I’m a fan of history and learning the heritage of cities. In case you were unaware, Cincinnati has an extremely cool beer history.
Cincinnati was a bustling beer city pre-Prohibition and even coined “Beer Capital of the World” in the 1800s. Millions of gallons of beer were produced and transported through the city and underground lager tunnels—some of which you can still explore on tours. Sadly, prohibition ruined everything … but we’re making our comeback!
If you’re looking for a local Cincinnati beer adventure mixed with a little bit of history, I’d highly recommend Baron’s Brew Bus. This bus tour provided the perfect mix of that and drinking! I was nervous it would be more of a drunkfest/bachelor party-type experience and was happily surprised to find that I was probably the most tipsy.
They have a few stops based on which tour you sign up for, but that day we went to Taft’s, Christian Moerlein and Mockbee (not a brewery, but neat history) on the Ohio side, as well as Braxton and Wooden Cask on the Kentucky side.
Taft’s Ale House
Located in an old church in Over-the-Rhine, this place has a solid selection of beer and an upscale yet casual vibe. There’s a fairly large number of beers on tap and they tend to have new beers to try. On the tour, we tried:
- 1882 (Golden Ale)
- S’wheat Orange (Wheat)
- Maverick (Porter)
- Cherrywood (Red Ale)
- Gavel Banger (IPA)
I’d recommend checking it out for a post-work happy hour or dinner if you haven’t been!
Christian Moerlein Brewing was one of those historic breweries in the 1800s, but closed during prohibition. The brand was revived and is now located just a few blocks from the original brewery. They focus on German beers, however dabble in a few other types—like canning FC Cincinnati (blood orange IPA) and Strawberry Pig (Cream Ale).
On the tour, we got to see their production area which was pretty neat. While we were there, we had:
- Emancipator (Dopplebock)
- Mexican Lime Lager (Fruit Beer)
- FC Cincinnati (Blood Orange IPA)
It’s not one of my favorite breweries since I’m not a big German beer fan, however you should definitely check out their Oktoberfest celebration in the fall! I’m 100% on board with Moerlein that weekend 🙂
This is a stop on the tour primarily to see the old lager tunnels (the bar is located within these) . It’s situated along what was the canal, so barrels could easily be transported. I had never heard of this place before so I was glad to check it out. Be warned, it is in a bit of a sketchy area.
I love Braxton. They’ve been making a lot of interesting/experimental beers and I was pumped to try a few new ones while there. It was also conveniently their Derby party so the place was bustling and the hats were on point. Good times all around.
- 1957 All Star Ale (English Mild)
- Starter Kit (Coffee Pale Ale)
- Sparky (Wheat Ale)
- Kentucky Home (Mint Julep style beer!)
Side note, Braxton Labs opens today and I can’t wait to check that out!
Our last stop was Wooden Cask. This newer brewery is loved by many, however their beer is too classic for me. The owner was a brewer at Rivertown and wanted to take craft beer back to its traditional style. If you like those staple beers, you’ll find and love them here… just not for me!
- Kentucky Farm Hand (Wheat Ale)
- Newporter (Porter)
- 7th Street Runoff (Brown Ale)
The space is cool for its historical vibe. Supposedly it was a mafia casino at one point in time (says our tour guide), so you can check it out for that if nothing else.
Overall, I really enjoyed our tour guides and the experience on Baron’s Brew Bus (American Legacy Tours). Best of all, it was a Cincy Saver– beer ballin’ on a budget! Hope you get the chance to experience it soon.
In the meantime, setup your own tour and check out some of my favorite Cincinnati breweries.