COLUMBIA, MO – Columbia has a reputation for world-class festivals, big-time collegiate sporting events and outstanding outdoor recreation. There’s always a palpable feeling of excitement as the city does everything in style. And, that’s no different for Columbia’s burgeoning hand-crafted beverage industry, which includes acclaimed microbreweries, distilleries, a cidery and an award-winning large-scale winery.
“Like many destinations, Columbia’s local craft brews, wine and spirits industry has grown significantly in recent years,” says Megan McConachie, strategic communications manager for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “What sets Columbia’s scene apart is the diverse, creative offerings from these local makers as well as the beautiful locations they have for visitors to enjoy. There’s nothing better than taking in a sunset over the Missouri River on a bluff top at Les Bourgeois Vineyards or having a beer at Logboat Brewing Company while playing yard games. Regardless of a visitor’s preference, they will easily find a locally-made beverage they will thoroughly enjoy.”
Flat Branch Pub and Brewery, located on the western edge of Columbia’s historic downtown district, is the city’s original brewpub and offers a wide variety of made-in-house beers and menu items as well. Flat Branch has a rotating selection of a dozen beers on tap with the most popular arguably being the Honey Wheat, Katy Trail Pale Ale, Oil Change Oatmeal Stout and the surprising Green Chili Ale. Patrons can enjoy their beverages and meals on Flat Branch’s expansive tree-covered patio with a view of Flat Branch Park below. Or, they can get a glimpse at the inner workings of the brewing process while dining in the spacious dining room as brewmasters add ingredients to and/or monitor the impressive stainless steel brewing tanks on display. Flat Branch also offers curbside pickup and delivery. For beer-to-go, Flat Branch offers 64-ounce glass growlers or 32-ounce canned crowlers of a patron’s choice of brew.
Broadway Brewery, located in the heart of downtown, features a rotating list of twelve craft brews and a seasonal dining menu comprised of locally-sourced produce and meats. Opened in 2009, Broadway operates under the ethos of “fermentation and cultivation” by producing world-class beers and engaging with local farmers and the community. In addition to the rotating cast of beers on draft, visitors can grab a four-pack, six-pack or a case of the brewery’s eight most popular beers – Bonne Femme Honey Wheat, 11 Point IPA, Thresher Robust Porter, Flat Bill Pilsner, Double Rye IPA, Flor Blanca Mexican Lager, Summer Cut Berry Berliner and Batch 300 IPA – or growlers or crowlers to enjoy at home. Broadway Brewery also offers curbside pickup and/or delivery for the convenience of their customers.
Bur Oak Brewing Company, named after the oldest bur oak tree in the U.S. just outside of Columbia’s city limits, is part of the city’s new guard of craft beer producers. Bur Oak, located east of downtown Columbia off of I-70, has a seasonal selection of draft beers at their taproom including their perineal favorites: Big Tree Double IPA, Boone County Brown Ale, Clyde’s Caramel Cream Ale, Frank’s Golden Cream Ale, Lily Ale, Hoppen-Daz Mango IPA, Hoppen-Daz Mochaccino Stout and Old 63 Pilsner. Those interested in the brewing process can take a free tour of the brewery every Saturday at 3 p.m. For a bite to eat, patrons are welcome to bring food with them, order food to be delivered to the taproom or, depending on the schedule, enjoy fare from one of Columbia’s many food trucks.
Logboat Brewing Company, located on the northern edge of downtown Columbia, is one of the city’s newest alcoholic alchemists and has wasted no time in establishing itself as one of the best breweries in the U.S. with the awards and shiny medals from the Great American Beer Festival to back it up. Logboat features a nice selection of beers, a sizable patio and a great outdoor space called “Logboat Park” where patrons can bring lawn chairs, blankets, pets and enjoy the fresh air. Additionally, a rotating cast of Columbia’s favorite food trucks set up on location to offer delicious meals to be enjoyed while at Logboat on the weekends. Logboat beers are widely available throughout the state with distribution in 37 Missouri counties. Costumers can grab beers to-go in six packs or growlers to enjoy at home.
This award-winning micro brewery has recently expanded its palate to include the newly opened Waves Cider Company, located just one mile from the brewery off Business Loop 70 East. Being a brand-new venture, Waves currently offers two types of hard ciders (dry and semi-dry) with plans of expanding their offerings with flavor profiles that are just as creative as the brewery’s concoctions. Waves’ ciders are created using Missouri-grown apples, giving them a local flavor not found with other ciders. Waves is open Thursdays through Sundays and hosts special events throughout the year.
Les Bourgeois Vineyards, one of the largest wine makers in the state, is located 15 minutes west of Columbia near the tiny town of Rocheport, Mo. Les Bourgeois offers a stunning panoramic view of the countryside along the Missouri River from the large picture windows and patio of the upscale Blufftop Bistro and sprawling, tiered decks of the casual A-Frame Winegarden which offers snack and picnic plates that can be enjoyed while overlooking the river. Patrons also can celebrate the seasons with a glass or flight of some of the state’s best wines, which are produced on location. Les Bourgeois’ standalone tasting room, packed with their most popular varietals and souvenirs, is located next to the bottling facility which processes a majority of wines produced in Missouri. Groups of 10 people or less can enjoy a peek behind-the-scenes with a pre-scheduled tour of the winery’s processing plant.
Two Columbia-based distilleries have been carving out a name for themselves when it comes to more “spirited” adult beverages. Rocheport Distilling Company, the “strong” arm of Les Bourgeois Vineyards, specializes in creating a flight of brandies (Traminette, St. Vincent, Chambourcin and a Vidal Blanc aged brandy) produced from Les Bourgeois Vineyards’ crop of grapes as well as six-packs of canned, fruit-inspired mixed drinks. Rocheport Distilling Company’s offerings are available for purchase at the Les Bourgeois Tasting Room.
In addition to Rocheport Distilling, DogMaster Distillery, located in the North Village Arts District near downtown Columbia, turns out five different spirits (bourbon, whiskey, white whiskey, rum and vodka), all carefully crafted from locally-sourced ingredients. DogMaster’s comfortable tasting room and bar with made-from-scratch cocktails make this distillery a favorite stop for locals and visitors alike.
The majority of Columbia’s locally-produced beers, ciders, wines and spirits are available for purchase in liquor stores and groceries around the city and some are available throughout the state as well. They also can be enjoyed responsibly at many of Columbia’s chef-owned restaurants to complete a perfect palette of local flavors. As any of the attendees of Columbia’s most popular festivals and collegiate sporting events will attest, the city’s locally-crafted brews, wines and spirits pair perfectly with any fun outing, whether it be a music, film or literary festival or an SEC college game. No matter what brings a traveler to the city, there will be plenty of opportunities to sample the “spirit” of Columbia.
For more information on Columbia’s dining and nightlife scene, please visit www.VisitColumbiaMO.com.
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