Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Jeremy
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When we were living in southwest Ohio, the concept of a craft brewery was almost foreign to us.
Much like many cities around the country, the craft beer boom was a recent development only within the last decade or so. As far as Cincinnati breweries are concerned, this is no different.
As we are frequent visitors to the region to see family and friends, we have decided to make it our mission to hit up all of the best breweries in Cincinnati. Every time we visit we plan on adding more to this guide, and we won't stop until we've hit them all!
So, if you are looking for a great spot to grab a pint of beer, the following are for you.
Out of all of the breweries in Cincinnati, none are as well known as Rhinegeist. This brewery had a monumental rise since brewing their first batch of beer in 2013 and occupies a 100+-year-old former bottling plant in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
Rhinegeist only has a few beers that are available year round with several more available in seasonal or limited distribution, so it is hard to say what is available at any given time. But no matter what you get, Rhinegeist offers a clean flavor and an impressive ambiance that is hard to beat- just be sure to go to the 21+ rooftop bar on a nice evening for a great view in addition to your beer and finish it all off with a pour of their rose bubbles!
Rhinegeist is located at 1910 Elm Street.
Fibonacci is a nano-brewery in Mount Healthy that is more or less the exact opposite of Rhinegeist in almost everything except quality of beers. This one-room brewery produces an array of beer styles ranging from IPAs to Belgian Tripels. But despite being a smaller scale brewery they are also no strangers to experimentation and are known to have pumpkin / yam beer, fruited beers, and spiced beers on tap as well (sadly we missed these).
And while we thought this one would have been sick of the Fibonacci jokes, our bartender still laughed when we ordered one beer, one beer, two beers, three beers.
Fibonacci is located at 1445 Compton Road.
Urban Artifact is one of the more interesting breweries in Cincinnati. It is found in an old church, it has a large performing space for live music, and they are expressly focused on all things sour beer.
The beers here range from your conventional flavored gose (tart cherry and key lime were divine) as well as dry hopped sours, and some unusual experimental creations that are almost too hard to define (The Tumi was on during our visit- featuring yellow mombin fruit and tasting like a creamy mango).
Suffice it to say that if you aren't a sour fan this brewery may not be for you. But if you are interested or are big fans of the style like us, this one is a must visit.
Urban Artifact is located at 1660 Blue Rock Street.
Humble Monk Brewing Co.
Humble Monk Brewing Co. is located just steps away from Urban Artifact and offers a nice complement to that brewery. Where Urban Artifact focuses on all things wild and sour, Humble Monk focuses on Belgians!
During our visit the draft list included a range of brews from Farmhouse Saisons, to wheat beers, and their Belgian Dubbel and an Imperial Double Stout to name a few.
It is quite rare to find a brewery specializing in Belgians, and here you can sample your way through many that are exceuted quite well in terms of both flavors and ABV (the Dubbel clocked in at about 7% and Imperial Double Stoute at 9.7%)
Our only regret during visiting was that we were unable to sample the Tripel or Quad as they had run out due to popularity, but the bartender (co-owner) told us that the goal is to eventually have the full spectrum available to have the truest flight of all- Single through Quad.
We look forward to returning when that happens!
Humble Monk Brewing Co. is located at 1641 Blue Rock St in Cincinnati.
Taft's Brewing Company
Taft's Brewing Company is named after Cincinnati native and 27th President of the United States (as well as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), William Howard Taft.
This brewery goes all in on the Taft references beyond the name, including a logo that features Taft in a bathtub with a beer tap on it (a throwback to the rumor that Taft once got stuck in the tub), coasters featuring Taft's face, and more.
The brewery features a number of different beers ranging from Taft's Pils (a German Pilsner), Gavel Banger (an American IPA), to Auld Girthy (a Scottish Ale), Nellie's Key Lime Caribbean Ale (a fruited pale wheat ale), and even Yuzu Wanna IPA? (a fruited IPA). Throw in a rather robust food menu at each of their locations and this brewery is a spot that should have something for everyone!
Taft's Brewing Company has two locations- the ale house at 1429 Race Street and the brewporium at 4831 Spring Grove Avenue.
MadTree is another mega brewery in Cincinnati and is known for its fairly wide distribution throughout the state.
The brewery features a beautiful and modern drinking space indoors, and an outdoor patio that is in the shell of a former building. With 32 beers on draft, you could spend quite some time at this one sampling them all.
During my visit I was able to try four- the Thorn (a raspberry basil tart ale), Pilgrim (a fall ale with cranberries and vanilla), Nitro Churro Axis Mundi (an American “super stout” with cinnamon chocolate and vanilla), and De Peche a La Mode (a peach cobbler ale). Yes, I went all in on the unusual ones, but how often do you see a churro beer on the menu (which also happened to be the best of the bunch)?
The churro beer aside, the rest had a somewhat muted fruit flavors compared to our usual liking; however, it is hard to say no to having a cold one in the outdoor beer garden all the same. We did leave with a bottle of Joon, an ale aged in gin barrels with juniper and ginger added and have to say that one was the best of the bunch- a stellar gin/beer hybrid!
Mad Tree Brewing is located at 3301 Madison Road.
Nine Giant is a newer brewery located in Pleasant Ridge that brews a wide variety of beer styles like IPAs, Belgians, sours, stouts, and porters, just to name a few. One of our favorite things about this place is that they have food, and not just bar food – delicious, real food made from scratch with good vegetarian options.
The space is smaller and more intimate, which can be a nice change of pace from some of the huge beer halls in town. The bartenders were some of the friendliest we've met in a while, and they were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in recommending beers.
On our visit we tried the Pass the Mic (an easy drinking Mosaic Pale Ale), as well as a super hazy and juicy double IPA, and the Popscene Belgian Pale Ale. It was also Beer Sorcery night on our visit which is when they take a single keg and do an interesting experimental infusion; on our visit it was a Schwarzbier infused with lapsang souchong.
Nine Giant is located at 6095 Montgomery Road.
Listermann Brewery is an interesting one as their story begins in 1991 via homebrewing, and a two BBL brew house was opened in 2008, many of their products began winning national awards in 2014, and the rest is history.
The brewery produces an array of beers from conventional lagers and IPAs to more unusual creations like Pinkies Out (a New England IPA with Riesling and Chardonnay juice), Bananas in Paradise (a milkshake IPA with bananas and chai spices), Nutcase (a peanut butter porter), Sari Not Sorry (a curry stout), and more.
As such, if unusually flavored beers that actually taste good are your thing, Listermann is sure to have it. Just be warned that their well-stocked beer fridge is also an alluring sight, and if you're anything like us you'll be walking away with many, many bottles.
Listermann Brewery is located at 1621 Dana Avenue.
Fretboard Brewing Company
Fretboard Brewing Company is a music-themed brewery that has ample references all over- from the fretboard shaped flight racks to the full stage in the corner for concerts, this one has it all.
This one has well over a dozen taps for their brews with excellent iterations of many conventional styles. Their Vlad Pilsner won two national awards in 2018, Peso in My Hand Mexican Lager won an Ohio craft brewery award, and their Crazy Train Belgian Pale Ale won another national award as well.
While these were all solid and clean iterations for their beers (something we can fondly appreciate), the one that stuck out to us the most was the seasonal Fugee breakfast ale- conditioned on French toast, vanilla, and cinnamon, it really does taste like breakfast in a glass.
Fretboard Brewing Company is located at 5800 Creek Road.
Woodburn Brewery is our quintessential definition of trendy. The design of the space is simple and sophisticated, and is the kind of place we want to work out of over the course of a day (and, in all honesty, I did).
This brewery has a limited “core” beer list that includes a Berliner Weisse, two IPAs, a pilsner, a stout, and a porter, but rounds out their draft list with a number of limited and seasonal releases.
During my visit, I was able to try several beers, including the seasonal Salmon Shorts Siting (a blonde ale with lactose, strawberry, and rooibos tea) as well as the Go Floc Yourself (a hazy New England IPA), and the chocolate mint imperial stout to name a few. While the flavors of most were fairly light from my expectations, the Salmon Shorts Siting was one of my favorites from our visit to Cincinnati as it had a really complex flavor thanks to the addition of the rooibos tea!
Woodburn Brewery is located at 2800 Woodburn Avenue.
Brink Brewing Co.
Brink Brewing Co. opened its doors in early 2017 and has quickly become one of the most awarded breweries in the city including “Very Small Brewery of the Year” by the Great American Beer Festival, gold for their Moozie Milk Stout and silver for Hold the Reins English Mild at that same festival, and more.
While these two beers are most deserving of every award they receive (seriously, they're astonishingly good), we also have to say that we were big fans of the Riddled with Hops IPA and the Chocolate Milkshake IPA as well for having strong flavors and a nice clean finish.
This one is a bit heavy on ales, IPAs, and porters/stouts, so if you are looking for more variety you may want to go elsewhere (at least, based on the menu from our visit). But if quality beer is what you seek, Brink Brewing Co. will have it.
Brink Brewing Co. is located at 5905 Hamilton Avenue.
Moerlein Lager House
The Christian Moerlin Brewing Company was founded over 150 years ago, but was closed in the early 1900s due to prohibition.
Over 60 years later the brand returned to the city, and now has a state-of-the-art brewery and restaurant space right on the river (with great views from the balcony) just steps from Great American Ball Park.
The brewery features roughly two dozen beers on draft, with many focused on traditional Germany style brews ranging from Hefeweizen to Marzen, Munich Helles, and Marzen (plus other popular brews in current beer culture like New England IPA, milk stouts, and more).
During our visit we opted for two flights to sample them all, and ended up with a mix of the traditional and new creations.
Generally speaking, most of the brews were clean and true to their style, which is exactly what we want with centuries-old German brews. The Barbarossa (Munich Dunkel) and Emancipator Dobbelbock jumped out at us as having some interesting nuance that we'd definitely order again (and if they have any fruited lagers, give one of those a try for something different).
The more new-aged brews were similar in being nice iterations of their respective style, but did not jump out as being too terribly different than anyone else. As such, we think the true perk of visiting this one is for the array of German brews and its great location in downtown Cincinnati (naturally)!
When visiting this one, just be aware that parking near the ballpark is fairly expensive and meters run well into the evening.
Moerlein Lager House is located at 115 Joe Nuxhall Way in downtown Cincinnati.
3 Points Urban Brewery
We had high hopes when arriving to 3 Points Urban Brewery as their draft list had some rather unique takes on traditional favorites. Rather than having a lager, they have the Nazar, a Turkish dark lager, and Cold Envelope, an Australian rice lager. The Origami is described as a post coast IPA, and the Worsted is simply listed as table beer.
The standout was the Cold Envelope, which had some intriguing flavors from the Australian hops and rice (and, dare we say, maybe even a subtle sweetness). But beyond this, the other beers felt a bit light and lacking the kind of depth we seek out when visiting breweries.
3 Points Urban Brewery is located at 331 E 13th Street.
Fifty West Brewing Company
Fifty West Brewing Company is located about 20 minutes east of downtown Cincinnati, and is a gorgeous brewpub that is worth the trip. This spot offers two dozen beers on tap which runs the full spectrum from light lagers, to sours, hoppy brews, ciders, and more.
A flight here includes six samples, ensuring you can try a ton during your visit.
During my visit I opted for a mix of all styles, including the Twelfth & Central (a ginger sour with yuzu), Shaggin' Wagon (double IPA), Gogo Juice (Japanese basil amber lager), White Out (blueberry walnut cream stout), and Doom Pedal (a white ale described to be similar to a Belgian wit).
The standout was the Shaggin' Wagon, which was an 8.3% ABV that hits you with some rather strong tropical fruit notes and mild bitterness on the tongue. The fruited sour and walnut cream stout also offered some complex flavor profiles we are not used to seeing, and to quote one of the bartenders with regards to the White Out, “there is a lot going on in that one”.
The Gogo Juice and Doom Pedal were two that fell a bit flat here, if only because they were a bit overshadowed by the other beers in my flight. The Doom Pedal is reminiscent of Blue Moon and is an easy drinking brew, whereas the Gogo Juice had little to no basil flavor that came out.
All things being equal, I really enjoyed Fifty West and look forward to returning to sample more of their creations soon!
Fifty West is located at 7668 Wooster Pike east of downtown Cincinnati.
Streetside Brewery is located just east of downtown and is, in a word, a nerdy brewery- and I love it.
The brews have names like Meta (pilsner), Goseface Killah (gose with plum), Sobbing Mathematically (lassi gose with guava), Such Extra Much Special Wow (amber ale, plus a nitro version), Suh, Brah? (New England IPA), Red Hop Chili Pepper (a pepper amber), and more. The booths even have lite-brites on the wall to occupy you while you drink.
The Red Hop Chili Pepper and Sobbing Mathematically had nice spice and fruit notes respectively, while the Stay Golden (a blonde ale with local honey) fell a bit flat with fairly light honey flavors.
But one thing I really liked about this one is the variety of the menu. With 16 beers on draft with an array of styles, this is one of those places that beer drinkers of any taste can likely find a particular brew they will enjoy.
Streetside Brewery is located at 4003 Eastern Avenue just east of downtown Cincinnati.
Sonder Brewing was one of the more surprising Cincinnati breweries we've visited to date, as we went in half expecting this one to be a conventional suburban brewery (like others in this guide). It only took a few moments after walking in that we knew this one was different.
While the draft list here appears conventional on the surface, the brewery has a strong focus of German brews including Kolsch (with many flavored offerings like coffee and cucumber), a Bohemina Lager, Pilsner, Zwickel, Hefeweizen, and more.
While we are not typically Kolsch fans, it was truly the standout of the visit, as both the regular and flavored versions were all exceptional with a clean flavor profile and, in the case of the flavored iterations, strong bursts of coffee and cucumber respectively. Throw in a meal from their on-site kitchen, and you have the makings of a great brewery outing.
When visiting, be sure to check and see if the kitchen has ice cream made with their kolsch. During our visit they made a soft serve ice cream with the cucumber kolsch that included watermelon and tropical fruit that was absolutely delightful. A perfect way to end our visit!
Sonder Brewing is located at 8584 Duke Blvd in Mason, OH- about 30 minutes northeast of Cincinnati.
DogBerry Brewing is an odd one as it is located in an office park / industrial zone in West Chester (about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati).
The brewery features about 20 beers on tap with fairly traditional brews ranging from amber and brown ales to stouts, kolsch, IPA, black IPA, and double IPA. During our visit the brewery only two beers broke out of the traditional mold and were a gose with cherry, lemon, and raspberry as well as an IPA with raspberry and lemon (naturally, we had to get these plus a kolsch with peach added and the chocolate stout).
Unfortunately, most of the beers fell flat here as they were all fairly basic iterations into their particular styles, and the more unique flavored creations were not packing a strong punch. That being said, the brews were all easy drinking, which is something we can always appreciate.
DogBerry Brewing is located at 9964 Crescent Park Drive in West Chester- about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati.
While north of Cincinnati, make a stop at Grainworks Brewing, roughly 10 minutes away from DogBerry (above). This large brewery has a gorgeous outdoor patio area that is perfect for summer beers, and ample inside space for those not-so-great-weather days that frequent the region.
The brewery features well over two dozen beers on draft, and offers a mix of conventional beers (Belgian blonde, brown ale, oatmeal, stout, etc) and modern brews with a twist (Berliner Weisse with cherry and pineapple, a milkshake IPA with berries, an imperial oatmeal stout with coffee and dark chocolate, and more).
We loaded our flight up with various IPAs, the milkshake IPA, and a blueberry ale and were not disappointed. Their Imperial IPA clocked in at 9% and offered a rather robust hop profile thanks to being brewed and dry hopped with an absurd number of strains. The milkshake IPA had so much fruit that it tasted more like a fruit ale than a milkshake IPA, and was definitely of the variant of a dessert beer through and through.
Much like other breweries in Cincinnati that we visited, we also love that Grainworks runs the spread of all beer styles- making it yet another spot that is great for those with all beer interests. Odds are good you'll find a favorite here!
Grainworks Brewing Company is located at 7790 Service Center Drive, Suite B, in West Chester- about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati.
West Side Brewing
West Side Brewing is one of those spots you could visit with friends who have all beer tastes and likely not be let down. That is because this brewery offers a wonderful spread of options ranging from Amber Ales to 10%+ ABV Imperial Stouts and everything in between and has roughly 20 options on tap at any given time.
During my visit I went for a spread including the Double IPA and Hefeweizen (core lines) and more unusual creations like their Imperial Farmhouse (Plum flavor). While I thought the Hefeweizen was a bit lacking and was more of a wit (citrus) than my preferred German wheat (banana-forward), the double IPA offered some rather smooth flavors and the plum farmhouse was an intriguing mix of fruitiness I could've drank all day!
West Side Brewing is located at 3044 Harrison Avenue in Cincinnati.
There are a few breweries located just across the Ohio River in Kentucky. While not technically part of Cincinnati (or even Ohio, for that matter), their accessibility makes them a great option for those wanting to drink in the region so we are including them in this guide.
Darkness Brewing is the first of these breweries that we visited, and offers up a sci-fi themed space with roughly ten brews on tap which during our visit featured a decent spread between IPAs, ales, and stouts only.
We sampled a flight, and the highlights here were two of the staple beers- Man on the Mook (a solid milk stout), and Mayan Sacrifice (a golden imperial stout). The latter of which is one of those beers that is worth the drive solely for if it is on tap, as it is a golden stout which is essentially an ale that is flavored with chocolate, spices, and other ingredients to make it taste like a stout (rather than imparting the flavor with the grains).
This one was so good, in fact, that had we not seen the color of it before drinking we would've put it toe-to-toe with some of the best traditional stouts out there without a moment's hesitation. A must try!
Darkness Brewing is located at 224 Fairfield Avenue in Newport, KY.
Braxton Brewing Company
Braxton Brewing Company is one of those breweries that has something for everyone, and their year-round and seasonal staples reflect this with options ranging from cream ales to Berliner Weisse and everything in between. But the brewery also has a number of specialty beers including a honey peach Kolsch, collaborations with Graeter's Ice Cream (yes, ice cream flavored beers), and a whole lot more.
One of the cool things about Braxton Brewing Company is that they also have a second location at the Party Source known as Braxton Labs where they create some even more unique beer varieties ranging from Cherry Turnover (a tart cherry beer), to milkshake IPAs, flavored stouts, and a whole lot more.
While we visited the Braxton Labs location to drink, we were also pleasantly surprised to find a strong mix of beers on their menu from both the main brewery and the labs as well- meaning you can likely find several options for you here!
Braxton Brewing Company has two locations. The main brewery is at 27 W 7th Street in Covington, KY, and the second (“Braxton Labs”) is located inside the Party Source at 95 Riviera Drive in Bellevue, KY. We visited the Party Source location for this feature.
Wooden Cask Brewing Co.
As its name implies, Wooden Cask in Newport, KY, has a number of aged brews on draft, but also an impressive draft list of European style beers ranging from English Brown Porters to English Pub Ales, Scottish Stout, and many more.
We were less than impressed with the non-aged beers in our flight (as well as the service), and would definitely recommend visiting this one for the aged and high ABV varieties alone as they offered some rather robust flavor over the non-aged counterparts.
Wooden Cask is located at 629 York St. in Newport, KY.
Bircus Brewing Co.
Bircus Brewing Co. is located in Ludlow, KY, just a short drive across the border from Cincinnati. This one is a combo brewery and performing arts space for circus acts, so if you can time your visit right (typically on weekends) you can get a show with your brew!
While we missed a show during our weeknight visit, we were able to sample a few of their roughly dozen beers on draft that ranges from light American Ales and Mexican lagers to more unusual options like Attila the Plum (a plum Belgian Tripel), Y'all Means All (a Pride inspired Brut IPA with Apricot), and Tent of Beers (an Imperial Blonde with Honey and Blackberry that clocked in at 9.7% ABV).
This is an interesting set of beers to go together on a draft list as it would offer options for the craziest craft beer fans (us) and those who like more traditional, dare I say even domestic flavors. Now to get back for a show!
Bircus Brewing Co. is located at 322 Elm St in Ludlow, KY.
Looking For More Cincinnati Breweries?
Don't worry, we'll be visiting more Cincinnati breweries soon! Check back as we update this list to feature all of the city's best.
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- Kayak to find a cheap plane ticket or AirTreks for RTW tickets.
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- World Nomads to insure your trip.
- Viator or Get Your Guide for a day tour.
- G Adventures for a multi-day guided tour.
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About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.