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CBRE Reports Growth In Ohio Craft Breweries Have Major Impact

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Ohio sees 148 percent increase in new craft breweries opening since 2012, over $2.2 billion economic impact; Southwest Ohio boasts 43 percent of craft beer Ohio market share.

As craft breweries continue to open and expand throughout the state of Ohio, the craft beer industry will have a significant impact on the commercial real estate market, according to a new CBRE Report entitled Ohio Craft Beer Taking Flight.  The report examines brewpubs, micro, and regional breweries and the commercial space they occupy in Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton.

The industry especially took off in the Buckeye state after legislators passed House Bill 243 in 2012, which allows breweries to operate tap rooms within their space without purchasing an additional license. Ever since, breweries throughout Ohio have acted as a catalyst for economic development and rehabilitation of many urban and suburban neighborhoods. Since 2012, the number of craft breweries has jumped from 63 to 156 through June 2016, a 148 percent increase. Those 156 breweries take up 1.7 million square feet of commercial space.

The economic impact of craft beer is not limited to absorption of square footage. According to the Brewer’s Association, Ohio was raked 7th in the country with $2.2 billion worth of economic impact from craft brewing in 2014, including breweries, wholesalers and retailers. In terms of jobs, the Ohio craft brewing industry supports 2,166 jobs directly in 2014, with substantial impact to other related jobs in wholesale and retail.

The impact that the craft beer industry has had on Southwest Ohio’s(Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton)commercial real estate market is exceptional. The region’s modern craft beer craze began when the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), started production in Over-the-Rhine in 1996. Since then, the number of craft breweries in the region has grown from two to 36, including 13 craft breweries in Dayton which occupy 100,000 square feet of space. Out of the three regions in Ohio studied in the report, Southwest Ohio has the majority of the craft beer market share in terms of square footage at 43 percent.

In Cincinnati, craft brewery operations represents 658,290 square feet, with 82 percent of the space being industrial while retail represents 18 percent. Multiple brewers use historic brewing facilities repurposed to accommodate modern technologies. Rhinegeist, for example, operates in Christian Moerlein’s former bottling plant built in the 1800s and modern day Christian Moerlein operates atop the former lagering tunnels of Kauffman Brewing Co. on Moore Street.In Dayton, Warped Wing Brewing and Dayton Beer Company are operating in a former industrial building in the downtown area.

Repurposing older industrial space gives craft beer consumers a unique taproom experience, according to CBRE’s Doug Whitten, vice president.

“Many breweries are taking advantage of Cincinnati’s historic brewery infrastructure left behind during the city’s brewery boom in the late 1800’s,”Whitten said.“By repurposing this older space they not only give their consumers a unique taproom experience,but they are also giving otherwise neglected or obsolete space new life.”

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Ohio Brewery Saturation

The growth of the craft beer industry in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and will continue to have a significant impact on local economies, job growth and the commercial real estate market. Currently in Ohio, craft breweries are responsible for 1.4 million barrels of beer or approximately 6.3 percent of total output in the U.S. Nationally, Ohio is ranks fourth in total craft beer production by barrel, behind Pennsylvania, California and Colorado.

Because craft beer variations are limitless by nature, differentiation is starting to come from the space the craft breweries occupy, according to Kevin Schutte, managing director for CBRE’s Cincinnati office.

“As the Ohio craft brewing industry continues to gain popularity,consumers look for a unique atmosphere and experience,” Schutte said. “We expect commercial real estate will continue to play an important role in that experience.”

CBRE’s Cincinnati office provides a complete spectrum of commercial real estate services including asset services, brokerage services, corporate services, debt and equity financing, facilities management, industrial and logistics services, investment sales, office services, project management, research, and valuation and advisory services.

Here is a link to the full CBRE Report.  It is well worth the read!

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Brink Brewing Company – A First Look

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Sitting discretely at 5905 Hamilton Avenue is the building that will become home to Brink Brewing Company.  It is a building with character that resides in a business district that is about to experience a major resurgence.  The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation has big plans for the entire Dow corner buildings and many other local projects are currently underway.  Most importantly, the residents and businesses along this stretch are anxiously awaiting their first brewery.  The buzz is starting.  

Brink is hoping to open sometime in November, but CEO John McGarry gave me access to their design renderings that are currently coming to life. He also gave me the sweet hat that everyone keeps asking about. Yes, those will be for sale.  They may sell you one now.

Brink Brewing will be a brewery for the community of College Hill.  As a matter of fact, the space is designed as a gathering spot and will even include a large community table as a main focal point in the taproom.  They will be able to accommodate close to 100 people at a time with plenty of seating and elbow room.  The large bar top will satisfy both service needs and those of us who enjoy a bar top seat.  You’ll also be able to watch the game from one of a few screens.

My favorite part is a community photo wall.  Local residents will be welcome to bring in photos of their lives in College Hill to be included on a large exposed brick wall celebrating each other.  This smaller scale community driven brewery is becoming a new phase of the craft beer revolution we are currently experiencing and I love it.  These concepts are pulling together the residents and other small businesses while jump starting economic development.  It brings intimacy.  It brings a feeling of ownership to the regulars.  Their marketing director Sarah McGarry knows exactly what needs to be done with this space.  The branding and design are stunning.

The building is a little over 3100 square feet with an open floor plan.  They will have an engaging store front with windows that will open up to Hamilton Avenue.  There will be a large patio/beer garden in back and a parking lot with plenty of room to park.  This will also provide enough room to host small beer events.

The primary brewhouse will be a 7bbl direct fire two-vessel system and they will start with four 7bbl fermenters. They will also have a 1bbl pilot system that will be used for special small batches and Brink/BeerMumbo playtime (not official).  The taproom will start with 12 taps and have the potential to expand as needed.  The goal is to keep a constant rotation of variety. Head brewer Kelly Montgomery is a big fan of old ales, big stouts, and barleywines. You can expect to see those as well as some more approachable “lighter” beers available all the time.  Blonde ales, cream ales, IPAs, etc.  Kelly is an award winning homebrewer who has a special talent for brewing beer.  Their other brewer Mark Landers also holds a great deal of experience that will be brought to the brewery and to your glass.

Food options will be available from their neighbor at Red Rose Jems Pizzeria and possibly other nearby places such at Martys Hops and Vines.  By the way, I hear Marty is pretty excited about Brink Brewing coming to the neighborhood.

President Andrew McCleese has visited nearly one hundred breweries throughout the country. The Brink Brewing Company will bring a little bit from each place to create a beer and taproom experience that will be special for College Hill.  After speaking with the team, I am more than excited for this place to open the doors.  Too often, I am seeing breweries open because they have capital to do so, yet lack the passion for this industry and the art of brewing beer.  When I met them, I felt that passion right away.  I heard it in their voices.  This place will be special and I am extremely excited for them.  Cheers Cincinnati!

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Here are some construction photos:

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MadTree’s New Facility: Before Walk-Through

MadTree Brewery

   MadTree Brewery
 As most of Cincinnati has heard, MadTree is building a new $18m brewery in Oakley at the former RockTenn site.  If you are clueless, read about it here.  This is a quick video walk-through to represent the “before” phase of their massive project.  I am intrigued by old buildings and manufacturing facilities.  This place satisfies my inner curiosity and possesses a lot of unique characteristics.  It is perfect for a growing brewery.  I am looking forward to the progression of this space.  Congrats to the entire team at MadTree.

Also, in the video I said “Covered Beer Garden”.  Apparently, they are opening that up as a green space.  Even better!

Walk-through Video:

 

Before Photos:   

    
    
    
 

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East Walnut Hills Meets The Woodburn Brewery

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The community of East Walnut Hills just found out about a new addition to their business district.  Soon residents will have a brewery and taproom to call their own.  By soon I mean, likely Q3 of this year.  Everything is in line and construction will move ahead quickly once a few permits and legal items are cleared.

The Woodburn Brewery is located at 2800 Woodburn Ave. in the heart of East Walnut Hills.  Some neighbors are Myrtle’s Punch House, The Growler House, and a pie shop due to open soon.  This is a business district moving ahead with serious revitalization efforts underway.  

  
 The building is 4k square foot and was built in 1909 as a theater for the Cincinnati Motion Picture Company.  You can still see the ghostly image of the screen in back.  It was later used as a bank for years.  The original iron ceiling plates are visible as well as exposed brick.  There is overwhelming character and it is clear why this had to be the location.  You can see one of the old bank safes sitting on the floor.  According to Woodburn, it weighs over 1 million pounds and they will need to rent a crane to remove it.

The conjoined building was opened as a bakery.  It shares the same early 1900’s rustic appearance.  They plan on preserving the historical content.

The Beers

The space will require some creative use and essentially they will be using this 4k square foot as if it were 10k square foot.  Anything that can reside externally will.  Such as a grain silo, glycol chiller, etc.  They will have a 20bbl brew system.

 

Heading up the brewing side of Woodburn will be Chris Mitchell.  He has an extensive wealth of knowledge and has served as the city’s homebrew expert at Listermann for many years.  Most of our existing brewers in Cincinnati have come through the doors at Listermann a time or two.  Or in my case, daily.  He has nothing but appreciation and respect for the entire crew at Listermann

So what will they be brewing at Woodburn?  Here are some of the beers you can expect to see at Woodburn:

 Cedar IPA:

I know you are very curious about this beer.  I’ve had this beer many times and Chris has won numerous awards.  This beer has a dominant cedar aroma and taste.  It is a fantastic and unique brew.  Actually, it is one of my favorite beers!

Pineapple Saison:

Cincinnati has yet to see a Saison that really sits on a podium of excellence and uniqueness.  This saison utilizes fresh pineapple to create a very refreshing finish.  This will be that saison of excellence.

Roasted Red:

This is an interesting yet excellent approach to a red ale.  It has the appearance of a burgundy red with a roasted aroma and taste.  Look at it as a Red Ale/Porter hybrid.  Very unique and delicious.

Authentic German Pilsner

I will say this is the beer I am most excited about.  Through a contact, Chris was able to get a hold of a gold medal award winning Pilsner straight from Germany.  It was created by Ingolf Steinkamp for his German brewery BrauHaus Espelkamp.  This recipe is so German it had to be translated.  Golden in color with a dense head.  It is well hopped with spicy and floral notes. 

Chris has made is very clear that The Woodburn Brewery will brew unique and exciting beers.  He is not afraid to be creative and push the button.  Coming from a community of homebrewers, Chris wants to make it welcome to other recipes and idea.  At first they will keep the beers for the taproom patrons only with hopes of future distribution.  Eventually, you can expect bottled beers special releases and possibly some cans.  Chris has a strong interest in sours, barrel aged beers, and creative releases.

They are even dreaming up the possibility of ciders, meads, and wine.  The rooftop will likely be used as a bee colony to cultivate their own honey source.  I can tell you now that it will happen.  Chris loves the art of wine making and wants to share this with Cincinnati.

  
          

A personal note:

I have known Chris Mitchell for some time now and if you want to support a great guy, he is more than deserving.  I wish him the best and cannot wait for my city to try the beers. Cheers!

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Rhinegeist Update – Unexpected and New Beers Coming

Rhinegeist

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If you have been to Rhinegeist within the past few months you may have noticed a large expansion underway.  The new brew system is dialed in and production is ramping up daily.  That leaves room to create some exciting new beers on the original system.   Head brewer Jim Matt let me in on a couple of hush hush beers that are planned very soon.  Actually, I found his diary in one of the offices and read it when he wasn’t looking.

Puma Pils
No, they are not releasing shaving cream.  They are about unleash a canned Puma.  Expect to see these cans released very soon.  I really enjoyed this beer from the can.  The summer heat will pair well with a 6er of Puma.   

Berliner Weisse
The first sour mash will take place this month with the introduction of Lactobacillus.  What is lactobacillus? Simply put, it is a bacteria that produces something called lactic acid.  The lactic acid provides the tartness in yogurt and many sour beers.  The Berliner Weisse style has historical significance in Cincinnati and has experienced a major comeback over the past few years.  Brewing this style wasn’t really possible before the new brew system was installed.  A sour mash requires a dedicated time allotment of a mash tun so the lactic acid can work.  This can take hours or even days.  

Canned Ciders
Cincinnati has really missed out on the growing popularity of craft ciders and Rhinegeist wants to change that.  This fall they plan to can a couple cider varieties.  If you are familiar with the licensing to brew cider, you know that means a wine license is probably in the works.  It will be interesting to see where they go with this.  Hopefully, Jim will let me come in and brew a couple of my meads.  Hint Hint…

Emergency Hop Kit
Sun King and Rhinegeist are brewing a collaboration beer called “Emergency Hop Kit.” It was brewed at Sun King late last month, and the Rhinegeist version will be brewed in June. Sun King is planning to can their version later this month (in their own 16 oz cans) and Rhinegeist will can their version toward the end of June/early July.

Barrel Aged Madness
If you did not know already, there is a massive barrel aging program underway at Rhinegeist.  They have a lot of room to play and are taking full advantage of the space.  In addition to the barrel aged beers planned this year, some extremely rare double barrel aged varieties will be available.  For example, there is a batch of Mastodon that has been aged in Pinot Noir barrels and is now resting in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.  This beer is already amazing with some serious complexity to it.  By far, one of the best barrel aged beers I have tried.  Be on the lookout for these!

Additional Info
I had an opportunity to take a tour of everything that is under construction at Rhinegeist.  There are a lot of things going on and planned.  Some plans are still being dreamed up.  The brewery is gradually turning into a mini metropolis of fun.  I cannot wait to see how this all comes together.  Here are a few pictures I took on 3/8/2013.  It is mind blowing how fast Rhinegeist has grown in 2 short years.  Cheers to success!

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Taft’s Ale House – A Review and Recommendations

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Sitting on the corner of 15th and Race Street in Over the Rhine, you will find Taft’s Ale House.  It is a massive structure that dominates the intersection with its presence.  I will spare your time and not ramble on about how awesome this place is.  You will find out for yourself.  Here are my 3 reasons to visit and some recommendations for Taft’s Ale House.

1. The beer is top notch

With 100% certainty, I will say that every single beer I sampled was terrific.  The brewing team has pulled together a group of beers that are traditional, unique, and diverse.   There is a style for every palate.  While I enjoyed everything, my 3 must try beers are:

Rookwood Mosaic – India Pale Lager
I used to be an IPL skeptic and I have tried some pretty boring examples of this style.  My mind was changed after trying this.  If they told me this beer was hopped with 100 tons of Mosaic, I would believe it.  Citrus, mango, and tropical aroma.  It also tastes just like the aroma.  

Maverick  – Chocolate Brown Porter
Brewed with the Maverick Chocolate Company.  I really do not need to elaborate any further.  This beer tastes like a pint of fine liquid chocolate.  I felt like Augustus Gloop when I noticed drool coming out of the corner of my mouth.  Maverick is by far the best chocolate beer I have ever tried.  

Culebra Cut – Coconut Brown
The aroma is super strong with coconut.  It has an extremely coconut forward taste.  If you do not like coconut, that is your warning.  Here is a little hint:  Order a Maverick and a Culebra.  Mix them together.  It tastes just like a Mounds candy bar.

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2. The food menu is delicious and affordable

This was my first opportunity to enjoy tri-tip steak.  To be honest, I had never heard of tri-tip until last year.  I ordered “The Big Billy” sandwich which was served with caramelized onions and au jus for dipping.  Au jus is just like bacon.  It makes everything better.  It was some of the most tender meat I’ve ever had.  The steak was moist and extremely flavorful.  Order it with sweet potato fries.  Everything was affordable and the menu was diverse.  My wife is a vegan and even found something that she enjoyed.  They also have a kids menu and high chairs. 

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3. The architecture is breath taking

I will let the pictures do the talking…

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 Here are some photos from March 2014 and April 2015:

  

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Join The League of Extraordinary Chickow!s in 2015

Chickow

Chickow

Starting in 2015, Listermann Brewing Company will offer an exclusive membership to the The League of Extraordinary Chickow!s.  Members will have access to 4 exclusive bottle releases next year.  Those will be Maple Chickow!, Irish Cream Chickow!, A Bourbon Barrel Aged Chickow!, and one mystery Chickow! to be voted on by the league.  Members will also receive a T-shirt and glass.  Other benefits will be privledges to buy extra bottles of limited Chickow! releases and special growler fills.  Yearly cost is only $100.  Keep your eyes open for more details.

Chickow!  

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George Remus & Death Valley – Prohibition’s Core

Photo credit: http://storify.com/zukejj/george-remus-cincinnati-s-king-of-bootlegging

On January 17, 1920 the Eighteenth Amendment (XVIII) took effect in the United States.  This made the production, transport, and sale of (though not the consumption or private possession of) alcohol illegal.  The Volstead Act was a sidebar that actually defined which intoxicating liquors were prohibited.  It today’s terms, it was the gray area.  This act also brought forth exclusions, such as alcohol for medicinal and religious purposes.

Welcome the kingpin of bootlegging, George Remus. George was a successful lawyer in Chicago who moved to Cincinnati after prohibition started to capitalize on the saturation of distilleries surrounding the area.  Being a lawyer, Remus was obsessed with the loopholes of the Volstead Act and immediately found fortune in the exploitation of the gray undefined areas.

George realized that he could legally sell bonded liquor to himself for medicinal purposes if he simply bought out distilleries and pharmacies in the region.  He bought out many of America’s more famous distilleries and would hire his own employees to hijack the inventory.  It would then be resold for a much higher profit as bootlegged booze.  He is even mentioned multiple times in the show Boardwalk Empire.  This guy made Nucky Thompson look like a amateur.  Over a three year span, Remus made well over 40 million dollars.  He was rumored to be the inspiration for Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby.  Brilliant!

George Remus

George Remus also owned one of the most spectacular homes to ever exist in Price Hill.  He threw crazy parties and handed out lavish gifts to those of power in Cincinnati.  This guy gave out cars to the ladies who attended!  In 1919, the southwest section of Price Hill was actually called Elberon Heights.  His Hermosa estate was built by Henry Lackman of the Lackman Brewery.  The home had a carriage house, stable, greenhouse, Grecian swimming pool, and a baseball diamond for the neighborhood kids.  

George remus House
The Hermosa Mansion
Photo credit: Price Hill Historical Society
A Remus dinner party
Photo credit: The Delhi Historical Society

At the same time he acquired the Lackman mansion,  George also bought the Dater Farm in Westwood.  He made this purchase for a strategic reason.  It was off the grid, not visable to traffic, and close to the core of Cincinnati. 

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This is a Google Map view of the approximate location of the Dater Farm aka Death Valley.

It was here that his largest bootlegging operation would take place.  As a matter of fact, the majority of booze that reached Cincinnati came from what he called “Death Valley Farm”.  When his inventory was falsely hijacked, it was brought here for storage and distribution.  George Remus actually hired a small group of 10-12 men to protect the property from hijackers and trespassers.  If you crossed the property line, you would be greeted with a shotgun.

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A rare photo of the Death Valley farm looking from Queen City Ave.
Photo credit: Enquirer Archives

Death Valley had a shell that appeared to be a small farm with barns, chickens, and a home on the property.  The truth was far beyond the cookie cutter appearance.  The barns held the majority of the bootlegged liquor and even beer.  The home was a centralized station for distribution logistics throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.   Each barn had a cellar and there were a few tunnels that reached Queen City Ave.  George strictly conducted cash transactions and it is rumored that some of his earnings were buried on the property in the event a raid would ever occur.   It is also rumored that he has a hidden vault built between 1918-1923 to protect his millions of dollars.  The vault could be somewhere in Cincinnati or in Newport, KY.  His business partner Buck Brady, was likely the only other person to know where this safe was located.  Find the property records and you just may find a vault.

The farm sat in a valley that was overlooked by some of his loyal buyers. These homes would keep an eye out for raiders and hijackers at all times.
Photo credit: Enquirer Archives

Eventually, a regular Death Valley customer was flagged down in Indiana, and his fault led to a warrant on the property.  George Remus was aware of the suspicious activity in the Cincinnati area and ordered his men to removed all booze from the farm.  His men failed to remove the liquor in time.  The Death Valley location was shut down due to a surprise Sunday raid.  He was not concerned because his additional halfway houses in Hamilton, Reading, Glendale, Buffalo, Pennsylvania, California, New York, and New York City were thriving. 

Photo credit: PBS

In 1925, George Remus was found guilty on multiple counts and sentenced to 2 years in prison on violations tied to the Volstead Act.  While serving his prison sentence, he met an inmate by the name of Franklin Dodge.  During his time spent with Franklin, he admitted that his wife had full control over his assets.  He was telling this to an undercover agent positioned as a faux inmate. Dodge left prison after hearing this information and started a relationship with George’s wife (Imogene Remus). They liquidated everything leaving a couple hundred dollars to George.

Spring House Gazebo
It is rumored that Imogene Remus still roams the gazebo that overlooks Mirror Lake.

When George Remus was released from prison, his wife immediately filed for divorce.  On the day they were to attend a court hearing, George paid off a cab driver to run Imogene’s car off the road in Eden Park.  It was in front of the Spring House Gazebo where she was fatally shot in the abdomen by George.  It is said she still haunts the gazebo that overlooks the mirror lake.

George Remus was somehow found not guilty by reason of insanity and only served 6 months in an institution.  He lived the remainder of his life in Covington off of the grid and supposedly lived very comfortably.  That raises question about the rumored hidden vault.  He died in 1952.  He was in his seventies.


In Cincinnati, you now have two options to celebrate the legend of George Remus.  There is George Remus Whiskey and Fifty West Death Valley Shootout Imperial Stout.  They also have a version aged in Remus Whiskey barrels!  Check out Fifty West’s other Remus inspired beers throughout the year.

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Cincinnati Pedal Wagon Launches Winter Tours

Pedal Wagon

Pedal Wagon Cincinnati

If you have been to Downtown Cincinnati within the past couple of years, you have probably witnessed a group of people pedaling a giant oddity called a pedal wagon.  By far, the Cincinnati Pedal Wagon is the most unique experience to share with a group of your closet friends/family/strangers.  The crazy folks behind the pedal wagon have decided winter will not slow them down or block your opportunity for fun.  They have launched “The Polar Bear Express” that comes with special winter pricing.  

What are the special pricing deals?

Winter Pricing for all Tours except Progressive Dinners (Food & Labor costs)
$16.50 per seat (this pricing  includes Tavern Cruise, Globetrotter, Hair of the dog & Wanderung)

Book It Here

What are the available tours this winter? 


Polar Bear Express:

Enjoy all the holiday season has to offer with a 2 hour pub crawl including seasonal drink specials (hard cider, hot chocolate, eggnog etc.) at 4 of Cincinnati’s most eclectic bars, all aboard the abominably decorated Pedal Wagon that would be the envy of Clark Griswold.

HalfCut, Arnold’s, Lackman, and Rhinehaus

Dressing up as Santa, Grinch, Buddy the Elf, The Abominable Snowman or wearing Ugly X-mas sweaters are all strongly recommended…


Pedal To The Jungle Description:

Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? Football Season is upon us, and what better way to support our Cincinnati Bengals, than to embark on a 2 hour, pedal powered pub crawl? “Pedal to the Jungle” gives 15 die-hard Bengals fans an reason to enjoy some of Cincinnati’s great neighborhood sports bars. Rolling around town for both Home and Away games, your group meets at Rhinehaus, O’malley’s in the alley and Jefferson Social – 2 ½ hours before kickoff…


Progressive Dinner:

Climb aboard the Pedal Wagon for a culinary adventure unlike anything else in Cincinnati! This 3-hour showcase of our city’s “best kept secret” food spots is perfect for company outings, birthday’s, or just a night out on the town. The evening includes stops at Kaze (appetizer and drink), Arnold’s (entre and drink), Taste of Belgium (desert and drink), and drop-off at a location of your choice in the OTR neighborhood.


Hair Of The Dog: Very popular tour! 

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, but lets be honest… if it wasn’t, we’d still be shamelessly enjoying America’s favorite past time: bar hopping. We’ve rounded up 4 of Cincinnati’s great drinking establishments all into one 2-hour pub crawl aboard the 15 passenger Pedal Wagon.  They are: HalfCut, Knockback Nats, Lackman, and Rhinehaus


Support the Cincinnati Pedal Wagon and the locally owned businesses they support! It is a win, win, and a win.

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Braxton Brewing Company Update – Get Ready Covington

braxton brewing

Braxton Brewing

If you recall back in April, the Brew Professor brought us the exclusive on Braxton Brewing Company and their plan to open a brewery in Covington, KY.  Since then, things have been fairly quiet with few updates via social media.  However, the team at Braxton has been working around the clock and are ready to shift into overdrive.  Today, I was given the opportunity to visit and chat with the Braxton team.  Here are some updates you need to know about:

The Brewery

Braxton Brewing
Planned layout for Braxton Brewing Company


Construction will begin very soon.  They have decided to go with a 20 BBL 4 Vessel brewhouse that can grow with the brewery.  The brewing system is 100% customized and will be supplied by Quality Tank Solutions.  The brew team is extremely excited about the toys they will be playing with in the near future.  Some major enhancements will need to be made to the site, such as a creating more clearance for larger equipment down the road and creating a drive up loading area in the rear of the building.  The construction is scheduled to be completed no later than January 1, 2015 with hopes of having beer at Cincy Winter Beerfest.

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Looking out from the future taproom


The taproom will be the face of the brewery, as it should be.  Jake Rouse wants this to be a taproom of the future and his ideas support that goal.  It will feature 20 taps behind the bar with a Pegas growler filling station.  A special events room will feature metered taps and privacy to accommodate any group or function.  The taproom will have free 1gb wifi for all guests.  I am pretty sure they will have the fastest internet speed in any brewery.   Food will not be sold in the taproom.  They are committed to brewing beer and not making food.  Multiple food trucks and local restaurants are currently being reviewed for partnerships.  Do not worry, you will be drinking well and eating well at Braxton.

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Braxton Brewing Kickstarter Offer


Part of building a taproom of the future requires insight and engagement from everyone.  A kickstarter program will be launched September 30, 2014 dedicated to funding the taproom while launching an offer called Braxton Builders.  I saw the campaign video and it had me sold within the first 30 seconds.  The brewery is dedicated to community support and involvement.  Stay tuned for more information on this.

The Beers

braxton brewing

They plan on having 20 different Braxton beers on tap at all times.  I have no idea how they will pull this off.  However, the concept is what we all want from our local breweries.  Evan and Richard have committed to creating exciting beer.  Utilizing ancient brewing methods was even brought up.  I am very excited about the concoctions that will be available in the taproom.  

Braxton will also have an extensive barrel aging program.  They are currently sitting on three Pappy Van Winkle barrels.  Expect to see an English Barleywine, A Russian Imperial Stout, and a Scottish Strong Ale thrown into these barrels at one point.  Bourbon barrels are not all they plan on using.  Wine barrels are on the agenda too.  I am hopeful to see a west coast IPA aged in a reposado barrel (hint hint).  Richard also mentioned plans for a robust sour program.  Yes please!

Braxton Brewing

Braxton Brewing Company will also have a standard line up of beers.  They will start off with keg distribution only and eventually shift to canning as well.  Here are the initial beer releases you can expect.  The American IPA will be a 70IBU quaffable brew hopped with Simcoe, Chinook, and Citra.  The Tropical Stout is one of a kind to the area with the addition of date syrup.  The Cream Ale is one of Evan’s award winning homebrew recipes and will likely be their top selling beer.  The saison will satisfy any Belgian beer addict.  My prediction is cream ale and American IPA will be canned first. These are just soeculations since they haven’t brewed anything yet. You can also expect to see some special release bombers in the future once the barrel aging and sour programs take off.

I cannot express with words just how excited I am for Braxton Brewing. The planning, build out, and beers are being done right. The City of Covington will finally get the jumpstart it needs to revitalize a beautiful area. Keep your eyes peeled for social media updates on the progress and launch dates.  Construction and permits are in process.  Follow Braxton Brewing Company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Triple Digit To Bust Some Craniums

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Listermann Brewing Company has made it known that slowing down is not an option in 2014.  Over the past couple years, they have established themselves as one of the top rated breweries in the country.  Beers like Listermann’s Nutcase and Triple Digit’s Chickow! are being demanded faster than they can be brewed.  The expansion and additional equipment will help that gap close. Not a bad problem to have at all.

Here is one more secret planned for late Q3 of 2014…Cranium bottles.  These will be the same screen printed bottles as Nutcase, Aftermath, and Chickow. They do not bottle a beer unless it is perfected. How great are the bottled beers at Listermann/Triple Digit?

Cranium
Ratebeer: 96
Beer Advocate: 91

Chickow!
Ratebeer: 97
Beer Advocate: 92

Nutcase
Ratebeer: 94
Beer Advocate: 84

Aftermath
Ratebeer: 91
Beer Advocate: 86
*Totally underrated

Cranium may take the top spot from Chickow and will likely be in extremely high demand. It is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla and coffee. It also happens to show up to your palate at 11.5%.

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Keep these dates on your calendar:

8/28/2014 – The fourth and final Audit Ale will be released at noon.  They will also have all four version on tap.

10/10/2014 – 10/11/2014 – Oktoberfest is back! Expect more beer and a bigger turn out.

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Fifty West Brewing Is About To Smack Your Face with Beer

Fifty West

It has been a while since I last wrote a piece on the great guys/gals at Fifty West Brewing.  They have been turning and burning beers for nearly two years now in addition to pulling together John’s killer food menu.  I think Cincinnati has really taken the beer variety for granted because we know something new and exciting will be put on tap every week.  Every time I visit, something innovative yet polished is being poured on tap.  Blake Horsburgh takes a lot of pride in the beer before it reaches our gullets.  He understands the importance of keeping consumers on their toes by constantly tapping new beers.  Take note breweries, this is what we all want.  Change.  Variety.  Quality. Recently, I paid 50W a visit and learned about some exciting things brewing up on the East Side.  It is hard to excite a beer nerd and I am very excited.

Update #1 – Death Valley Shootout Russian Imperial Stout

George Remus Whiskey

They currently have a Russian Imperial Stout sitting in a fermenter that will likely chime in slightly under 12% ABV.  It will be another tribute to George Remus called Death Valley Shootout.  If you have read my write up about Remus, you will understand the historical significance of this location in Westwood.  I tried it from the fermenter and immediately took chocolate to my nose and palate.  No sign of the high ABV and it reminded me of a more well structured Darklord.  That is not the best part!  This beer will be aged in George Remus Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.  I bet you had no idea a small batch bourbon whiskey in honor of Remus was being produced locally.  From the sample that I had of both the beer and bourbon whiskey, it will be their best beer to date.  I will bet you a pint on that claim.  If you are trying to get some Remus Bourbon Whiskey, good luck, there is a demand 20 miles long for it right now.

Update #2 – An Enhancement To Some Beers

Blake SMells

Expect to see some more unfiltered versions of their brews.  I do not mean beer with floaters and chunks floating around.  That is not what unfiltered means.  As a matter of fact, most people will not be able to tell a difference in the appearance.  When beers are sent through commercial grade filters, they are striped of hop aroma and flavors.  Some will argue this.  I have tried both versions and it is true.  These losses are usually taken for the sole purpose of a clearer beer.  Fat Head’s and many other breweries have started stepping away from these hardcore filters for a more natural filtering process and sometimes centrifuges.  Thirty-37 Session Pale Ale and Punch You In The EyePA will start steering back to a more natural clarification process.  I tried the Thirty-37 today and I was floored at the hop presence upgrade.  The aroma and hop notes stick like glue.  I was so impressed, I didn’t even recognize that I was drinking Thirty-37.  It tasted like Citra heaven.  The unfiltered Punch You will be out soon and will have the same effect.  I believe they originally brewed Punch You without running it through the filter.  This is a great move by Blake and a major improvement to beers that were already amazing.  As displayed in the photo above, Blake puts his nose in every batch for quality control.

Update #3 – More Fifty Beer For You?

Large Brewery

They are apparently searching for a location to establish a production facility.  A specific location has not been identified and I am not sure how serious this endeavor is at the moment.  However, it would only mean more beer for the Cincinnati market.  I would expect a more industrial agenda with a taproom if I know these guys right.  I really hope this to be true and approaching the final stages.  The photo is a representation of what they should do.  This would be a minimal cost of course.

Additional Items To Know

Fifty West Tripa

Tripa is the most pungent IPA to hit Cincinnati and I can assure you this will hold the title for eternity.  I was a little skeptical about this beer because most 3x IPAs that I try remind me of barleywines instead of IPAs.  Tripa has launched itself into an extremely rare club of super high ABV/super high IBU IPAs that go down like you could drink it from a can.  It is 11% and 420 IBUs (read QCDs write up on IBUs).  I am not sure how they pulled this off.  Maybe locks of Bobby’s hair?  

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 The recent collaboration #2 with Fat Head’s is a Chocolate Stout.  Some Remus bourbon barrels also made their way up north and are probably awaiting this beer.  I would expect to see a regular and barrel aged version of this beer in the coming weeks/months.  What else would you expect from Fat Head’s and Fifty West Brewing?

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Cincinnati Beer Find: Country Fresh Market On Vine

Country Fresh Market Cincinnati

Country Fresh Market Cincinnati

Tucked away near Hartwell, is a craft beer gem called Country Fresh Market on Vine.  They are not the new kid on the block at all.  There is only one Donnie Wahlberg.  As a matter of fact, CFM is one of the last businesses remaining in this area from my childhood 30 years ago.  I remember going with my Grandma to get fresh produce when I was a kid.  The location has pretty much stayed the same local fresh market since the 1980’s.  Seriously though, they have kept the vintage local market vibe and that is something rarely experienced these days.

In March of 2014, the go ahead was given to expand the wine selection and create a craft beer smorgasbord.  They acquired two adjacent retail spaces to the right and went absolutely bananas with the new floor space.  After visiting hundreds of bottle shops throughout the country, it is very hard to impress me.  I can honestly say, they did a kick ass job with every detail.  It is organized.  The beer is priced well.  The selection is fantastic.  The staff know what they are talking about.

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Customers now have the one of the largest and most diverse build your own 6-pack selections in Cincinnati.  Single bottles are everywhere and if you really want something singled out, they will do it for you.  Most bottle shops will not do that for their customers.  They also have hundreds of bomber bottles, 750ml bottles, and limited releases that are not easy to find.  I was very excited to see some Jackie O’s bottles on the shelf.

Country Fresh Market

If you are feeling the need for a growler, CFM on Vine has a spectacular tap line up with excellent prices. Bring your own growler or buy one of theirs. You cannot go wrong either way.  I was able to sample some Death and the Fat Head/Jackie O’s collaboration known as After Hours Black IPA.  The beer was cold and they have dialed down the draft lines to pour a perfect offering.  If you need a growler, they are only $5.

Country Fresh Market

I also noticed some great sales that blew my mind.  Dogfish Head Noble Rot and Etrusca were half off.  Where can you buy a 6 pack of Southern Tier anything for $5.99?  That is cheaper than Natty Light!  They would rather sell it for less than see it collect dust. That’s the way it should be and I have some serious respect for that.

Country Fresh Market on Vine is only 2 minutes off of Interstate 75 and worth the trip. This is a much appreciated addition to a historical business in Cincinnati.  While you are spending your pay check on beer/wine, check out the fresh market too.  I have always loved the fresh produce here and the hometown feel.  It is something we should embrace and support.

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Country Fresh Market on Vine
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cffmvine  
Address: 8425 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45216
Phone:(513) 821-5335
Hours:

Monday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 7:30 pm
Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 

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Listermann’s Volksfest 2014 Details

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One of my favorite beer festivals in Cincinnati is this weekend.  According to Listermann, “Volksfest is a festival for the people of Cincinnati, brought to you by your favorite local craft breweries”.  It is held August 1st and 2nd at Listermanns in Norwood.  Volk in German means people, and Cincy’s brewers have decided to come together once again to show how much they appreciate the Cincinnati love support.  Things have changed a little bit this year so make sure you take a look at the festival guide map.  This year has some serious food, beer, and music in line for your faces.

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This is one of the few opportunities to see all of the local Cincinnati breweries come together with some of their best brewed concoctions.  It is an amazing list!  Here are the beers:

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Listermann Brewing Company has teamed up with the Cincideutsch to host the event. They will be bringing an authentic German feel to the festival, as well as booths, banners and parades to talk about their respective clubs. The ceremonial keg tapping of the Listermann Volksfest Lager will be held at 4 p.m.  You will also see booths by the The Bloatarian Brewing League.  Just like every even held by Listermann, this event will be family and dog friendly.  As a matter of fact, on Saturday, Adore-A-Bull Rescue will be hosting an adoption event.  You cannot miss these sweet dogs.

BeerMumbo giveaway:  On Friday, the first person to find this shirt and tell me the year Dan Listermann opened the doors for business…wins a FREE beer of their choice. 

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When:
Friday:  5pm – 12am
Saturday:  12:00pm – 11pm

Listermann Brewing Company

1621 Dana Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45207
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Place Your Bets On Hops House 99 At Hollywood Casino

Hops House 99

Hops House 99

Last month, I was given the opportunity visit Hops House 99 at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, IN.  The invitation caught me completely off guard because craft beer and casinos do not usually come in the same package.  To be honest, Hops House 99 was a name that I have never heard before.  I am not a big casino fan and only go for the wonderful experience of people watching.  However, they had my attention at 99 beers. 

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The first thing I noticed when walking into Hops House 99 were the stand up coolers and draft beer line up.  Beers galore!  The large HD screens were the second thing that caught my attention.  You really cannot get any better than a large craft beer selection paired with sports.  I actually forgot that I was at a casino!  The bartender was very knowledgeable about the beers and of course I threw a couple tests her way.  She passed with flying colors.  One of my restaurant peeves is a staff that doesn’t know about the beers they are selling.  Thankfully, Hops House 99 has taken the time to educate the staff.  I could talk beer all day long and so could the bartender.

 Hops House 99

The food menu was definitely that “I feel guilty” variety and that is OK.  When you are at a casino, it is fair to assume drinking will be high up on your agenda.  Ok, maybe that is just me.  I had the beer cheese soup and buffalo chicken sliders.  They were both very good.  As a matter of fact, the beer cheese soup was some of the best I have ever had.  My wife happens to care about her health and went with a salad.  For a place that sells a lot of guilt food, the salad was fresh and delicious.

After a few (or maybe more) pints, we decided it was time to check out the casino.  Our stomachs were full and we were ready to go lose some money to the slot machines.  Before we left, the most amazing thing was said to us…”would you like a variety six pack to go?”.  Yes, you can take a six pack into the casino and enjoy craft beer while people watching.  The bottles do have to be opened first.  That was just fine with me because I knew those Flat 12 had no chance to survive through the night.  

I did manage to lose $20 in 2 minutes which was pretty pathetic.  I blame it on my lack of knowledge about gambling.  We wrapped up the evening at Boogie Nights and had a blast.  People were cuttin rugs all over that place.  I decided to not hit the dance floor to save my wife the embarrassment.

  Hops House 99 

We enjoyed our visit!  Hollywood Casino and Hops House 99 have jumped outside of the mold to bring a large variety of craft beers to a casino.  The craft beer selection was amazing, the atmosphere was fun, and food was just what we needed.  They have set the bar above other local casinos who have mostly forgotten about craft beer.  The short 40 minute drive from Cincinnati is worth it for the beer alone.  Other casinos need to take notes on this (Horseshoe).

HOPS HOUSE HOURS:

Monday:   Closed
Tuesday:  Closed
Wednesday:  4pm – 12am
Thursday:  4pm – 12am
Friday:  4pm – 2am
Saturday:  12pm – 2am
Sunday:  12pm – 10pm