The new Zauber Brewing Co. in Columbus owes its name to The Ohio State University. Well, in a very roundabout way. Brewer Geoff Towne – an Indiana University graduate with degrees in biology and history -- wanted to come up with a catchy nickname for his beer. “I felt that the 9,000-pound gorilla in this town is The Ohio State University, which naturally with me going to Indiana University was ‘the’ abuse,” he said with a laugh over dinner last week at BJ’s Restaurant in Columbus. “So that part stuck with me, and with a bad German accent I thought we could replicate ‘the’ with ‘zee.’ Like zee brown beer, zee red beer, zee yellow beer. It would be a hook that any Joe could figure out.” The brewery website is zbeers.com.
Since he had the catchphrase and hook, he needed a brewery name that started with a Z. He settled on Zauber, which in German means “magic.” “Beer is magical,” the talkative 35-year-old said. “There is something magical about it. And we’re bringing a business out of nowhere as if by magic.”
Towne, whose brewing pedigree includes stints with Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland and Boston Beer Co. in Cincinnati, hopes to be brewing within the next month or so. The small production brewery -- located at 1300 Norton Ave. just north of Grandview Heights – will focus on draft beer. He described Zauber as “a bar that happens to make its own beer” and said he wants to start small and grow the business. He had some other brewery details that he wasn’t quite ready to share publicly yet.
His main goal, he said, is to experiment with continental styles and create unique beers. He cited as an example New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Crack'd Wheat. “Like all brewers, I have a healthy appreciate for a lot of different varieties,” he said. “I like everything from IPAs to wheat beers. I guess what really gets me excited is more of the experimental stuff on the fringes. To qualify myself, my favorite beer of all time is Duchesse De Bourgogne, which is obviously a really awesome red sour beer that if I was ever able to accomplish something like that I would consider it a life’s achievement.”