Columbus Day Trip for Fall: Utica

Moonshine, ice cream, and juicy peaches – these are just some of the offerings brought to us by way of Utica, Ohio.  So many of my favorite local products hail from the small town that it was long overdue for me to head to the source. Situated just an under an hour northeast of Columbus proper, Utica has plenty to tempt the food-lover. Plus road trips are the wonderful, so let’s get to it: the best treats to enjoy while you’re visiting Utica!

Mill St. Distillery

http://millstdistillery.com/are-you-of-age/

Mill St. is churning out bourbon, moonshine, and grappa for the masses, and looking to expand soon. Grappa is something you don’t see often, but definitely imbibe in the tasty grape-based spirit. If you’ve been to the big-name bourbon distilleries, this experience is much more personalized. You can ask plenty of questions and learn more about the moonshine-making process, plus taste up to 4 mini samples of Mill St. products. Take home some merch or Mansfield-made apple pie mix to add some a fruity zip to your liquor.

Velvet Ice Cream

http://www.velveticecream.com/

Nothing can make me happier than ice cream (I’ll just go ahead and get that out of the way). So the selection at Velvet Ice Cream makes my heart skip a beat: elephant ear, raspberry fudge cordial, pumpkin pie, cookie dough extreme, and Dutch apple pie, to name a few. And the best variety of all? Buckeye, with chocolate swirls and real mini buckeyes in every scoop! My friends and I were fortunate enough to do a fall flavor tasting of all of the above – so much dairy goodness. The Velvet and Ye Old Mill complex boasts a duck pond for the kiddos, factory tours to watch ice cream being made, a restaurant, a museum, and more.

Branstool Orchards

http://branstoolorchards.com/

Branstool’s peaches are beloved in Columbus farmers markets, but have you considered picking your own at the orchard? With 26 peach varieties, all kinds of apples (Honeycrisp included), and pumpkins all available for picking depending on the season, your autumn itinerary is set. The onsite market sells other fruits and veggies, in addition to Ohio-made items like maple syrup, pancake mixes, jams, and more. Also be on the look out for Jack, the resident farm dog; he often pops up in Branstool’s Instagram posts.

Fill up on the loaded taters at Nick’s or the home cooking at Watt’s Restaurant before you head out of town to complete your Utica adventure!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Getting to Know: Jana Douglass from Jana Lee’s Bake Shop

One of my absolute favorite things about blogging so far has been connecting with the interesting folks behind the Columbus dining scene. With this new series, I will be getting inside your favorite maker’s minds so we can soak up a little of their greatness. Plus, let’s face it – we are all a little nosy! So without further ado, the launch of the Columbus Culinary Chronicles begins with Jana Lee’s Bake Shop.

You’ve likely seen the pristine cut-out cookies from Jana Douglass on Instagram, presented in themed sets ranging from cheeky sayings, Disney characters, baby showers, and everything in between. Jana has managed to build a following of over 45k in just a few short years, and has some exciting things in her future. Learn more about Jana Lee’s recently launched bridal line (so much monogrammed cuteness!) and how to order your own treats by clicking on her contact info below, then scroll through to get the scoop on the cookie queen.

Web: https://www.janaleesbakeshop.com/
Instagram: @janaleesbakeshop
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janaleesbakeshop/
Twitter: @Jana_Lees

What motivated you to start a cookie-making business and how did you transition into full-time baking?
I was about to graduate from The Ohio State University in December of 2014 without a job lined up. I was feeling uninspired and I picked up cookie decorating as a creative outlet. Let me tell you… they were awful! But I fell in love with the creative process and kept at it. I started posting pictures on my personal Instagram and within 9 months I had created a separate cookie Instagram and had enough business to do it full time.

You bake so many shapes of cookies; how many cookie cutters do you own? How do you keep them all organized?
Wow! I would guess I have about 700 cookie cutters. You would think that would be plenty but every week we get new requests with cutters we do not own! We keep them organized by category on a peg board. Even with all the different shapes and options I would say we still reach for the same basic 20 shapes week after week.

Photo Credit: Jana Lee’s Bake Shop

What is your favorite themed set you’ve ever made?
How am I supposed to choose?! The amazing part of this business is the creativity around it. My favorite sets always end up happening when clients provide the theme and they trust my creative process.

Can you tell us about your worst kitchen disaster?
I was wrapping up a great day in the kitchen and was going to make it home at a normal hour which was pretty rare at the time. I had just finished up 6 dozen purple cookies (which is a difficult color to make) and quickly checked on them before heading out the door. The icing was still wet, not good! I instantly knew I did something wrong… I over whipped the icing!

I had to toss the cookies and start from scratch. My early evening home turned into me leaving the kitchen at 2 in the morning!

You’ve had the opportunity to work with high-profile clients like Draper James. How did this come about and what actions did you take to make it happen?
Honestly, I just ask! I am fairly brand loyal and decided to start reaching out to companies I love and for the most part have had great luck. What’s the worst that can happen?! They say no and you move on.

Which Columbus establishment do you frequent more than any other?
I enjoy my morning walk for coffee to Cafe Brioso downtown. I am addicted to their coffee! It is also a hidden gem for lunch, the turkey pesto sandwich with a lemonade is Ah-Mazing! We enjoy brewing their beans at home as well.

Photo Credit: Jana Lee’s Bake Shop

What is your favorite Columbus-based product?
Lately I have been addicted to Darista Dips! You can always find a container or two of their sweet potato coconut curry hummus in my fridge. The best snack!

What is your favorite adult beverage?
Hendrick’s martini, dry and dirty! You can usually find me sitting at the bar at Hyde Park with one in hand.

Can you share your favorite recipe to cook at home?
To be honest ever since starting a business my home cooking has been a little pathetic. Somedays the only time I spend in the kitchen at home is making bulletproof coffee in the morning. However with fall right around the corner I have been craving soups and chilis. This curried potato soup from Minimalist Baker (talk about a girl crush!) is a staple!

Curried Potato & Lentil Soup (1 Pot!)

Do you have a favorite charity that you would like to promote?
Columbus is great city full of wonderful charities and nonprofits. We personally love working with Ronald McDonald House; kids and cookies are the perfect fit! I encourage everyone to do a little research and get involved in something meaningful to them!

I see that you recently launched a bridal line. Can you tell us more about that and what else is coming up for Jana Lee’s Bake Shop?
Jana Lee’s Bridal Line launched in June! We are thrilled to be included in so many bridal events across the city.
There is a lot happening behind the scenes here, mostly things we can’t share with you just yet! Stay tuned!!

Make sure you follow Jana and see what’s next – fall=lots of Halloween themed deliciousness.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Photography at The Wonder Jam

1145 Chesapeake Ave
Building J
Columbus, OH 43212

http://thewonderjam.com

I will be the first to admit that the focus of this blog has never been photography. I don’t have a fancy camera, and didn’t even have an Instagram account in the beginning, now my largest social media channel. My ability to take pictures of food has improved tremendously over the past two years, but it’s always been something I never concentrated on enough. Sometimes I was too starving to take photos, sometimes I got off work late and there was no sunlight left for an ideal setup. I have a long way to go to hone those food styling skills, but I’m working on it with The Wonder Jam!

I connected with The Wonder Jam through Instagram (@thewonderjam), and had been admiring their photography work from afar. Then, a couple weeks ago I finally pulled the trigger and visited their studio for a photography class. The Wonder Jam is owned by the husband and wife duo of Allie and Adam Lehman, and they offer assistance in expanding your small business or “side hustle” in a variety of ways. Some of the services: building your brand, social media coaching, and of course, photography. The Lehmans and their team also prep the food and then shoot it for entire cookbooks, which I learned isn’t as glamorous as it sounds!

The class I took was Food Photography and Styling, essentially an intro to capturing food on film. It was iPhone-friendly (perfect for me!) and the group was a great mix of career photographers and amateurs who just wanted to take prettier snaps of food. At only $40 for 3 hours of instruction and light snacks, this class is such a tremendous value! I took notes throughout the session like a maniac. Allie and her crew set up different food scenes for us to try our hand at capturing, so it was interesting to see how these high-quality shots are developed from the ground up. I won’t give away all the secrets, but I learned how to set up layouts and backgrounds for shooting, how to add texture with napkins, and that painting produce with veggie oil gives it a perfect sheen. I can’t wait to take another class and learn more. Some of my shots have improved already:

Culinary Clue: The studio is in the same industrial strip as Watershed Kitchen + Bar. So schedule a class at The Wonder Jam, then mosey over to Watershed to test your newly-acquired camera talents on their cuisine.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Spring So Far

Aside from a few bouts of stormy skies, central Ohio’s notoriously fickle weather has been gracious so far this spring. I’ve been soaking up Vitamin D all around town, from the ‘burbs to Olde Towne East and Italian Village. There were too many shots to share on Instagram alone (@cbusconnect) so a roundup post was the only solution. Get out and explore the beauty of Columbus and its food scene in springtime!

Flowers & Many Breads

Of course, there’s Clintonville’s actual Flowers & Bread Co, a carb-lover’s haven that screams spring. But Kittie’s Cakes has fig and goat cheese scones that pair perfectly with warm days, pile warm ricotta on crostini at Third and Hollywood’s steal of a happy hour, or head to Olde Towne East for the Angry Baker’s avocado toast.

In My Home Kitchen

I’ve been raving about rhubarb, and whipping up double batches of rhubarb syrup for homemade soda and killer cocktails. We’ve also been firing up the grill, enjoying Easter with family, and noshing on pimento cheese sammies for The Masters tournament.

Nature’s Bounty

Think spring when picking out your next meal! Alchemy Juice has the most colorful foods that your body will thank you for eating, Curio’s libations are a cornucopia of flavors, or stop by Cosecha and sample the fresh taste of the Hawaiian poké tostada, bursting with pineapple.

Where else in town do you enjoy spending spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Columbus Craft Beer Week 2017

It’s almost time for Columbus Craft Beer Week! This extravaganza of all things brewery-related transcends the hops scene into something that celebrates the culinary arts and local businesses as well. The capital city has embraced its beer-loving roots; after all, we are home to over 30 breweries. Plus, we can boast about the Columbus Ale Trail and the fantastic tours offered by Columbus Brew Adventures. But May 12-20, don’t miss some of the unique opportunities to savor some Columbus-made suds.

First on the roster is the brewing of the annual collaboration ale, consisting of 2 dozen local breweries uniting at Columbus Brewing Company to “mash in” the group-created beer and start the brewing process. The collectively created beer is dubbed Dysfunctionale, and is only available at select locations during Columbus Craft Beer Week on draft and in limited numbers of cans. Here are some shots from the initial mash in:

Throughout the week, your favorite bars and restaurants are also churning out some fantastic beer-centric dishes, having exclusive beer releases, and creating themed dinners. The whole week is capped off with the Six One Pour beer festival on May 20 from 5-9 at Huntington Park, featuring plenty of food, music, and of course, beer samples. These are some of the happenings that have caught my eye:

All week: Small Plate Pairings with The Market and Jackie O’s

All week: Small Plate Pairings with Homestead Beer Co. and The Crest Gastropub

May 12: Rockmill’s Quad Release at 101 Beer Kitchen

May 12: Science on Tap at COSI

May 13: Columbus Craft Beer Alliance – Beer and Donuts pairing at Platform Beer

May 14: Sushi, Sake, and Craft Beer Pairings at the Daily Growler

May 16: Beer and Ice Cream Pairing with Jeni’s and Land-Grant Brewing

May 17: Dog and Patio Beer Party at Zauber Brewing

Learn more about all of the upcoming events here: http://www.columbusbeerweek.com/events/ and see you at Columbus Craft Beer Week!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

2 Year Anniversary Spectacular: My Favorite Posts So Far

I’ll be writing more about this for the March newsletter (Click here to sign up for the newsletter), but this week Columbus Culinary Connection celebrated its 2 year anniversary! 131 blog posts, 4,200 Instagram (@cbusconnect) followers, and 8.3 million pounds of cheese later, I’m still enjoying being a food blogger. It’s forced me outside my comfort zone in tasting new cuisine, but also in making new relationships. It’s been a creative outlet, and given me a greater appreciation for Columbus and all things Ohio. I’ve enjoyed looking back at the posts I’ve written over the past two years, and daydreaming about the places I’ve visited, and of course the food I’ve devoured up to this point. Here are some of my absolute favorites!

Rockmill Brewery

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/rockmill-brewery-review/
Rockmill Brewery

One of my very first posts, Rockmill is still a place that has a certain magic for me. The countless good times on the brewery’s grounds and in the idyllic horse barn-turned-taproom make this a spot I’ll always go again and again.

Kittie’s Cakes

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/kitties-cakes/
http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/kitties-cakes-bexley/
Kittie's Cakes

The original German Village location and the new Bexley Kittie’s cafe have some of my favorite treats in town. Bacon cheddar scones, immense Facecookies, and shop mascot Linus the Golden Retriever make Kittie’s a must-try bakery.

My Family’s Christmas Cookies

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/christmas-cookie-recipe/
Christmas Cookies

My mom was the guest writer for this post, and she’s the reason I am crazy about cooking. It’s one of my all-time favorite family traditions, and it’s been fabulous seeing so many other people take her recipe and incorporate it into their own holiday customs.

A Visit to: Biltmore Estate

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/biltmore-estate/
The Biltmore Estate

I love exploring, and have embraced my inner history nerd. Our mini vacation to Biltmore Estate let me combine my admiration for both fine dining and Downton Abbey, and I loved every second of it. I also used this post as a template for my Charleston Gazette article, another writing opportunity that blogging has afforded me!

Fox in the Snow Cafe

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/fox-in-the-snow-cafe/
Fox in the Snow Cafe

The effort put into blogging is worth it soley because I learned about Fox in the Snow through blogger friends. What had I been missing? Only the cutest animal logo in town and some heavenly custard-filled donuts.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Grandview Heights

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/neighborhood-spotlight-grandview-heights/
Sweet Carrot and Zauber Beers in Grandview

It’s been great seeing so many new foodie destinations pop up in Grandview recently, and there are some classic oldie but goodie spots as well. There’s something for every palette in this Columbus ‘burb. I need to get around to making another neighborhood dining guide soon.

Por’Ketta Food Truck

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/porketta-food-truck/
Porketta Food Truck

I love the ease and variety that food truck dining brings, and I tend to seek out my favorites time and again. Por’Ketta’s family business is doing some really fun things, and my adoration has not waned even after eating that chicken sandwich a hundred times.

Top Secret Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/
Chocolate Chip Cookies

The secret is the cheesecake pudding! Trust me on this – it’s been my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for years. It makes the softest, tastiest cookies imaginable.

5 Queso Dishes to Try

http://columbusculinaryconnection.com/carolines-picks-5-queso-dishes-try/
Bodega Columbus: Loaded Truffle Fries

I have to end this round-up with another round-up! When you can list some of your most beloved restaurants in one cheese-laden post, i.e.  Hudson 29, Condado Tacos, and Bodega, what isn’t to love? I have a whole category on the blog of 5 to Try posts, when you’re in need of a quick reference guide.

Thanks for being on this journey with me! Cheers to another year of bacon and blogging.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Blystone Farm

Blystone Farms

8677 Oregon Rd.
Canal Winchester, OH 43110
(614) 833-1211
http://www.blystonefarm.com

You may have heard me mention the fact that I’m smitten with Blystone bacon breakfast sausage on social media (or bacon in general, for that matter). But the sausage patties aren’t the only things to drool over coming out of the Canal Winchester family farm.

Blystone Farms in Canal Winchester

I grew up not far from Blystone, so I love to see this small business succeeding. The Blystone family is doing things right, recently adding a patio and a taproom area to the existing butcher shop and bakery building. It’s now an ideal spot to grab a sandwich, sip on a craft beer, or pick up local products. The whole operation is situated a few hundred yards from their homestead, and more often than not, upon pulling into the driveway you will be greeted by mooing cows in the pasture or the friendly resident farm dogs. One of them, Hank, even has his own Instagram account!

Breakfast Biscuit at Blystone Farm

The butcher shop works with many local purveyors to provide items like Dijon-marinated chicken thighs, bison, freshly ground beef, cut-to-order short ribs, and the infamous bacon sausage. On weekends, they serve up breakfast sammies with your choice of their ham, bacon, or sausage, plus cheese and an egg, all on a freshly baked biscuit. For lunch, try a pulled brisket slider, a gyro, or a deli sandwich. Baked goods made in house are also available; think red velvet cookies and pecan sticky buns.

The market portion of the Blystone business is a reason to visit in itself. You can purchase food truck favorite Sophie’s Pierogies, frozen for you to sauté and enjoy at home. Or peruse the craft beer shelves, where you’ll uncover bottles of everything from Lancaster’s Rockmill Brewery to Columbus’ Wolf’s Ridge and perennial favorite Three Floyd’s Brewing. Other items I’ve ended up taking home? Maple syrup, salsa, caramels, local blackberries, and even Carfagna’s marinara.

Sophies Pierogies at Blystone

Journey out to Canal Winchester soon to visit the farm and Hank the cow dog!

Hank the Cow Dog

Culinary Clue: The farm is in close proximity to Slate Run Metro Park, and both places are very family-friendly. Make a day trip to the southeast side of town and kill two birds with one stone.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

2017 Restaurant Bucket List

The best and worst thing about Columbus’ phenomenal food scene is that there is always a new restaurant to try. I did a pretty good job at conquering last year’s locales, but this year there is a fresh crop of eateries to enjoy! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the cuisine at the places below before 2017 ends:

Cosecha

https://www.facebook.com/Cosecha-Cocina-1789198708022380/

Cosecha Columbus
Photo Credit: Silas Caeton

With a Mexican-inspired focus and Salt & Pine’s Silas Caeton at the helm, this new venture can’t go wrong. The spot doesn’t open until early 2017, but you can bet I’ll be first in line. The pop-ups they’ve had around town have looked divine. Pictured: Grilled octopus with mojo-marinated cabbage, red mole, and roasted taters.

Simply Rolled

https://www.facebook.com/simplyrolledicecream/

A fun twist on Thai ice cream rolls, these treats are hard to track down but the reaction from fans radiates positivity. A flavored cream base is poured onto cold stones, mixed with toppings, and scraped into pretty rolls. Catch them at a festival or pop-up near you!

The Avenue Steak Tavern

http://theavenuesteaktavern.com/

The Avenue Steak Tavern
Photo Credit: The Avenue

As a huge Cameron Mitchell cheerleader, I must be crazy for failing to eat a full meal at this Grandivew joint. The classic steakhouse interior always looks inviting, and I’m such a sucker for a well-prepared steak. Plus, they have baked cheese fondue. When melty cheese is on the menu, you must order it, end of story.

Skillet

http://www.skilletruf.com/

Brunch is always a good idea, but when your diner of choice seeks out seasonal ingredients to create scrumptious-sounding comfort food, you can’t delay in visiting. I’ve got to visit Skillet in 2017, so I can gobble up entrees like quiche made with roasted butternut squash, kale, chevre, fresh thyme, and shallot baked in flaky pastry.

Prost

http://prostcafe.com/menu/3288556

This Reynoldsburg watering hole has been on my radar for awhile. The number one reason: a bruschetta bar! Mix and match varieties like Brie and apple with fig jam, burrata and bacon, or ricotta, dates, and pistachios sound heavenly, plus there is some great happy hour pricing on beer and wine.

Paulie Gee’s

http://pauliegee.com/short-north/

Paulie Gee's
Photo Credit – Paulie Gee’s

Where did I go wrong that I still haven’t made it to Paulie Gee’s, home of the mini pizza flight? That’s right, no more confining your choices to one pie – you can devour 3! When the menu contains pizza combos like the Monte Cristo (Canadian bacon, gouda, maple syrup) or The Katzingers 83 (swiss, pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing drizzle), I’m drooling already.

Tensuke Express

http://tensukemarket.com/

A quick-service spot inside a beloved Japanese market, Tensuke Express cuts out the sushi and focuses solely on other delicacies. Dishes like ramen bowls, pork cutlet fried rice, and spicy shrimp udon make up the diverse menu, and I’m dying to try them all!

de Novo on the Park

http://www.denovobistro.com/

The views of the new de Novo location look stunning, with large windows facing Columbus Commons and eclectic furnishings. The menu is intriguing as well – Duck BLT sliders, lobster mac, and kangaroo (!) too. I’m sold on noshing here next year!

Did I miss any noteworthy restaurant you love? Tell me in the comments below.

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Fall Flavors 2016

Goumas Candyland offers up Caramel Apples

I totally get it: flavors like pumpkin and apple have become synonymous with the start of fall, and sometimes it can be overkill. But let’s face another reality: when all is said and done, we still find ourselves buying or ordering menu items with these ingredients because the dishes simply taste heavenly. So buckle up for a buffet of all the autumn eats I’ve enjoyed so far this season! Don’t forget about squash, sweet potatoes, and warming spices too. 

Pumpkin-palooza

Snickerdoodle Cooki Sammies with Velvet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Snickerdoodle Cookie Sammies with Velvet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Cashew Cream Toast and Beet Juice from Alchemy

Pumpkin Cashew Cream Toast and Beet Juice from Alchemy

Basic Fall Staple Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

Basic Fall Staple: Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

Apple Extravaganza

Goumas Candyland offers up Caramel Apples

Goumas Candyland offers up caramel apples

Donuts with maple apple compote from Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Donuts with maple apple compote from Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Brothers Drake Bourbon Barrel Apple Mead

Brothers Drake Bourbon Barrel Apple Pie Mead

Acorn squash stuffed with apple and sausage

Acorn squash stuffed with apple and sausage

Street Thyme Burger with brie and apples

Street Thyme burger with brie and apples

More Fall Fare

The new Rockmill Taverns comforting Duck Pot Pie

The new Rockmill Tavern's comforting Duck Pot Pie

Akoori Eggs from The Table on the Columbus Food Adventures Brunch Tour

Akoori Eggs from The Table on the Columbus Food Adventures Brunch Tour

Chili by the Fire

Hot chili by the fire

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams seasonal offerings Sweet Potato Eclair and chocolatey spicy Xocorosa

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams seasonal offerings Sweet Potato Eclair and chocolatey, spicy Xocorosa

Columbus Brew Adventures: Craft and Draft Tour

Columbus Brew Adventures Tour

Columbus Brew Adventures
Craft and Draft Tour
http://www.columbusbrewadventures.com/

I wrote recently about how much I enjoyed my first Columbus Food Adventures tour, eating my way around downtown Worthington. So when Columbus Brew Adventures invited me to tag along on their Crafts and Drafts tour, I was raring to go. Even more so once I read the itinerary for this Craft and Draft tour: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Mad Moon Craft Cider, Brothers Drake Mead, and Watershed Distillery. This means tastes of beer, mead, cider, and liquor all in one day! As I’m a equal opportunity drinker, how could I not be excited about that level of variety?

First, let’s talk about the logistics. We met up with our group of 11 at Wolf’s Ridge and were driven around in a CBA van to the various locations. Jim Ellison, founder of the CMH Gourmand blog and co-owner of Columbus Brew Adventures, served as both our driver and our guide, and offered plenty of nuggets of insight on the way. He also packed up our appetizers for snacking on the road and had a fabulous sense of humor, both additions that made the tour even more enjoyable!

Treats from Wolfs Ridge Brewing

At Wolf’s Ridge, we received two of their signature munchies, potato chips and pork rinds. Having a base layer in your stomach was important, I later learned, because they weren’t shy with samples! We sipped on 4 different beers, including Pi, WRB’s smoked pumpkin brew, and a spice-infused imperial stout. Next, we strolled downstairs for a behind the scenes look at the bottling area and some of the experimental brews. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Wolf’s Ridge is working on creating some sour beers, that should be ready to roll out in a few months – woohoo!

Next stop was Mad Moon Craft Cider, which was a totally different experience since they are still in the beginning stages of expansion. I’d tried Mad Moon’s Unglued caramel apple cider before, but quickly fell in love with owner Sally Moon’s tea and cranberry styles as well. Fall sangria with cranberry cider? I can see it now! Our group learned how hard it is to press apples into juice, in addition to being constrained by local apple demand, and subsequently I have a whole new respect for anyone who produces cider.

Mad Moon Cider

We zipped over to Brothers Drake next, where due to a change in plans Jim gave us a brief tour of the mead-making area. Did you know mead is the world’s oldest spirit? I’d taken the Brothers Drake tour before, but I’m always glad to glad to sample the honey they use, as well as taste some seasonal varieties I hadn’t been able to get my hands on previously. I’m looking at you, Bourbon Apple Pie mead.

Brothers Drake on Columbus Brew Adventures Tour

Watershed Distillery was supposed to be our final stop, but more on this later. Here, we got a quick overview of the liquor’s creation and its history. As a bourbon-lover, the Old Fashioned mix that Watershed churns out is heaven on Earth, and the bourbon barrel-aged gin could actually make me a gin convert. We also discovered that Watershed will be opening a restaurant as part of the distillery due to a recent change in Ohio law; this is exciting news in my book! With enough time remaining, Jim dropped us off at North High Brewing to pop in for a quick taster of a beer of our choosing. A mere 4.5 hours later, in much happier moods than when we started our days, we were delivered back to Wolf’s Ridge to conclude our afternoon.

Watershed Distillery on Columbus Brew Adventures Tour

Taking this tour brought me to some of my favorite alcohol-laden spots in town, and helped me discover some new treats as well. I even learned some secret new tidbits at many of the locations, before the general public! There are plenty of other CBA options for boozy tours in the capital city if this itinerary doesn’t appeal to you. I’ve got to check out the Pitchers and Pizza one that hits up Hounddog’s Pizza (hello craft beer and Smokin’ Joe’s crust) but the Granville/Buckeye Lake beer tour sounds intriguing too. To learn more about the Craft and Draft tour and other Columbus Brew Adventures offerings, click here. PSA: A gift certificate to one of these tours would make a great gift for the adult-beverage lover in your life.

If you’ve taken a Columbus Brew Adventures Tour before, send me a tweet about the tour I should book next!

Keep Connected,

Caroline

Disclosure: I was invited on the Columbus Brew Adventures tour. All opinions expressed herein are my own.