If you know anything about Westerville, you likely know that it is historically a bad place to drink. The town passed an ordinance in 1859 prohibiting all alcohol sales. People in Westerville were pretty serious about this ordinance – twice in the 1870s, Henry Corbin attempted to open a saloon, and the townspeople blew it up with gunpowder both times! The Anti-Saloon League even moved its national headquarters to Westerville in 1909, and the town was proclaimed to be “The Dry Capital of the World.” GROSS!

Temperance Row Brewing Co.

Westerville is better now, and those visiting Uptown Westerville can find a variety of watering holes. As of December, 2014, one of those spots is the Uptown Deli and Brew, home of Temperance Row Brewing. Temperance Row, although relatively new, has its own bit of history, as its head brewer is Columbus beer legend Scott Francis. Francis has been helping homebrewers at Clintonville’s Winemaker’s Shop since the ‘70s, and he was the first brewmaster at Columbus Brewing Company in the late ‘80s and Barley’s starting in the early ‘90s, so he certainly has played a critical role in the development of the Columbus brewing scene.

Temperance Row Deli

Uptown Deli and Brew/Temperance Row is a beautiful space. You enter off State Street into the deli. The deli space is brightly lit with large floor to ceiling windows along the sidewalk. White subway tiles and paneling line the walls. There is a large wraparound deli case filled with meats and cheeses, and there are a few booths and tables around the edges where you can get a sandwich. If you walk to the back of the deli space, you find yourself in Temperance Row. The bright lights and whiteness are gone, replaced with a dimmer, more bar-like atmosphere. You walk past a few tables and booths to a large, boomerang-shaped concrete bar, behind which are windows to the brewery. The walls are lined with the most depressing pictures of booze and beer being dumped into drains or smashed with hammers. It’s enough to make you want a drink.

Temperance Row Flight

I had a drink, don’t worry. Actually, I had several little drinks, as I ordered a flight of five of Temperance Row’s house-brewed beers. Francis’ influence is clear in these beers, as they lean toward malty, biscuity flavors and traditional English styles similar to many of the offerings at Barley’s. The pilsner is light and relatively sweet with a hint of fruitiness. The Scottish ale is also sweet, but a little heavier and fuller bodied than the pilsner. The IPA is dominated by citrus and is milder and a bit more malt-forward than West Coast style IPAs you frequently find elsewhere – perhaps a good entry point to IPAs for those who are not hopheads. The ESB is bready and sweet. My favorite of the flight was the porter, which is roasty and dark with a hint of sweetness, but not as much as the Scottish ale or the ESB. It is nicely balanced and flavorful without being overpowering. In fact, that is probably a good summary of Temperance Row beers – in an age when many other breweries are in an arms race to make the strongest, most extreme beers with huge in-your-face flavors, Temperance Row has reminded us that an enjoyable glass of beer can be subtler than that.

{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.}