Sunday, March 5, 2017

Brew Dog Columbus Brewery, Taproom, and Restaurant

The outside of the Brew Dog brewery and taproom
On Saturday, March 5, I had the opportunity to visit Brew Dog's new Columbus brewery, taproom, and restaurant.

The brewery is reportedly not yet operational, and all Brew Dog beers served there are being shipped in from the UK.

The restaurant kitchen and bar are open, however, and seem to be drawing a constant crowd. At the time we arrived, there was almost a two hour wait for a table. Fortunately, we were able to find a seat at the bar pretty soon after we got there. Others stood or sat at the tables outside.

As you walk into the building, you pass through a gift shop loaded with a variety of Brew Dog merchandise for purchase. This includes pins, patches, hoodies, shirts, hats, growlers, and more. Prices felt a little high to me, but the merchandise seemed of decent quality.

Just past the gift shop is a waiting area for the restaurant and taproom. The wall between the taproom and waiting area is delineated by tall racks filled with beer kegs.

Taproom waiting area

One wall of the taproom is made up of garage-style doors that can be opened in warmer months to provide fresh air. There is also a patio area outside those doors with outdoor seating featuring a view of the creek running past the property.

Inside the taproom you'll find booths, high tables, and a bar with a large number of taps. The bar features both Brew Dog's own beers and those of some area breweries like Jackie O's and Fat Heads.

The bar and tap list

During our visit, the beers on tap included:
  • Brew Dog's Dead Pony Club
  • Brew Dog's 5 a.m. Saint
  • Brew Dog's Punk IPA
  • Brew Dog's Jet Black Heart
  • Brew Dog's Elvis Juice
  • Brew Dog's Cocoa Psycho
  • Fat Head's Trail Head Pale Ale
  • Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA
  • Jackie O's Mystic Mama IPA
  • Rockmill Brewery's Le Cheval Saison
  • Seventh Son Oubliette
  • Three Floyds Gumball Head
  • Rhinegeist Truth
  • Oskar Blues Old Chub
  • Stone Brewing Pataskala Red X IPA
Draft prices ranged from $4.50 to $7.50 depending on the beer, with most at $5 or $6.

Brew Dog 5 a.m. Saint

I had the Cocoa Psycho to start. It is a very rich, decadent beer with lots of chocolate, coffee, and roasted grain flavors. For the second round, I had the 5 a.m. Saint after getting a small taste of it. The Saint had a nice mix of flavors and wasn't too hop forward, though I think I liked the small sample more than I liked the full glass for some reason.

Cocoa Psycho disappearing fast

It was interesting to see the plastic kegs from which the beer was served. These, I was told, are common in the UK where the beer was made. The beer is in a plastic bladder inside a clear plastic bottle. It's pumped out of there with CO2 pressure as it's served. The bartender told us that once the Columbus brewery is in operation, they'll be using the traditional metal kegs.

UK Style Plastic Beer Kegs
While I'm a big fan of James and Martin and the Brew Dogs TV show, I'm less a fan of their beers. That's mostly because they (like many craft brewers) lean toward making every style hop-forward to draw the attention of American IPA and Pale Ale fans. I tend to like their rarities and limited-edition beers more than their mainstay brews. For example, the Dogma beer was one that I loved (until they changed the recipe).

In addition to the seating, a small area is set aside with pool tables and 80's style arcade video game machines.

The brewery is pet friendly, and several people did bring their dogs with them.

The menu during our visit included the following items at prices listed (among others):

  • Meat and Cheese Plate ($12)
  • Butternut Squash Hummus 
  • Kingpin Carnitas Tacos
  • Hop Fries ($5)
  • Smokin' Hot Wings ($10)
  • Scotch Egg ($7) - sells out really fast
  • Hail Ceasar Salad ($6-$15)
  • Various other salads ($10-$15 depending on salad and options added)
  • Regular Joe Burger ($10)
  • Identity Crisis Burger ($10)
  • Popcorn flavored with three possible choices ($2)
  • Walleye ($15)
  • NY Strip ($20)
  • Smoked Mac 'n Cheese ($9) (with optional chorizo - $2)
  • Stone Baked Pizza with several topping options ($12 for 12-inch size)

I had the mac and cheese with the chorizo. The mac and cheese was creamy but fairly bland, but with the very spicy chorizo added (the bartender's recommendation) it was quite good. My wife tried the Butternut Squash and really liked it, though I thought it was much too sweet for my taste.

All in all, it was an enjoyable visit, though a bit crowded and loud for my taste.

The staff, in my experience, was incredibly friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. At times (and despite their obviously working extremely hard) they were having trouble keeping up with demand for their time, but I never felt unreasonably neglected or ignore.

Bar and hard-working staff

If you're a fan of the brewery, the beers, and/or the TV show, it's worth taking a trip to see the place. Just be prepared for a crowd and be patient with the serving staff, who seemed in my experience to be working almost frantically to keep customers happy.

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