Imaginary Ohio Beer Trip

I’ve got that beer trip itch again. It’s been around six months since GABF, and I want back on the beer trail. When I have the itch like this, I think local or localish.  So far, I’ve had no success talking my wife into an Ohio beer car trip this summer. Her first response was: No. Why Ohio? It’s close. We can drive through it in a short period of time.  It won’t cost too much. From Lexington to Cleveland is only five hours. In between, there are many places to stop at. As long as there are bottle shops as well, our hotel nights are set. As long as the DVD player is charged, the kids are entertained in the car.


For some time, I’ve wanted to do a trip where the destination was not the goal. I’ve wanted to take the time – even with two kids – to get somewhere. And along the way, I want to stop at breweries. I thought about doing this for a trip to Colorado, but from Lexington, that’s almost 1200 miles. Averaging 500 miles a day, it will take over 2 days just to get to Denver!

Ohio is closer. From here to Cleveland, I can think of a number of places I’d love to visit:

  • Jackie O’s
  • Barley’s
  • Fat Head’s
  • Great Lakes
  • Buckeye
  • Brew Kettle

This trip would have limitations, of course. Beer stops must be either kid friendly or have food (the best way to bring kids – give them food while I get a sampler). One beer oriented visit a day or two if lunch and dinner are involved is all we can do. Three places in Cleveland, for instance, requires at least two days and a wife’s patience.

I could call upon my previous bro-adventure partners and see if they can get away for a week of Ohio travelling. But family is probably the way to go. If this planned summer trip looks selfish so far, it is. I haven’t done the necessary homework regarding kids’ stuff (I know there is a zoo in Columbus) or for my wife (beyond beer, which she will enjoy as well).  Another problem is that even though there are a lot of breweries in Ohio, and even if there are some new ones in the Cincinnati area (only an hour or so away – where we often do day trips), most don’t have restaurants. Last visit to Cincinnati saw us at Rock Bottom – a nice Double IPA, but not very good food. Tap rooms just aren’t enough. We need food. I still want to try Listermann’s beers, for instance, but I never see anything in the shops I frequent in Cincinnati, and I don’t want to waste my one day trip beer spot at a homebrew shop. I don’t homebrew.

Even though I’m supposedly skilled in persuasion, I may not win this argument. I haven’t found the “thing” that will sell this trip. Ohio doesn’t have the allure of Chicago (a yearly summer destination for us) or even Charleston (on the radar). Of course, there’s always Asheville, another regular stop for us. Typically, it suffers from the no restaurant issue (still haven’t been to Wedge for that reason). We get around that issue because Asheville has so many great places to eat at anyway and many have local beer on tap. Otherwise, we are limited to Lexington Avenue and Asheville Brewing. But the new Wicked Weed has a restaurant, and if they are open by this summer, I might be able to sneak visits to the newer Burial and Twin Leaf.

Can we do a week in Ohio? Isn’t that every family’s summer dream? Our colleagues are going to Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv. We can go to Ohio!