Some 200 beer fans had gathered for the inaugural flight of BrewDog Airlines.
The atmosphere fizzed as we sipped craft brews before heading to The DogHouse in Columbus, Ohio.
Since founding BrewDog in 2007, James Watt and Martin Dickie have opened 80 bars and export their beer to 60 countries. For this landmark tasting, they unveiled a new 4.5 per cent IPA designed to peak at altitude, called . . . Flight Club.
James says: “We’d had enough of being served mediocre, lifeless beer on flights. So we decided to show the world how it’s done.” Beers flowed as we climbed to 35,000ft. Then it was time for Flight Club.
At this altitude, travellers often report dulled senses. But you knew this beer was special — light and crisp with floral and citrus notes. Even the aroma of freshly cut grass . . . or so it said on the tin!
There were so many beer hipsters on board chugging so much beer the plane’s overworked toilets had to be closed two hours before touchdown in Columbus, Ohio, calling for heroic levels of bladder control.
The beer scene in Columbus is exploding and more than half of the city’s 39 breweries have opened within the past five years. That includes The DogHouse, BrewDog’s biggest project yet.
First up at this brewery-hotel was a tour and tasting, with a can of its Punk IPA perfect for enthusiasts and newbies alike.
After that, it was time to sit back and enjoy the immersive experience of The DogTap, the hotel’s main bar.
It serves all of BrewDog’s big-hitters — as well as local guest beers. BrewDog is happy to join forces with other craft beer suppliers.
The DogHouse lets guests drink great beer, eat well, socialise and play classic arcade games. Or test your skills at shuffleboard — a bit like curling played on a smooth table covered with salt. It is far more challenging than it sounds.
Each of the hotel’s 32 rooms are inspired by “Planet BrewDog”, with free wifi, smart TVs and craft beers in the fridge.
Even the bathrooms have a beer fridge, the locally produced shampoo was beer-infused — and yes, there is nothing better than drinking a beer in the shower.
In the morning, guests are treated to a free breakfast and beer mimosas, available from 7.30am.
BrewDog operates two other bars in Columbus, both accessible on the city’s free bus service, the C-bus.
Further afield is the funky city of Cincinnati. It has loads of great breweries too, such as local champ Rhinegeist.
Drink your way down the Columbus Ale Trail, exploring the area and experiencing the local culture on your way.
Just pick up an Ale Trail book from any participating Central Ohio brewery. They are not hard to find!
For a break from breweries, you can catch the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League. Soak up the atmosphere of big-time US sports . . . and enjoy an epic bagel!
They play at the city’s Nationwide Arena, with tickets from around £30. Or for a younger scene, the university district is full of lively bars.
Last orders were called on our trip all too soon. On the flight home, two BrewDog fans from Sweden — Robyn and Stefan — were leaving with more than just happy memories and a hangover.
They had got the BrewDog Airlines logo tattooed on their hands. That should last longer than the sore heads.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: Our BrewDog Airlines trip was priced at £1,250pp including return flights, three nights at the 5H Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, one night at The Doghouse and excursions. BrewDog has plans to make its airline a regular fixture. Look out for more trips at brewdog.com.
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