COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Columbus Brewing Co. is not only is ready to reopen, it’s ready to add something new to its menu: food.
The city’s oldest craft brewery has kept its taproom closed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. It’ll reopen June 23 at 3 p.m.
“We’ve spent the last nine months making food,” co-owner Eric Bean said. “We’re making sure everything that’s coming out is high quality.”
The taproom opened in fall 2019 and relied on food trucks to supply food options for its patrons. But food was always part of the plan for the space.
The trailer that houses the kitchen — a beast larger than a more traditional food truck — was actually purchased last February with hopes of a June 2020 menu launch. The Covid-19 pandemic changed that timing.
“Being more of a destination location, having a consistent menu was important to us,” Bean said.
Adding the trailer kitchen is about more than the 2555 Harrison Road space though. The company also is prepping a taproom to be part of the Trolley Barn redevelopment near Franklin Park.
“Being able to use the trailer now allows us to get our feet under us,” Bean said. “Quality is the name of the game and we want food that matches the quality of our beer.”
The Trolley Barn taproom will have its own kitchen. The trailer will remain stationed at the brewery, though Bean said it may one day lead to the construction of an inside kitchen at Harrison Road. The trailer was a lower-cost investment for the company to test its culinary skills than an expensive remodel.
Though the kitchen is outside, customers will not have to lineup to order. Columbus Brewing staff will take orders and run all the food back to tables.
The opening menu includes a double cheeseburger with meat sourced from Butcher & Grocer, fries made from Chipperbec potatoes and five different pizzas, including a pepperoni with Ezzo pepperoni; chorizo made with house-made chorizo; and a Cacio e pepe with ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and fresh cracked black pepper.
There’s a queso blanco and both bone-in and boneless wings available in an assortment of sauces.
The menu also features a house salad and fried tofu. Bean said the team want to keep the brewery menu lean — the Trolley Barn location likely will offer more when it opens for comparison — but they still hope to add more vegetarian options.
Columbus Brewing, like many of its peers, faced challenges during the pandemic, but the loss of the taproom wasn’t a dramatic blow to business. The space had only been open six months before the state’s two month shut-down of dine-in (and drink-in) businesses.
Given that, Bean and his team felt comfortable waiting to reopen until the climate was better and used the downtime to create and fine-tune that menu.
On the beer front, new and returning customers will see their favorites like the IPA and Bodhi. There will be sours, barrel-aged dark beers and lagers and a pilsner at the lighter end as well.
Bean said they’ve been able to experiment more with their pilot system in the past year, particularly on those lagers, though he also called attention to the Five Minutes of Funk sour, which will only be on tap for a limited time and the barrel-aged barleywine.
“We’re super excited to get back in front of people again,” he said.
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