This festive outpost of a popular UK-based brewing company offers a wealth of beers and a small food menu with ups and downs
I can almost imagine a 21st-century Columbus version of Paul Revere cruising around on an electric scooter, wearing a “Drink Local” T-shirt and snapping selfies while loudly exclaiming: “The BrewDogs are coming, the BrewDogs are coming!”
He'd be right, but he'd be late.
Because after opening three Central Ohio brewpubs within the past 18 months — and with a beer-themed hotel under construction in Canal Winchester — UK-based BrewDog already seems to be here to stay. After visiting BrewDog's bustling new local outpost in Franklinton, I'd say Columbus residents wouldn't have it any other way.
The Franklinton BrewDog distinguishes itself from myriad other craft beer hot spots by offering something close to my heart: expansive patio seating where dogs — the non-brewing kind — are welcome. BrewDog's pup-accommodating spaces are on street-level and rooftop patios, and the latter affords patrons with fantastic views of Downtown. (Food and drinks are ordered at the bar on the rooftop; BrewDog's other areas offer full service.)
Umbrella-shaded picnic tables compose most of the outdoor seating. Inside the horizontally oriented building, diners can expect plenty of wooden communal tables, garage doors, an industrial-chic design, “alternative rock” from the '80s and '90s, plus scads of branded merchandise available for purchase.
Customers can also expect 24 beers on tap. BrewDog IPAs pad this roster, but the selection includes BrewDog sours, fruit-flavored ales and stouts, plus several beers from other local breweries. Most pints are $5.50, and though flights are available, they have variable prices and can be uncommonly costly.
The small food menu is dutifully beer-friendly. BrewDog's wings are a strong starter and a highlight, whether made from vegetables or poultry.
An order of Smokin' Hot Wings ($12) brings a substantial pile of big, meaty, lightly flour-dredged and crispy fried-chicken pieces served with a rich blue-cheese dip. My favorite wing sauce here is the “sweet and spicy,” which is definitely spicy but more vinegary than sweet.
That same sauce goes great with the Cauliflower Wings ($8). Although not actually wings, these fried veggies fly higher than most items on the menu with their puffy-yet-crispy batter and their judiciously firm — neither mushy nor hard — florets underneath.
Among non-fried snacks, the inevitable hummus ($10) is nicely plated with sliced vegetables and toasted flatbread triangles. It's also thick, overpriced and lacking in nuance.
Entrees are limited to sandwiches on buttered, toasted buns listed under the catchall header of “burgers.” These are served with fries that were hot, crisp and fresh-tasting on some occasions but lacked all those qualities on other visits. You can sub the fries for impressive grilled asparagus or fresh and flavorful, if mayo-heavy, slaw.
BrewDog's best sandwich is the Sweet Potato Burger ($14). One of the better veggie burgers I've eaten lately, it stars a textured patty benefiting from carrots and the toasted trio of quinoa, brown rice and cheese. Delightfully crackly fried kale, caramelized onions, melted Swiss and a tangy “coriander-turmeric aioli” complete the winning recipe.
Had its pimento cheese not been bland, perhaps the Fried Chicken Sandwich ($13) with an OK batter and thigh meat would've been better. As is, it'll work in a pinch.
The Kofta Burger ($14) with feta and tzatziki recalls a distinguished gyro with pronounced lamb flavor. I only wish the beef-and-lamb patty hadn't been overcooked.
Speaking of overcooked, the rubbery beef patties in the Identity Crisis burger ($13), and its forgettable pulled pork, made me think the sandwich didn't need its first name. Then again, my dog liked it.
And there's plenty to like here. With its bold brews, rooftop views, accommodating service, party-time and pup-friendly ambience and best food items — such as a bittersweet, affogato-like ice cream float made with beer ($7) — I'm glad the BrewDogs are here.