Being Mr. Dulce Designs has always had its perks. Our basement is a candy amusement park with color-coded chocolates, a zoo-like assortment of gummy animals, and spools of ribbon as far as the eye can see. My wife has a real passion in working with brides and event planners and providing a truly fun resort from their otherwise hectic events. When she asked me what I could offer in lines of a passionate guest blog, my ideas rattled off like an immature Instagram recount of the bachelor party to one of her weddings. Beers, bourbon, and baseball.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve collected over 30 bottles of bourbon. Through travel and my previous occupation, I’ve counted nearly 600 baseball games I have attended. But my true passion is beer. It’s really one of the most universal conversation starters and maintainers we have in this world. Beer isn’t just a beverage; it’s a memory as consistent as any “first”. People ask me “what’s the best beer you’ve ever had,” and I never really have a solid answer. The story always goes to Bell’s Hopslam because I remember drinking two (and it feeling like 10) the first Opening Day Reds game I attended with my dad. Or Founder’s Centennial because it was the first beer I bought to impress a girl at a “Thirsty Thursday” in college. I drank a Stone Cali-Belgique the day my son was born. My wedding night was celebrated with Abita Pecan Harvest.
Its this glamorization of memories that’s softened my stance as a beer supremacists over the past few years. For years I turned my nose on the Bud Light crowd for their notion that quantity and costs seemingly outweighed the importance of beer taste. Then I remember the first time I mowed the lawn of a house I owned. It must have been 120 degrees outside in your typical swampy Cincinnati summer. The only drink cold in our fridge was a can of Coors Light that had been shuffling around our crisper in the fridge. But sitting on MY back porch, looking at MY perfectly lined green carpet, that swill from Golden, Colorado rivaled anything the geniuses from Kalamazoo or San Diego could ever brew.
Still, if you’re willing to take a step away from your local gas station beer selection, Cincinnati is a bustling brew city. Over the past 18 months new breweries have made good beer more accessible and less costly in the I-275 circle. Take Rhinegiest, the old lamp factory with west-coast brewers who make simple and consistent beers. Or Madtree and the amazing creativity that a few home-brewers have used to become Ohio’s first canned beer. Christian Moerlein, Rivertown, Mt. Carmel, Bad Tom, Cellar Dweller, Triple Digit, and Blank Slate are just a few of the other breweries that have popped up in town at local bars and their own tap rooms.
So while “good beer” is still a subjective term that depends on your current attitude situation, I’ve compiled my top 10 local beers with a brief description. Hopefully you can find one of the below to put the exclamation point in one of your own memories.
· Blank Slate – Fork in the Road : An amber IPA that hits malty and hoppy. I’m fascinated with how smooth it starts and how crisp it cuts off its flavor
· Rhinegiest – Truth IPA: The best IPA in the city is available in cans
· Madtree – Happy Amber: Another amber IPA available in cans
· Madtree – Sprye: a rye IPA that finishes long after an initial IPA pine
· Madtree – Curse of Simcoe: I’m heavy on Madtree eh? This is seasonal but feature simcoe hops which probably is my favorite type consistently
· West 6th – Lemongrass Wheat: Local can be Lexington right? For the lighter crowd, this would be fantastic at GABP during a meaningless June Sunday afternoon
· Christian Moerlein – Emanicpator : won the silver medal among bock style beers in the US this year
· Triple Digit – Chickow : brown, syrupy, warmth on a chilly day
· Rhinegiest – Cougar: A great gateway beer for those loyal to Budweiser or pretentious enough to think Stella Artois is a good beer
· Madtree – Pumpcan: I’m in the 3% of Americans that hate pumpkin pie. Refuse to drink pumpkin spice lattes (although this also could be because I’M A MAN). But this is amazing.