August 24, 2018

Cincinnati's 10 Best Breweries to Grab a Cold One

A pub or public house has traditionally served as the focal point of a community — a tavern in which friends, neighbors and even strangers who will soon become friends have gathered to drink, dine, discuss and unwind. Locally, a new type of drinking establishment is beginning to dominate the market: the neighborhood brewery. These local and smaller-scale brewpubs are quickly becoming the backbone of the craft brewing community as well as drinking and social destinations for residents and patrons in different parts of town, from West Chester to Walnut Hills and Bellevue to Blue Ash. For CityBeat's 2018 Best of Cincinnati issue, we asked readers which neighborhood brewery reigned supreme —these were the results.
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Rhinegeist
1910 Elm Street, Over-The-Rhine
Rhinegeist has worked quickly over the past half-decade to become the city’s favorite local brewer.  Their 25,000 square foot warehouse tucked away on the north end of Elm is home to boozy alchemy and big house parties. Whether you’re going to party, chill on beautiful rooftop patio, or grab a flight and beat the last nerd’s pinball high score, you’re going to have a great time.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Rhinegeist

1910 Elm Street, Over-The-Rhine
Rhinegeist has worked quickly over the past half-decade to become the city’s favorite local brewer. Their 25,000 square foot warehouse tucked away on the north end of Elm is home to boozy alchemy and big house parties. Whether you’re going to party, chill on beautiful rooftop patio, or grab a flight and beat the last nerd’s pinball high score, you’re going to have a great time.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
MadTree Brewing
3301 Madison Rd., Oakley
Nestled in the main strip of Oakley, MadTree has been busting out barrels of beer for over five years.  It’s Rhinegeist’s closest competitor, though all is amicable between the city’s two most beloved breweries.  Their efforts in local symbiosis go above and beyond.  They’ve sourced adjunct ingredients like beans from Deeper Roots Coffee for their EspressoSelf brew and collabed on the Lupulin Affect, a spritely IPA brewed in cahoots with Fat Head’s Brewing.  Stop by for trivia to flaunt your smarts, get it twisted at their Yoga + Brunch series, or just have a chat with a good bud over a great beer. 
Photo: Phillip Heidenreich

MadTree Brewing

3301 Madison Rd., Oakley
Nestled in the main strip of Oakley, MadTree has been busting out barrels of beer for over five years. It’s Rhinegeist’s closest competitor, though all is amicable between the city’s two most beloved breweries. Their efforts in local symbiosis go above and beyond. They’ve sourced adjunct ingredients like beans from Deeper Roots Coffee for their EspressoSelf brew and collabed on the Lupulin Affect, a spritely IPA brewed in cahoots with Fat Head’s Brewing. Stop by for trivia to flaunt your smarts, get it twisted at their Yoga + Brunch series, or just have a chat with a good bud over a great beer.
Photo: Phillip Heidenreich
Braxton Brewing Company
27 W 7th St., Covington
The “taproom of the future,” Braxton’s comfy garage-inspired brewery and taproom was the first in the nation with a gigabit internet. A space for innovation, there are also tech charging stations, projectors and whtie-board walls to accomdate the local creative and start-up community. The taproom opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday through Friday as a public workspace, serving local Carabello coffee and Nitro cold brew.
Photo: Patty Salas

Braxton Brewing Company

27 W 7th St., Covington
The “taproom of the future,” Braxton’s comfy garage-inspired brewery and taproom was the first in the nation with a gigabit internet. A space for innovation, there are also tech charging stations, projectors and whtie-board walls to accomdate the local creative and start-up community. The taproom opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday through Friday as a public workspace, serving local Carabello coffee and Nitro cold brew.
Photo: Patty Salas
Listermann Brewing
1621 Dana Ave, Evanston
This local brewery started in the home of Dan and Sue Listermann, where they manufactured and distributed home brewing equipment.  Over time, as demand for the parts grew, the business took off, manifesting itself into a building outside their home in 1995.  From mechanical engineering school in the 70s when homebrewing was outlawed, to supplying fellow homebrewers with the necessary means to make their very own from home, Listermann’s has won several trophies for their efforts over the years. 
Photo via facebook.com/ListermanBrewing

Listermann Brewing

1621 Dana Ave, Evanston
This local brewery started in the home of Dan and Sue Listermann, where they manufactured and distributed home brewing equipment. Over time, as demand for the parts grew, the business took off, manifesting itself into a building outside their home in 1995. From mechanical engineering school in the 70s when homebrewing was outlawed, to supplying fellow homebrewers with the necessary means to make their very own from home, Listermann’s has won several trophies for their efforts over the years.
Photo via facebook.com/ListermanBrewing
Brink Brewing Company
5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
“Good beer is about the people, the stories and the experience,” according to Brink’s co-founders John and Sarah McGarry. That is something the McGarrys learned from family — specifically their Uncle Jack. It was his fridge, chock full of artisan beers, and his neighborly values that led Brink to open its doors in College Hill in February 2017. The taproom’s communal table sits 20 and a brick wall stands covered in framed photos of the customers and community.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Brink Brewing Company

5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
“Good beer is about the people, the stories and the experience,” according to Brink’s co-founders John and Sarah McGarry. That is something the McGarrys learned from family — specifically their Uncle Jack. It was his fridge, chock full of artisan beers, and his neighborly values that led Brink to open its doors in College Hill in February 2017. The taproom’s communal table sits 20 and a brick wall stands covered in framed photos of the customers and community.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Mt. Carmel Brewing Company
4362 Mt Carmel Tobasco Rd, Mt. Carmel
Cincinnati’s oldest microbrewery dates back to the 20s where a steel cask in the storm cellar of their home sparked a passion for beer.  They aren’t concerned with hopping on the trendiest bandwagon or creating an edgy space for beer-drinkers to revel at while they sip.  They’re mostly concerned with tradition and consistency, the qualities that have inspired and perpetuated their business since its humble beginnings. The brewery is housed in the original storm cellar where the first stones throw at alcoholic alchemy began.  
Photo via instagram.com/mtcarmelbrewing

Mt. Carmel Brewing Company

4362 Mt Carmel Tobasco Rd, Mt. Carmel
Cincinnati’s oldest microbrewery dates back to the 20s where a steel cask in the storm cellar of their home sparked a passion for beer. They aren’t concerned with hopping on the trendiest bandwagon or creating an edgy space for beer-drinkers to revel at while they sip. They’re mostly concerned with tradition and consistency, the qualities that have inspired and perpetuated their business since its humble beginnings. The brewery is housed in the original storm cellar where the first stones throw at alcoholic alchemy began.
Photo via instagram.com/mtcarmelbrewing
Taft’s Ale House
1429 Race Street, Over-The-Rhine
Say your prayers and sip some beer at one of several of Cincinnati’s church-housed breweries in OTR.  It also happens to be home to the legacy of Young Billy Taft—collegiate heavyweight champion, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the 27th president of the United States.  His Cincinnati heritage and success as a young bootstrapper landed him a posthumous honorary ale house where we all enjoy carefully crafted libations and bask in the spirit of good ‘ole American tomfoolery. 
Photo: Jesse Fox

Taft’s Ale House

1429 Race Street, Over-The-Rhine
Say your prayers and sip some beer at one of several of Cincinnati’s church-housed breweries in OTR. It also happens to be home to the legacy of Young Billy Taft—collegiate heavyweight champion, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the 27th president of the United States. His Cincinnati heritage and success as a young bootstrapper landed him a posthumous honorary ale house where we all enjoy carefully crafted libations and bask in the spirit of good ‘ole American tomfoolery.
Photo: Jesse Fox
Urban Artifact
1660 Blue Rock St., Northside
Built in the historic Saint Patrick’s church, Urban Artifact doesn’t just feature a taproom; it’s also a live music venue. Cozy up on a couch or dance the night away, but do both with a bold Urban Artifact brew in hand. The brewery promises wild flavors and wild experiences focusing on tart, sour beers and those brewed with wild-caught local yeast, bacteria and mixed cultures. With flagship, seasonal and specialty brews on tap, there is plenty to choose from.
Photo: Brittany Thorton

Urban Artifact

1660 Blue Rock St., Northside
Built in the historic Saint Patrick’s church, Urban Artifact doesn’t just feature a taproom; it’s also a live music venue. Cozy up on a couch or dance the night away, but do both with a bold Urban Artifact brew in hand. The brewery promises wild flavors and wild experiences focusing on tart, sour beers and those brewed with wild-caught local yeast, bacteria and mixed cultures. With flagship, seasonal and specialty brews on tap, there is plenty to choose from.
Photo: Brittany Thorton
Fifty West Brewing Company
3301 Madison Rd., Oakley
This brewhouse borrowed its name from Cincy’s historical scenic route, US 50 West, which connects the west to the east as it runs lazily along the Ohio River.  Their work is rooted in “craftsmanship, tradition, innovation, and patience” according to their site’s mission statement. While they channel these attributes into every barrel they brew, they are intentionally active in the community that so loyally supports them.  Every year they organize and host a small music festival, Fifty Fest, that welcomes local and regional artists to play for the people while they mingle and sip.
Photo: Provided

Fifty West Brewing Company

3301 Madison Rd., Oakley
This brewhouse borrowed its name from Cincy’s historical scenic route, US 50 West, which connects the west to the east as it runs lazily along the Ohio River. Their work is rooted in “craftsmanship, tradition, innovation, and patience” according to their site’s mission statement. While they channel these attributes into every barrel they brew, they are intentionally active in the community that so loyally supports them. Every year they organize and host a small music festival, Fifty Fest, that welcomes local and regional artists to play for the people while they mingle and sip.
Photo: Provided
Nine Giant Brewing
6095 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge
Nine Giant is the stuff of legends. Its story begins with a giant named Nine. Though many don’t know, these mythical creatures once called Cincinnati home, guzzling the great brews of the city’s past. But when the city’s once-great brewing ceased, the giants slept, and fields and flowers grew over them. Long after, Nine was awakened in Pleasant Ridge; he rubbed his tired eyes, trees still growing atop his head. The giant found a place among the shimmering taps and glistening blue walls of what would become his namesake. There are no flagship beers at Nine Giant — its 10 taps are subject to endless experimentation. You’ll find that general styles remain, but each batch offers an opportunity to swap out flavors and ingredients.
Photo: Jesse Fox

Nine Giant Brewing

6095 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge
Nine Giant is the stuff of legends. Its story begins with a giant named Nine. Though many don’t know, these mythical creatures once called Cincinnati home, guzzling the great brews of the city’s past. But when the city’s once-great brewing ceased, the giants slept, and fields and flowers grew over them. Long after, Nine was awakened in Pleasant Ridge; he rubbed his tired eyes, trees still growing atop his head. The giant found a place among the shimmering taps and glistening blue walls of what would become his namesake. There are no flagship beers at Nine Giant — its 10 taps are subject to endless experimentation. You’ll find that general styles remain, but each batch offers an opportunity to swap out flavors and ingredients.
Photo: Jesse Fox