Weekend In Columbus, Ohio for Chris' Birthday
Chris loves telling people that I took him to Columbus, Ohio one year for his birthday without adding any additional details to see their facial expression. It is usually pretty close to the look of surprise and confusion on Chris’ face in the uber on the way to the airport when I gave him his ticket. I am pretty sure he thought it was a joke since it was was followed by:
“What’s in Columbus??”
Being from a big city like Atlanta, it seems like a lot of people choose to travel to the beach, someplace with snow, or overseas if that is in the budget. If another US city is considered it is usually another large city like New York to Los Angeles. But, in my experience, smaller cities can also pack a big punch, especially for weekend trips or trips on a budget.
As for Chris, he ended up having a lot of fun on his birthday weekend in Columbus, Ohio, and does tell people about the fun things to do there. But only after getting a laugh out of their initial reaction, of course.
The reason I chose Columbus, Ohio as a surprise trip for Chris’ Birthday… well, other than the fact that I knew he would never guess we were going to Columbus (he is notorious for trying to guess the destination of surprise trips) and the potential for that epic facial expression when he found out Columbus was the big surprise… was because of the opportunity to stay at a newly opened brewery hotel: The DogHouse Hotel & Brewery.
The Doghouse Hotel is a fun boutique hotel within a working brewery – Brewdog. Brewdog has two breweries on site. Their main brewery building also houses their restaurant, museum, shop, and bar. Their sour brewery houses the hotel and an additional bar.
Your check-in takes place at the Doghouse lobby bar, and includes a beer of choice. The hotel has 32 rooms, including 8 deluxe suites. Your stay includes a hot breakfast each morning and access to the fitness facility. The suites include views of the sour brewery from inside the room, while others allow you to see the sour brewery from the walkways to the rooms. Some rooms are even dog friendly, including a grassy area and a patio.
All rooms include an in room tap for your favorite Brewdog beer, smart TVs, a mini-fridge for shower beers, rainfall showers, and super comfortable beds. Beers are an additional cost, but are added to your room tab for your convenience. Your stay at the Doghouse hotel also includes a brewery tour in the Brewdog Brewery.
Since this was a birthday trip I splurged on the Brewmaster Suite. This room is their largest room and features a picture window & large roll up door offering in-room views of the sour brewery, and a large wet bar and separate seating area.
Note: The main Brewdog Brewery & Doghouse Hotel are located in Canal Winchester, Ohio. It is approximately 20 minutes from downtown Columbus and also about 20 minutes from the John Glenn International Airport. If you fly into Rickenbacker International Airport you will have about a 15 minute drive.
Due to the location of the Doghouse hotel and our desire to experience a variety of activities across the Columbus area, we rented a car at the airport for the duration of our stay.
UPDATE: If you are looking to experience Brewdog beer or a Brewdog hotel without leaving downtown Columbus, Brewdog has added new bar and hotel locations since our trip! There is now a mini-hotel called Brewdog Kennels above a Brewdog bar located on High Street in Columbus, Ohio.
DAY 1: Flight / Breweries/ Movies
For this trip we used Southwest points and flew from Atlanta to the John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. As I previously mentioned, we rented a car to be able to cover more ground around the Columbus areas. This trip we used the airport location of Hertz Rental Car.
Since check-in at the Doghouse Hotel was not until 4pm, and we wanted to make the most of our weekend in Columbus, we hopped an early flight anyway, and I had a couple things planned to fill the void until check-in.
Since this trip was centered around brewery hopping, and Chris had mentioned wanting to see Captain Marvel, I scoured the internet for a brewery with a movie theatre nearby that would be open during the day.
So I added a stop at Combustion Brewery in Pickerington, Ohio to the itinerary. It was a little out of the way, but I was stoked to find an open brewery with a movie theatre less than 10 minutes away to fill that time until check in. SCORE!
Unfortunately, I misread their operating hours (2pm on Friday-Sunday, but 4pm on weekdays), so it was not open when we got there. So Brewery Stop #1 ended up being a total FAIL on my part.
Not to be deterred, we went on to the next stop on the intinerary, which was a movie date at Marcus Theaters – Pickerington Cinema in Pickerington, Ohio.
The Marcus Theatre featured a nice snack bar. Since we were early we took full advantage of the snack bar. I was hoping that the restaurant or full bar would be open when we got there, but it was still too early. The bar appeared to have opened when we finished our movie, but, by then, it was time to head to Brewdog. The theater was clean and comfortable – it had those big reclining seats.
If you are curious, we loved Captain Marvel. We have since purchased the movie for our own collection. It’s one of my favorite Marvel movies to date.
After our movie we headed to the DogHouse Hotel in Canal Winchester, Ohio.
(By the way, Chris still had no idea about the brewery hotel or why we were in Columbus. Yeah, I’m mean like that.)
After checking in (and enjoying 2 complementary beers at the hotel bar) we relaxed in our room for a few minutes before heading down for a brewery tour. We had a little time to kill, so we stopped at the brewery bar for a beer and a giant soft pretzel. Then we explored the 6000 sq ft interactive craft beer museum while we waited for the rest of our tour group.
Then we were taken on an excellent guided tour of the main brewery. We learned general information about how beer is made, the different beers made in the facility, and the history of Brewdog. The tour included a can of their flagship beer, Punk IPA.
After the tour, we had dinner in the onsite restaurant. We split some wings and one of their signature pizzas. And I had to try the coffee and donuts dessert. Along with dinner, we opted for the beer flight to try even more of their beers.
DAY 2: Breweries / Columbus Zoo / Veritas
After breakfast at the Brewdog Hotel we headed into Columbus to visit a few other breweries and to check out the famous Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.
Our first brewery of the day was Land Grant Brewing Company. We enjoyed a flight of beers, and considered getting a snack from the delicious smelling food truck outside, but we were still full from breakfast.
We love flights because they allow us to try a variety of beers. This is especially nice at a place we have never been before. Plus, I am more partial to ciders, sours, and porters, while Chris prefers IPAs. Flights allow us both to get something we know we will like, while branching out, and not getting absolutely hammered in the process.
We spent most of the day exploring the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. The Columbus Zoo is a non-profit zoo that focuses on sustainability and also helps raise separate funds for conservation projects around the world. They continuously improve habitats and provide new enrichment opportunities for the animals in their care.
Unfortunately, a lot of the exhibits were closed due to weather and construction, but we were still able to see lots of wonderful animals and have a fun time at the zoo.
Big Cats & Coddiwomple - Columbus zoo!
After the Zoo, it was time to check out another brewery! We headed over to Zaftig Brewing Company where we were honored by the presence of their brewery cat, Hops! The beers were more of Chris’ style, but I tried a porter that was quite tasty. Nothing against the beers, but the highlight for me was getting to visit Hops!
Before heading back to the hotel to change for dinner, we had time for one more brewery stop. Brewery Stop #5 was at Hoof Hearted Brewing. OK… say that outloud… “Hoof Hearted”… Haha. Yeah, they named it that on purpose.
The food menu looked awesome, but we didn’t have time to enjoy any snacks, so we opted for a beer flight only. I was impressed by the variety of beers on their menu, and would make a return trip if we find ourselves back in Columbus. They also had some canned beers for purchase, so we grabbed a few to bring home.
For Chris’ birthday dinner this year, I chose the chef’s table at Veritas Restaurant in Columbus.
We were seated at a secluded table with views of the kitchen. While we enjoyed a wonderful tasting menu and wine paring, we were treated to extra attention from the sommelier and chefs. The atmosphere, dinner, and service did not disappoint.
After dinner we were taken on a private tour through the Citizen’s Trust, a former bank turned cocktail bar above the restaurant, which still boasts a lot of the original ornate decor.
DAY 3: Franklin Conservary / North Market / Flight Home
For our last day in Ohio, we decided to sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast at the Brewdog Hotel before checking out and making our way back into Columbus.
Our first stop was at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. We enjoyed a fun butterfly exhibit, glasswork, and many greenhouses full of interesting plants.
We love local markets, so we thought North Market would be a nice place to kill some time before our flight and find something good for lunch.
For lunch, I went with pasta & Chris found some awesome pizza. We also brought home some spices from a spice vendor with an incredible selection. I wanted to get some ice cream from the first Jeni’s (something I enjoy back home as well), but I was way too full after lunch.
So, next time you are planning a trip within the United States, consider a smaller city like Columbus, Ohio. You may be pleasantly surprised! I know we were!