The latest brew trail to ping our radar is the Route 33 Brew Trail in Central Ohio. With six breweries to start, and plenty of craft brews to choose from, we visited as many as possible in one day. The kicker? We asked the staff to choose the beer flights for us. Here’s why you need to take a trip on the Trail.
When you visit five craft breweries in one day and want to experience the menu highlights, a beer flight is the way to go. And who better to ask what to drink than the owners and employees, so that’s exactly what happened. 20 four-ounce pours later, here are the best of the Route 33 Brew Trail including location, style, and standouts.
A bonus for hitting all six breweries: turn in your Route 33 Brew Trail passport and you’ll get a cool beer glass with its logo. I know you know, but I have to mention it: please drink responsibly. I had a designated driver for the entire day, aka my wife.
Double Edge Brewing Company
Where: 158 W Chestnut St. Lancaster, OH 43130
Why Visit: Double Edge is set up like a neighborhood pub, which is really cool. Combine that with a super clean bar, lots of space to move around, and great staff and we’ve got ourselves a new fave place to visit when in town.
Ambiance: You’ll have more of a family restaurant feel than a gritty bar. Big bay doors keep plenty of fresh air circulating, too. Having written that, there’s no kitchen to order, but you will find food trucks onsite.
- Rustic Sunrise – Golden Ale with locally-roasted coffee. Surprisingly well-balanced flavor in that, when you use coffee flavor in beer, coffee tends to overpower the rest of the flavors. It was also to have a lighter-colored beer with a coffee flavor.
- Bright Side – Tangerine Wheat Beer. Wheat ale with a tangerine finish. Very refreshing and summery.
- Starry Night – Cascadian Dark Ale. An almost-black, IPA-ish beer. It was startling in that there was almost no nose, but it has a massive hop flavor.
- The Space Between – Copper Ale. A dark, coppery-colored brew, it’s a typical ale style not overly-hoppy and well-balanced with the malt flavors.
Brew VIP: Rustic Sunrise. Note: the batches are so small, you won’t be able to get a growler to take home. Breaks my heart.
Where: 5705 Lithopolis Rd NW. Lancaster, OH 43130
Why: Even if you don’t drink beer, Rockmill Brewery is a place to visit. An on-property spring gives the brewery all of the water it needs to create the brews and the horse barn-theming and laidback feel makes for our choice to bring your own food and hang out.
If you’re looking for a brewery that aims to create the traditional brews of Wallonia, Belgium, this will be your go-to spot.
Ambiance: Built in a converted horse barn, two floors of quiet nooks and crannies fill the tasting room. On-property features include a pond, small brook, and an actual teeny chapel.
- Cerise – A Cherry Sour. The description from the menu is perfect: subtle, tart, cherry with a crisp, sour finish. It was very pleasant and for a sour beer, there was zero gaminess.
- Saison Petite – Highly-carbonated Pale Ale. While a standard Saison, that’s not a bad thing. At all.
- Saison Noir – Black Saison. Flavor over flavor. With flavors from porter to stout, the 8% ABV brew didn’t have an overly-petrol taste that higher ABV beers can have. Has a very smooth finish with fruity and coffee notes with a notable lack of bitterness.
- Belgian Pilsner – The first beer the brewery ever lagered. It’s exactly what a pilsner should be: light, crisp, and an ideal example.
Brew VIP: Saison Noir.
Loose Rail Brewing
Where: 37 W Waterloo St. Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Why: Loose Rail is in an historic neighborhood in a converted third rail generator building. You’ll find knowledgeable staff, clean tables, and an outdoor patio that’s doggy friendly.
Ambiance: Friendly and open. There’s no onsite kitchen, but you’ll notice food trucks frequently parked on the side. If it’s busy, look for an indoor table upstairs.
- Dead Man’s Throttle – Hazy IPA. A big beer with plenty of flavor, it doesn’t apologize for being hoppy. Brewed with mosaic hops, its essence of mango and guava makes for a great summer beer.
- Ashcat Amber – Amber Ale. Well balanced with a light hoppiness. The sweet malt flavor is a nice compliment.
- Coal’s Cousin – Bourbon Barrel Stout. A high alcohol beer at 9.8% ABV, it’s a hoppy sour stout. Flavor is very robust.
- Search Light – Peach Shandy. Combine the in-house Blast Pipe Blonde Mosiac with house-made lemonade and add peach puree and you’ve the perfect summertime sweet sipper.
Brew VIP: Search Light.
Where: 96 Gender Rd. Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Why: BrewDog is very family friendly. The building is huge, so you’ll find plenty of table seating, a varied dining menu, games, and a sizeable bar. Wait, make that two bars.
Ambiance: Think of Planet Hollywood without the celebrity touches.
- Punk IPA – Traditional IPA. Its flagship beer, it’s an IPA for the masses or casual drinker. Translation: if you’re used to your standard big brewery beers and want a good place to start in the craft brew scene, this one’s ideal.
- PBJ Stout – Stout. Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You’ll note hints of both peanut butter and jelly in the flavors.
- Abstract 22 – Imperial Stout. Brewed with cacao and coffee, it’s a massive beer coming in at 12.5% ABV. Aged two years in Speyside Whiskey casks. Intense and decadent with just about as many dessert flavors as you could get in a beer. The flavor really didn’t settle in one spot, and the aging is a huge plus.
- Riptide – Breakfast Stout. Coming in at 8% ABV, you’ll note coffee and vanilla. A good first foray for stout rookies.
Brew VIP: Abstract 22
Combustion Brewery & Taproom
Where: 80 W Church St #101. Pickerington, OH 43147
Why: Another super family-friendly brewery, there are both food trucks on the outside and creative menu items including a gorgeous charcuterie and giant soft pretzels, on the inside. When we visited, there was a live band, plenty of smiles, and staff that blew us away with friendliness. If you want a lesson in brewing, ask to talk to the owner.
Ambiance: Friendly, clean, spacious. If you can’t get a seat at the main bar, look for a high top table or outdoor seating. There’s also a loft area perfect for group events, weddings, you name it.
- Combustion IPA – Dry hopped using mosiac and meridian, not quite as in your face as some West Coast-style IPA, but not tame, either. A really good example of an American IPA.
- Now We’re Talking – Double IPA. At 8.8% ABV, it’s kind of odd but in a good way. While you expect a bitter finish, it’s second to last before the malty finish. Not overly-petrol flavored for a double IPA.
- Wanderlust – Blonde Ale. The fact that’s it’s a solid example without any particular flair is it’s specialty. The fact that it doesn’t try to hard is very appealing. If you want a beer that just tastes good, go for this one.
- Imperial Breakfast Stout – Damn close to Founder’s in Michigan, which is a good thing. Infused with Guatemalan coffee beans. Has a strong coffee flavor and finishes smooth.
Brew VIP: Imperial Breakfast Stout
Route 33 Brewery
While we didn’t have time to visit Route 33 Brewery, we have to mention it. With 15 house-made brews, its Appalachian-style of brewing includes fruit-flavored cocktail beers. You’ll find an outdoor patio, taproom, and a fire pit perfect for hanging out, too.
Disclosure: We were kindly hosted by the folks at Route 33 Brew Trail and the Route 33 Brew Trail. All opinions are our own!