EAT (out)/ EXPERIENCE

Route 33 Brew Trail (A day trip or weekend getaway)

I am no stranger to a road trip!  I love day trips and weekend getaways.  Sometimes I like to super plan with an itinerary and lots of research (mainly about food and coffee) and other times I like to hop in the car, drive, and go with the flow.  I just find getting out of my own habitat once in awhile to be both restful and invigorating.  As I always say, experiences matter much more to me than things.  I was recently invited to explore Fairfield County, Ohio and I jumped at the chance to see part of the state I hadn’t seen before.  My husband, a craft beer aficionado, got to taste flights from local breweries and I got to explore the countryside, quaint towns, and scenic vistas.

The Route 33 Brew Trail in Fairfield County, Ohio highlights six local breweries: Combustion Brewery & Taproom (Pickerington), Loose Rail Brewing (Canal Winchester), BrewDog Dog Tap (Canal Winchester), Rockmill Brewery (Lancaster), Double Edge Brewery (Lancaster), and Brewery 33 Hocking Hills (Logan).

Yes, I’m going to talk about beer (with lots of help from my husband), but I also want to point out other important factors in a brewery such as atmosphere, seating, food, mood, etc.  Overall, we were super impressed with each of these breweries! Here’s the highlight reel:

Combustion Brewery & Taproom:

  • Bright, big open space
  • Good for families and groups
  • Nice outdoor seating
  • Upstairs loft space for all kinds of social events
  • Has a What’s Next board to alert guests of upcoming events
  • Community oriented
  • Kitchen has a strong menu (plenty of people ordering sandwiches)
  • Fig jam with the soft pretzel (yes, fig jam!)
  • Plenty of non-alcoholic options (loved the locally made sarsparilla)

Standout Beer at Combustion:

  • Imperial Breakfast Stout (Stout)- Smooth, strong coffee taste without overpowering the other notes
  • Blueprint (Blueberry Blonde)- Totally unique, the blueberry adds body- perfect for people who don’t normally like flavored beer
  • Sundial (Pale Wheat Ale)- This is a delish sip-on-the-front-porch summer beer

Loose Rail Brewing:

  • Brick building with tons of character
  • Great outdoor seating with a fire pit
  • Located in the heart of town; close to a few great restaurants

Standout Beer at Loose Rail:

  • Ashcat (Amber)- Flagship beer, caramel malt, polished- could drink this one every night, polished
  • Crank Pin (Cream Ale)- Vanilla & bourbon in perfect balance
  • Blast Pipe (Blonde Ale)- Crisp and citrusy

BrewDog Dog Tap:

  • Originated in Scotland; Columbus is its first United States brewery
  • Huge! Tons of space inside and outside
  • Full kitchen menu and places to sit down and dine with friends and family
  • Hip music playing, giant Jenga, firepits, and corn hole
  • A sense of humor (lots of sea-inspired murals and bold colors)
  • Dog park on premises

Standout Beer at BrewDog Dog Tap:

  • Tokyo (Stout)- High APV (16.5), super unique taste- really malty with a taste of saltiness
  • Jet Black Heart (Stout)- Milky and sweet, the nitro removes any bite so it’s super smooth
  • Indy Pale Ale– refreshing, solid summer beer

Rockmill Brewery:

  • Location, location, location (scenic, scenic, scenic)
  • The grounds are stunning (lake, flowers, rolling hills, green grass, fire pit)
  • Pack a picnic, order beer, find a picnic table, and impress a date here
  • Barbecue food truck on premises
  • Romantic and relaxing

Standout Beer at Rockmill:

  • Dubbel– Dark with a nice touch of cherry, solid lager
  • Belgian Pilsner– Bright and clean with a slight wheat taste
  • Saison Noir– A solid and dependable dark stout

Double Edge Brewery:

  • Unassuming from the outside, but clean and sleek on the inside
  • Pretzels (on the house)
  • Hyperlocal and recently opened by homebrew hobbyists turned professional brewers
  • Strong customer service
  • Sells some kind of crazy good local popcorn
  • Lots of dark beer options and stouts
  • Each beer taste like the description says it should (and that’s a big deal)

Standout Beer at Double Edge:

  • Smoke Signals (Smoked Beer)- Plush amber ale, not too smokey, the cherrywood is evident
  • Macchiato (Stout)- Coffee infused milk stout, the dark roast coffee is strong in a good way, beer version of a coffee-chocolate-milk
  • Brite Side (pale wheat ale)- Can clearly taste the orange, light & slightly wheaty

Brewery 33 Hocking Hills:

  • House made root beer and it’s bold, delicious, and refreshing
  • Super close to sights at Hocking Hills
  • Next to a few good restaurants

Standout Beer at Brewery 33:

  • Snowbirds Pale Ale– Best IPA-ish beer on the trail, crisp and refreshing
  • Rockhouse Red– A really good red, not bitter, the sweetness of the maple is there but not too sweet
  • Kachelmacher Kellerbier (pale lager)- The combination of hops gives it a unique & complex taste

While the visits to the breweries along the Route 33 BrewTrail were a planned part of this trip (thanks to Fairfield County for sponsoring my visit), other parts were much more spontaneous.  The drive along the countryside is lovely; it’s a nice break from the city.  We took a leisurely stroll at Rock Mill Park to see the waterfall, covered bridge, and one of the oldest grist mills in Ohio.  Rock Mill is open for tours from May through October, Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Another park we loved, but not in a leisurely sense, was Rising Park in Lancaster.  The trail isn’t necessarily long, but the climb is steep (as in I took a few breaks along the way and my calves are still a bit sore); however, the view from the top of Rising Park’s Mount Pleasant is a-maz-ing and I would climb it again.  But, for the love of all that is good, where tennis shoes; then, take your time enjoying the view of Lancaster and the surrounding foothills. Next time, I’m going up to see the sunset!

Tip: Be sure to get your Route 33 Brew Trail passport stamped at each brewery (we did) and then return to the Fairfield County Visitor’s and Conventions Bureau for a free Anchor Hocking Route 33 Brew Trail pint glass.

Shoutout: We ate well on this trip!  I want to give a special shoutout to a few of our local faves: Das KaffeeHaus (Lithopolis) for a strong cup of joe, Harvest Moon Craft Kitchen (Canal West Chester) for incredible burgers and oatmeal pies, Cherry Street Pup (Lancaster) for a fun, eclectic dining environment, and Millstone BBQ (Logan) for one heck of a meat platter!

If you’ve been to Fairfield County, Ohio, I’d love to hear your favorite stops!  Have fun exploring!

GO THERE (Fairfield County, OH)!  TRY THAT (Route 33 Brew Trail, Rising Park)!

 

 

EAT (out)

French Crust Bistro

I will never say no to brunch. There’s just something sophisticated about brunch.  I actually looked up the definition because I wasn’t sure what it technically meant.  Brunch is actually a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch (maybe the instead part is optional).  To me, this means restaurants who boast brunch are pretty much required to offer strong breakfast and lunch options.  And, if you’re feeling wild and crazy, you can order something from each!  Brunch can be sweet and savory, comfortable and classy; either way,  I’m always up for trying a new brunch place. My recent brunch outing, thanks to my friend Melanie, was to French Crust Bistro in OTR.  This is a great location because it’s right across the street from Findlay Market.  Have brunch.  Go shopping.  Repeat.

Cheers to Brunch!

French Crust Bistro, a restaurant by Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, is an inviting cafe with a bright and clean aesthetic. We chose to order breakfast dishes and pastries, which we thoroughly enjoyed, but I’ve also heard (from trusted sources) that French Crust Bistro serves some stellar lunch options, particularly their quiches and croissant sandwiches.

This is the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had.

Beautiful puff pastry and lots of bacon.

When in France (or a French bistro), order pastries!

Check out French Crust Bistro for a taste of France in Over the Rhine.  If you like wine and cocktails, my friends were quite impressed with their offerings. The danger zone for me?  The pastry display.  French-style chocolates and pastries are made in-house daily by Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Jean Philippe Solnom! So many sweets I wanted to sink my teeth into; in the end, I settled on a chocolate eclair and it was divine.

GO THERE (French Crust)! TRY THAT (Eggs Benedict, Eclair, Almond Croissant)! 

French Crust Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato