North High Brewing is to my knowledge the only brewery in these parts that lets you brew your own beer on premises. When you enter the tap room, you can look through the windows behind the bar and see a large room filled with brew kettles and brewing supplies. Frequently there are groups back there toiling away making their own beer, as you can brew it, bottle it, and label it right there at North High. That’s all well and good for you go-getter types, but I say nuts to that. I’ll be at the bar drinking the stuff the pros made.

North High Brewing

North High has a warm, inviting feel. Edison bulb light fixtures made of cutoff growlers hang over the bar and literally old-school middle-school-gym-style fixtures (the kind with cages over the bulb so your dodgeball can’t break the glass) hang throughout the seating area, bathing the room in a warm glow. If you’re there a bit earlier in the day, the setting sun through the large windows provides the same warming effect. That warmth matches the warm hospitality you regularly receive from the bar staff and from the owners. We frequently run into co-owner Gavin Meyers, who always stops over for a friendly chat.

This is a great place to sit at the bar, as it has one of the largest bars of any of Columbus’ tap rooms. A large L-shaped bar with a classic oak bar top dominates the room. There is also a long, tall table in the middle of the room that’s great for standing with a group of friends when it’s more crowded and a number of low-top tables against the wall opposite the bar. There is quite a bit of history to the tap room space. It started off as a Ford dealership during World War I. The arched windows behind the bar are salvaged from old Ohio State buildings, I hear. A large block of post office boxes currently used to hold beer mugs was once part of a New Orleans post office until Hurricane Katrina put it out of commission. There is a small window behind the bar with a sign that says MONEY ORDERS, and I’m curious whether it came with the building or if the North High guys salvaged it. Either way, there are tons of interesting artifacts around the room.

North High Brewing

There are currently 20 North High beers on tap, plus some cider and odds and ends in bottles and cans if you’re looking for something different. We didn’t get around to trying all 20, but we had some samples and did the best we could. The hefeweizen is sweet and fruity with tons of banana flavor. I didn’t get as much clove as I do with many hefes, which left this very strong on banana. The honey wheat lager was a pleasant, drinkable lager with an unmistakable sweetness from the honey. The Thunderkissed coffee milk stout starts off with a blast of Thunderkiss coffee when it first hits your tongue, but mellows into a smooth sweetness in the finish. The bourbon barrel aged milk stout is loaded with vanilla. Be careful—where the regular milk stout is only 5.3 percent, this bad boy packs a punch at 10.5 percent, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the smooth flavor. The star of the bunch for me was the Twice as Rice double rice IPA. The citrusy nose lets you know you’re in for a citrus bomb, and there is a lot of citrus, but also a robust hoppiness to balance out the fruit. One of the better DIPAs I’ve had in quite a while. Also present but not yet sampled were diverse offerings ranging from a doppelbock to an English mild on nitro to a kolsch, leaving me many choices the next time I’m thirsty.

North High Brewing Flight

If you’re curious about the brewing process but you don’t have your own equipment, then find a few friends and come to North High to make some beer. Or come sit with me at the bar. Either way, the North High tap room is a very solid place to get into some beer.

{In our efforts to spotlight each Columbus-area brewery, we’re sending Doug Oldham to visit every brewery’s tap room. In the coming months, he will attempt to regale you with his experiences. Doug’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the CCBA.}