Beertowns: Cincinnati

Given its somewhat sizable population of German descent, it’s not too surprising that Cincinnati has a robust and lively craft brewing culture. Once upon a time, names like Weidemann’s and Hudepohl were synonymous with the Queen City and its German brewing heritage; though they’re no longer the dominant force of Cincy suds, there’s now a new wave of craft brews in the area that are well worth getting to know a little better.

Rivertown Brewery – I’m always on the lookout for a nice Pale Ale and Rivertown’s Hop Baron Double Down Ipa fits the bill nicely. Be sure and retain a designated driver though; the ABV is a whopping 8.5%. They also make a fine selection of different beer styles, lagers, dunkel, stout, wheat ale and a nice bock beer too, and they’re all good.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery – BJ’s is one fine place to take in a game, eat good pizza and drink some great beer. If you have a bit of the hophead in you, try the Big Fish IPA. They also make one of the best light beers you’ll ever taste in the Lightswitch Lager and if you’re a wheat beer fan, try the Nitwit Wheat that is full of unfiltered goodness.

Haufbrauhaus Newport – Just across the Ohio River lies Newport Kentucky and one of the best things this nation ever imported from Germany; the Haufbrauhause. They’ve got your lagers, your dunkel, your pilsners and bocks but, as good as it is, the beer is really half the story, the traditional German fare like wurstl and schnitzel is what makes this place a special experience. Don’t worry, if you want to try the beer but you’re not that fond of saurkraut, they also serve the more standard soups, salads and sandwiches.

Irish – For the all important Irish Pub experience, head to O’Bryon’s, 1998 Madison Road. The atmosphere is as Irish as it gets in this cozy spot and I’m still dreaming about the garlic wings from my last visit.

Culture – If you should be in the mood to supplement your beer drinking with something a bit beyond the evryday, you might want to visit the Taft Museum on Pike Street just a few blocks from Fountain Square. Housed in a nicely restored mansion, The Taft has an interesting and somewhat eclectic collection that’s just big enough to satisfy without wearing you out. Take a look at the pre impressionist Europa and the Bull by Turner.

Rock Bottom Brewery – Part of the allure of Rock Bottom is its location at the always vibrant Fountain Square area downtown and its second to none happy hour menu and its wonderful beers has made this a favorite haunt of many a downtown Cincy worker. The IPA and Red Ale are not to be missed and they have a great selection of dark beers too. If you’re really hungry, the sizable restaurant is a great place to eat as well.

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