I was dead set on writing a Traveling Tuesday this week (I even opened a new post and typed “Traveling Tuesday”). I have been on the move a lot this year, so I still have a bunch of great places to cover. But once I cracked a Cincinnati Beer Week Barleywine Ale, I began reflecting on what has been the most exciting year of my young craft beer adventures.
Sure, traveling has been a big part of this. Between two trips to Asheville, one to San Francisco, two to Chicago, one to Louisville, one to Indianapolis, two to the Outer Banks, one to Nashville, and several to Cleveland, I have certainly come across a fair share of cool beer bars, bottle shops, and breweries this past year. However, when I sit back and think about it, my Cincinnati beer adventures have proven to be every bit as monumental.
I used to be fairly critical of the Cincinnati beer scene. Part of it was being new to the area. Great places existed, I just didn’t know where to look. And let’s face it, with all the ingrained dynamics of this city, it is not always the easiest place for a transplant to break into. Part of it was growing up in NE Ohio adoring Great Lakes Brewing Co. and seeing craft beer really take off early in that area. While it has taken Cincinnati a little bit longer to gain steam, it is clear the momentum is here to stay.
Mt. Carmel, Red Ear and Rock Bottom have continued to crank out great beers since I have been here, Rivertown really took off this year and won over the title of my favorite local brewery (I think their Lambic is a religious experience), Listermann increased their production substantially, and Moerlein has the city buzzing about the lager house. In addition, Blank Slate Brewing is nearing its opening and Brew River Gastropub is in the works. And judging by the current pace of the industry as a whole, the best guess is this is only the beginning.
That is all exciting stuff, but the real evidence of this momentum is the first Cincinnati Beer Week beginning this Thursday. Local breweries, bars, restaurants, bottle shops and homebrew stores are collaborating and celebrating everyone’s favorite malted beverages in unison. From the initial list of events (http://cincinnatibeerweek.com/beer-week-events/), it appears the city is in for a treat. There are events for everyone this week, from those just starting to dabble in craft beer to those stashing rare bottles in their basement cellar.
I am looking forward to trying some beers I have never had before, as well as enjoying some old favorites in my favorite Cincinnati beer spots. I am most looking forward to De Struise and 3 Floyds at Dutch’s, Sours at Comet, Bell’s, Blues, and BBQ at Arnold’s (three of my favorite things), and the Rivertown beer dinner at Dilly. Those are the ones at jump off the page because they involve my favorite beers, but you really cannot go wrong with anything planned.
A lot of people had to put a lot of hard work into making this week happen, and as fellow beer lovers in this city, we owe it to everyone involved to make this week a roaring success. Raise your glasses, meet some new people, spend more money than you should (beer week only comes once a year, after all…), and support this city’s growing beer scene so we can ensure this event is a mainstay in Cincinnati for years to come.
(Also, it wouldn’t be a bad cherry on top of the week if my Amber Ale won at the All American Ale competition, so keep your fingers crossed.)
Happy Cincinnati Beer Week!
This post has not been revised since publication.