The 10th anniversary of Cincy Beer Fest goes down this weekend. Revelers have the opportunity to discover 150 breweries serving up over 500 craft beers. That’s a lot of beer.
We’ve come a long way in the past few years in terms of beers and breweries in Cincinnati. To put it simply, the craft beer scene has exploded. #DrinkLocal is a hashtag of hometown honor. The state of Ohio ended 2016 with 194 craft breweries (up 40 from 2015) and counting permit applications for breweries yet to open, that number reaches 236.
So in honor of all things beer and Cincinnati. Here’s my high-school superlative breakdown of the best.
Best Spot for Brunch
Fifty West gets the nod for best brunch (and food really) on the list. Served from 11 AM – 3 PM on Sundays, their menu incorporates seasonal ingredients. BONUS: they serve half-price flights on Sundays! That means only $5 to try delicious beer like Doom Pedal (my Fifty West fave). Pictured above are the Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes and House Salad. When I brunch, I brunch hard. They also put on special Brewmaster Brunches where they pair up with another brewery and serve a prix fixe menu with beers from both breweries. It’s a ticketed event where you RSVP in advance and they shut the restaurant down. So you feel fancy (and full), too.
Favorite Individual Beer
Leopold is a Belgian Ale by Listermann Brewing Company (across from Xavier). This is hands-down my favorite #DrinkLocal beer. Just take my word for it and try it. I just saw it back on tap last week so yayyyyy!
Side-note: Where did you go Brother Clement? Bad Tom used to have this on tap all the time approximately four years ago, and I haven’t seen it since. I still remember the taste.
Best Seasonal Beer
Dad by Rhinegeist gets my #1 vote for best holiday/seasonal beer. When I see it in stores and on-draft, I squeal in delight. Drinking one on draft inside Rhinegeist gets me excited for the holiday season. I actually still have a can in my fridge that I’m saving for a rainy day…
Shady’s Favorite Spots
Shady is my dog and she’s a real bar fly! Her nods go to Bad Tom Brewery and Listermann. They both offer in-door dog friendliness! Winter weather won’t keep her down. There she is above smiling at during a visit as Listermann’s! In my book, you get 200 bonus points for letting my dog in :).
Best Bang for Your Buck
Bad Tom is a cozy spot on Eastern Avenue (near Terry’s Turf Club). They offer free peanuts (plain and creole) plus popcorn. Free snacks are always a plus. Plus, they have great deals! On Thursdays, they celebrate “Throwback Thursdays” and that means one pint and a 5 oz. beer for $4. On Fridays, they do $5 flights. Plus, they have monthly specials. This month you can get a pint of Breathitt County (my current fave they brew), for only $3. Craft beer can get really expensive. I personally think some places are inflating their prices so it’s nice to see a brewery for those on a budget!
Best Special Events
Hands-down: Listermann! They have big outdoor festivals like Oktoberfest and Volksfest. Half the cups I own are from these events. They also have fun events for the pups. I got Shady’s picture taken with Santa there. Plus they are releasing a “Riveting Rosie” Hibiscus Rose Hipped Saison on March 8 for National Women’s Day and celebrating with music, food, and prizes. Yes, please.
Best Beer When I Can’t Decide or Just Need to Order
Psychopathy from MadTree or Truth from Rhinegeist. Love a good IPA. If I can’t make up my mind, my husband’s ordering for me, or I just need to make a quick decision, these are my go-tos. Most places have them on draft or cans so I know there’s always a stand-by.
Wish it was Closer
Old Firehouse Brewery in Williamstown. It’s about 40 minutes away so definitely a hike to get there and a little too pricey for an Uber. I’d have to Rock, Paper, Scissors my husband on who drives! But their beer, especially the Code 3 and Pin Up Girl, are yummy. Plus, I love the firehouse theme. I’ll have to make a drive soon. At least I can get my fix in places like Growler House and Casual Pint.
Tap and Screw in Madisonville. I’m just super pumped to have a brewery in my actual neighborhood! I don’t make it to the West Side often so I’m not too familiar with their beer. However, I’m looking forward to trying it when they open!
Here’s to MadTree 2.0! I have to knock a couple points off because it’s no longer 100% dog friendly (I was spoiled). However, the spot is beautiful and still feels like MadTree (albeit bigger). The beers are still yummy, too. Can’t wait for summer (or just a warm day soon) and sit outdoors.
What are your favorite beers and breweries in Cincinnati?