2013 saw an explosion of craft breweries in the greater Cincinnati area. In a short period of time Rhinegeist , MadTree , Double Barrel, and Ei8ht Ball have become household names amongst the beer nerds.
This is in addition to some of their barely older brethren at Fifty West, Cellar Dweller, and Blank Slate.
The quality of beers being produced in this city easily rivals that of any other established beer towns on the west coast or up north by the lakes.
Fortunately for us, we have easy access to many, many delicious choices in a variety of formats.
This year saw greater distribution of cans and growlers, the rise of the taproom, and the concept of a beer bar becoming a sustainable reality.
So now comes the dubious task of trying to name my favorite local beers of the year. In an effort to be fully transparent, I didn’t come close to trying every single locally produced beer -- especially those with limited distribution.
This is also based on my personal preferences and tastes. And, don’t get mad at me if you can’t find the beers -- I don’t make them, I just drink them. Contact your local brewer to inquire about their status.
Lastly, I copped out and tied two beers -- so deal with your OCD when you count the list repeatedly and realize it’s actually 11.
- 10. Rhinegeist – Uncle: One of their core beers, this simple sessionable mild proved that you can enjoy a beer that isn’t a triple-double imperial something or another.
- 9. Mt. Carmel – Ardennes Quad: This proved to be an excellent example of the classic Belgian style with it’s famously identifiable yeast and dark fruit characteristics.
- 8. Blank Slate – The Lesser Path: While technically a “white” IPA, this ended up taking the crown in the King of the Cincinnati IPA . Read the full review to learn more about it if you don’t already know.
- 7. Fifty West – Coffee Please: This big coffee stout dances right into the nose, mouth, throat, stomach, and hearts of coffee beer lovers everywhere.
- 6. MadTree – Galaxy High: Their first foray into the Imperial IPA realm proved to be a hop-fueled home run with its dank flavor, heavy body, and nice little burn. Dangerously delicious!
- 5. (tie)MadTree – Bourbon Barrel Aged Axis Mundi: This “experimental” treatment of their popular Russian imperial stout proved to be a wild success right out the barrel.
- 5. (tie)Triple Digit – Cranium: Their limited release big bottle proved to be a huge hit among fans and for good reason with its big punches of coffee, vanilla, and bourbon.
- 4. Rhinegeist – Truth: The flagship beer in their lineup proved to be a representative rendition of the prototypical west coast IPA. It delivered a big fruity and floral hop profile paired with a dry finish. It has quickly garnered a loyal following.
- 3. Triple Digit – Bourbon Barrel Aged Chickow!: This beer awakened my senses to the rich, sweet nectar that is Chickow! in its many different forms. A lush, heavy beer with complimentary bourbon overtones to balance the sweetness.
- 2. Blank Slate – Fork In The Road: Some call it an IPA, some call it a hoppy red. I call it delicious. It delivers a big malt backbone teamed up with a heavy hand of hops. I nearly shed a year when I drank my last pint in late spring knowing it wouldn’t return again until the fall.
- 1. MadTree – PsycHOPathy: Shocker, BrewProf choose a MadTree beer. Okay, but hear me out. I deliberated over this for at least a week. Going back and forth and re-ordering the list multiple times. Hell, it was off the list for a period of time. However, it deserves the top spot not only because it is a very well made beer but more importantly for what that bright green can has symbolized. It was the first canned craft beer in Ohio and stood out like a hop-colored beacon at Great American Ball Park this season. It became this year’s icon of Cincinnati craft beer. Cheers to the beards!
Honorable Mentions: Blank Slate – Shroominous, Anything made at the Moerlein Lager House, Ei8ht Ball – K-Hole, MadTree Happy Amber, Cellar Dweller/Mumbo Brewing – Shutdown, MadTree – The Pilgrim, Listermann – Nutcase, Rhinegeist – Saber/Snaggle Tooth Tiger, Listermann – JZ’s Smackdown….. And many, many, many, many others!
For more on BrewProf's favorite brews and other articles, go to: brewprof.com