I recently spent a weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio to check out Bockfest, an annual celebration in the city for bock beer that kicked off with one of the most amazing beer and goat-themed parades I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t catch my gallery of that, stop what you’re doing and >go look at it RIGHT NOW,
As you could probably determine from the fact that this city has a beer parade, craft beer is a big part of Cincinnati’s history. In fact, parts of the city were actually built on top of pre-prohibition lagering tunnels so you could say in a way it’s a city (literally) built on beer.
Within Cincinnati, there are a number of great breweries worth checking out. Here are five that I hit up while I was in town that are definitely worth your time.
I visited Urban Artifact in the middle of the day on a sunny Sunday, so it wasn’t too crowded. Looking at the space; however, you can see how it could be. The brewery’s taproom is located in the lower level of St. Patrick’s Church in the north side of Cincinnati. There’s a small bar, a cooler full of beers to take home, and a huge venue space where bands perform. Admittedly, it has a little bit of a “I’m at a church youth group meeting” vibe, but not too much of one.
The stars at Urban Artifact are its sours. My favorites from the group were Sliderule, a chocolate raspberry gose, and Habanero Sliderule, a spicy version of the original that kept me coming back for more. One interesting thing on the menu: a Pickle Gose that was made using 1000 pounds of fresh cucumber and two pounds of dill weed.
Braxton Brewhouse is technically in Kentucky, but it’s just a short drive (10 minutes) from downtown Cincinnati. The two-year-old brewery is brewing some pretty interesting stuff. One of my favorites from the group was Graeter’s a Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Stout. The 7% brew tastes so much like ice cream, they sell beer glasses for it that look like the glasses you might get a sundae in at your local ice cream shop.
I admittedly didn’t get to spend nearly as much time at Taft’s Ale House as I would have liked. This place is gorgeous. Named after Cincinnati native William Howard Taft, like Urban Artifact, this taproom is located inside an old church. The interior is beautiful, as are the beers. One of my favorite things there, however, were Taft’s beer cocktails that combined together the brewery’s beer with spirits to make some truly interesting (and delicious) combinations.
Moerlein is one of the oldest breweries in the United States. Under the brewery’s building are some of those layering tunnels I take about earlier, which are something to see in and of themselves. Moerlein, which has two locations in town, one of which is its taproom and the other a brewpub, also has some great beers on tap. My fave during the trip was its 13/164, its anniversary beer for the year that celebrates its original birthday 164 years ago, and it’s birthday after its most recent relaunch, 13 years ago.
The name Rhinegeist translates to “Ghost of the Rhine,” so of course, the brewery has a ghost in its logo. The brewery got its name because it was built where the original Christian Moerlein bottling plant sat in 1895. Moerlein was the biggest game in town back in the early 1900s, so the name is in a way a homage to one of the city’s original breweries and its brewing heritage.
The brewery’s best seller is its IPA called Truth, made with Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra, and Centennial hops.