Archive for the 'Beer' Category

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.

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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?

Tap & Screw Brewery

The craft brewery drought on the west side of town is now over. Tap & Screw Brewery opened their doors late last year in the spot formerly occupied by Tom and Jerry’s. The ownership is still the same, but the food menu has changed, and the beer selection is much improved.

Inside

Inside

In addition to six of their own Tap & Screw brews, there were six other offerings with half of them coming from other local breweries. My wife and I split a couple of flights ($6 each) to sample most of the offerings. Their own beers were pretty good, with the Jacked Porter serving as the real standout.

Beer Flight

Beer Flight

On the food front we started with an order of southwest egg rolls which included their own white chicken chili on the inside ($6.99). These were very good, with the chicken chili adding interesting flavors to the standard corn and bean southwestern flavors.

Southwest Egg Rolls

Southwest Egg Rolls

My wife had the portobello burger with bell peppers ($8.99) and she was very pleased with her selection. This included a side of saratoga chips and BBQ sauce.

Portobello Burger

Portobello Burger

I had the special of the day, which was a chicken philly ($6.99) and also had chips on the side. The sandwich was good and should probably be made a permanent part of the menu. Children’s options are available including grilled cheese ($3.99) with fries.

Chicken Philly

Chicken Philly

Overall Tap & Screw Brewery is off to a good start with some solid beer choices and nice selection of homemade food. This could be a regular stop for my family when visiting my in-laws on the other side of town.

Tap & Screw Brewery on Urbanspoon

The Growler House

A new craft beer bar has opened up near my house in East Walnut Hills. The Growler House name makes the location sound like a grab and go place, but the inside is setup well for visitors to leisurely enjoy several rounds. On my visit during Cincinnati Beer Week, more than half of the 30 taps were dedicated to local beer, which I’m hoping is a trend that continues. Beers are served by the pint (or snifter) as well as in a 5 oz “bencher” for easy flight tastings. Obviously growler fills are also available plus wine by the glass too.

Growler House Bar

Growler House Bar

The inside is very spacious, though only a dozen or so stools are available. Snacks can be bought at the bar and a TV in the corner will likely have your favorite game on. Packaged beer options are also available for purchase and again a solid lineup of locals was available during my visit. During the week they open at 3 (closed on Mondays) and on the weekend it’s noon. From what the bartender says, the closing time is a little flexible based on the crowd.

The Growler House on Urbanspoon

MadTree Winter Bonanza

Saturday was MadTree Brewing Company‘s 2nd annual Winter Bonanza, an all day celebration with bands, food trucks, and tons of great craft beer. I was able to attend for a few hours in the afternoon to sample a few new beers, listen to Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle, and grab an always delicious sandwich from C’est Cheese.

Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle

Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle

I also caught a couple of MadTree’s founders talking with the Southern Ohio Brew Show, a newer podcast dedicated to craft brewing in and around southern Ohio. The Southern Ohio Brew Show is a free local source for brewing information exchange; bringing you local brewing news, brewing experiments, and interviews with local brewing advocates.

Southern Ohio Brew Show

Southern Ohio Brew Show

If you missed this awesome event, don’t forget that the Cincy Winter Beerfest is taking place next weekend. I’ll be down there on Friday, and likely volunteering and pouring beer on Saturday.

Cincinnati Beer Week BlackTart

Cincinnati Beer Week BlackTart

Also don’t forget about the upcoming Cincinnati Beer Week, which kicks off with the Beerfest and runs for the entire next week. I’ll definitely make it to at least one or two of these official events. It’s a good time to drink local beer!

Braxton Brewing Company

One of the Cincinnati area’s next breweries, Braxton Brewing Company, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to build their taproom of the future. Some of the plans include:

  • Multi-functional co-working space – If you’re going to spend the morning at a coffee shop, why not spend the afternoon at the brewery? They’ll have the space that allows you to do just that.
  • They’ll be the first microbrewery in the U.S. with Gigabit Internet – Never wait on a web page again! Feel free to use their speeds to change the world.
  • The freshest growler fills available provided by their 20 tap Pegas Growler Filler!
  • Fully-custom Mobile Application – Redefining how you interact with us in their taproom.
  • Private Events Space – Want to host a team off-site, Fantasy Football draft, or neighborhood movie night? They’ll have the perfect room for you. With 8 metered taps, they won’t even interrupt while you use the space!

Sounds like I may have a new spot to check out while working remotely! For more information on Braxton Brewing Company check out the Brew Professor’s post from April.