For those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit Columbia, Missouri, please allow me to summarize the drive down highway 70 for you:  Pass an outlet mall,  lots of billboards for Nostalgiaville USA, pass a nuclear power plant, and then boom, you’re in Columbia.

At two hours in length, it’s an easy drive for those of you looking to make a day trip to try some beer.  The only disappointing part about traveling within the state of Missouri is that you’re probably not going to find beer in a retail store that you wouldn’t find in St. Louis.

But, maybe that’s for the best?  I mean really, sometimes the most exciting part of a beer road trip is trying the local beer you can’t get at home.

With that in mind, and the limited amount of time I had in Columbia, I sought out two places to visit: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing and the Broadway Brewery & Restaurant.

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
It’s a good thing that I don’t have any objections to drinking before Noon as I don’t think I would have gotten a beer if I didn’t sit down at the bar at 11AM. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I arrived at Flat Branch at 10:55 and there were already about 15 people waiting to get in the door.

By Noon, there was already a 45 minute wait.  Insane.

But as I already luckily had a seat, I was able to sit down a enjoy a few beers.  From what I gather, Flat Branch typically brews English-style beers and during my visit I had a chance to try an ESB, an IPA, and a Baltic Porter. Dark and rich, the Baltic Porter was the stand-out of the group.

I actually wanted to do a 6 beer sampler for my “final” beer but as this place was packed to the gills and the bartender was completely overwhelmed, I didn’t want to be that dick  having him fill 6 little glasses, so c’est la vie.

Overall, it seemed like a nice place.  Had a beer I really liked and two that were just OK.  But I’d love to give them a chance when it didn’t feel like all of Columbia decided to visit.

Broadway Brewery & Restaurant
If Flat Branch is the established juggernaut in town, Broadway, which opened in 2009, definitely feels more like a nimble newcomer.   Their beers have this feel like they’re trying to buck the same old, same old and that they’re developing their own style.

One of the things I really liked about Broadway was that they not only served beer they brewed in-house, but also feature beer from different craft breweries as well.  It’s refreshing to see breweries “get it” and that they realize that just because you brew your own doesn’t mean that you can’t share the love with the craft beer community.

As I’ve mentioned on this site before, I absolutely have an affinity for rye beer, so it should come as no surprise that I made the Broadway Rye IPA my first selection.  It had a nice, perfumey, citrusy aroma and a soft bitterness.  It also packed a punch at 8.9%ABV.

After lunch, on suggestion from the assistant brewer Josh, I finished with the Broadway Barleywine.  This English-style barleywine contained plenty of stickiness with a pleasant molasses note.  It made for an excellent aperitif and also a nice nap on the short ride home.