503 S. Front St.
Columbus, OH 43215
1. Cask Aged Saison Noir
2. Tavern Burger
3. Duck Pot Pie
4. Petite Saison
5. Cheesy Biscuits and Spicy Honey
I’ve never kept my love affair with Rockmill Brewery a secret. I adore the pristine grounds, the taproom’s cozy restored barn filled with wood and flickering fireplaces, and of course, the Belgian-style beers. So I couldn’t have been more ecstatic to learn that Rockmill had acquired the old World of Beer space. With this development, Rockmill can attract some downtown clientele who may have been wary of making the trek to Lancaster, and also add food to their repertoire to pair with those fantastic beers. In many ways, the new digs mirror the original property. There is a two story loft setup, rows of Rockmill bottles,loads of barn wood, and the brewery’s logo horse motif on every surface. The vibe invites you to linger and gather with friends, just like the farm does.
I won’t cover the beverages too extensively, since I’ve written about the brewery operation previously, but two of my favorites are worth mentioning. For a bright and mellow brew try the Petite Saison – it specifically instructs you to pair it with sunshine, but just about any food will do. I also really enjoy the Saison Noir, a style you don’t see very frequently. The Noir has rich, malty tones without being too heavy, making it perfect for cooler weather.
On to the cuisine! Our waitress informed us that the chef likes to keep the menu very small and seasonal, so there was a lot of overlap in ingredients like the duck confit and dijonnaise. However, limited doesn’t mean lacking in flavor. This is definitely not your average pub grub, with an emphasis on plating and attention to detail. For starters, a lineup of stellar salads and appetizers await; think decadent Cheesy Biscuits with pats of spicy honey butter, a charred veggie salad with citrus, or colorfully garnished Duck Deviled Eggs . Our favorite item of all was the Tavern Burger, a beef patty dripping with a luscious bacon jam and dijonnaise then stacked high with pickled onions and cheddar cheese on a soft ciabatta bun. A close rival, the Duck Pot Pie, arrives with generous chunks of confit, veggies, and gravy buried in a flaky crust with a crown of crispy kale chips. I’m normally not a meat and potatoes person, but after telling my husband I’d only be eating one bite, I promptly polished off half the entree. There will be a rotating selection of toasts, topped according to the locally available produce at the time, and some from scratch sweets as well. I love being able to say: “I’ll be back for the beer…and the food!”
Culinary Clue: The Brewery District is on its way to experiencing a culinary revival. Check out some of the other restaurants that are helping to revive this historic area of downtown Columbus, such as El Arepazo, home of the famous cilantro sauce, the beautiful Via Vecchia Winery event space, or perhaps Columbus Brewing’s restaurant or Brick American Kitchen.