This is a guest post by PJ Bumstead
Brew’s Café is hands-down the best beer establishment I’ve visited in the Franklin-Delaware-Licking-Knox Metroplex. I have been told this is the second edition of Brew’s and the first edition seemed to have more of a cozy, down-home feeling. To that I say, “To each his (or her) own,” because the current Brew’s is fantastic.
Brew’s isn’t just “off the beaten path” – it’s way the heck out in the middle of nowhere. To get there, one has to find his/her way to OH-161 eastbound and take the OH-37 East/OH-661/Granville/Lancaster exit almost 22 miles east of the I-270 East Outerbelt. After turning North (left) on to Lancaster Rd., turn right at the second light, which is East Broadway Ave., and Brew’s Café is on the left.
Approaching Brew’s, it has the look of an old-fashioned tavern. Its porch and balcony have four smooth, non-tapered columns, with the entrance flanked by bay windows on either side. The balcony has three to four, two-top tables, allowing some patrons to enjoy a pleasant Spring or Summer evening in scenic G-ville. Upon entering Brew’s, it doesn’t seem like that big a place because of a bottleneck at the entrance, but the place really opens up once you get past the hostess stand. The first floor (yes, there are multiple floors, and multiple bars!) opens up with a four-person table on the right, four six-top booths running along the wall to the left and four to five four-person roundtables between the booths and Brew’s focal point, the bar. The far wall contains Brew’s kitchen area which cranks out some really good food (I STRONGLY suggest trying the Turkey Bacon Cheddar Melt w/ Chipotle Mayo). Once you enter the main area on the first floor, you can peer up into the second floor, which only adds to the open feeling (and lets those on the second floor people-watch).
The bar has chairs to seat about 15 patrons who come to enjoy the ridiculously large micro- and craft-beer selection Brew’s has to offer. It has five six-beer-each towers dispersed along the length of the bar with a plethora of different breweries like Avery (CO), North Coast (CA), Stone (CA), Great Lakes (OH), Bells (MI), Founders (MI), Rogue (OR), Chimay (Belgium), Lexington (KY), Clipper City (MD), Weasel Boy (OH), Green Flash (CA), and Boulder (CO), just to name a few! A great tap list, yes, but what sends Brew’s over the top is the TEN coolers behind the bar. The coolers have the aforemention breweries by the bottle, but also plenty more: AleSmith (CA), Southern Tier (NY), Ommegang (NY), Lagunitas (CA), Troegs (PA), Left Hand (CO), Brooklyn (NY), Brew Kettle (OH), Hoppin’ Frog (OH) Samuel Smith (England), and Young’s (England) among them. What is really neat about this, aside from the gargantuan amount of beer sitting ten feet away from you, is the fact Brew’s allows you to buy bombers and six-packs to take home with you – not something you see many place in Central Ohio. If you are the curious type and are somehow able rip yourself away from the bar without suffering from withdrawal, Brew’s has two other floors for you to discover.
The second floor is the primary dining area, and only floor devoid of a bar. With a number of interchangeable tables, the second floor can accommodate several two to four-top tables, or a couple large party tables. I speak from experience because Brew’s kindly fixed a couple tables together to seat me and seven other friends on a Saturday night. The third floor houses Brew’s Too, which serves as the late-night spot staying open until 2:30 since the bar on the first floor closes at 11. Brew’s Too has a serviceable ten-tap bar with three pool tables, a couple four-top tables, and a stage for live entertainment. Personally speaking, I’ll stay down on the first floor, thank you very much.
A big positive for the atmosphere is the clientele Brew’s attracts. Each time we have gone to Brew’s we have had friendly, in-depth conversation (primarily about beer) and from the times I’ve gone to Brew’s, it just seems as though everyone there is friendly and approachable. The bar staff is also friendly, courteous, and attentive. Each time I have paid Brew’s a visit, either Rachel, Christine, or Johnny have taken good care of us as well as the other bar patrons. All-in-all, when you visit Brew’s you’ll find someone behind the bar or sitting at the bar who just enjoys having a good beer and talking about it, a good way to spend an evening if you ask me.
Structurally, I find the place very fascinating, starting with the façade I mentioned earlier. The bar is heavy with wood accents, my favorite being the wood bar. The wood accents further exemplify the old fashioned flavor that starts with the building’s front. What I like most about it though is the brick wall directly opposite the bar. This, combined with the wood, gives the bar area just a very relaxed and calm feeling, very crucial when you’re sitting down to have a nice Southern Tier Choklat Stout.
The one issue with Brew’s is its location, and it is two-fold. First, Granville isn’t exactly “on the way”, unless you’re headed to Newark, and you have to plan your visit accordingly. Second, and most important, is the fact Granville is home to the greatest rival (Denison University) of my alma mater (Kenyon College). Many times I made the trek from Gambier to Granville and came away disappointed. However, thanks to Brew’s, my trips to Granville have been far more enjoyable.