Call it a “hidden gem” if you must, but Cincinnatians know more about their beer than any city in the country, and why shouldn’t they? Although often overlooked when lists come out ranking the “best beer cities in America,” Cincinnati has more small craft breweries per capita than almost anywhere else in the country, but it’s not simply about having more beer than other cities: it’s about the quality.
When you look at many “craft beer cities” it often seems that most of the breweries are hard to separate from one another, but that couldn’t be further from the truth in the Queen City. From the alcohol-heavy, experimental beers of Bad Tom to the West Coast IPA’s of Rhinegeist, you’ll have a hard time finding a city with more diversity than that of Cincinnati.
Not only are there plenty of options as is, but it seems that more keep popping up. One of the most recent additions, Braxton Brewing in Covington, is already the scene of startup activities and community events that only strengthen the bonds of craft brewing in our city. Starting as a crowdfunded company, there’s no way around the fact that it truly is a labor of love with Braxton.
The best news is, although we haven’t been crowned the “Queen City of Beer,” our beers have received national recognition and awards. While many have received awards, none stand out to me as much as Listermann’s Nutcase Porter, which occasionally even gets a little bit of jelly flavor added in small batch format. In case you were wondering, yes, it actually does have a strong peanut taste to it. Unlike some breweries, they take their flavors seriously, and even have their own scientist behind the scenes who crafts flavors on a molecular level. That’s dedication.
These experimental beers aren’t reserved by Listermann, though. From Rivertown’s limited release of their Cherry Sour Porter to the light, smooth tastes of Moerlein’s Strawberry Pig, the brewers are getting crafty to get more people, including nontraditional beer-lovers, to give them a shot. Yes, Cincinnati, this is a game where everyone wins.
The truth, though, is that this article wasn’t meant to gloat. No, this is more of an ode to the people and brewers of Cincinnati who have fought hard to revive our city’s rich brewing heritage. Everywhere I go, I see people snapping pictures of their craft beers, reminding people that the big brewers just don’t cut it when it comes to quality and dedication. I know that, the people reading this probably know that, so who cares if the rest of the world hasn’t taken notice yet?
So, here’s to you, Cincinnati. We’re the best because we love our beer, and the people who brew our beer love us.