Pizza and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly, and ZwanzigZ is successfully pulling off this culinary pairing with style. My little boy and I got happily acquainted with ZwanzigZ pizza during a Columbus trip last year, but I didn’t get a chance to taste some of ZwanzigZ’s signature beer until a repeat visit with my son and my dad this week.
Already solidly established as Columbus’ most popular independent pizzeria, ZwanzigZ added brewing operations to its mix in 2011. Under the creative and capable direction of brewmaster Mike Rybinski, ZwanzigZ now churns out an evolving lineup of around 50 different craft beers—a dozen or so are available on site at any given time.
The roster includes fairly standard brews like IPAs and porters, along with some more unusual offerings. Rybinski says the honey wheat is probably the most popular choice, but customers can also order up the likes of Beauregard blueberry ale, a tongue-tingling ghost pepper imperial stout, a refreshing summery cucumber lime kolsch or a sweet oatmeal cream stout depending on availability. Rybinski obviously knows what he’s doing here; ZwanzigZ’s bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout nabbed a bronze medal in the 2014 Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup competition.
Covering five 5 oz. pours, the sampler ($7) is a good way to taste a variety of ZwanzigZ beers — the honey wheat, a smooth nut brown ale, a very hoppy Triple Z IPA, a bold imperial stout with strong coffee notes, and a memorable chocolate beer (my personal favorite of the bunch).
Customers can order beer on-site at the restaurant, and even get a glimpse of the brewing vats through windows in a small 21-and-up pub room just off the main counter. Pints at ZwanzigZ sell for $4, pitchers for $12 ($9 on Mondays and Wednesdays) single 5 oz. samples for $1.75, and growler fills for $9 ($6 on Tuesdays). ZwanzigZ also bottles five of its beers for distribution at Cork Liquors store locations throughout Columbus and several outlets in the Indianapolis area.
For folks who don’t drink beer, ZwanzigZ also produces four craft sodas in root beer, orange cream, black cherry and blue raspberry flavors. My son goes crazy for any sort of blue food or drink, and immediately wanted this soda when he saw it. I tasted it, and it was good, strong on the raspberry flavor. A bit of local trivia — Rybinski says the orange cream and blue raspberry flavors are tributes to the Columbus high schools; orange cream in honor of the Columbus East Olympians, and blue raspberry for the Columbus North Bull Dogs.
We’ll be back….
1038 Lafayette Ave., Columbus