space in the same plaza, with a larger capacity brewery and taproom, a full patio and space for food trucks. The new brewery is set to open this fall.

Kindred Brewing

505 Morrison Rd., Gahanna

(614) 528-1227

kindredbeer.com

Style range: saisons, wits, sours

Signature: Hawaiian Shirt

Kindred operates both a tasting room and a production facility in Gahanna. Open to the public, the tasting room is the spot to enjoy local food trucks and a growing rotation of beers, from the Hodad IPA to the Hawaiian Shirt American blonde to the Salvage porter. More and more of Kindred's sours are making their way to bottle while the mainstays are canned regularly.

Knotty Pine Brewing

1765 W. Third Ave., Grandview

(614) 817-1515

knottypinebrewing.net

Style range: porter, IPAs, blonde ale

Signature: Cherry Wood Smoked Porter

Knotty Pine continues brewing a rotating portfolio of beers, with standards like Mirror Lake IPA and Cherry Wood Smoked Porter ranking as favorites. The easy-drinking brews pair with a creative brewpub menu of bar snacks, pizzas, sandwiches and weekend brunch.

Land Grant Brewing Company

424 W. Town St., Franklinton

(614) 427-3946

Style range: IPA, kolsch, brown ale

Signature: Stiff-Arm IPA

Land Grant Brewing has become one of the mainstays of the Columbus brewing scene, with its Franklinton taproom and brewery a popular hangout for all sorts of events, and the brewery's canned beers available everywhere. A second taproom on Concourse B of the John Glenn International Airport welcomes thirsty travelers. This year the Franklinton brewery was augmented by a new beer garden across the parking lot, bolstered by the Ray Ray's food truck onsite.

Lineage Brewing

2971 N. High St., Clintonville

(614) 461-3622

lineagebrew.com

Style range: cream ale, IPA, sours

Signature: Aunt Bernice Berliner Weiss

At just over three years in business, Lineage is a popular hangout for Clintonville residents and avid beer-seekers. Customers' loyalty has allowed the brewery to expand both its beer production and food selection. The kitchen gets creative with hand pies, tortas and snacks, while beer offerings range from saisons, stouts and pilsners to IPAs, barleywines and infused variations on the popular Aunt Bernice Berliner Weiss.

Loose Rail Brewing

37 W. Waterloo St., Canal Winchester

(614) 321-6634

looserailbrewing.com

Style range: IPAs, saisons, stouts

Signature: Dead Man's Throttle IPA

Loose Rail Brewing embodies the modern brewery and taproom: take a historic building (the old electrical building for the Ohio Valley Traction Company); brew a steady roster of drinkable beers; host food trucks, trivia nights and live music; and become a favorite neighborhood hangout. True to Loose Rail's locomotive-themed location, it has named beers things like Blast Pipe blonde ale, Full Steam saison and Derailed double IPA.

North High Brewing

1288 N. High St., Short North

(614) 407-5278

northhighbrewing.com

Style range: pale ale, hefeweizen, IPA, milk stout

Signature: pale ale

Although North High's brew-on-premises facility has scaled back in size over the years, the taproom and production facility continue at full steam ahead. Cans of North High's IPA, hefeweizen, pale ale, milk stout and imperial stout are ubiquitous on grocery store shelves, while seasonal and special releases like Tree Tapper maple brown ale and Stardust to Stardust imperial IPA join the pack.

Pigskin Brewing Company

81 Mill St., Gahanna

(614) 532-1557

pigskinbrewingcompany.com

Style range: IPA, cream ale, gose, hefeweizen

Signature: Undefeated IPA

The athletic-themed Pigskin is Gahanna's brewpub, sporting a roster of over a dozen house beers to go with a full gastropub menu. House brews range from the Undefeated IPA and variations on Pigskin's gose, to cream ales, stouts, porter, more IPAs, bocks and barleywines.

Platform Beer Co.

408 N. Sixth St., Downtown

(614) 826-2285

platformbeer.co

Style range: IPAs, sours, pilsners, stouts

Signature: Speed Merchant white IPA

Cleveland-based Platform continues a steady takeover of the state of Ohio, and its Columbus outpost remains a favorite hangout. The long, industrial taproom and small rooftop patio play host to a rotating selection of 25-plus beers, local food trucks and regular can releases of all manner of experimental beers.

Pretentious Barrel House

745 Taylor Ave., East Side

(614) 887-7687

pretentiousbarrelhouse.com

Style range: sours

Signature: Truculent

This past year saw the opening of not one, but two, breweries completely dedicated to sour beers. The first to open, Pretentious Barrel House, joined the ranks in late 2017. The taproom and brewery is located just north of I-670 on the East Side, and includes arcade games and food trucks. Brewery tours are offered regularly, too. Pretentious typically features a dozen sours on tap, often infused variants of its Truculent, Derisive, Sybarite and Erudite brews. A few of the beers have also been released in bottles.

Random Precision Brewing Company

2365 W. Dublin Granville Rd., Linworth

(614) 389-3864

facebook.com/RPBsours

Style range: sours

Signature: Misconstrued Sarcasm Brett IPA

Random Precision was the second sour brewery to open in Columbus, opening on Dublin Granville Road in Linworth on St. Patrick's Day. The cleanly designed and welcoming taproom includes a small bar, communal seating and a view of barrels aging in the back. So far only three of the house sour beers are on tap, but more will be revealed in November with official celebrations.

RAM Restaurant & Brewery

6632 Longshore St., Dublin

(614) 698-0179

theram.com

Style range: IPAs, stouts, lagers

Signature: Longshore Light Lager

Until this year, Washington-based RAM Restaurant & Brewery operated two Central Ohio brewpubs, but the first, located in the Short North, closed abruptly in June after barely a year and a half in business. The second location in Dublin's Bridge Park development keeps on trucking, serving house-made brews and a large brewpub menu.

Rockmill Tavern

503 S. Front St., Brewery District

(614) 732-4364

rockmilltavern.com

Style range: Belgian-style brews

Signature: Dubbel

Led by Chef Andrew Smith, Rockmill Tavern has become a destination for creative dining that pairs well with house-made beers. The Brewery District location is an outpost of the Lancaster-based brewery, known for its portfolio of saisons, farmhouse IPAs, stouts and cask-aged beers.

Seventh Son Brewing

1101 N. Fourth St., Italian Village

(614) 421-2337

seventhsonbrewing.com

Style range: ales and IPAs

Signature: Seventh Son American strong ale

Seventh Son recently completed one big project and is working on a second. The Italian Village taproom opened a huge expansion behind the original space, offering a large increase in production and canning capacity, plus a second-floor rooftop patio and bar. The second big step is on the way: a sister brewery called Antiques on High in the Brewery District, focusing on sours and Belgian brews.

Sideswipe Brewing

2415 Scioto Harper Dr., Columbus

(614) 719-9654

sideswipebrewing.com

Style range: IPA, smoked stout, saison

Signature: Fisticuffs IPA

Sideswipe continues to have a significant presence in bottled and canned beers, while its expanded taproom and brewery is a hidden gem for ale-seekers. The full bar there features a growing lineup of beers, plus picnic tables, board games, darts, a small patio and visiting food trucks. Owner Craig O'Herron supplements standard brews like the Punch Out pale ale and Elegant Hoodlum smoked stout with concoctions like the Hoppy Amber inspired by local band MojoFlo.

Smokehouse Brewing Company

1130 Dublin Rd., Grandview

(614) 485-0227

smokehousebrewing.com

Style range: English ales, cask-conditioned ale

Signature: Centennial IPA

The pit barbecue-focused Smokehouse brewpub remains a destination for smoked and grilled meats while brewing its popular staples like the Centennial IPA and MacLenny's Scottish ale, while expanding its portfolio to more barrel-aged beers, firkins and other specialty offerings. Owner Lenny Kolada continues to use Smokehouse as the testing ground for his second brewery, Commonhouse Ales, which utilizes the former Columbus Brewing Company space in the Brewery District.

Temperance Row Brewing

41 N. State St., Westerville

(614) 891-2337

uptowndeliandbrew.com

Style range: English ales

Signature: Scofflaw Scottish ale

Temperance Row Brewing, housed inside Uptown Deli & Brew, is nearing its fourth anniversary, providing good beer in the neighborhood that was once the epicenter of the temperance movement. Scott Francis, owner of the Winemaker's Shop in Clintonville, and the brewer who helped start Barley's, CBC and Smokehouse, continues to brew English styles that pair with meals from the deli up front.

Wolf's Ridge Brewing

215 N. Fourth St., Downtown

(614) 429-3936

wolfsridgebrewing.com

Style range: stout, smoked beers, cream ales

Signature: Dire Wolf imperial stout

Wolf's Ridge has solidified its reputation as a destination for both creative dining and experimental beer, thanks to the skill of head brewer Chris Davison and Chef Seth Lassak. The restaurant and brewery continues to win awards, while Davison's bottle releases see fans lining up down the alley outside the taproom. The brewery is expanding two-fold: first with another row of fermentation tanks on a platform above the existing ones, and second with an event space next door to the restaurant.

Zaftig Brewing Company

7020A Huntley Rd., Worthington

(614) 636-2537

drinkzaftig.com

Style range: Anything high gravity

Signature: Shadowed Mistress strong ale

Zaftig marked the occasion of its fourth anniversary this spring by brewing a massive 17 percent ABV stout called Ol' Rugger. It's a fitting celebration for the brewery named for the Yiddish term for “full-bodied.” From its Worthington taproom, Zaftig hosts a steady roster of community events and food trucks. It also brewed the Westerville Blue New England IPA to raise funds for the families of two fallen Westerville police officers — a great example of many breweries creating special beers for fundraising efforts.