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
- 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)!
Derek Robert RacickiSeptember 26, 2018 at 8:27 pm
Sounds like a great beer trail. Was this a package? Did it cost anything? Looks very inviting!
Mindy TrujilloOctober 17, 2018 at 10:35 am
It’s not a package, but more of a plan-your-own-adventure. The only cost is the purchase of beverages!