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The back patio at Rockmill seemingly transports customers to a different time and place, with views of the nearby pond and woods.

Matt Barbee and his mother, Judy Jones, own and operate Rockmill Brewery near Lancaster, which draws in customers for a tasting of their specialty: saisons.

“I studied the Columbus craft brewing scene and had a lot of confidence in my palate,” says Barbee, “but I’m a self-taught brewer.” When the brewery opened in 2010, he made saison one barrel at a time. Today, Rockmill produces 30 barrels weekly, and its offerings include saison, witbier, dubbel, and cask-aged tripel. In homage to its heritage, the brewery’s logo and labels depict horses. Since its tasting room only serves Rockmill ales, customers bring their own food, experiment

with pairings, and enjoy the farm’s ambiance. Barbee, in fact, likens the brewery experience to picnicking. “People feel transported to another place when they’re here,” he says. “We’ve really created our own picnic culture.”  DAMAINE VONADA is a freelance

writer from Xenia. Rockmill Brewery, 5705 Lithopolis Road NW, Lancaster, OH 43130. For information about the brewery and tasting room hours, telephone 740-205-8076 or visit

Rockmill Tavern Opened in autumn 2016, Rockmill Tavern is a bar and restaurant that brings Rockmill Brewery’s farmstead ales and aesthetic to Columbus’s Brewery District. The menu is small but focuses mightily on foods that complement saisons — cheeses, charcuterie, and Barbee’s personal favorite, ribeye. 503 S. Front St., Columbus, OH 43215; 614-732-4364;


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