The Beer Issue: 34 Greater Cincinnati Taprooms and Breweries to Grab a Drink

Our city is overflowing with local options...

click to enlarge 3 Points Urban Brewery - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
3 Points Urban Brewery

Look, we probably don’t need to do much to convince you to drink a beer (that is: if you do drink alcohol, don’t have a gluten intolerance, etc.). And our city is overflowing with local options. We were actually recently named the fourth best city for beer drinkers in America by some survey — although we like to think we’re No. 1 — outranking Seattle, Boulder, Colorado and Milwaukee because of our plethora of unique local brews. While it’s easy to toss back a six-pack at home, there’s nothing better than seeing where your beer was born with your own eyes and grabbing a fresh pint from the taproom bar. Cincinnati is #blessed to have a thriving craft beer community where drinkers win when they patronize the spaces that make our city so very hoppy. Here is a list of some of the essential breweries and taprooms for fans of local beer and the recommended beers to drink there. 

Note: This is not a complete list of places to grab a beer in the city or all of Cincinnati’s breweries. Please check with the taproom for the availability of each listed brew.

3 Points Urban Brewery

Just close enough to lure Over-the-Rhine foot traffic, Pendleton’s 3 Points is an easy and design-forward destination for a casual pint. Predicated on three points — art, experience and beer — and located at the intersection of three points — Reading Road and Liberty and Main streets — Cincinnati artists interested in more exposure should look up this brewery: 3 Points utilizes art produced by locals to promote each beer in their portfolio and also to decorate the taproom. The art builds community and creates an engaging space, which can also be used for co-working during the day (doors open at 9 a.m. Monday-Friday). “We want there to be something for everyone, so that everyone can enjoy Pendleton,” says Aaron Westendorf, the brewery’s marketing manager. “Along with the beer we make, we also proudly serve a full bar offering of wine and cocktails. In early 2019 we will also be opening our fried chicken restaurant, CHX, attached to the brewery, giving people a true all-around experience.” What to try: Origami, a “Post Coast IPA” that unfolds nicely on the palate with original tropical artwork by local printmaker Matthew Dayler, whose work can also be found wrapped around 3 Points’ bar face. 331 E. 13th St., Pendleton, 3pointsbeer.com.

13 Below Brewery

Fans of Old World-style beers will feel right at home in this taproom, which specializes in European ale and lager recipes. “All who enter experience personal service, fun activities like trivia and music, food trucks and, most of all, a place to relax and enjoy friends and family,” says co-founder Doug Menkedick. Named for its location 13 miles “below” Cincinnati, the space is right on the Ohio River and boasts 13 taps behind a 20-seater bar. With a corner pub-vibe, their small-batch beers can be enjoyed with friends, family and dogs — or in the beer garden when the weather warms. What to try: Lock & Dam #37, a Scotch ale that’s malty, deep in color and well balanced. 7391 Forbes Road, Sayler Park, 13belowbrewery.com.

16 Lots Brewing Company

Visit the brewery during wintertime and upon entering it feels like you’ve found refuge from a storm. “Our taproom was designed to be warm and inviting — a place you want to stay for a while,” says co-owner Mike Burton. Their beers are inspired by traditional German styles and brewmaster Jeff Cosgrove fastidiously adheres to the methods and recipes that made Old World lagers and pilsners so especially crushable and delicious. The brewery’s name is taken from a historic land purchase by Revolutionary War officer Major William Mason, who bought the 16 lots of land that later developed into modern day Mason. Just as their beer is steeped in historic tradition, their name also pays homage to the history of the city where they brew. The taproom also houses Mad Monks Pizza Co., operated by the owner of Habanero in Clifton. What to try: The Major, a pilsner for the ages. “If you don’t like that, you don’t like beer,” Cosgrove says. 753 Reading Road, Mason, 16lots.com.

click to enlarge Bad Tom Smith Brewing - PHOTO: SCOTT DITTGEN
Photo: Scott Dittgen
Bad Tom Smith Brewing


Bad Tom Smith Brewing

It all started with the story of an infamous Kentucky outlaw: Bad Tom confessed to killing six men before meeting his maker at the scaffolds in Jackson, Kentucky — “bad whiskey and bad women” were to blame, so he said. Today, Bad Tom Smith Brewing (founded by a distant relative) harkens back to that outlaw legacy with the motto of  “Bad ass in a glass.” Their East End taproom is set to expand in the near future, but as of now their “Bad Ass Beer Club” grants members unlimited $3 pints of approved beers on the tap list (for a small membership fee), along with a great selection of branded swag. A second taproom can be found in Cleveland, Ohio. What to try: Jailbreak Churro Brown Ale — flavored like a dessert that can be found in the desert, you won’t want to desert this drink after your first sip. 4720 Eastern Ave., East End, badtomsmithbrewing.com.

Bircus Brewing Co. 

Ludlow, Kentucky’s nonexistent craft beer scene sent in the clowns, leading to the launch of Bircus Brewing Co., a branch of an original concept launched in Ghent, Belgium. Pronounce it like “beer-cuss,” a hybrid of beer and circus, as the brew shares the limelight with carnival performances at the taproom. “The world of the circus it not quite as old as beer, but in a very crowded space, Bircus aims to differentiate with an experience that is unique to our region,” says Paul Miller, “Chief Goof-Officer” of the brewery. Stop by for a real circus experience from exciting regional performers, or book Bircus — and its traveling beer trailer with rooftop performance capabilities — to come to you. Performers can do everything from breath fire to fly on the trapeze. Miller also just purchased a school bus to take patrons around a Northern Kentucky brewery loop so you can drink while they drive. What to try: The Bearded Lady, a bready kölsch with orange whiffs. Handsome and beautiful. 322 Elm St., Ludlow, bircus.com.

Braxton Brewing Company 

Arguably one of the best reasons for Cincinnati beer drinkers to cross the Roebling Bridge into Covington, Braxton has made quite an impression on the local brewing scene. Currently undergoing a $5 million expansion, which includes the construction of a rooftop patio, the taproom and brewery serves more than beer and spirits: it’s also a cultural landmark thanks to its widespread success. Rooted in the ethos and innovation forged in a Midwestern garage — founder Evan Rouse started homebrewing when he was just 16, before he could even taste his creations — Braxton’s constant evolution has yielded a Braxton Labs location in the Party Source, for super experimental brews; distribution in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee; and a forthcoming Braxton-made Vive hard seltzer. What to try: Storm, a golden cream ale available all year round, could easily become the default six-pack you bring to parties. 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, braxtonbrewing.com.

click to enlarge Brink Brewing Co. - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Brink Brewing Co.


Brink Brewing Co.

“The ultimate goal of Brink is to share our love of craft beer with the community,” says co-founder Sarah McGarry. “It was really important to us to find a location that allowed for us to be an intricate part of the neighborhood fabric and we have exactly that at our home in College Hill.” The gathering space is loaded with features encouraging interaction, including a 20-seater community table, reclaimed-wood bar and a gigantic Scrabble board that’s very popular with patrons after a few pints from the brewery’s wide-reaching tap list. Head to the bathroom to see more than three decades’ worth of collected beer labels from Uncle Jack — it was his fridge, chock full of artisan beers, and his neighborly values that inspired the McGarrys to open Brink in February 2017. What to try: Damocles. One of Brink’s focuses for 2019 is to collaborate with other breweries and this milky and flavorful Black IPA was brewed with Bellevue’s Darkness Brewing. 5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, brinkbrewing.com.

Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

This 1860s malt house taproom features a selection of brews now synonymous with Cincinnati craft beer and our strong German heritage — Christian Moerlein immigrated to the Queen City from Bavaria and launched his brewery in 1853. (It closed for a while after Prohibition but was resurrected in 1981, and was the first American beer to pass the 16th-century Reinheitsgebot Bavarian Purity Law.) Ask your prostmeister, aka your bartender in the taproom, for a tour of the brewing area while you enjoy something made under their roof and you’ll get a good education on what a successful brewery looks like. This is a big player in Cincinnati’s beer culture, home to the springtime Bockfest beer (and goat) festival and also home to Wienerwurst Mike’s Frankfurtary, which serves up encased meats like brats and metts. What to try: OTR, an American red ale, amber in color and pleasantly hoppy. 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine, christianmoerlein.com.

The Common Beer Company

Beer is a common ground between many different kinds of people, so this brewery’s name is not a reflection of the beer’s quality but instead serves to encourage the idea that the taproom be treated like a common area, where anyone is welcome. That’s essentially the reason Mark and Amy Lortz opened their taproom and brewery in downtown Mason, to both nurture the community and thrive off its resources. “We rely heavily on local ingredients and inspiration, including coffee locally roasted, honey locally sourced and hops that are produced mostly in the state of Ohio,” Mark says. “We strive to continue to find more and more ingredients that can be provided to us from regional sources.” What to try: Maggs 59, a honey ale named for their daughter and her lacrosse jersey number. It has a 3.1 percent ABV, which makes it easy to throw several back. 126 E. Main St., Mason, commonbeercompany.com.

click to enlarge Darkness Brewing - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Darkness Brewing


Darkness Brewing

What started as homebrewing experimentation between friends led to the opening of Darkness Brewing, so the spirit of adventure is still quite alive in the Bellevue taproom, located just down the street from Party Source. Their specialty is dark beers (you could say they have a heart of darkness). CityBeat’s official recommendation is to become a regular patron of the bar so that, years down the line, you can walk in and say, “Hello Darkness, my old friend.” What to try: Man on the Moo, a milk stout that’s sure to win over drinkers who “don’t like” dark beer. 224 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, darknessbrewing.beer.

DogBerry Brewing

Founded in 2015 by brewers Tony Meyer and Chris Frede, two science professionals turned stay-at-home dads, DogBerry was built on a search for happiness and a passion for sharing good beer. With fresh ingredients from local and regional producers, DogBerry quickly outgrew their original taproom and had to expand into a larger space — complete with picnic tables, couches and skee-ball. What to try: DogBerry offers several “smoked” beers. Campfire Story is a smoked porter nitro with a mild cherry wood smoke taste on the backend. A little sweet, a little smoky. 9964 Crescent Park Drive, West Chester, dogberrybrewing.com.

Fifty West Brewing Company

This brewery has an excellent kitchen to complement their line of beers and makes for a satisfying table experience. If you’d like to stay on your feet while you enjoy a few pints, Fifty West has turned a stretch of Wooster Pike into a veritable outdoor recreation corridor. Across the street from the flagship brewpub sits Fifty West Canoe & Kayak, Fifty West Cycling and Fifty West Production Works (home to six sand volleyball courts). All are geared toward building community through shared experiences, which include drinking craft beer and getting outside: It’s all about an active lifestyle, says brewery co-owner Bobby Slattery. What to try: Doom Pedal, a hazy white ale that’s cheerful and clean drinking. 7668 Wooster Pike, Columbia Township, fiftywestbrew.com.

Fibonacci Brewing Company

Named by co-founders Bob and Betty Bollas for the Fibonacci Sequence — a concept found in math, nature, classical architecture and even the hop plant itself — the nanobrewery has a lot of exciting developments set for spring of this year. “Before Fibonacci opened, it was my vision to operate an urban farm alongside the brewery,” Betty says. “A little less than four years later, this vision will become a reality through Fibonacci. We hope that the Mount Healthy community — and the Cincinnati community as a whole — will join us in celebrating the expansion which will allow us to have a separate private event space, Airbnb rooms, a beer garden and our urban farm with chickens and goats.” What to try: Horapha, a saison farmhouse ale made with locally sourced Thai basil, honey and lemon. 1445 Compton Road, Mount Healthy, fibbrew.com.

click to enlarge Fretboard Brewing - PHOTO: BRITTANY THORNTON
Photo: Brittany Thornton
Fretboard Brewing


Fretboard Brewing Company

Bradley Plank, Jim Klosterman and Joe Sierra, the trio behind Blue Ash-based Fretboard Brewing Company, seek the perfect marriage of their two passions — music and beer — by providing creation spaces for local musicians to rattle off riffs while grabbing brews at the taproom. What could have simply been a traditional German-bier-inspired brewery was electrified into an incredibly active live music venue with a pro grade sound system. Fretboard’s main stage hosts live performances nearly every night, putting an emphasis on the sort of rootsy Blues tunes and Americana that are nearly synonymous with microbrewed beverages. Maybe the consistent barrage of sonic waves positively affects fermentation? What to try: Vlad (the Im-Pilsner), a riff on Dracula’s original alias. Clean and flavorful with absolutely no blood in the recipe. 5800 Creek RoAd, Blue Ash, fretboardbrewing.com.

Grainworks Brewing Company

This straightforward taproom sits you right next to the production facility so you can ponder exactly how many pints are in one of those gigantic tanks as you sip an undetermined fraction of its total volume. What to try: Black & Blue, a blueberry oatmeal stout — we all know the best part about oatmeal is that it keeps you regular, so it’s a good thing this beer blend is available year-round. 7790 Service Center Drive, Suite B, West Chester, grainworks.beer.

Little Miami Brewing Company

Founded by brothers-in-law Dan Lynch and Joe Brenner, Milford’s Little Miami Brewing Company sits on the banks of its namesake river, pouring 11 beers alongside a selection of brick-oven pizzas. The small-batch brewery offers 16 different brews on tap, from classics to experimentals and seasonals made with real fruit, like their Juicy Fruit IPA made with passion fruit. What to try: Pterodactyl is worth a sip based on its name alone. It’s a classic Bavarian wheat beer infused with hints of banana and clove. 208 Mill St., Milford, littlemiamibrewing.com.

click to enlarge Listermann Brewing Co. - PHOTO: MEGAN WADDEL
Photo: Megan Waddel
Listermann Brewing Co.


Listermann Brewing Co.

Originally a brewer supply store, this family-owned business recently celebrated its 10th anniversary as a microbrewery. On top of the excellent rotating beer list available in the taproom, Listermann is an invaluable resource to local brewers thanks to the equipment, consulting and encouragement offered by the family. “We brew beers throughout the year with a portion of our proceeds going to various causes,” says marketing rep Kristen Ballinger. “This past year we have worked with the Cincinnati Zoo, King Records, Elementz, Women Helping Women and the Cincinnati Art Museum on beers where we have donated proceeds of our draft and bottle sales.” Listermann is also home to Renegade Grille, a static location of Renegade Street Eats food truck, and has local Skinny Piggy Kombucha on tap. What to try: Nutcase Ale, malty and flavored with peanut butter — bring your own fruit jam to pair. 1621 Dana Ave., Norwood, listermannbrewing.com.

MadTree Brewing

If you were to look past the wide availability of their beers around the city and only base your opinion on the taproom experience, MadTree would still rank high. “With 32 taps in the taproom, we are constantly brewing new beers with different flavor profiles as we continue to explore beer — and non-beer — flavors,” says Mike Stuart, who runs the brewery’s human resources and social media. “And it’s not just the brewers that are leading this charge: employees from all over the brewery have opportunities to create and brew their own recipes.” The gigantic Oakley taproom features a 10,000-square-foot beer garden and more than enough space to accommodate all the beer-drinking, cornhole-playing, dog-loving humans who want to visit. What to try: Happy Amber — good body and a sweet finish. 3301 Madison Road, Oakley, madtreebrewing.com.

March First Brewing and Distilling

Named for the first day Ohio was recognized as a state, March First Brewing and Distilling opened in 2017 and boasts an impressive variety of drinks made on the premises, including beer, cider, whiskey, schnapps, vodka, rum and hard seltzer. The current taproom is soon to become their event space, while a new 4,000-square-foot taproom is planned for the near future. What to try: Traditional cider — crisp, semisweet and effervescently juicy. 7885 E. Kemper Road, Springdale, marchfirstbrewing.com.

click to enlarge Nine Giant - PHOTO: BRITTANY THORNTON
Photo: Brittany Thornton
Nine Giant


Nine Giant Brewery + Kitchen

A brewpub at its finest, right down the street from Queen City Comics and Everybody’s Records. The kitchen challenges nearby Gaslight Cafe for best burger in Pleasant Ridge (but old school locals know better) and the beer, wine and cider selection has something for everyone. Keep an eye out for their new development going in next door — the Fermentorium — where the brewers will experiment with aged brews in barrels sourced from spirit and wine production. What to try: C.R.E.A.M., a dry hopped cream ale that pays homage to the Wu Tang Clan — a trend among Cincinnati brewers. 6095 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, ninegiant.com.

Northern Row

Their taps show an appreciation for craft beer staples with subtle nuances that don’t distract from the original intentions of a traditional glass of beer but indulge the many flavor extrapolations one can gather from a simple pint. Distillation is an upcoming addition to Northern Row’s repertoire, so cocktails are waiting for those who don’t want a good beer. The taproom will open soon, but for now their beers can be found in bars and restaurants all over town. What to try: Barleywine; a challenging drink to make well, but not hard to enjoy. 111 W. McMicken Ave., Over-the-Rhine, northernrow.com.

click to enlarge Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati - PHOTO: PAIGE DEGLOW
Photo: Paige Deglow
Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati


Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati

The taproom is minimalistic. There are places to sit — including wooden pallet couches — therefore, there are places to drink. While some distractions like board games and giant Jenga are around, the main draw is designed to be the drinks on tap. “We focus on beer first,” says brewer Jason Surniak. “We are not about glitz, glam or gimmicks or giant shiny tanks staring you in the face. We are a small-batch craft brewery that is focused on serving high-quality beer that is true to style, where every beer is the experience…the way it should be.” What to try: James Nut Brown, a slightly bitter brown ale with no shortage of soul. 11253 Williamson Road, Blue Ash, qcbcincy.com.

Rhinegeist

Some out-of-towners might not even know there is a Cincinnati outside of Rhinegeist. This brewery has taken over the local beer scene in recent years thanks in part to their phenomenal branding and, overall, thanks to consistently solid beers. The taproom is like an adult playground with so much room for activities. If you get hungry, try a burger from downstairs Sartre, delivered to you via pneumatic tube (just like The Jetsons). We live in a golden age of convenience. What to try: String Theory, if you can find any of the limited release. This funky blonde ale drinks like a dry pét-nat with plenty of funk. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinegeist.com.

click to enlarge Rivertown Brewing Co. - PHOTO: PAIGE DEGLOW
Photo: Paige Deglow
Rivertown Brewing Co.


Rivertown Brewing Company

Step into the Barrel House (aka the taproom) and two of the best things in the world are before you: retro arcade games and fresh, delicious beer. “We really pride ourselves on having a style for all palates. We also do a lot of blending work at the taps — Lemon Bar + Raspberry Flicker is amazing — to ensure each of our guests who are looking for a beer get exactly what they want,” says Lindsey Roeper, CEO of the brewery. This is an essential stopping point for even the most casual beer drinker, because local beer pairs wonderfully with Tetris. What to try: Roebling Nitro Porter; tastes like a vanilla latte with a kick in the right direction. 6550 Hamilton Lebanon Road, Middletown, rivertownbrewery.com.

Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom

There’s no need to truck over to Boston for fresh Sam Adams. This taproom — across from the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Brewery — features indoor and outdoor space, spans nearly 9,000 square feet and offers an array of unique beers brewed both onsite and across the street. These include fan favorites like the Cincy-inspired 513, Boston Lager and Summer Ale. “We’ve been dreaming of opening a taproom in the neighborhood since we purchased the brewery 21 years ago, so we could share our beers with local drinkers,” says Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch. “Cincinnati is my hometown with such a rich brewing history and I’ve seen our city blossom as a craft beer mecca that is home to some of the finest breweries and taprooms in the country.” What to try: Coffee Pale Ale, a taproom exclusive that’ll perk you right up. 1727 Logan St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/samadamscincy.

Sonder Brewing 

Sonder Brewing built its brewery and taproom on what was a vacant lot consisting of a 40-foot mound of dirt and a fire hydrant a few miles away from Kings Island. Their grand opening was Oct. 27. This new brewery not only boasts an impressive taproom and brew facility, but the quality of their beer is next-level considering the very young age of the company. “While Sonder does not shy away from producing any style or flavor of beer, like our Mango Milkshake IPA, Belgian Wit and Tiramisu Stout, we have a passion for brewing traditional German styles with 100-percent German ingredients as well, like Zauber, our traditional Zwickelbier Lager,” says Jennifer Meissner, the brewery’s VP. What to try: Send It!, a brut IPA that fans of dry sparkling wine will cozy right up to. 8584 Duke Blvd., Mason, sonderbrewing.com.

click to enlarge Streetside Brewing - PHOTO: SCOTT DITTGEN
Photo: Scott Dittgen
Streetside Brewing


Streetside Brewery

Serving up an eclectic blend of craft beer mainstays and funkier experiments, this brewery taproom is large, open and modern, making it a great gathering place for the community. The folks in Columbia Tusculum convene at Streetside Brewery not only for the myriad events scheduled throughout the week, but, of course, for the beers. “Our brewery philosophy is to continually offer new and exciting varieties,” says managing brewer and owner Garrett Hickey. “While we’re known for a handful of staples and customer favorites, we always strive to bring something new to the table.” People really gravitate toward their weirder brews like Cereal Milk, a milkshake blonde with blueberry and strawberry, and Robe, a red velvet donut stout collaboration with Holtman’s Donuts. What to try: Goseface Killah, a Wu-Tang Clan-inspired plum gose that ain’t nothin’ ta fuck wit’. 4003 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum, streetsidebrewery.com.

Swine City Brewing

Swine City is Fairfield’s first and only brewery — so far. Helmed by owners Dan and Debby Ebben, both native Fairfielders, the 5,000-square-foot open layout and acre-and-a-half of land are a family-friendly community space. “They have two children of their own and know how hard it is to find a place to bring the kids and hang out after a long day at work,” says taproom manager Christopher Schulz. The brewery frequently plays with sippable styles, so taproom selections vary from IPAs and stouts to sours and cream ales. What to try: Good Enough for Me Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber. Schulz says the brew, fermented over golden raisins, is a fan favorite. 4614 Industry Drive, Fairfield, swinecitybrewing.com.

click to enlarge Taft's Brewpourium - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Taft's Brewpourium


Taft’s Ale House and Brewpourium 

Two breweries, same loyalties. Taft’s Brewing Co. renovated a historic church for the Ale House in OTR, which led to an impressive home base for the company; while the Brewpourium in an old streetcar warehouse feels more like a traditional brewpub. The beer in both is excellent, so when deciding which location to visit, ask yourself this: Would you rather have a tri-tip steak or pizza? Go to Taft’s Ale House for the former and the Brewpourium for the latter. The Brewpourium’s New Haven, Connecticut-style apizza is some of the best pizza in the city. New Haven “apizza” is a crispy and coal-fired version of Neapolitan pizza the brewery chose to offer over other styles (e.g. New York, Chicago) because William Howard Taft — former president, Cincinnati native and brewery namesake — went to Yale in New Haven. What to try: Culebra Cut, a brown ale with a toasted coconut finish. 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine; 4831 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village, taftsbeer.com.

Urban Artifact

Ironically, there’s not much Irish-inspired beer being brewed by Urban Artifact in the lower level of St. Patrick’s church and, if there was any green beer, it’d only be the result of a particular fruit variety. “Our team is dedicated to balanced flavor combinations, focused on highlighting the amazing qualities and blends of different fruit and food flavors in beer,” says Scott Hand, Urban Artifact’s chief of organization. Best known for their blend of sours and ales, the brewers at Urban Artifact have a large variety of different beers for you to sample. Their live music program is excellent, hosting solid local and touring acts, and check out radioartifact.com for their very own radio programming. What to try: Sliderule, a chocolate raspberry gose that’s a great starting point for someone new to sours. 1660 Blue Rock St., Northside, artifactbeer.com.

West Side Brewing

When you walk into this large taproom, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when you order a beer off the tap list. “We don’t give any of our beers a name,” says head brewer Colin Foy. “Our German-style Hefeweizen is simply called ‘Hefeweizen;’ our Session IPA is simply ‘Session IPA.’ With one glance, a customer can know exactly what will be inside that can or keg. We’re hoping to be known as a brewery that dependably brews exceptional, classic styles, as well as the occasional release of something extra-special.” What to try: Double IPA — it’s so bitter it’ll make your eyes water. That’s a good thing to some folks. 3044 Harrison Ave., Westwood, westsidebrewing.com.

click to enlarge Wiedemann Brewing Co, - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Wiedemann Brewing Co,


Wiedemann’s Fine Beer

Cincinnatians who are at least twice the legal drinking age may remember the omnipresence of Wiedemann Bohemian Special Pilsner cans at every family gathering back in the day. Well, “back in the day” is back, so to speak, as Wiedemann has reopened under new owners and a whole new recipe book. Betsy and Jon Newberry are responsible for reviving the brand and have converted a former funeral home into one of Cincinnati’s most charming brewery/taprooms. The full kitchen offers enough to encourage an entire day to be spent sampling their modernized interpretations of Wiedemann beer brewed since 1870. “We live in a city built on brands,” says Jon, “and we’re honored to be able to revive one of Cincinnati’s most-storied brands and keep it going hopefully for another 150 years.” What to try: A “half & half” of Royal Amber and Blonde Ale, an idea introduced to CityBeat by Betsy. 4811 Vine St., Saint Bernard, wiedemannsfinebeer.com.

Woodburn Brewery

Lauded for their high-quality beer and close ties with the community, Woodburn seems to be in the midst of a transition that has drawn some criticism and grist for the rumor mill, with original head brewer and former co-owner Chris Mitchell no longer with the company. Regardless, the brewery is keeping on keeping on: they announced a biergarten expansion in November; are maintaining regular taproom hours and creative craft beer lineup; and have partnered again with Krohn Conservatory for a new collaborative beer — a Blood Orange Cream Ale — using Krohn-grown produce. What to try: The 9.3 percent ABV chocolate cherry or chocolate mint imperial stout. 2800 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, woodburnbrewery.com.

Wooden Cask Brewing Company

This taproom’s proximity to Newport on the Levee makes it an ideal destination for shoppers who’d like to have a pit-stop pint. Traditional English, Irish and Scottish beers are the house specialty, though the draft list is no stranger to IPAs, wheats and blonde ales. “We don’t rely on trends or gimmicks to influence the beers we do. Every beer we do is a good, drinkable beer,” says Karen Schiltz, who owns Wooden Cask with her husband Randy. And it’s true, too. There are no illusions about what you’ll get when you order a beer, as the drink’s essential essence is reached with each draft on tap. What to try: Yorkshire English Pub Ale Nitro — it’ll quell your inner soccer hooligan. 629 York St., Newport, woodencask.com.