COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Beer drinkers and bookworms alike are raising a toast this month to the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s 150th anniversary with a fresh pint of Land-Grant Brewing Company’s librarian-inspired ale.
Brewed in collaboration with the library’s own staff – and aptly named the “Read Ale” – the exclusive, red-colored amber ale is on tap until the end of April at the Franklinton brewery and beer garden, according to Land-Grant spokesperson Meredith Miles. With a free library passport included with a pint, Read Ale drinkers are encouraged to hit the books at any of the 150-year-old library’s 23 locations.
“The library is synonymous with community, and we also want to be a brewery that’s synonymous with community,” Miles said. “So that marriage right there alone was the no-brainer in partnering with them.”
Unlike the rest of beer flowing in Land-Grant’s taproom, the Read Ale was branded, brewed and taste-tested with the help of the library’s team members. The multi-flavored malt beer has notes of dark fruit, honey, caramel and toffee, Miles said, with low hop and roast bitterness.
Rachel Heine, director of development at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, said she and her coworkers were “blown away” by the opportunity to stir the Read Ale in a behind-the-scenes look at Land-Grant’s brewing process.
“Just to hear the brewer speak – not only with the passion that they have, but the science and the chemistry and what goes into it – is so interesting. I mean, we kept telling him he should write a book,” Heine said.
Part of the fun in designing the library-inspired beer, Heine said, was engaging library cardholders in the conversation. Library lovers flocked to Facebook to offer suggestions for the ale’s name, from “Bookmark Brew” and “Catcher in the Rye” to “Page Turner” and “Open to Ale” – the latter a call-out to the library’s “Open to All” catchphrase.
It was the punny “Read Ale,” however, that emerged as the frontrunner.
“When the library said, ‘What should we call it?’ we were blown away by how creative everybody was, coming up with some really elaborate literary references and others that are straight to the point,” Miles said.
Founded in 1873, the Columbus Metropolitan Library started out as a single reading room inside the original City Hall. Since then, Heine said it has grown to 23 locations across Franklin County and become a “fabric of the community,” offering free books, internet, snacks and even homework help.
“If it’s not a resource they’re using, they’d probably be surprised how much there is that they could tap into,” Miles said. “For us, it was kind of that nice, one-two punch of being able to serve up the beer and also a guide or a resource for people to really explore their library.”
The Read Ale is available on tap until the end of April at Land-Grant, located at 424 W. Town St. Pint purchasers can round up their tab or go online to donate to the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation.