Columbus has been quietly racking up the accolades and it’s time we stop keeping it to ourselves. In our series, Behind the Buzz, we’re unveiling the people, places and experiences that make our city worthy and deserving of all the hype. Keep reading and you'll be asking yourself, "Can all of this exist in one city?" Yes, Columbus.

You may have heard that Columbus was just named a top three beer city in the U.S. by USAToday 10Best. To provide insight into what makes Columbus so great for beer, we’re talking to Walt Keys, the co-founder and creative director at Land-Grant Brewing Company.


Land-Grant Co-Founder, Walt Keys Collage

Walt Keys, co-founder and creative director, Land-Grant Brewing Company.


What’s something about the Columbus beer scene that people may find surprising?

I’d say the sheer diversity and number of breweries. While we’ve got a few breweries in town with big reputations, and national presence, Columbus boasts over 50 breweries, and each one has its own particular vibe and personality. You can get classic European styles in a sort of modern beer hall at Gemüt, crazy hazy stuff from Hoof Hearted, or pair your beer with one of the best restaurants in Columbus at Wolf’s Ridge


Land-Grant Beer Collage

Land-Grant's Lemon Glow and Oh, Sure IPA.


What makes Columbus a great city for brewers and beer lovers?

I think the aforementioned large and diverse beer scene is obviously appealing to the beer drinker, but it also creates an incredible community of support, creativity and collaboration within the brewing world. We’ve always got something cooking with another brewery in town whether that’s an event or a full-on collaborative release. I think that kind of supportive and inspiring environment is really exciting and appealing to the adventurous beer drinker, but I think it also provides a lot of unique but approachable opportunities for folks who are just getting into craft beer.


Land-Grant Pickleball

Land-Grant Brewing's pickleball experience at Gravity Park.


Congratulations on the opening of The Extension and new programming at the Gravity Park — What’s next for Land-Grant?

Thank you! The opening of The Extension and the new programming at Gravity Experience Park are exciting developments for us. Gravity Experience Park was really a continuation of what we were doing in our Beer Garden already but The Extension was definitely something very different for us, a cozy, intimate space with a big focus on pushing innovative beers. It’s hard to say what’s next for us in terms of new spaces or taprooms, but we do have quite a lot on the horizon starting with the Heatcheck, our big basketball and fashion-inspired block party in August, followed by our 10th Anniversary blowout in September. In some ways, it feels like we just opened, and in some ways, it feels like 20 years, not 10, but we’re thrilled to celebrate with everyone this fall. Of course, we’ll keep looking to innovate with our beers, as well as with the experiences we bring folks down in Franklinton.  


Strawberry Jam at Land-Grant Brewing

Strawberry Jam, one of Land-Grant Brewing Company's annual summer events.


Other than the Land-Grant, where are your favorite places to enjoy a drink in Columbus?

I just recently celebrated my 40th birthday, and I was given the opportunity to plan a night out for myself so we went to two of my favorite places in Columbus—Seventh Son Brewing and, for old-times sake—the Bier Stube down on campus. I also love our neighbors at Rehab Tavern, O’Reilley’s up in Clintonville, and Studio 35 for a beer and a movie!


Here are more places in Columbus to experience the beer scene this summer:

Antiques on High

The bar at Antiques on High.


Antiques on High

A sister concept to the famed, Seventh Son Brewing, Antiques on High is a mid-century modern-styled tap room serving up sour beers and top-notch cocktails in Columbus' Brewery District. You'll want to visit Antiques on High this summer for the spectacular rooftop vibes in a low-key setting. Visit Antiques on High at 714 S High St.


Columbus Food Adventures Brewery District Walking Tour

Courtesy of Columbus Food Adventures.


Brewery District Walking Tour, Columbus Food Adventures

There's no better way to become acquainted with Columbus' beer history than with a Columbus Food Adventures tour of the Brewery District. This three hour walking tour will take you to five different stops along a one-mile stretch. Summer in Columbus is a great time to explore all of their walking tours. Get tickets.


The two-story patio at Jackie O's on Fourth

The second story patio at Jackie O's on Fourth.


Jackie O's on Fourth

An Athens, Ohio brewing company, Jackie O's opened its Columbus taproom in the summer of 2023 and has since become a local favorite. You'll want to check out this family-friendly concept this summer to take advantage of their massive two-story patio. Visit Jackie O's at 171 North Fourth St.


DTN - STL - Trolley Pub Columbus

The Trolley Pub takes you through four Columbus neighborhoods in two hours.


Trolley Pub

Try the top rated party bike experience in the city! Trolley Pub takes you on two hour city tour through Columbus' Short North, Italian Village, Arena District, and Downtown, stopping at partner businesses along the way. Trolley Pub makes for a great summertime group outing. Get tickets.


Open Air, the historic building that is home to Understory Columbus

Understory at Open Air in Columbus' Old North neighborhood.



One of the city's most unique brewing concepts, Understory is located inside Open Air, a historic, renovated school building just off the Olentangy Trail. Understory boasts a cocktail lounge, a large patio under a lush canopy of trees and a private events space. Visit this summer to sip top-notch brews and spirits surrounded by nature. Understory is located at 2571 Neil Ave.