Ohio is getting its first official beer trail.



The Columbus Ale Trail being launched Friday (May 1) as part of Columbus Craft Beer Week is designed to promote more than two dozen Central Ohio breweries stretching from Lancaster to Columbus to Delaware.



The promotion includes a special Brew Book,complete with amap of downtown Columbus' "Brewers Row"and details about each brewery. It also will serve as a brewery passport, with craft beer drinkers collecting stamps toward earning free gifts.



Beer trails are a popular beer promotion around the country and have grown as the craft beer industry has exploded. For example, theres the Finger Lakes Beer Trail in New York state, Lake Erie Ale Trail in Erie, Pa., Lehigh Valley Ale Trail in Pennsylvania, and Louisiana Brewery Trail. Last year, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association produced Ohio On Tap magazine that included regional maps and a directory of members.



The Columbus effort is being launched by Drink Up Columbus, Columbus Brew Adventures, The Ohio Taproom and Blue Label Digital Printing, with marketing help from Experience Columbus.



Each of us is a passionate supporter of the rapidly growing craft beer community in Columbus, Cheryl Harrison, editor of beer blog Drink Up Columbus, said in a prepared statement. We wanted to launch a program to make it easy for locals and visitors alike to explore our area breweries.



The participating breweries are: Actual, Barleys, Buckeye Lake, Elevator, Four String, Homestead, Knotty Pine, Land-Grant, Lineage, North High, Pigskin, Rockmill, Seventh Son, Sideswipe, Smokehouse, Staas, Temperance Row, Wolfs Ridge, Zaftig and Zauber.



Columbus, Granville and Hoof Hearted are featured in the book but do not have taprooms to visit. Gordon Biersch and Hofbrauhaus also are featured in the Brew Book.



With 25 local breweries, the Columbus region has emerged as one of the nations top destinations for craft beers, and now we have The Columbus Ale Trail to highlight the growing scene, Experience Columbus President and CEO Brian Ross said in a prepared statement. Were excited to give visitors this new experience when they come to our city.



A free copy of the 2015 Brew Book can be picked up at any of the participating breweries or sponsoring organizations after Friday. The book will be reprinted annually, allowing new breweries to be added.



Craft beer fans will be able to collect stamps in the book at the participating breweries to earn free gifts.



After acquiring stamps from four breweries, people will be able to pick up a pint glass from an Experience Columbus Visitors Center in the Arena District or at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The first 500 people to visit all 20 eligible breweries will receive a commemorative T-shirt at The Ohio Taproom.