Nothing like a cold beer to shake off the winter blahs.
Columbus AleFest, an unmitigated celebration of suds, will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Aladdin Shrine Center, 3850 Stelzer Road.
Celebrating its eighth year in Columbus, the festival will feature more than 100 breweries -- including several from Columbus and the rest of Ohio -- offering 250 choices, including select draft and cask options.
"Columbus is a big, burgeoning craft beer market," said Joe Waizmann, founder of the AleFest events in Dayton and Columbus.
"Since I did my first AleFest there eight years ago, it's been amazing, not only in consumer response, but also taverns, restaurants and retail establishments," Waizmann said.
Admission is $35 in advance, $40 at the door, and includes 20 samples, a commemorative glass and a tasting guide.
Designated driver discounts are available. To order advance tickets, go to www.alefest.com.
"Ultimately we try to offer new breweries and new styles where available," Waizmann said.
"Of the number of breweries, there are about 15 new breweries and 25 to 30 beers that weren't available last year."
Also new this year will be four to six gluten-free beers in a defined area of the center.
Eric Bean, owner and brew master of Columbus Brewing Co., is bringing his cask-conditioned India pale ale, or IPA, to the event.
Cask brewing is a traditional technique, still common in England, that was in place long before kegs and draft systems were introduced, Bean said.
The method produces more relaxed carbonation and helps develop a rich flavor, he said.
"It's just a different way to look at a beer," Bean said.
Waizmann asks spectators to don their tropical attire to help shake off the cold weather.
"Let's have some fun with this thing," he said.
An epic battle is shaping up in German Village.
Jacob Hough of Barcelona and Anne Sheridan of Sidecar Global Catering, two sister operations, will face off in an Iron Chef-style challenge that will raise money for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
Each chef will be required to create an appetizer, entree and dessert using a surprise ingredient.
Here's the kicker: each will work with a sous chef from the opposite kitchen while preparing their meals live.
The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at Barcelona, 263 E. Whittier St.
Tickets are $60 and include an appetizer, entree, dessert and one glass of red or white wine. The food bank will receive 100 percent of the proceeds.
Tickets are limited to 50 people.
To make a reservation, call 614-443-3699.
A Dublin restaurateur wants to open a banquet facility in the historic district.
Jiechun Liu, owner of J. Liu's, plans to open the Scioto Room in a vacant 2,200-square-foot storefront at 38 W. Bridge St.
Liu said he believes there's a demand in the area for company parties, wedding rehearsals and other large gatherings.
He's still in the process of getting a parking variance for the space, which he owns and currently uses for storage.
He hopes to open in the next six months or so.
Azteca Mexican Grill has opened in the former Iacano's restaurant at 5925 Sawmill Road. It has a familiar menu of fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and such. Most dinner entree prices are $9.25 to $12.
Ruby Tuesday has closed all 13 Marlin & Ray's seafood restaurants, including the one at 1840 Rome-Hilliard Road. In addition, the company closed Wok Hay restaurants and Truffle Grill, neither of which had stores in the local market.