Where it’s Located: 6480 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia, Maryland 21045 – 25 miles northeast of home base in Kensington
When Visited: February 9, 2013
Occasion: A visit to Columbia Splash Down, an indoor aquatic center that features two 40-foot high, 360-foot long water slides that dump you into a large swimming pool. There’s also a diving well with a springboard and jungle rope swing, and a second pool with lap lanes and an open swimming area.
We had never been to Splash Down, but I saw a deal on Certifikid and I thought it would be a fun way to spend a winter Saturday with the kids. And I could combine a trip to Splash Down with a visit to a new beer bar, Columbia Ale House!
After a couple of hours of water slides, we arrived at Columbia Ale House mid-afternoon. It was past lunch and before dinner, so I expected a slow crowd inside. But it was packed! I think we were seated in the last open table of the restaurant. Despite the crowd, the service was fantastic, and we kept the waiter busy with our orders of 10 oz pours. I love beer places that serve smaller pours so you can try several different beers during your meal.
Columbia Ale House offers more than 50 craft beers, highlighted by their house brand, Oliver Breweries, which I’ve enjoyed for many years at the Wharf Rat (now the Pratt Street Ale House) in Baltimore.
- Ironman Pale Ale (Oliver Breweries, 6.2%), a smooth English-style pale ale
- 3 Lions Ale (Oliver Breweries, 7.5%), a strong English-style Brown Ale
- Ozzy (The Brewer’s Art, 7.25%), a delicious Belgian Strong Ale
- As Follows (Stillwater Artisanal Ales, 9%), this Strong Golden Ale is “big, bold, hoppy and gold”
Best Beer: I could make a case that any of the four beers I sampled was the best beer. I was excited to try my first beer from Stillwater Artisanal Ales, but I have to give the nod to Ironman Pale Ale because of the fond memories of drinking Ironman during Orioles pre-game visits to the Wharf Rat.
I was most impressed with: The beer selection. I almost said the food – Columbia Ale House serves classic pub grub with a flair. The Nachos appetizer and my Buffalo Chicken Flatbread were amazing – everyone loved their food. But the combination of Oliver house brews and outstanding guests taps will have me finding reasons to get back to Columbia again soon.