These three new Mason breweries have opened taprooms in the past year and are sure-shot destinations for local craft brew enthusiasts.
The Common Beer Co.
126 E. Main St., commonbeercompany.com
The Common Beer Company opened its doors in downtown Mason on Oct. 5. Owned by Amy and Mark Lortz, the nano-brewery’s beer is only available in the taproom at present, which means you’ll get to enjoy the family’s hospitality if you want to sample their fresh drinks.
When Amy and Mark sat down to talk with CityBeat about their brewery, Mark sipped Bandit, a smoky tasting IPA that got its peaty flavor from a peculiarity in the yeast — a happy accident that yielded a beer that any scotch drinker could cozy up to. Seated in the back patio of the brewery, Amy drank Maggs 59, a honey ale named for their daughter and her lacrosse jersey number. Locally sourced honey is added, not as a sweetener, but to provide extra sugar in fermentation for an increased alcohol content. The flavor from the honey is not overly prevalent and it drinks like Bud Light, boasting only 3.1 percent alcohol by volume, which is less than a third of the kick offered by their coffee stout, Any Moment Now, which has 9.8 percent ABV.
“We use local ingredients,” Amy says. “We utilize all the things that we have right here because there are a lot of ingredients we can get within a 20-mile radius of our location.”
The brewery’s name, The Common Beer Co., is not a reflection of the beer’s quality but serves to encourage the idea that the taproom be treated like a common area, where anyone is welcome to gather and interact with the community.
“What we’re trying to do is get to the forefront of what could be and what will be a really vibrant downtown,” Mark says. “Our goal is to put Mason on the map in coordination with all the other breweries here.”
16 Lots Brewing Co.
753 Reading Road, 16lots.com
Mike Burton and Jeff Cosgrove opened 16 Lots Brewing Co. in September 2017. Burton is the business yin to Cosgrove’s brewing and operations yang.
“We’re very good at making a wide variety of beers by making them as they’re supposed to be,” Burton says. “When you order a German pilsner, you have it in your mind what it should taste like…and we want to make sure we’re making a very good version of that.”
This “true to style” brewing is achieved by their adherence to traditional methods and recipes. Their pilsner, The Major, is brewed with all German hops and malts.
“We do true lagers,” Cosgrove says as he tests the gravity of a new batch of Lulu blonde ale. “Cold fermenting and cold aging. We’ve also done German pilsners, Oktoberfest, bock, schwarzbier.”
The brewery’s name is taken from a historic land purchase by Revolutionary War officer Major William Mason, who bought the sixteen 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.
8584 Duke Blvd., sonderbrewing.com
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.
The brewery’s owner and CEO, Justin Neff, was halfway through a glass of West Coast-style Record Hop IPA when our interview began. “People ask me which of our beers is my favorite and it really just depends on the time of day,” Neff says.
Other beers on the tap list include Zauber, their take on a zwickelbier lager, and Send It!, a brut IPA with flavors of sparkling wine and evergreen boughs. On top of a comprehensive beer list, Sonder also has a cider, Scarlet, made with apple and cherry that finishes dry and crisp.