Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from the Columbus Aquatic Center
Aboard a big ass van
The captain was Jim Ellison
A beer man smart and sure
Nine passengers set sail that day
For a five hour tour
A five hour tour
Three breweries on the outskirts of Columbus are worth a visit, and there’s no better way to visit them than by hopping on the Columbus Brew Adventures van and heading to Licking County for brewery tours, beer samples and snacks – and hey, maybe the van will break down and you’ll get stuck at a brewery for three seasons! Fingers crossed.
Buckeye Lake Brewery
Kicking the tour off is Buckeye Lake Brewery. Since we visited back in 2012, the brewery has expanded into the building next door, creating more seating in the bar and more walking room in the brewery. Buckeye Lake owner Rich Hennosy gave the tour, focusing on the breweries “frankenbrew” equipment – that is, repurposed equipment instead of costly brewery-specific equipment. For example, Buckeye Lake uses a milk tank as a mash tun and wine fermenters instead of beer fermenters. After the tour we had four beer samples – Oatmeal Stout, Irish Red, ESB and IPA. This stop was also our stomach filling station, with pizza provided.
Homestead Beer Co.
Located in a spacious warehouse the middle of an abandoned air force base is stop #2, Homestead Beer Co. The largest of the three breweries on the tour, Homestead’s brewery setup is the most impressive, and brewmaster Adam walked us through the brewing process. We spent the latter part of this stop in their recently renovated taproom tasting and talking about Homestead’s focus on sessionable (in the 4-6% ABV range) ales – we sampled Tenpenny amber, Over the Ale strong ale, Bastille bier de garde and Station Master session IPA.
Granville Brewing Co.
The last stop on the tour felt very homey, and for good reason; The Granville Brewing Co. is based in co-owner Ross’s garage. The taproom, which looks like your typical badass man cave, isn’t really open to the public, so this tour is pretty much your only chances to visit. As the smallest of the breweries, there isn’t a ton to tour at Granville Brewing, so we spent more time examining raw beer ingredients and sampling their Belgian beers – The Reaper saison, bottles of which are available in Central Ohio, plus three brews they haven’t bottled or released outside of Granville: a Russian imperial stout, a winter saison and a pale ale.
The Columbus Brew Adventures Granville/Buckeye Lake Tour is a pretty great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and try some local beer. For any brews you want to bring home, Columbus Brew Adventures provides a convenient cooler to store growlers and bottles (I brought several back.) And hey, whoever takes shotgun in the van gets to be the DJ!
The Granville/Buckeye Lake brewery tour is $65, which includes tastings at the three breweries, pizza, transportation between all stops and a guide with plenty of local beer knowledge. The next tour is May 4, and tickets are available online.