Archive for the 'Beer' Category

Streetside Brewery

Late summer or early fall of the last year, Streetside Brewery opened their doors on Eastern Avenue in Columbia-Tusculum. The tap room space is really large compared to other newer breweries around town, and their brewery appears to have plenty of room for expansion.

Bar

You can get a great view of their equipment that sits one level down thanks to a large balcony that overlooks the entire space.

Brewery

Beer is available in a four pour sampler, by the pint, or in growlers to go. My wife had ordered a flight and was happy to share some of her choices with me. I also sampled some of their IPA offerings, my favorite of which was their ruby toned “Sofa King” but that doesn’t appear to be on tap currently.

Sampler

I also enjoyed their New England style IPA, “Suh, Brah?” which will be available in cans for the first time this Saturday. I won’t be able to make this special event, but hope to sample this solid simcoe hop focused beer again in the future.

Pint

A limited food menu is available from Steamed Str{eats}, or you are welcome to bring your own. Steamed Str{eats} is a creation from the same people who brought us Gilpin’s, so if you’ve had that you know what to expect. For those not familiar, their sandwiches are put through a steamer to blend the flavors together.

Steaming Hot Ham + Bacon

A handful of sandwich options are available, served on a sub style roll with a side of chips. We tried the steaming hot ham + bacon which is topped with sharp cheddar and a house made spicy mustard ($8.95) as well as the spicy Grippo’s pulled pork, topped with spicy BBQ sauce, crushed BBQ Grippo’s chips, and lettuce ($8.95).

Grippos Pulled Pork

I’ve long been a fan of Gilpin’s and thought these sandwiches were pretty much on par with what I’ve tasted from their larger menu at their downtown location. I’m a sucker for their sandwiches with chips on top, and I love Grippo’s, so the pulled pork was an easy favorite of mine.

Lebrewski Cruise

We just hit the one year anniversary of The Lebrewski Cruise and I just realized I never posted anything about it. Once the cruise was announced, I knew it was a must do as it combined a couple of my favorite things good music (namely O.A.R.) and craft beer. I easily convinced Kim that we should leave the kids behind with their grandparents and set sail to The Bahamas. We had a blast seeing O.A.R. perform three shows, finding some new great bands such as Jared & The Mill, tasting a ton of craft beer, and seeing a couple of different ports. We would have considered going again, but unfortunately the cruise appears to be one and done. Anyway, here are some of my photos from that trip last year.

Nine Giant

One of Cincinnati’s newest craft breweries, Nine Giant, has been open for a couple of months now. My family and I finally got a chance to give it a try a couple of Sunday’s ago. We had actually tried to go a couple of Friday’s earlier for dinner and found it too crowded and loud for a our preschool aged children. On our second attempt we chose early on a Sunday evening and found the crowd to be much more manageable and it not quite as loud. It was still a little on the louder side, but there were signs posted that around the room stating that sound insulation was soon coming.

Beer Glass

Beer Glass

I sampled both their Gold Soundz, a fruity IPA, and SRV, a hoppy brown ($6 per full pour). I enjoyed both beers and would rate them above average with no real preference toward either one. I would recommend ordering the one that traditionally falls in line with your flavor preferences. My wife also thoroughly enjoyed the Django Belgian Single, so don’t be afraid to give that a try if you are more into Belgians.

Inside

Inside

The food menu is quite small but we found plenty on the menu that suited our tastes. We started with an order of house made deep-fried pickle chips with a side of horseradish aioli ($4). I almost didn’t order these but threw them in at the last second and I am so glad that I did. The pickles were thick sliced and fried to perfection. The aioli wasn’t necessary in our eyes, but just a slight dip in the sauce added a nice kick to each bite.

Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles

Each week they have a new special item on the menu. During our visit it was the local heirloom tomato BLT topped with arugula pesto on Sixteen Bricks Artisan Bakehouse Challah bread. I’m a sucker for a good BLT, so I knew right away that I would be ordering this. I’m not normally a huge fan or arugula, although my exposure has mostly been in salads, but the pesto was awesome. The tomatoes were ripe and perfect and their bacon was outstanding. Overall an excellent BLT.

BLT

BLT

The kids menu is simple but effective, a cheese burger and a grilled cheese. The burger features local, grass-fed beef in a smashed-style patty with sharp cheddar cheese on Sixteen Bricks Challah bread with the crust cut off ($5). My five-year-old loved this and ate nearly the entire thing.

Kid's Cheeseburger

Kid’s Cheeseburger

My wife went with the falafel wrap served in a naan wrap with lettuce, tomato, house-made pickles and tzatziki sauce ($7). She didn’t seem as impressed as I was with the BLT, but I took a bite of the wrap and really enjoyed it. The pickles added a nice touch and the falafel was above average. I would have maybe liked a bit more tzatziki sauce. Overall I felt it was a great vegetarian option.

Falafel Wrap

Falafel Wrap

Free wi-fi is offered as well as a handful of low top tables for those with families. Though most of the space is reserved for the bar and larger sized high tops. The space is not nearly as large as some of the dominant craft breweries that opened years ago in the area, but falls more inline with what is opening up more and more these days, smaller tap rooms with an emphasis on their immediate neighborhoods. With that said I think the popularity of their beers and food will allow them to cater towards those from around the entire city.

Nine Giant Brewing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Nine Giant

Uber Brewery Tour

Some friends of mine recently commented that they hadn’t been to very many of our ever-growing list of craft breweries in town. We were considering doing one of the organized brewery tours but soon realized that for the price of those tickets, we could do our own tour using Uber to get around and go where we wanted to go when we wanted to go there.

Outside Mt. Carmel

Outside Mt. Carmel

We started out at Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, and since this was the first stop of the day and the farthest from our starting point, we decided to drive ourselves out to the former farm-house turned brewery. Mt. Carmel Brewing Company was established in 2005 and is Cincinnati’s oldest craft microbrewery. As they have grown every space of the house has been slowly converted from living to brewing and drinking spaces. It can be somewhat of a maze to find a seat inside, but I think the true beauty of this brewery happens when it is warmer and the entire yard can be enjoyed.

Inside Mt. Carmel

Inside Mt. Carmel

As far as the beers go, I find their year round offerings to be mostly average, but their snapshot series are all really great beers. All three snapshots were on tap during our visit and there was even a taproom only beer pouring. There are plenty of TV’s throughout the space and though they do not serve any food of their own, they have food trucks visit often.

Blank Slate Bar

Blank Slate Bar

The second stop on our self guided brewery tour was to Blank Slate Brewing Company. We lucked into an excellent day to make our first visit to Blank Slate, as they were celebrating their one year anniversary of their PourHouse taproom. This included hourly special tappings and way more selections available than they normally have.

Blank Slate Birthday Party

Blank Slate Birthday Party

Despite this being our first visit to the PourHouse, I have enjoyed Blank Slate’s beer since their opening in 2011 and consider them to be one of my favorite breweries in town. Their Fork in the Road is outstanding and the Shroominous, brewed with shiitake mushrooms, is a must try. During this event they had their hugely popular Opera Cream Stout on and it did not disappoint! I look forward to many return visits and can’t wait to see what the brewery looks like after another year.

From there we moved on to a couple of breweries that I have been to and written about before. MadTree Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries in the city and their tap-room is always busy. They have 18 beers on tap, so even if you are familiar with their canned offerings, there is likely plenty of other beers you haven’t had.

Braxton Brewing Company is one of the newer breweries in town, but they are quickly making a name for themself with their Dead Blow tropical stout and Storm golden cream ale. They have already started canning Storm, so their popularity will continue to grow. Their tap-room is large and probably the nicest around.

We had hopped to see a few other breweries on this tour, but I guess we will just have to save them for our next round of Uber Brewery Tours.

Mt. Carmel Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lift One To Life

Late summer of last year I first wrote about Braxton Brewing Company, which opened March 27 of this year. I finally made the trek down to Covington on a recent work day after my internet connection at home cut out for the afternoon.

Outside

Outside

Though they are closed Mondays, the brewery opens up at 8 A.M. the rest of the work week and has plenty of space for individuals or small groups to work. They have even launched a coffee program with Carabello to serve hot and cold brewed coffee, as well as beans to go.

Inside

Inside

I brought my lunch with me on this visit, but they have also partnered with Four Seasons Catering to offer food delivered to the brewery. There are whiteboards, projectors, and gigabit internet, making it easy to spend your entire work day there. Plus they have space to host meetings for groups of 10-60.

Flight of Beer

Flight of Beer

Before leaving for the day, I treated myself to a flight of four of Braxton’s signature brews, Crank Shaft IPA, Dead Blow Tropical Stout, Trophy Pale Ale, and their small batch Blown Gasket Robust Porter. Of these four I liked the Dead Blow the most, which was like nothing I’ve had before. There is a lot of fruit flavor in the beer from the addition of dates, which mixes well with the roasty base.

Click to add a blog post for Braxton Brewing Co. on Zomato

Back Bay Brewing – Virginia Beach

I’ve visited Virginia Beach twice. The first was back in 2011 when craft beer was hard to find. Fast forward to this year’s visit to the beach and I had multiple breweries to choose from when my in-laws offered to watch my kids for an afternoon.

Brewing Equipment

Brewing Equipment

After a quick review of the locations of the handful of breweries in the area, I quickly chose Back Bay Brewing Co. mainly because my wife and I could ride our bikes there from our hotel on Atlantic Avenue next to the beach. The tasting room is on the somewhat busy Norfolk Avenue, but there is a bike path all the way from the beach area.

Bar Area

Bar Area

The tasting room was comfortable and the beers helped cool us down after our hot bike ride. While enjoying the beers we chatted with the employees from the brewery who were all very friendly and knowledgeable of the breweries history.

Atlantic Avenue IPA

Atlantic Avenue IPA

The brewery started in 2011 and originally was contract brewing at another brewery’s site. Now they have opened up their own small system on site and are brewing as much as they can. The flagship beers are still being brewed offsite, but the brewers make sure to oversee the operation as much as they can. I’m told they are also planning to open their own production facility in the future.

Coaster Backside

Coaster Backside

Their Atlantic Ave IPA was a very good choice and I was also given a taste of a new double IPA they were working on, which was excellent. My wife was happy with the Hefeweizen and even tried a Shandy that they create by mixing their lager with San Pellegrino, a good choice for a hot afternoon.

State Of Cincinnati Brewing

Recently there was an article posted by WCPO’s Jesse Folk asking the question, “Are there too many breweries in Cincinnati?” Most seem to be believe that we are far from the saturation point and I couldn’t agree more.

Jagged Mountain Brewery

Jagged Mountain Brewery

I spent the majority of last week on business in Denver. When I moved away from Denver in 2011 there were definitely less breweries in town than there are in Cincinnati now. And now there are over 100 breweries in the greater Denver metro area.

On my first night in town I explored a couple of these breweries in the newly revitalized River North Art District. There are currently ten breweries in this one neighborhood, none of which existed five years ago.

River North Brewery

River North Brewery

In fact there are so many breweries in the area now that even my friends living in Denver have become a little overwhelmed. There is definitely a long way for Cincinnati to go before I could become overwhelmed by the choices available.

Taft’s Ale House

A couple of weekends ago I made it into the newly opened Taft’s Ale House for the first time. Taft’s now occupies a previously abandoned church in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s oldest remaining Protestant church building, which had previously sat vacant since 1993. Since Taft’s opening on April 6 I had seen plenty of pictures of the magnificent renovation but I was still completely blown away by the work.

Nellie's, The Downstairs Bar

Nellie’s, The Downstairs Bar

Our group started in Nellie’s, the downstairs bar, but couldn’t get a drink before our table upstairs was ready. One member of our used the NoWait app before our arrival to get us on the waiting list and I was impressed by how will it worked.

Bar Area

Bar Area

The main restaurant area occupies what would have been the church. There are two levels of dining areas, which make good use of the space while still allowing all visitors to marvel at the beautiful structure. Above the bar are some serving tanks and a list of beers on tap.

Tasting Flight

Tasting Flight

Taft’s has opened with a very impressive list of ten beers. Everything from a German Pilsner to a milk stout and eight other styles in-between. The Mooly Wooly coffee milk stout was a quick favorite of mine. Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale was another that really stood out and I’m hearing reports that this beer may soon be available in cans to go.

Full View of Taft's Ale House

Full View of Taft’s Ale House

I didn’t have time for dinner on this visit but I’m sure I will be back soon for a full meal. I did try a few tots with the house made ketchup and they were delicious. I can’t wait to try more!

Taft’s Ale House on Urbanspoon

Rivertown Brewing Company

Over the weekend I finally paid a visit to the Rivertown Brewing Company. With so many breweries opening shop on the eastern side of town, it took me way too long to visit one of the originals. But I can now say that I’ve been there and had a great time too.

Tasting Room Bar

Tasting Room Bar

Free Arcade Games

Free Arcade Games

Inside the tasting room is a decent size bar, along with a handful of larger tables, plenty of space to spread out. They’ve also recently added some classic arcade games to the space which are available for free for anyone to play.

Brewery Area

Brewery Area

While visiting the brewery we also took the 45 minute tour of the facility ($6 per person). Tours are currently offered Wednesdays at 5, Fridays at 6, and Saturdays at 3 and reservations can be made on their website.

Bottling Line

Bottling Line

Cellared Beers

Cellared Beers

The tour offered both general information on the brewing process and also things that are special to Rivertown including their awesome sour program. I truly hope it doesn’t take me so long to make a return visit to their brewery.

Lexington Brewery Crawl

After a few hours touring distilleries on the Bourbon Trail this past Saturday, it was time to head into Lexington to check out some of their breweries. After checking into our hotel near the University of Kentucky, we took an Uber to West Sixth Brewing. Our visit happened to coincide with their 3rd anniversary party which featured all sorts of specialty beers and infused firkins. Apparently I was having too much fun to remember to take any photos.

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Bar

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Bar

Something else even bigger was taking place in Lexington during our visit, UK basketball was playing Notre Dame for a spot in the final four. At times it seemed like our group was the only one in town not wearing blue. This also caused Uber fares to skyrocket. Fortunately the weather was pretty nice, so we decided to walk to our next destination, Blue Stallion Brewing Company.

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Brewery

Blue Stallion Brewing Company Brewery

Blue Stallion specializes in authentic German lagers and British ales, boldly traditional craft beer as they say. On tap was roughly a dozen of their own beers such as Weizenbock, Schwarzbier, and Doppelbock plus a handful of guest beers. I was told by one of the bartenders that an IPA is in the works, though it seems they will still primarily focus on these traditional styles.

Chase Brewing Taps

Chase Brewing Taps

From there we walked to Chase Brewing Co., which has been opened for a couple of years but looks to be just starting their brewery operation. Out of the sixteen taps only two were created in-house, but there were plenty of good-looking options. Unfortunately we never got to sample any of the beer as the crowd gathered to watch the basketball game had completely overwhelmed the wait staff.

Chase Brewing Brewery

Chase Brewing Brewery

We quickly continued our brewery crawl with a decent hike out to Country Boy Brewing, which has been operating for roughly the same amount of time as West Sixth, since early 2012. The crowd was definitely glued to the TV’s, including the bartenders from time to time, but we didn’t have any problems getting some beers to drink.

Country Boy Brewing Taproom

Country Boy Brewing Taproom

I really enjoyed the beers here, probably my favorites of the day. Their cliff jumper IPA was a very solid choice, and they also had a couple of double IPA’s on tap that I enjoyed very much as well. The crowd eventually thinned out after the game was over and our group was able to claim a table and enjoy a couple of beers before closing time.

Country Boy Brewing Taps

Country Boy Brewing Taps

We tried to get a ride back to our hotel but in the end found it easiest to just walk back to our hotel. It was just over a 5K route and would only have been two miles without the last leg to the hotel. It’s nice that there are numerous breweries within walking distance of downtown. Now that Taft’s Ale House is open in Cincinnati, plus Braxton in Covington, we also have a nice brewery crawl route with Moerlein (both locations) and Rhinegeist included. I may have to give that a try sometime in the future. Anyone want to join me?