As I enjoyed my final Winter Break during my time at Bowdoin College, I experienced a real first in my relationship with my parents. When I found out I would be writing a column before classes resumed, I knew I would have to find something to try back at home, and thus I set out to hunt down some interesting brews.

Upon leaving my house, my mom asked where I was going, to which I replied that I had to pick up a bunch of beer. This response was met with the corresponding, questioning glance —but I had the perfect alibi:

"Don't worry mom," I shot back, "it's for school."

Yeah. That was a first.

With my mom's confused consent, I decided to use this article as an opportunity to survey the beer scene here at home in Columbus, Ohio. To be honest, I really had no previous notion of what Columbus had to offer in terms of local breweries.

If you want someone to hook you up with some good college food or ice cream, I'm your guy (shoutout to Graeter's). But if you would have asked me before where to find some locally brewed beer, I probably would have told you to check for some wounded soldiers on the front lawn of an Ohio State frat.

Thus, while the Midwest as a whole has a strong tradition of brewing, I wanted to be as local as possible, and hone in on the city I grew up in. After surveying many a beer aisle, I came across a number of hometown products that piqued my interest.

In particular, two businesses that seemed to have the greatest distribution and variety were Columbus Brewing Company and Elevator Brewing, both of which have an associated restaurant.

I chose the pale ale by Columbus Brewing Company, as it appeared to be their staple brew, and selected a lager from Elevator Brewing to balance things out...also the lager had a medal for winning bronze at the Great American Beer Festival, and I'm just kind of a sucker for awards on the label. Damn you PBR!

Despite my mom's initial suspicion regarding my beer run, I found she was more than willing to assist me in my tasting, and so we sat down together with a giant pizza from Adriatico's and sampled some of Columbus' finest. We started with the pale ale from Columbus Brewing Company, and despite the fact that neither of us tend to go for pale ales (genetic?), we both found it to be above average overall. It had a nice copper color, with a crisp taste containing a subtle citrus flavor, and a pleasant dry finish.

Columbus Brewing Company says they, "add generous portions of American hops," and I would guess they're telling the truth judging by the strong hoppy aftertaste. If you're into pale ales you certainly have a solid local option.

On the other side, we had a rather goofy looking Dark Horse Lager with a fancy medal on the front. It's definitely not always advisable to go chasing awards, but I think in this case it paid off for me. Usually I don't drink many dark lagers, but at 5.3 percent ABV this is not nearly as aggressive as some heavier offerings, and I found it to be very well-rounded.

With a caramel color and a light tan head, there was a dark sweetness with a light oat finish, rounding off the flavor nicely. I could definitely see myself sipping on this—certainly much more than heavier brews. It seems this humble Columbus brewery has earned its hardware.

I almost felt bad writing this article knowing that many of those who read it may not have access to these beers, but I think it is much more valuable as a prompt than a review anyway. I hope those who read this article will search out local beers, both around Maine and back at home, as it can be really rewarding.

I find that smaller breweries can often be much more adventurous and offer flavors one might never find anywhere else. So next time you're home sit down with your fam, crack open some brews and tell them to help you work on a project for school.