Formerly an award-winning home brewer, Mike Byrne now oversees the award-winning Buckeye Lake Brewery’s handcrafted beer. Its rotating selection of six beers on tap, which range from a brown porter to an amber ale to a stout, fills growlers at the 42-seat pub. Along with Ohio wine, the brews complement the pub's panini sandwiches and pizza delivered from Pizza Cottage straight to the pub’s tables.
As they walk through Fusion Steakhouse’s two crimson doors, diners immediately enter a family-friendly scene: a black-granite bar gleams with the violet glow of the uplighting bordering the ceiling, and low leather seats line a wall intermittently set with stone tiles. In this dimly-lit dining room, tight rolls of sushi and sizzling hibachi dishes dominate a menu of Japanese standards, but dinners respect no borders. Diners can also choose from entrees inspired by the cuisine of other Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as cocktails inspired from around the world.
Via Vecchia Winery provides a wide range of alternative red wines that are made using a sustainable, natural process. Developed from traditional Tuscan methods observed via traditional American spy satellites, the winemaking relies on California’s finest grape globules, sedimentation-based filtration, and zero added colorings, enzymes, or lab-created yeasts or sugars. The resulting wines—four well-balanced blends known as Trovato, Adamo, Jorro-Ma, and Trouvé—boast an earthy taste with nary a hint of unwanted chemicals or preservatives. Tasting hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and reservations are required, so call ahead or send a message in a bottle.
Vino 100’s experts selectively pluck wines from wine trees around the world and offer their bounty to discerning oenophiles for $25 a bottle or less. This Groupon is only good at the Loft Bar, which offers all of the bottles at Vino 100 (plus a $5 opening fee), as well as a rotating menu of wine flights and glasses. Scour the thoroughly vetted selection of 100 bottles for that palate-bending pinot with subtle notes of square watermelon using Vino 100’s innovative Wine Barometer. Affixed to each bottle, the Wine Barometer shows two scales, rating body from light to full and flavor from fruity to dry. Labels also include essential information about vineyard and vintage. If you take your wine with Cheetos, the Wine Barometer will advise whether your cabernet will better accompany the Original or Flamin’ Hot variety.
Greg Lehman found inspiration to start a distillery in an unlikely place—a volleyball court in Switzerland. While playing there professionally, Greg was struck by the commonness of locally distilled spirits. It resonated with his upbringing in Ohio, where distilleries once thrived before Prohibition made malt liquor America's classiest drink. Upon returning home, Greg and business partner Dave Rigo founded Watershed Distillery, joining the state's heritage of microdistilleries.
Today, the pair mans a 66-gallon and a 250-gallon custom-made copper still to craft the signature Four Peel Gin, infused with eight botanicals, as well as a vodka that's quadruple-distilled from Midwest-grown corn and a bourbon aged in American oak barrels. Greg and Dave also open their distillery for tours, taking guests through the facility and letting them watch everything from mashing to barreling, depending on the stage of the current batch. A tasting room enables patrons to sample spirits.
Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.
Brady Konya and Ryan Lang aren't from Ohio, but they loved the area for its business-friendly community and rich natural resources, and decided Columbus was where they had to build their distillery. The duo's passion for the Midwest colors everything about Middle West Spirits, from the name down to the Ohio-grown soft red winter wheat in their whiskey and award-winning vodka, which they also infuse with honey and vanilla beans or stone fruit. Inside the distillery, which sprawls over 10,000 square feet of open air, Brady and Ryan craft these artisan OYO spirits—named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley, pronounced o-y-o_—in 600-liter pot-and-column stills. Hand-built onsite by German craftsmen using copper, stainless steel, and bits of Saturn's rings, these stills earned Middle West Spirits a place on _Popular Mechanics' 5 of the World's Most-High-Tech Distilleries list.