A trip to Columbus

As eluded to in my last post, we took a quick trip to Columbus, Ohio to stay at The Doghouse – Brew Dog’s newly opened beer themed hotel. Brew Dog is a Scotland based brewery who has offered Kickstarter type private equity sales to raise money for their various projects. J initially bought in years ago on their 2nd offering because he wanted the special beers mailed to him, and a membership card with his photo on it. No one knew that Brew Dog would take off as it did, and, well….just google it. As they expanded their brewery, they made the jump across the pond to Columbus, where they opened another brew house, and an attached hotel. J bought into the hotel fundraiser as well, and received 2 free nights at the hotel in return.

The hotel is outside of Columbus, but you could stay in the hotel with the attached restaurant and be perfectly happy. We upgraded to the Brewmaster’s Suite, which featured a big garage door window looking down on their sour beer facility, an in room tap, and 2 (two!) beer fridges (including one in the shower). You received free welcome beers upon arrival, and while the restaurant and bar closed at 10, the fully stocked lobby bar remained open for hotel guests only until 1 or 2am. With fun art on and around the building, a large dog park across a little stream, and adjacent to bike paths, it was a nice spot and we enjoyed our 2 nights there.

With our one full day in the area, we went into Columbus to visit a few other local breweries and check out the Short North Arts District, which had a place called Philco with a bloody mary I wanted to try. So after lunch at a brewery and stumbling upon a really cool duck pin bowling bar, we went out to find it.

“Philco” bloody

We sat at this old fashioned bar, which didn’t appear to have a cocktail menu, and ordered a bloody. It had a lot of visible pepper in it, but it was pretty watery with a strong sriracha sauce taste. Garnished with an olive, lime, and little pickle there may have been some pickle juice in it. At first I was kinda disappointed. There wasn’t a whole lot of tomato flavor, plus the liquidity of the drink, and I wondered why it had been on a list of bloodies to try in Columbus. But as I drank it, it actually grew on me and I ended up being pretty satisfied.

By this point we were kinda full of lunch still, and flights of beer and cocktails, so we walked around the neighborhood and made it down to the North Market. I really wish I was hungry because there were so many awesome looking food vendors of every kind of ethnicity, plus other booths selling other mostly food items to buy (salsas, hot sauces, jellies, etc). Even though I was full, I couldn’t pass up getting some Jeni’s ice cream, so I made some space in my wooden leg that’s reserved exclusively for ice cream and dug in.

After stopping into another brewery we made our way back towards the car, and I realized the bar we went to first WAS NOT PHILCO! I could have sworn I had seen the sign, and that was the place, but I was mistaken! The place we first went to was called Press Grill! Well, they DID both start with a “P”!

Having found Philco, which was just a few doors down from Press Grill, we had to go in and try the bloody. Omg, so full! Philco is an upscale old diner, with a few booths and counter service. They were closing soon, so I was very happy I had realized we had been to the wrong place just in time.

The real Philco bloody

Garnished with a Gorgonzola olive, lime and a spiced rim, I forced down the olive because I feel bad leaving fancy stuffed ones in the glass. Gross. The real Philco bloody had a proper thickness and a decent amount of spice. Made with a house mix, it had a solid classic flavor with a hint of pickle juice tang.

Olives, bleccchh.

For $9 the drink was kinda small, but the bartender gave me the extra in a small glass, like places will do with milkshakes, so I forgive the price (though I don’t know if that’s normal behavior, so don’t expect it).

Bloody Mary with a Blood Mary chaser.

Even though we really only had one full day in Columbus, it looks like a pretty neat city. I had passed through the area many years ago en route to Cincinnati, purely because of taco trucks (it’s where I had my first, and best, al pastor, which I wanted to get again but didn’t have the time), and visited the zoo, but there is so much else to discover. RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, Nina West, is from Columbus and there were photos of her and references to her all around the Short North district. A friend (Hi Scott!) is moving there soon and had mentioned several places to check out, had we had the time, including a bar he thought I’d like, Oddfellows, which we did make it to. Crazy art on the wall, pizza food truck outside, and we walked right into weekly trivia. Loved it. I wish Columbus wasn’t a solid 5 hour drive, because I’d love to check out more of the area.

In local Buffalo bloody news, there have been a few new bloody destinations in the area I hope to get to soon…if I can ever get up early enough for brunch!

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