Hoperatives Virtual Watch Fest (Baseball Edition)

Like many of you, we were really looking forward to Opening Day. We’ve never gone to the actual game. Instead, we typically watch it from a local brewery’s tap room and we were ready to do that again this year.

Since the MLB 2020 season has been postponed until at least the middle of May, we think area baseball fans would like a way to connect with like-minded people (and be distracted). So, on Thursday, March 26th at 7:00 pm, we’re proposing to host the Hoperatives Virtual Watch Fest.

According to MLB.com, these films are the 25 best baseball movies of all time. The number one film is “Bull Durham” (with Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Cincinnati & NKU’s own Jenny Robertson as Millie) so it’s the logical choice.

We will set up a Facebook Watch Party (or something similar since Facebook seems to be having issues today). That way, we will all watch (or re-watch) Bull Durham together while we enjoy some of our favorite local beers. If you don’t have your own copy (we have two), you can stream it via IMDB TV (ads), The Roku Channel (ads), tubi (ads), VUDU (ads), Hoopla (subscription), DirecTV (subscription), or Starz/Amazon (subscription). You can also rent a digital copy for $2.99-$3.99 or purchase one for $13.99-14.99.

If this first event is popular enough, we schedule one each Thursday night until baseball is back. After the first movie, we will set up a poll to pick the next one to see during the watch party.

In the mean time, support your local breweries by getting their beer to-go or delivered. We are working every day to keep our list of local breweries with carry out or delivery options up-to-date at [PAGE IS NO LONGER ACTIVE].

Cheers and here’s to better beer (and wash your damn hands)!

Carla and Tom

Hoperatives Baseball Movie

How Can I Get My Local Beer During a Pandemic?

It’s St. Patrick’s Day Eve and all through the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, better beer lovers are wondering how they can get their favorite local beers during a global pandemic.

Never fear! Hoperatives are here to the rescue! Here is a listing of all the local breweries and their status regarding carry-out, closed, etc.

[PAGE IS NO LONGER ACTIVE]

Seriously, it’s been crazy lately. To go from the Cincy Winter Beerfest to Ohio (and then Kentucky) bars and restaurants having to do carry-out only in just over a week is nuts. But maybe some great local Cincinnati beer could help us all get by.

And hang on… because we will have another announcement coming tomorrow to help better beer lovers in the tri-state area.

Cheers and here’s to better beer (and wash your damn hands)!

Carla and Tom

Firehouse Grill Announces Brewery Grand Opening Weekend

Note: This is the first “real” post in a very long time. It seems appropriate that it’s announcing a brewery opening.  When we went into mothballs a couple years ago we had somewhere around 35-40 breweries in town.  Now we’re north of 60.  We seem to have missed a couple. Sorry about that.

Firehouse Grill & Brewery Logo It’s not that unusual for breweries in Cincinnati to open in historic locations. Throw a rock in OTR and you’ll likely hit an old brewery building that someone is thinking about putting a brewery in.  Don’t be throwing rocks in OTR (or anywhere else), though.   You could put someone’s eye out.

Blue Ash probably isn’t  where you’d expect to find a historic brewery building, though.  And you’d be justified if you expected the building to be more than 23 years old. This is craft beer history we’re talking about, here, so the time-scale is a bit … compressed.

Firehouse Grill has been operating since 2011 as a gastropub in the building at 4785 Lake Forest Drive in Blue Ash that was once home to Watson Brothers Brewing. That brewery, along with such places as Main Street, Barrelhouse, and Oldenburg, form a group that operated in the 1990s and are collectively remembered among the longtime Cincinnati beer community as “ahead of their time.”

There must be something about operating in a building that once housed a brewery that gets into the woodwork. Owners Molly & Bob Davis announced in late June of last year that they’d be adding a brewery to their operation and today they’ve announced their opening weekend:  February 20-23, 2020.

The addition of a brewery always seemed inevitable, to be honest.  Firehouse has long been one of the stalwarts in the local beer community. They’ve consistently sponsored events featuring local craft beer in creative ways. Last March, for example, they hosted an event called “New Brew Fest” that showcased many of the (then) newest breweries in town so people see the range of what the city and region offers.  Less than a year later, they’re one themselves. As Molly Davis put it in an email, “We’re the newest brewery in Cincinnati (until the next one opens!)”

Veteran Cincinnati brewer Justin Chaney (Swine City, Common, Brink)  is Head Brewer. He’s planning to have five Firehouse -produced beers available opening weekend:

  • Sycamore Blonde
  • Blue Ash Brown
  • Summit Saison
  • Aviator Amber
  • Flightpath IPA

With two more — a Belgian Wit and a Stout — on deck for later.  The balance of the 40 taps at the bar will continue to feature a mix of local, regional, and national beers.

Planned activities include a $8 keep-the-glass special, swag givaways, tours of the 4-barrel brewhouse, food specials incorporating their beers and probably more. You can check their website or Facebook page for specifics about hours and such.

There’s one more connection between the old and the new that deserves mention. The decision by Firehouse to name its beers after local Blue Ash landmarks and lore has precedent in the very name of the brewery that preceded it at that location. There were no Watsons involved in starting Watson Brothers Brewing.  The name came from aviators Hugh and Parks Watson who founded the airport that eventually became the Blue Ash Municipal Airport. It operated for 91 years before closing for good in 2012. (hat tip to the indispensable Gnarly Gnome for that last tidbit)

As a final note I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to saying “and you can check out our event listings for all the info,” instead of linking elsewhere, but, alas, I don’t think the new event calendar system will be up and running soon enough for this event. I’m working on it. Writing posts where I link to the evil Facebook is encouragement to get the darn thing done.


1  Attention Hamilton County health inspectors: That’s a metaphor!

This Week in Beer: September 18 – 24, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, Sept. 18th at 6:30 pm – Benefit and Pint Night for Texas Flood Victims at Wooden Cask Brewing

Wednesday, Sept. 20th at 7:30 pm – Is Cincinnati in a Craft Beer “Bubble” panel discussion at Brink Brewing

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 4:00 pm – Pilgrim Can Release supporting La Soupe at MadTree Brewing

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 5:00 pm – Bavarian Tapping Party at Braxton Brewing

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 5:00 pm – Devils Backbone Trailblazer Event With ArtsWave at Queen City Radio

Thursday, Sept. 21st from 5:00-10:00 pm – Jolly Pumpkin Pint Night at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:00-9:00 pm – MadTree – Meet the Brewery Pint Night at Higher Gravity

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Christian Moerlein Bay of Bengal Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel ALe Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Hyde Park

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Breckenridge Agave Wheat Pint Night at Cock & Bull Clifton

Thursday, Sept. 21st at 7:00 pm – Great Lakes Oktoberfest Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, Sept. 22nd-Sunday, Sept. 24th – Grand Opening – Sons of Toil Brewing

Friday, Sept. 22nd from 5:00-9:00 pm – Hi-Wire Brewing Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, Sept. 22nd from 5:00-9:00 pm – North Peak Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, Sept. 22nd from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Saturday, Sept. 23rd at 10:00 am – Kendi & Pinkies Out Release at Listermann Brewing

Saturday, Sept. 23rd at 10:00 am – Suh, Brah Can Release #2 at Streetside Brewing

Saturday, Sept. 23rd at 11:00 am – Glassware Beauties at Braxton Labs

Saturday, Sept. 23rd at 12:00 pm – Fifty Fest 2017 at Fifty West Brewing

Sunday, Sept. 24th at 2:00 pm – Rhinegeist Brewery Dinner at the Farmstand Market and Café

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Extended Weekend in Beer: Sept. 6 – 10, 2017

As we mentioned previously, the last few months have been crazy at Casa de Hoperatives and this current week is the craziest one yet. But, by Saturday, Carla’s dad (Hoperative #169) will be the newest resident of Florence, KY and things should hopefully calm down a bit. We missed our usual Monday publication date so here is our first (and last?) This Extended Weekend in Beer post.

Thursday, Sept. 7th-Friday, Sept. 8th – Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort at Braxton Brewing

Thursday, Sept. 7th at 4:00-10:00 pm – Bay of Bengal Taproom Launch at Christian Moerlein Malt House

Thursday, Sept. 7th at 5:00-10:00 pm – Dark Horse Pint Night at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, Sept. 7th at 5:00-10:00 pm – Prizes for Beer Lovers at BrewRiver GastroPub

Thursday, Sept. 7th at 6:00-11:00 pm – Fifty West Meet the Brewer Night at Higher Ground

Thursday, Sept. 7th at 7:00 pm – Mill Creek Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, Sept. 8th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Momentum Mosaic Pale Ale Tapping at Braxton Brewing

Friday, Sept. 8th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, Sept. 8th from 6:30-11:00 pm – End of Summer Cincy Beerfest at Fountain Square

Saturday, Sept. 9th from 10:00 am-11:00 pm – Team Fiona Batch #4 Can Release at Listermann Brewing

Saturday, Sept. 9th from 11:00 am-12:00 am – Grainworks Brewing Grand Opening

Saturday, Sept. 9th from 12:00 pm-1:00 am – Cans for a Cure! Blueberry Pie Brown Ale Release at Braxton Brewing

Saturday, Sept. 9th from 2:00-11:30 pm – Old Firehouse Brewery’s 3rd Anniversary Party

Saturday, Sept. 9th from 3:00-11:00 pm – End of Summer Cincy Beerfest at Fountain Square

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: August 28 – Sept. 3, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, August 28th at 5:00 – Rare Beer Monday at Braxton Labs

Monday, August 28th at 8:00 pm – Industry Night Beer Olympics at Olde Towne Tavern

Wednesday, August 30th at 5:00 pm – Dog Days and IPAs at Landlocked Social House

Wednesday, August 30th at 7:00 pm – Monthly Keg Tapping at Hofbräuhaus Newport

Thursday, August 31st from 5:00-10:00 pm – Dogfish Pint Night at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, August 31st at 5:00 pm – Donut and Beer Pairing with Deschutes Brewing at The Lackman

Thursday, August 31st at 6:00-9:00 pm – Taft’s Ale House–Meet the Brewery Night at Higher Gravity

Thursday, August 31st at 6:00-9:00 pm – Oktober Fuel Tap Takeover at Queen City Radio

Thursday, August 31st at 4:00 pm – Dreamsicle Can Release Party at MadTree Brewing

Thursday, August 31st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Strasse

Thursday, August 31st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Glendale

Thursday, August 31st at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night at Cock & Bull Main Hyde Park

Thursday, August 31st at 7:00 pm – Bircus Brewing Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, Sept. 1st from 5:00-9:00 pm – Dayton Beer Company Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, Sept. 1st from 5:00-9:00 pm – Fifty West Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, Sept. 1st from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Saturday, Sept. 2nd at 10:00 am – Brass Monkey and Junkie Can Release at Listermann Brewing

Sunday, Sept. 3rd at Noon – Fireworks Party at Wooden Cask Brewing

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: August 21 – 27, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, August 21st at 6:00 pm – Kentucky’s Darkest Day at Braxton Brewing HQ and Braxton Labs

Monday, August 21st at 6:00 pm – Breckenridge Beer Dinner at Dilly

Tuesday, August 22nd at 7:00 pm – Tennessee Brew Works Trivia at Hebron Brew Haus

Wednesday, August 23rd at 6:00 pm – BrewDog Pint Night at Marty’s Hops and Vines

Thursday, Aug. 24th-Saturday, Aug. 26th – 3rd Annual BellsFest at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Thursday, August 24th at 6:00-9:00 pm – Maui Brewing Luau/Pint Night at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Thursday, August 24th-Saturday, August 26th – 2017 Cincy Brew Ha Ha at Sawyer Point

Thursday, August 24th at 7:00 pm – Warped Wing Meet the Brewer Pint Night at Higher Gravity

Thursday, August 24th at 7:00 pm – Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, Aug. 25th-Sunday, Aug. 27th – 2nd Annual Bewilderment at Urban Artifact

Friday, August 25th at 5:00 pm – August Art After Dark: Beer Bash at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Friday, August 25th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, August 25th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Sierra Nevada Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, August 25th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Saturday, August 26th at 11:00 am – Total Eclipse with Total Eclipse at BC’s Bottle Lodge

Saturday, August 26th from noon to 6:00 pm – Rhinegeist Parking Lot Party at Flipdaddy’s Union

Saturday, August 26th from 4:00-7:00 pm – An Afternoon with the Beer Barons at Spring Grove Cemetery

Sunday, August 27th at noon – Get Buzzed-Honey and Beer Pairing at Fibonacci Brewing

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

This Week in Beer: August 14 – 20, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, August 14th from 5:00-8:00 pm – Rare Beer Monday at Braxton Labs

Wednesday, August 16th at 6:00 pm – Woodburn Beer Dinner at Moerlein Lager House

Thursday, August 17th from 5:00-9:00 pm – 3rd Annual Stein Hoisting Competition at Taft’s Ale House

Thursday, August 17th at 7:00 pm – Elysian Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Belgian Blonde Tapping at Braxton Labs

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Rhinegeist Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Christian Moerlein Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, August 18th from 5:00-10:00 pm – Founders Birthday Celebration/Green Zebra Release at Cappy’s Wine and Spirits

Friday, August 18th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, August 18th at 8:00 pm – Molly’s 10 Year Anniversary Party at Molly Malone’s Covington

Saturday, August 19th from 11:00 am-5:00 pm – Bacon, Beer, Bourbon and Blues Fest at Mecklenburg Gardens

Saturday, August 19th from noon to midnight – One Year Anniversary Party at The Woodburn Brewery

Saturday, August 19th from noon to midnight – Oktoberfest Biergarten in the Taproom at Braxton Brewing

Saturday, August 19th from 7:00-11:00 pm – Buckeye Beer Bash at Jungle Jim’s

Saturday, August 19th from 7:00-11:30 pm – Newport Baseball Bar Crawl

Sunday, August 20th from noon to 8:00 pm – New England IPA #001 Taproom Release at Braxton Brewing

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer

Blank Slate Brewing Company closes

Blank Slate Brewing Company
#RIP June 2012 – August 2017

This one hurts. A lot.

Blank Slate Brewing Company has closed, effective immediately. Tom Aguero1 and Jesse Folk over at Brew Minds posted this to the Facebook page earlier today:

We have received multiple confirmations that Blank Slate Brewing Co. has ceased operations effective immediately. As one of the original, and best, local breweries – this is truly a loss for the whole region. Please keep Scott and his employees in your thoughts today, as this is surely a hard moment for him and his team.

They wouldn’t put something like that out there unless they were sure, so I started checking around with more than a little bit of dread. And damnit, it checks out. You couldn’t have screwed this one up, guys?

It’s like a death in the family. I’m way too familiar with what that feels like so I know exactly what I’m saying when I say that. I can’t imagine what Scott and everyone else is going through.

Blank Slate is the brewery I’d name if someone asked me to name a favorite brewery. I hate that question because I really don’t have a favorite per se. I spend way more time than is healthy hanging out at breweries and when I do there’s a beer there that, at that moment, is the greatest beer in the world. And I probably went there FOR that beer. So when people won’t let it go, I’d interpret the question as “What brewery are you most in awe of?” And then it was easy: Blank Slate. No question. Scott bootstrapped that place from Day One. You didn’t have to talk to him very long to know the place ran on a razor’s edge financially. He made it work.

Until, apparently, it didn’t.

I don’t know the details. They aren’t any of my business. I know owner Scott LaFollette well enough to know that the decision wasn’t made quickly or impulsively. I’ve never asked him a question where there wasn’t a beat or two while he thought it over before he answered. I know there are things he’d never compromise on. If this is what he thought he had to do, then that’s it. Everybody is going to want to second-guess this. It’s human nature. I get it. But no one had more skin in the game than Scott. I’m not going to insult him by thinking I’m somehow smarter than he is. I will think less of you if you do. I trust he couldn’t come up with a way to make the business work and put out the product he wanted to put out. Scott has integrity. I mourn with him. I don’t criticize him.

I speak of the brewery as if Scott were the only one there. That’s not at all true. The people he hired are top-notch. They made the place what it is … er … was. (Oh, I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all.)

When he had time Scott blogged about the brewery. Just after he opened he wrote this:

The success of Blank Slate Brewing Company is defined by the following (in no particular order):

1. Make the best quality beer that we possibly can.
2. Always be approachable to our customers and never forget where we came from.
3. Further the local beer industry as best we can through our words and actions.
4. Make enough money to pay the bills with enough left over to keep a roof over my family’s head, food on the table, and take my wife on a vacation somewhere farther than 10 miles away sometime in the next 5 years!

The first three were accomplished many, many, many times over. I’m guessing it was that last one that did it. It’s been five years.

So Blank Slate Brewing  is apparently no more. That’s a damned shame. The people who made Blank Slate are still with us.  Thank them. Support them how you can.

There’s a lesson here, as there is in any tragedy. This is what happens when chasing the new and the distant and the rare becomes more important than who’s making it.  You want local?  Support local.  You want great local?  Then support the places that are making great beer. Not the trendy. Not the newest. Not the flavor of the month.

Not everybody is going to make it. The choice of who does is up to you.


1 I’ve been dealing with some medical stuff and missed that Jesse was working with Tom over at Brew Minds now. My apologies for the misattribution.

This Week in Beer: August 7 – 13, 2017

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled events and specials. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. Remember to check our Events Calendar throughout the week to see events that are added after our Monday morning publication time.

Monday, August 7th at 5:00 pm – Rare Beer Monday at Braxton Labs

Tuesday, August 8th at 7:00 pm – Tennessee Brew Works Trivia at Hebron Brew Haus

Wednesday, August 9th at 6:00 pm – Braxton Tap Takeover at Goodfella’s OTR

Thursday, August 10th at 6:30 pm – Braxton Tap Takeover at Crafts and Vines

Thursday, August 10th at 7:00 pm – Golden Road Pint Night at Hebron Brew Haus

Friday, August 11th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Weyerbacher Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate

Friday, August 11th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Erie Brewing Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield

Friday, August 11th at 5:00 pm – Braxton Patio Takeover at Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria (Newport)

Friday, August 11th from 5:30-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town

Friday, August 11th at 7:00 pm – Hoots and Hops at Cincinnati Nature Center

Saturday, August 12th at 10:00 am – Team Fiona #3 and Team Bifi Release at Listermann Brewing

Saturday, August 12th at 12:00 noon – Get Funked Up! at Cappy’s Wines and Spirits

Saturday, August 12th at 1:00 pm – Anniversary Party at Darkness Brewing

Saturday, August 12th at 2:00 pm – Rhinegeist Astro Dwarf at Lucky Turtle

Hoperatives: This Week In Beer