A class project for two friends at Ohio State University turned into a booming business in Ohio, and now North High Brewing Co. is open in Zionsville. The Midwest-inspired brewery was founded in 2011 by Gavin Meyers and Tim Ward, who were passionate about great beer and fun times. When they opened in 2012, the Short North location in Columbus was just the seventh brewery in central Ohio.
“We continued making and serving craft beer up until the pandemic started,” says Matt Barnes, marketing director. “The pandemic was bad for some businesses and it was better for others. We happen to fall into the lucky category. We were approached by a company called COhatch, a shared workspace company, to come along with their development ride. We opened a number of locations adjacent to their locations.”
Zionsville is their most recent location. The brewpub and kitchen serve up a variety of craft beers, brewed in Ohio and delivered to each site. North High offers four mainstay beers brewed by Brewmaster Jason McKibben including Five, an American pale ale, Hopes, an India pale ale, Honey Wheat, a lager, and Cover Crop, a golden ale.
“A majority of our ingredients used to brew our beer comes from right here in the Midwest,” Barnes says. “We love our local farmers and growers. In fact, Cover Crop was a partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau.”
There are also a handful of seasonal beers in rotation. Just in time for summer is Grapefruit Walleye, a session India pale ale, Beware the Friendly Dragon, a hazy double India pale ale, and Jalalima, a jalapeño lime ale. Those who are craft beer novices or have a hard time deciding can get a flight, and taste four different six-ounce pours for $12.
“The Jalalima is delicious and it’s so great for summer,” Barnes says. “It’s an easy-drinking beer that’s great with chips and salsa. The flavor combination of the jalapeño and lime is a winning one.”
Beer isn’t the only item on the menu. North High Brewing is known for its elevated bar fare. Executive Chef Ryan Oldham curated a menu around his creative take on classic dishes. Guests will find dishes such as Nashville Hot Tacos alongside the Southwest Quinoa Salad, and Hook and Line Ahi Tuna. Fans of comfort food will enjoy the Beef Pot Roast. Pickles are also a recurring theme on the menu.
“Gavin loves pickles,” Barnes says. “So, we have fried pickles on the menu along with a jar of house-brined pickles. At one point we even had a pickle-flavored seltzer.”
A unique differentiator for North High Brewing is award-winning beer along with top-notch food.
“Absolutely we’re a brewery first,” Barnes says. “But we didn’t want the food to be something basic, like just burgers or wings or barbecue. We wanted an elevated menu created to pair perfectly with our beer. It was designed with intention behind it.”
For many breweries, the interior design is an afterthought and can feel industrial. Barnes says the inside of the Zionsville location was built with comfort and warmth in mind. The building used to be a church, but was renovated with North High Brewing in mind.
“It has this modern look while at the same time being warm and inviting,” Barnes says. “Many other breweries can seem a little cold or off-putting, but we wanted ours to be inviting and relaxing. It has some stunning design work on the inside.”
North High Brewing is located on Main Street, right in the heart of downtown Zionsville. Barnes says the response from local residents in the short time they’ve been open has been encouraging.
“The people have been so welcoming to us,” Barnes says. “The first few days we had a line out the door, and wait times of an hour to an hour and a half. They’ve welcomed us as a company with open arms and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
Their dog-friendly patio seats 90 people, and Barnes calls it their crown jewel. The inside seats 51 guests. Kids are welcome.
North High Brewing Co. is located at 75 North Main Street in Zionsville. Hours vary for the bar and the kitchen. For more information, visit northhighbrewing.com.