Land-Grant is the latest craft brewery to open in Columbus, launching with four flagship beers. The Oct. 18 grand opening saw the taproom crowded with new fans.

Land-Grant is the latest craft brewery to open in Columbus, launching with four flagship beers. The Oct. 18 grand opening saw the taproom crowded with new fans.

"We were packed from 11 a.m. when we opened the doors to midnight when they closed them," owner Walt Keys said.

Feedback on their initial offerings has been positive, and the next batches are in the fermenters with slight tweaks to their recipes. Head brewer Jamie Feihel is working on an oatmeal stout that debuted at the Holiday Craft Beer Extravaganza in Cincinnati on Nov. 8, the beer will hopefully soon join the ranks of Land-Grant standards.

Land-Grant's road to Franklinton hasn't been easy. First, they were forced to change their name from Oval Brewing when the name was taken by Austrian distillery Oval Vodka. They switched to Land-Grant as a nod to OSU's status as a land-grant university enabled by the Morrill Act in 1862. (A plaque on the taproom wall explains the history.)

Then they lost their chosen space in Grandview when the building owner backed out of the lease. Fortunately, they've landed in good company, sandwiched between the Idea Foundry to the north, Strongwater Food & Spirits/400 West Rich to the south and Rehab Tavern to the west.

Their combined taproom and brewing facility is housed in a 12,000-square-foot building. The brewhouse is a 20-barrel system with four fermenters, so they've left themselves room to grow (a lesson they learned observing fellow Columbus breweries).

Patrons can sit at the long bar or find a spot at the rows of communal tables. Land-Grant has reserved 12 draft lines for its beers, plus six for guest beers from around the world (a line-up of sours is selling well at the moment). One draft is saved for a gluten-free offering like a cider; they're serving wine and liquor, too. A regular rotation of food trucks like Challah, Aromaku and OH! Burgers park outside Thursdays through Sundays (guests are allowed to bring in their own food as well).

Given that Land-Grant was partially funded through Kickstarter, it's no surprise they continue embracing community involvement. They offer regular tours on Saturdays at 3 p.m. (book online for $5 ahead-of-time). And their Pennant Project is an attempt to collect pennants from all the land-grant universities; their website lists the pennants still needed, in case you want to contribute.

Photos by Meghan Ralston and Tim Johnson