Hebron Brew Haus announced yesterday that it has served its last pizza and will be switching its dining room to a Mad Mike’s Burgers and Fries by Monday, June 3. Along with the changes to the food offerings, the barroom is getting some long-overdue attention with modifications to the bar to make it lower and more comfortable for customers (and bartenders). In what has to be a blow to Boone County orthopedic surgeons, the knee-wrecking concrete-block and wood-topped hightop tables have been replaced by ones that, by all appearances, were designed by people who understand how tables and chairs are supposed to work.
There’s a lot of renovation going on, but the bar remains open while the dining room is being converted to its new incarnation. The plan for once the renovation is complete is that bar patrons will be able to order many of the same appetizers that have always been on the menu. The pizza oven is being replaced by a grill top so the garlic knots are history, but wings and other non-dough-based choices will still be available. It’ll be possible to order from Mad Mikes from the bar area, but it won’t be possible to order a beer from within the Mad Mike’s area. The door connecting the two areas will still be open and it’s OK to take a beer bought in the bar into Mad Mike’s.
Owners Amy and Dean Arvin have always put an emphasis on featuring local and regional beers. There was a time not too long after they opened that they featured four Rivertown beers, including the then-new Blueberry. Mt. Carmel, Great Crescent are regular offerings, as are beers from Great Lakes and Alltech’s Lexington Brewing. I think they’ve carried every Pro-Am offering from Lexington going back to the gone-but-not-forgotten Kentucky Coal Porter. In the last few months Blank Slate has been featured in a tasting and, when we were there yesterday, West Sixth IPA was on tap. Founders Double Trouble will probably be tapped by the time you read this and they have Three Floyds Artic Panzer Wolf and Alpha King on deck to rotate in as other taps run out.
When we started Hoperatives in January 2009, it was hard to find a good beer bar in Northern Kentucky. They existed, but mostly around MainStrasse in Covington and in a little pocket near the river in Newport. Drive more than ten minutes south and the pickings got very slim very fast. That wasn’t a problem if you lived in Covington or Newport or just visited NKY from the other side of the river, but for better beer lovers living out toward Florence, Burlington, Hebron or Union, it was a definitely an issue. Hebron Brew Haus was one of the first to successfully buck the trend and bring better beer a little further south of the Ohio River. It opened in April 2010 at the location once occupied by the ill-fated Hebron Brewing Company. The Brew Haus more-or-less inherited the pizza concept from the earlier business (as well as the unfortunate furniture), though they clearly executed better. The pizza was always pretty solid, but there’s a lot of pizza places within a mile of their location. The burgers and fries of Mad Mike’s will be a good companion to the beer offerings (and the beer offerings at other Mad Mike’s have never been all that inspiring). I don’t know about anyone else, but I think this is a positive move. I know I’ll be there more often now.
Hebron Brew Haus is located at 2010 Northside Drive in Hebron just west of the Cincinnati-Northern KY International Airport near the intersection of I-275 and KY 237 (North Bend Road).