First Look: Actual Brewing Clintonville opening early January

Written by on December 19, 2018 in Bars, Beer - 3 Comments

Actual Brewing’s Clintonville taproom and brewery is on track to open the first week of January. [UPDATE: The taproom will open January 18.]

The 2,200 square foot bar and restaurant is located near Lucky’s Market and formerly functioned as a flower shop. The building is owned by Plaza Properties which also owns Actual’s airport production warehouse, and the landlord worked with the brewery to make the location fit their needs.

“The biggest complaints we get about our current location are that it’s really hard to find and it’s really far away once you find it, so hopefully this is easier to find and not so far away,” said owner Fred Lee.

The taproom is cozy and features an L-shaped bar with a scaled map of the Clintonville neighborhood and many science-centric accents sprinkled throughout.

“We wanted it to feel like a high school chemistry lab,” said owner Mira Lee. “These are the lab tables from Fred’s middle school, and these light fixtures are the star dates from this location from the sky on particular dates… the idea was to try and pull in cartography and astronomy and all the various sciences and get the warm neighborhood feel to merge with the laboratory feel.”

The brewery’s original 10-barrel copper system was moved over and installed this week and will be manned by Scott Francis. Francis has often been credited as the godfather of Columbus craft beer, most notably serving as the first brewmaster for Columbus Brewing Company and later Barley’s Ale House. Currently Francis brews at Temperance Row in Westerville, which he will continue to do in addition to brewing at Actual Clintonville. The copper brewing system he’ll be using at Actual is actually one Frances previously brewed on, back when it belonged to the New Albany Country Club.

To manage the Clintonville location’s kitchen, Actual has brought on acclaimed local restauranteur Alana Shock. When asked about her favorite items on the menu, she instead noted her favorite absent items.

“The lack of burgers and fries, that’s for certain,” said Shock. “Everyone does burgers and fries, so why bother? We have a pretty strong pickling program that will enhance the dishes and make the liason from wine-friendly fare to beer-friendly fare.”

Behind the bar will be 24 taps, four of which which will dedicated to beer brewed in-house by Frances along with another dozen Actual beers from the airport production brewery and guest taps from some of Lee’s favorite local businesses like Mad Moon Cider, Uprising Meadworks and Frost Top Root Beer. The taproom will also feature a full bar of wine and spirits. General Manager Maureen Hemmelgarn (aka Mo, formerly of Barley’s Brewing) is working with local distilleries to finalize the cocktail program.

Back at the airport, Actual recently installed a new 20 barrel brewing system and brought on Victor Ecimovich (formerly of Hoster) as Operations Officer to manage projects and brew alongside Head Brewer Zac Baaske.

Actual Brewing Clintonville is located at 2808 N. High St.


full disclosure: my spouse is an investor in Actual

About the Author

Cheryl Harrison. Editor of Drink Up Columbus. Geek of the craft beer/board game/sci-fi varieties. Fan of patios.

3 Comments on "First Look: Actual Brewing Clintonville opening early January"

  1. Joe Snuffy December 21, 2018 at 5:51 PM · Reply

    The owner is a crook and his business is in shambles.

  2. Andy January 18, 2019 at 4:01 PM · Reply

    Well to be fair, they already have a 5 star review on Google from a week before they even opened. Seems legit……

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