Columbia reminds me a lot of St. Louis 5 years ago or so. Lots of great beer around town, but not so many people that you have to rush out to get something as soon as it’s tapped or else you miss out. Almost everyplace has at least a couple of craft offerings, including places where it’s almost a given you’ll end up on one or more CoMo excursions (Shakespeare’s Pizza for example).

The newest arrival is Rock Bridge Brewery, which has no tasting room or pub, but has beers on tap around town that are definitely worth seeking out. The Farmer’s Daughter, a rye saison with green peppercorns which I finally found after much searching at 44 Stone Public House, was fantastic and hopefully a sign of more good things to come from them.

Brewpubs
Broadway Brewery
The young up and comer of the Columbia brewpubs. They recently completed an expansion into the space next door, so there is a lot more seating than there used to be, which is great because we’ve had a couple long waits for tables there in the past. Their creamy & slightly smokey porter is a highlight and they usually have multiple IPAs on tap along with a core lineup that changes seasonally and a couple of guest taps (Founders Cerise and Civil Life American Brown were on last time I was there).

Although I haven’t been, Sunday brunch seems to be a good choice, as they are one of the few beer-y places open. Dinner here is a good option too, with ingredients coming from a couple different Missouri farms – one owned by one of the brewery’s owners. I’ve had the butternut squash & bacon pizza, the smoked trout pizza, and a lamb burger and all were good to great.
Sample of available beers- Barleywine, Rye Pale Ale, Ginger Chocolate Stout, Alt, Pinnacles IPA

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
When I first started making regular trips to Columbia, I remember eating/drinking here often and thinking it was pretty good. Lately when I’ve gone, the beers have seemed really off. On our most recent trip, my wife even remarked that everything tasted “like buttered popcorn”. Maybe they had a couple bad batches, maybe we’re just hyper sensitive, excuses, excuses.

It also seems like their tap list was pretty much the same as it was 9 years ago. Then again, they are constantly packed, so what do I know? It is pretty cheap for a brewpub, with 18oz pours going for $4, and 10oz for $3.
Sample of available beers-Oil Change Stout, Brown Ale, Ed’s IPA, ESB, Alt, Dark Wheat

Beer Bars
Sycamore
Forget Columbia, this might be the best restaurant beer list in the state. Six taps, most of which were Missouri beers – including Schlafly, Perennial, and Civil Life – and an extremely well thought out bottle list split into Belgian-style ales, Pale Ales/IPAs, Lagers, Stouts/Porters, and Other. The food here is fantastic also, and they do have lunch service (with awesome fries as a bonus), so it is a great logical first stop if you get into town early on a Friday or something.
Sample of available beers-Boulevard Saison Brett, 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze, Avery Rumpkin, Firestone Walker 15, Mikkeller Sur Monk, O’Fallon BDS

McGinty’s Pub
A small dive bar at the corner of Old Highway 63 and Stadium Boulevard, McGinty’s recently upgraded their taps to 22. I’ve been here twice now, and while it seems to be a mostly locals-downing-BMC-type of place, the tap diversity makes it a nice stop if you happen to be in the area. I stopped in at 3:30 on a Friday and had the whole outdoor patio to myself for about an hour. They serve everything in chilled shaker glasses, which isn’t ideal, but I was able to get a non-chilled glass after I asked. They also have karaoke, if that’s your thing.
Sample of available beers-Avery Czar, Perennial Saison de Lis, Bell’s 2 Hearted, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, Green Flash Barleywine, 6 Row DIPA

44 Stone Public House
No idea why I waited as long as I did to make it out to this place. If you’re in town, make it a point to go. Only 12 taps, but there were no misses in that list and they had a nice complement of about 35 bottles/cans listed on chalkboards (with prices!) on the wall. A huge draw for me is the either full pour or 5 oz pour for their draft beers, with the smaller portions costing about $2.

The exception to this when we were there was beers like Avery Mephistopheles and Ommegang Seduction at about $4/5oz, which is reasonable for a 15%+ stout (a little puzzling for the Ommegang though). There is a pretty nice whisky selection too, if you’re into that, with multiple Islays and Speysides and a couple of Irish whiskeys. We only had a couple things off the appetizer menu, but what we had was very good.
Sample of available beers-Founders Dirty Bastard, FW Double Jack, Schlafly AIPA, Civil Life British Bitter, Samichlaus Doppelbock

Retail
HyVee
Better selection than most grocery stores, but not as good as something like TWCP or Friar Tuck. They also do in-store tastings and it’s really close to 44 Stone, so you can pop in before or after.

Rangleine Liquor & Arena Liquor
Arena is just south of campus on Providence, and Rangeline is about a mile and a half north of I-70 in a strip mall, these sister stores offer a good selection of both cold & warm craft 6ers, and a decent selection of bombers/750s. Sometimes you have to be a little careful of old stock, the flipside of that being that it’s a good place to find some things that have been sold out for a while elsewhere.