I love craft beer. I love brew pubs. One of my favorite places to eat and drink is the Moerlein Lager House (http://wp.me/p3jVIR-39). It’s the largest brew pub in the country last I heard, and the food is really good and the beer choices are plentiful. We love to frequent other bars and pubs that offer craft beer, so when we were taking an overnight trip to Columbus for a concert; we made sure to look up the best rated places for craft beer on Urbanspoon.com. Barley’s Brewing (http://barleysbrewing.com/) was one of the highest rated we found, so we decided to hit it up before the concert.
Barley’s is in the Arena District, which is the area surrounding the home of the Bluejackets, Nationwide Arena. Columbus is a pretty city, with much of it really following High Street as far as places to go. Most of the bars in the area are complete messes, with college students partying and throwing up at 4pm. Seriously. However, Barley’s was pretty empty when we got there, filling up as dinnertime approached. Once inside, it was fairly cool looking. Straight ahead was a nice big bar with a few TVs and there were quite a few booths lining the right wall. We were quickly seated at one of the booths, and greeted by our server that eerily looked like Walter White (Heisenberg) from “Breaking Bad.” That was cool. Unfortunately, the server was perhaps grumpier than Heisenberg. Throughout the visit to the brewpub, our server did do his job just fine. Lots of checking on us, he knew his beers well enough, and he suggested the dish I chose and enjoyed. He just did it gruffly.
We ordered a couple of beers to start. My wife went with a guest tap, the Yeti Imperial Stout. I went with the cask conditioned Bicentennial Imperial IPA. The Yeti was good and strong, the way an imperial stout should be. My Bicentennial was pretty nice. It was strong but not hard to drink. I’m not going to trade in my Rivertown Hop Baron any time soon for it, but it’s a nice local beer. We also ended up having their Russian Imperial Stout and the Centennial IPA. My wife did not care for their stout all that much. The Centennial went down smoother that the Bicentennial, and had a mildly citrus flavor.
When it came to food, we had a good amount of choices comprising of mostly sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and hot dogs. My wife went with the Chili-Lime Pork Salad (mixed greens, three cheese blend, braised pork, grape tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, tortillas, and honey lime vinaigrette) and I went with the Turkey Nut Burger (house-made turkey burger, pecans, and spicy mayo).
Both were good. The salad was flavorful with very tender pulled pork. The honey lime vinaigrette dressing worked very well with the pork. The burger was great…and while that doesn’t say much…turkey burgers are not nearly as good as a well-made beef burger, I still enjoyed it. The pecans just went so well with the meat. It worked and paired with the IPA nicely. It was also cooked very well. It’s easy to overcook turkey, this was seared just enough.
Overall, I’d recommend a visit to Barley’s if you are visiting or if you live in Columbus. You won’t be blown away with beer choices or beautiful views like you are at a place like the Moerlein Lager House, but this is a great local brewpub that you’ll be happy you went to.