Friday, June 20, 2014

#FoodPornFriday and Barley's Brewing Company review

There was a reason I didn't post a #FoodPornFriday post last week. That reason was the Origins Game Fare. Origins is the second largest gaming convention in North America and last weekend was my first time attending. It was awesome.

I knew there would be lots of cool games to play but I didn't realize that there would also be some amazing food to eat and great beer to drink. One of the best places we found while we were down there was Barley's Brewing Company. This brew pub was literally right across the street from the Greater Columbus Convention Center where Origins was being held.

We initially hit Barley's on Thursday night. The place was recommended to me from some friends on Google Plus and there was also a deal where we could get a free pint glass with a coupon we received at registration. Now I had heard good things but I had no idea what kind of treat we were in for.

The place was very large relaxed and casual. The front half was taken up by a bar area you actually have to walk past to be seated. There's lots of stool seating up front with lots of window seats overlooking downtown. The back half is a very comfy dining area. Lots of tall wooden booths and wide tables down the middle. The place just looked like a brew pub, and that's not just because the actual brewing equipment could be seen to the left of the bar when you walk in.

Let's talk about the beer first. Barley's offered eight different draft beers all brewed right there on site. In addition they had two cask ales available when we were there. These are limited and when they run out they are gone until the next batch. They had actually run out of one of them by the time we left Sunday. Along with their own beers Barley's also has four guest taps. All of these were Ohio local craft beers.

During our trip we managed to try five of Barley's great beers. By far our favourite was Alexander's Russian Imperial Stout. That beer just blew me away.

There was even a special beer brewed just for the Origins Game Fare: Point of Origin. This was a good Belgian style golden ale but just wasn't nearly as good as the Stout.

The food menu was a mix of local favorites and traditional pub food. You could get fried pickles and scotch eggs or Bavarian Pretzels and Chili to start. There were some gourmet hot dogs listed followed by some wraps. I was tempted by the Deep South Dog (Beef dog, applewood smoked bacon, fried pickle, shredded lettuce, cusabi slaw, diced tomatoes and remoulade sauce on a soft roll) the two times we were there.  There are lots of different sandwiches and then a selection of gourmet burgers that reminded me of Motoburger. The entree list is where I stopped each time we went though. So many amazing sounding things.

Based on the menu here and at other local places we stopped I have to assume that there is a large eastern European population in Columbus. There were Bavarian pretzels, schnitzel, pierogi and sauages to be had eveywhere. One of the burgers here was served with pierogi on it! As I mentioned in the post about Matryoshka, I'm Ukranian and grew up on food like this and I love it.

The first trip I tried the Pierogi and Sausage. That's what you can see in the big pic at the top of the post. Cheddar potato pierogi, sauteed onions, brown butter, bratwurst, kielbasa and chorizo sausage. The pierogi were obviously made right there and they were also boiled and not just fried. It was fantastic. My wife tried the Ale House Crab Cakes and enjoyed them. 

Based on how good our first meal was we also choose to hit Barley's as our last stop before leaving town. We tried a couple more beers (If you like wit beers I highly recommend the Blood Thirst Wheat) and we tried a couple different entrees. Based on  how good my initial meal was my wife went with the Polski Feast (grilled sausage trio, sauerkraut balls, pierogies, sauerkraut, garlic toast and pale ale mustard) and I went with the Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf (beef and pork, wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, with garlick mashed potatoes, veg, onion strings and tomato gravy).

Last weekend rocked! One of the best vacations I've ever taken. Lots of awesome gaming and some unexpectedly awesome food that included Barley's Brewing Company.

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