Zinzinnati

I spent last weekend in Cincinnati visiting my best friend, and loyal BBs reader, Haley! Cincinnati has a booming craft beer scene, and we packed as much Cincy beer as we could into my short trip.
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I arrived late on Friday night and we relaxed on Haley’s roof and enjoyed a couple cans of Rhinegeist Crash. Rhinegeist is probably Cincinnati’s most known craft brewery. The barely three-year-old operation has experienced enormous popularity and growth since opening in June 2013, and they just started expanding distribution to the East Coast. I really enjoyed the flavorful, easy drinking Crash pale ale. It has tropical hop notes, mild bitterness and a short, clean finish.
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On Saturday morning we went to yoga at the newly renovated Central Parkway YMCA and browsed at The City Flea. Our first beer stop of the day was Taft’s Ale House, named for 27th President, William Howard Taft. Taft’s is housed in a renovated Evangelical church. The enormous three floor space has a bar on each floor, tons of seating, a private events space, and a full food menu. We grabbed flights on the top floor (in the balcony?) and took a seat to discuss the important issues of the day. 😉
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Unfortunately they were out of Haley’s favorite beer: Snake in the Grass, a Belgian-style blonde brewed with lemongrass and local basil. I thought all the beers I tried were solid. My favorite was the Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale, described by Haley’s husband Andrew as “the craft version of a Bud Light Lime.”  It’s a wheat beer brewed with key lime juice and coriander. So refreshing!
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From Taft’s we walked to Rhinegeist, just half a mile up Elm Street. Rhinegeist was having their annual mini Oktoberfest inside, but we went straight to the rooftop bar–Haley and Andrew’s favorite in the city. Rhinegeist has a huge selection of beers and ciders on tap. I wish I could report on the rosé cider, but I only had eyes for beer! Andrew recommend Rhinegeist’s flagship IPA, Truth, the brewery’s most solid offering in his opinion. I wasn’t disappointed! Truth is packed with West Coast hops and effortlessly masks the 7.2% ABV. I also enjoyed Haley’s choice,  Chester, a dry saison brewed with sour cherries.
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The people-watching on the Rhinegeist roof is highly entertaining, but we finally tore ourselves away from lederhosen, bachelorettes, and dress-wearing runners to take in the view. Andrew and Haley pointed out all the old buildings being converted to swanky new apartment buildings and businesses. Like Bushwick, the landscape of Cincinnati is constantly changing, and understandably it hasn’t been without controversy.
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From Rhinegeist we took Cincy’s new street car back to the apartment for a little r&r. Haley and I made this delicious, extra crunchy, pistachio guacamole, and we had more skyline time on their balcony. The coolest sight on the balcony might be the outhouse Andrew built for their dog, Zoe! Do you recognize the material on the roof?? It’s covered in different varieties of Rhinegeist beer cans! Such a great idea. Reduce, reuse, rep great beer. 🙂
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The main event on Saturday evening was a trip to the Cincinnati Oktoberfest, the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany. We hopped back on the street car for a quick one mile trip downtown and emerged in a different world.
Although over half a million people turned out for “Oktoberfest Zinzinnati,” it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded. We easily grabbed beers and found seats next to an Oom-pah band. Andrew got in touch with his German heritage, grooving along to the music, and even convinced Haley to get up and do the chicken dance with him (am I the only one who didn’t know it’s an Oktoberfest song??)
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Deciding that a lap was in order, we moseyed over to another band with a less traditional set list. An Oom-pah take on oldies and classic rock? You know we were into it. Another round of beers and we found ourselves in a Congo line sandwiched between a gaggle of very enthusiastic International students from the University of Cincinnati and a group of friendly middle-aged Midwesterners. It was one of those moments when you think, “How exactly did I get here?” but decide not to care because you’re having so much fun.
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We ended the evening on the swings at the Smale Riverfront Park, recapping the day and gazing out at the John Roebling Suspension Bridge. The bridge spans the Ohio river between Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky, and was built 30 years before Roebling started an even bigger project– the Brooklyn Bridge! When worlds collide, it’s a beautiful thing.
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Thank you, Haley and Andrew, for showing me such a good time in Cincinnati! I’m already thinking about my next trip. If you’re a craft beer lover, this growing city needs to be at the top of your vacation wish list!
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Brew News

We haven’t given an update on what’s happening in the beer world in quite a while! If you’re feeling out of the loop, never fear! Here it is:

My fellow Chitwoods, you’ll be happy to hear that Charleston made the list of six beer destinations for 2016! Looks like we’ll be hitting some spots other than Westbrook during our vacay this summer.

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Just six months ’til more fun times in Folly!

This Drunk Pasta Carbonara looks incredible, and could easily be made without meat. Make sure you read the article, too. “Cooking with wine is a long respected practice and beer is just starting to enter into the scene in a legitimate way…We won’t stop drinking wine, we don’t need to. There is space at the table for well made beverages of all sorts, we’re just looking to join the party on an equal footing, and we’re getting there.”

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season, and of course there’s a list of beer pairings for each cookie. Oh Internet, I love you so. Caramel de-Lites + Oskar Blues Death By Coconut? Heaven.

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Haley and Andrew’s favorite Cincinnati brewery had an enormously successful 2015. Two-year-old Rhinegeist is expanding throughout the Northeast, starting with their cider line, Cidergeist. Rhinegeist has locked down a distributor in Massachusetts, and they’re in the process of interviewing wholesalers in NY!!

Man Blames Beer-Battered Fish in 10th OWI. The most ridiculous thing about this story is that he still has a license after nine operating-while-intoxicated charges..

Can’t say that I watched the Super Bowl long enough to catch Peyton Manning’s “I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser” comments. However, he should be ashamed that his team is based in one of the best areas for craft beer in the country, and he still chooses Bud. “Maybe he doesn’t know!” you protest. Well, the Brewer’s Association sent him a delicious package of instructional materials.

Speaking of the Super Bowl…on principle I really tried not to laugh at this ad.

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We have some exciting guest posts coming up next week! My friends Emily and Rich visited Crozet’s brand new Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery last weekend and sent an impressive write up. We’re also excited for my dad to share scenes from his trip to the Bahamian Brewery. Have a great Thursday! Another weekend is almost upon us.

-R