Our brewery guide: 53 breweries....and counting within 50 miles of home
What started as a hobby turned into an obsession: Visiting breweries. This all began with our visit to Asheville, NC a few years ago. In October of 2020, we decided to starting visiting breweries in Greater Cincinnati/NKY. We never intended to make this a quest or to even take notes. About 20 breweries into our journey we thought: 'Can we get to 50?' We ultimately settled on a 50 mile radius from our home in Northern Kentucky. We are at 53 breweries, and counting:
46 in Ohio, six in Kentucky, one in Indiana. We are more beer 'samplers' than beer drinkers. We like trying different styles. We'd usually try one flight each (usually four 4 ounce pours). If we got really wild and crazy we'd would split a third flight.
We've been asked to rank the breweries. That's impossible.
-We ARE NOT experts on beer.
-We never set out to rank the breweries. It was just a fun thing to do on the weekends.
-We judged our brewery experience based on beer, food, the establishment, staff/service, vibe, etc.
-We didn't take notes early on. I didn't discover the Untapped app until about a third of the way through our journey.
-I love IPA's, Kelly not so much. She is a big fan of sours. Me not so much. We both came to really enjoy Kölsch/Hefeweizen.
-We haven't eaten at all 53 breweries. Not all offer food.
-There hasn't been a bad visit in the bunch. We would revisit all. Each place offered different things to like.
OUR FAVORITE BREWERY EXPERIENCES: (no particular order)
Sons of Toil
Tie: March First-Woodburn-Figleaf (same ownership)
Here are the 53 breweries we visited:
Alexandria Brewing Company, Bad Tom Smith, Barleycorn's Brewhouse, Braxton/Braxton Barrel House, Big Ash, Bircus, Brink, BrewDog, Cartridge, The Common Beer Company, Darkness, Dead Low, DogBerry, Esoteric, Fibonacci, Figleaf, Fifty West, Fretboard, Grainworks, Great Crescent Brewing, HighGrain, Humble Monk, Listermann, Lebanon Brewing Company, Little Miami, Mad Tree, March First, Moeller Brew Barn, Mt. Carmel, MPH, Municipal Brew Works, Narrow Path, Paradise/Paradise East, Nine Giant, Northern Row, Knox Joseph Distillery & OTR Stillhouse, Rhinegeist, Rebel Mettle, Sam Adams Taproom, 16 Lots, Sonder, Sons of Toil, Streetside, Swine City, Taft’s Ale House, Third Eye, 13 Below, Urban Artifact, Warped Wing (Mason), Wiedemann's, West Side, Woodburn, Wooden Cask.
Here are some general observations from our journey:
Closest to home: Braxton Barrelhouse, Ft. Wright: 7.7 miles.....Furthest from home: Sons of Toil, Mt. Orab, OH: 45.5 miles.
Triple Play Day:
Our record was three visits on one trip.....Warped Wing Mason, 16 Lots, The Common Beer Company.
Most unique spots:
-Bircus Brewing: Beer meets the circus. Bartenders juggle fire and do aerial silk dancing. Weekend shows by Circus Mojo.
We've seen music acts: Bronson Arroyo Band and Suzy Q. We've attended their Flea Market.They have pickleball leagues and Vinyl Night.
-Big Ash Brewing: The only 'Pour-Your-Own' beer we visited. Easy. Loved it.
-Fibonacci Brewing: Backyard farm with goats, chickens and bees. Nice beer garden.
Best outdoor space:
-Fifty West: Volleyball, cornhole, pickleball, skating, you name it
-Sons of Toil: Great spot out in the middle of "nowhere". Back patio surrounded by trees. Covered patio area. Tented area.
-13 Below: Loved the front area, back patio and inside. Big space.
-Little Miami: What a view when seated on the side of the hill overlooking the river.
-Fibonacci: Outdoor stage, lights, beer garden, multiple firepits.
-Madtree: Spacious, wide age range, pet friendly, fantastic patio, feels like the place to be.
-Mt. Carmel Brewing: Large and really cool patio and pond area
-OTR Stillhouse/Knox Joseph Brewing: Multi-levels, picnic tables, field turf surface.
Coolest looking bartop and light fixtures:
Cheers: Friendly gathering spots where it seemed everyone knew everyone's name
Eddie Money spots: We wanna go back and experience more/try for first time
-Fifty West: We visited during the winter. We want to go back during the summer to get the full effect.
-Urban Artifact: We visited during Covid when you could only do takeout. Looks like a cool place inside.
-We have not been to the rooftop at Braxton.
Best food trucks we tried:
-Incline Smoke Shack at 13 Below: Pulled pork egg rolls. Dang! Smoked turkey sandwich, BBQ brisket quesadillas.
-Legasea East Coast Subs food truck at Grainworks: Chicken cheesesteak sub.
-Tasties on the Go at Municipal Brew Works: Quesadillas and wings.
-Steak It Eazy at West Side Brewing: Ribeye sandwich, steak tips/mac & cheese with side of sauteed vegetables.
-J's Fish Tacos Truck at Narrow Path. Bowls and shrimp tacos.
-Black Dog Grille at Streetside Brewery: Tacos.
-Taco Fuerte/Braxton Barrelhouse: Tacos, chips and salsa.
Best in-house food we tried:
-Alexandria Brewing Company: Smoke N Feathers flatbread and teriyaki cauliflower bites.
-Barleycorn's Brewhouse: Beer Batter Cod Sandwich
-Little Miami: BBQ Blitz pizza
-March First: Bourbon chicken pizza
-MPH: Wood fired spinach & bacon pizza. Appetizer: House made smoke barrel house chili chips and salsa.
-Nine Giant: Fried chicken and biscuit and hot Italian hoagie.
-Northern Row: Pot roast sandwich.
-Moeller Brew Barn: California Chicken Club w/teriyaki glazed chicken breast, Barn Smoked Wings w/ sweet Asian teriyaki.
-Mt. Carmel Brewing: Smoked wings.
-Taft's Ale House: Trip tip tacos, deep fried wings
-Warped Wing Mason: BBQ brisket quesadillas and smoked chicken sandwich.
-Third Eye: Chicken and sausage gumbo, burger (Mind Bender)
-Wooden Cask: Chicken quesadillas
Best in-house food partner we tried:
-Decibel Korean Chicken/Esoteric: Wings and tenders.
-Smoked Out Cincy/Fretboard: World class BBQ.
-Mad Monks/16 Lots: New Potato Caboose Pizza.
-Brewer River/Sonder: Wings, Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
-Catch-A-Fire-Pizza/MadTree: Shrimp and Grits, Crazy Potato Head pizza, Smile BBQ pizza
Best flight tray: *The sturdier the better for Kelly
-March First: A wooden board in the shape of Ohio.
-West Side Brewery: Circular two level tray
-Paradise East: Wooden box
-Lebanon Brewing Company: Wooden, deep holders.
Best beer boards: (Describe what we are getting)
Casey turned 21 and we visited Taft's Ale House.
Beer and a shot!
Screwball Peanut Butter and Jelly Whiskey shot at Bircus
Fat Ben's Bakery did a pop-up shop the day were visited Streetside Brewery. Beer and take home brownies!
Pick-to-Click Bring It In recommendation:
-Brink and Humble Monk don't have food but they allow you to bring in outside food.
Stop at nearby Tortilleria Garcia and take into Brink. Grab burgers at Tickle Pickle and take into Humble Monk.
Nice to meet you: Big shots we met
-Paul Miller, owner Bircus. Does everything from mopping up spilled drinks to balancing a ladder on his chin.
-Chad Powers, Chief of Brewing Operations, Narrow Path. Sat and talked beer with us.
-Mike Brown, President & CEO Rebel Mettle. Enjoyed watching him work the room and ask what customers thought.
-GM of MPH: He took time to answer questions about the menu, their preparation/ingredients and their relationship with Left Hand Brewery.
-Really enjoyed talking with GM Tim at Barleycorn's Brewhouse about the new set-up.
-The bartender at 16 Lots overhead us debating a beer we'd have to leave out of our flight of four pours. He poured it and brought it over to us.
-Esoteric bartender PK heard us talking about trying each of their beers. They had 11 and 5 beers per flight. He added the 11th and gave it to us.
-Listermann Brewing bartender Dillon was one of the best we encountered.
-Wiedemann and Sons of Toil: Loved talking beer with the staffs
-Humble Monk: Two bartenders greeted us warmly, explained they were new and asked what types of beers we liked and matched that to what they had.
They asked our names to remember us and write on our flight trays.
-The Swine City kitchen wasn't able to open during our visit so the bartender ordered several pizzas and put on the bar top for everyone to enjoy.
-Server Liz at Barleycorn's Brewhouse was great with recommendations
Sight to See
I've never played Dungeons and Dragons, but we enjoyed watching the Sunday gathering of game players at Humble Monk.
Sorry to see you go
Rebel Mettel was our very first stop on the tour. Sadly they have recently closed. We were looking forward to getting back there. Good luck to everyone.
Some of our favorite beers:
-Alexandria Brewing Company: Little Miss Scare All (Cascadian Dark Ale), Ale of Eris (Sour)
-Bad Tom Smith Brewing: Wicked Sheryl's Blush (Pale Ale), Jailbreak Churro (Brown Ale)
-Barleycorn's Brewhouse: Valhalla (IPA), Creamy Kitty (Cream Ale)
-Big Ash: Backbeat Coffee Blonde, Big Buck Nuts (Brown Ale)
-Braxton: Roadtrip (Fruited Berliner Weisse), Tropical Flare (NE Hazy IPA)
-BrewDog: Elvis Juice (IPA), Layer Cake (Pastry Stout)
-Bircus: Irreguliner (Berliner Weisse), Reguliner (Berliner Weisse)
-Brink: Damocles (IPA Milkshake), Amarillo Armadillo (NE IPA), Father G's Bees (Brown Ale)
-Cartridge: Covert (Schwarzbier), Smokestack (Smoked Golden Lager), Fuse Blackberry (Blonde Ale), Grounded (Coffee IPA), Hollow Point (Hibiscus Ale), Escape (Wheat)
-Darkness: Butterfly Nebula (IPA), Man on the Moo (Stout)
-Dead Low: Circadian Detachment (Porter Baltic), Tripel Purgatory (Belgian Tripel)
-DogBerry: Bray's Brown (Brown Ale), There it Gose (Sour), Blonde Lemon & Raspberry (Blonde Ale), Bullpen Session (IPA)
-Esoteric: Strawberry Lime Chrysalis (Cream Ale), Ethereal (Belgian Blonde), Kallima Coffee (Cream Ale), Nirvana (Belgian Quadrupel), Celestial (Pale Ale)
-Fibonacci: Linalool (Belgian Wit), Tollhouse (Stout)
-Fifty West: Punch You In The EyePA (IPA), Coffee Please (Stout)
-FigLeaf: Maple Wee Easy (Scotch Ale), Heart Shaped Box (Stout-Imperial Double), Peanut B. Amber (Red Ale), Blood Orange Iso-Trope (IPA), Zenith (Stout)
-Fretboard: Fugee (Brown Ale), Reba (Blonde Ale), It's Your Thing (IPA), Bootsy (IPA), Vlad (German Pilsner), Drummer Boy (Winter Warmer), Wah Wah (Maple Vanilla Blonde Ale).
-Grainworks: Orange Dream (Fruit Beer), Raspberry Pineapple (Sour), Rebel Yell (Pale Ale)
-Great Crescent: Cherry Ale (Fruit Beer), Blood Orange Blonde Ale, Expresso Coconut Porter
-High Grain: Super Trouper (IPA), Maul w/ Chai and Vanilla Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial
-Humble Monk: Pancake Porter and Peaceful Park (Farmhouse Ale)
-Knox Joseph Brewing/OTR Stillhouse: Very Cherry Cocoa Larry (Stout-Imperial Double), OH Bee-have (Red Ale)
-Lebanon Brewing Company: Raspberry Drizzle (Sour), Force Lightning (IPA), Hosscat (Rye), Deadbeat (NE IPA)
-Listermann: Nutcase Porter and Maple Chickcow (Brown Ale), Godspeed Little Doodle (Stout Pastry)
-Little Miami Brewing: Blackbird Fly (Wheat Beer), Pterodactyl (Hefeweizen)
-Madtree: Churro Coffee Table (Blonde Ale), Peaches and MeMe (Belgian Blonde), Cold Brew (Porter Coffee), Strata-Sphere (Blonde Ale), Appaloosa (Farmhouse Ale)
-March First: Orange Cream (Cream Ale), Lemonade Shandy, Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout, Juicy IPA, Solo (Coffee Blonde)
-Moeller Brew Barn: Blackberry Prairie Wheat, Blueberry Blonde, Salted Caramel Coffee Ale, Roasted Hazelnut Porter.
-Mt. Carmel: Queen Bee (Blonde Ale)
-MPH: Who's Your 'Nana (Belgian Blonde), Napoleon's Revenge (Belgian Tripel), Lunar Frog Black (IPA)
-Municipal Brew Works: Orange Agave Blonde (Fruit Beer), True West (Porter Coffee)
-Narrow Path: Rouge Infusion (Belgian Ale), El Sendero Guabanero (Vienna Lager) Partially Redacted (Wheat Beer), Tire Patch 2.0 (IPA), Flatwoods, Brews Traveler (Stout), Coconut Porter, Elf Magic.
-Northern Row: Preacher (Fruit Beer), Brambler (Fruit Beer), Tobogganer (Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Brawler (Schwarzbier), Crusher (Wheat Beer)
-Nine Giant: Save Ferris (Sour-Berliner Weisse), Popscene (Pale Ale), Pass the Mic Amarillo (Pale Ale)
-Paradise: Blueberry Kolsch, You Vicious Brute (IPA), Pith Off (Pale Ale)
-Rhinegeist: Zango (Fruited Ale), Raspy Cat (Fruited Wheat Beer)
-Sam Adams Taproom: American Kriek Wild Ale, Porch Rocker (Shandy)
-16 Lots: Fluffer Nutter (Stout), Lots in my Eye-PA (Fruit Hazy IPA), Pineapple Upside Down (Stout)
-Sonder: You Betcha! (IPA), Otto (Stout Imperial/Double), RallyCap (Pilsner), Invited To the Cookout (Wheat Beer), Chocolate Cherry Frosted (IPA Milkshake), Mexican Hot Chocolate (Stout Imperial), Sunday Funday (Golden Ale)
-Sons of Toil: Mango Habanero (NE IPA), Mango Milkshake (IPA), Imperial Blackberry Stout, Margarita Gose (Sour)
-Streetside: P.U.C It (Fruited Berliner Weisse), Raspberry Beret (American Style Berry Beer)
-Swine City: Strictly On Account (Pumpkin Yam Beer), Life After Brunch (Maple Coffee Stout)
-Taft's Ale House: Gavel Banger (IPA), Nellie's Key Lime Ale (Wheat Beer), Strata-Sphere (Blonde Ale), Appaloosa (Farmhouse Ale)
-The Common Beer Company: Abracasabro (IPA)
-Third Eye: Jelly Brain V5, Gettin' Twisted, Funky Fresh V5 (Sour), Killer Kandy (Shandy), Beyond Sight (Brown Ale), Third Eye Kandy V6, Space Toast Continuum, Sweet Nectatron, Subconscious Haze (Triple NE IPA), EYE-cing on the Cake (Blonde Ale), Deep Euphoria (Oatmeal Stout), Higher Purpose (Cream Stout)
-13 Below: Wedding Day (Belgian Tripel), Rail & River (English Porter), Submerged (Witbier Beer)
-Urban Artifact: The Gadget (Raspberry & Blackberry Midwest Fruit Tart), Skyglass (Lemon Lime Tart), Pinwheel (Orange Fruit Beer)
-Warped Wing: Panama Red Smoked Red Lager, Rum Barrel Aged Flying Heads (Pumpkin Yam Beer)
-West Side: Blood Orange Common (Blonde Ale), Smoke German-Irish Lager, Tart Cherry Farmhouse (Fruit Beer), Barleywine
-Wiedemann: Mango Hefeweizen (Wheat Beer), Summertime Lime (Mexican Style Lager).
-Woodburn: Momotaro Peach (IPA), Valravn Chocolate Cherry Stout, Endcantado (Passion Fruit), Solo (Blonde Ale)
-Wooden Cask: Barrelled Breakfasts Red Ale-Imperial/Double, Corruption (Stout)
Please email us suggestions (firstname.lastname@example.org)