On the outskirts of Columbus in urban village, Grandview Heights, BARLEY’S SMOKEHOUSE & BREWPUB retains a friendly roadhouse atmosphere with its genteel blue collar feel and signature hickory-sauced barbecue entrees. Just minutes away from the initial downtown Barley’s brewpub, this casual highway-sidled joint proved wholly impressive. A yellow advertising sign and silver grain silo welcome hearty beer and food lovers to the green-windowed yellow stucco retreat with large license-plated beer garden and metal-furnished covered patio.
An L-shaped bar with 20 stools, one TV, Edison lamps and three separate tap stations serves four booths, several metal-wooded tables and a huge backroom dining area. Exposed ducts mark the ceiling and olden brewery trays cover the walls. Excellent guest drafts include Epic Big Bad Baptist, Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA, North High Hefe, Rhinegeist Panther Porter and Rhinegeist Dinghy Pale Ale. Thirty bottled beers, specialty martinis, wines and bourbons also adorn the menu.
On April 2016 sojourn, shared hearty Combination Platter (rib tips, wings, sauerkraut balls, fried cheese curd, shoestring onions and pickles) with long-time friend, Dennis, while quaffing eight reliably well-balanced in-house brews boasting Scottish and British stylistic roots.
First up, flagship wee heavy, McLenny’s Scottish Ale, placed caramel-spiced malts alongside sweet floral fruiting atop a dewy peat base. In comparison, Robert Burns Scottish Export Ale saddled dewy peated malts with sweet n’ sour cherry-plum-fig conflux and sticky toffee spicing (as well as Band-aid-like beechwood-smoked astringency). Another UK-styled moderation, Red Molly, an Irish Red Ale, draped toasted caramel malts and citric spicing above mild pine hop resin.
Brit-styled Centennial IPA brought stylish dewy earthen mustiness to brown tea herbage, wood-dried hop foliage, musky grain bill and moderate grapefruit-orange bittering.
Blending Centennial IPA with Robert Burns Scottish Ale, Barley’s Smokehouse creates Highland Hammer, a meandering ESB-like “peated bitter” with spicy dried fruiting, piney grapefruit spell and resinous hops that never fully coalesces.
Hopped-up pale wheat ale, Hoptopus, possessed yellow grapefruit-peeled bittering, ancillary orange-pineapple tang, light floral accents and mineral-grained herbage.
Prestigious Alexander’s Russian Imperial Stout, a creamy mocha-bound full body, let its peat-smoked dark chocolate roast outdistance vanilla-spiced caramel and coffee notions to its oats-toasted spine.
Another fine dessert treat, Woody Haze, honors legendary Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes by barrel aging Robert Burns Scottish Export in a Woodford Reserve cask. Its silken soft-toned Scotch whiskey nip sweetened caramelized rum spicing, oaken cherry tones and red wine esters, leaving Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey illusions in the wake.
When visiting Columbus, there are many fine brewpub choices. Anyone with a taste for British Isle-modeled brews or great barbecue will enjoy Barley’s Smokehouse. As we left, the lunch crowd grew to a full house and the sun came out of the clouds. Cheers.