On a dark Monday night toward the end of December, the #cbusfoodbloggers met at Zauber Brewing for a few pints of beer and a tour of the brewing process. Did you know the word Zauber means magic in German? It’s true. On our tour, Oliver Convertini, Chief Operating Officer of Zauber Brewing Company, showed us the magical process beer undergoes from the initial grain to the final pour. Specializing in German and Belgian style beers, Zauber gives old world beers a new world twist. During our visit, we learned the point to point process: how the grain becomes mash, how mash produces wort, the importance of hops, and the consumption of simple sugars by which the yeast creates that all so sought after magical brew…or very bad bread-tea if you mess up!
Zauber started out as a growler fill station in a small alley but has been at its current W. Fifth Avenue location since 2014 and a lot has happened since then. The walls of this Grandview brewery are adorned in soccer flags with long tables throughout, mimicking a traditional German beer hall. Just as the “foodie scene” has been on the rise in Columbus over the past couple years, the craft beer scene itself has entered its own “renaissance period.” Just recently, SmartAsset.com rated Columbus as the #6 best city in the U.S. for craft beer drinkers. There is competition, but deep respect among the 27 current breweries in Columbus.
The Columbus breweries embody what “local” really means. The brewers and publicans that create the craft beer experience are our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. They are making craft beer in Columbus a true community. Many breweries, including Zauber, use local ingredients (honey, for example) and give their spent grain to local farms to help feed livestock.
Did you know Zauber houses two other local purveyors inside its walls?
Das Kaffeehaus is an edgy neo-European style coffeehouse where you can get your morning kaffee, a side of schnecken (traditional German style of pastry), and even an early morning electronic music fix. In the northwest region of Germany, this model of serving as a pub/coffee house during the day and an EDM club at night is very popular.
Explorer’s Club, whose food truck was previously parked outside of Zauber, now operates seven days a week from their kitchen space inside Zauber’s taproom. Explorer’s Club previously had a brick-and-mortar location in Merion Village, but their food truck can still be seen around town today. Their food can be described as an eclectic mix of Latin-inspired comfort food, with some American and German influences. While carnivores will surely appreciate many of the sandwiches and dishes, the vegetarians are definitely not left out. The hand-made buns and spicy jalapeno slaw are very memorable and will have you coming back for more.
On our blogger visit to Zauber, we grazed on quesadillas and sweet yet savory fried plantains with yo-yo sauce on the side. Explorer’s Club also serves an amazing brunch at the brewery from 10am-2pm every Sunday, followed by their Sunday food partner, Hai Poké, who finishes out the day starting at 3PM, with some great Hawaiian-style sushi bowls.
Our visit to Zauber ended with drinking Kolsch right out of the tank. Kolsch is a very traditional beer, stylistically originating from the German town of Cologne, that will be the next to appear on draft at the taproom and around Columbus. Kolsch is conditioned like a lager but top-fermented with a yeast strain more likely associated with an ale. It crosses the threshold between an ale and a lager, but keeps the best elements of both. Many American brewers have branded this style as a “Summer beer.” However, Zauber does not feel this way and has positioned this style to be carried all year round. The light golden color, easy drinkability, and its pairing flexibility work well with anything from barbecue and grilled foods, to light fruity or nuttier-based salads. The flavors in a Kolsch beer are subtle and inoffensive which is what facilitates its versatility for your palate. So feel free to enjoy it with your smoky charcuterie board, spicy pasta, or even Cuban French toast from the Explorers Club’s brunch menu.
Zauber Brewing will be celebrating its third year anniversary January 14th! Please come join Zauber for a beer, a bite, and a barrel of fun.
Blog post written by:
Hollen, Eating In the 614