Bikes+Brews 2011 takes place this Saturday in Cincinnati’s urban core

This Saturday marks the return of Bikes+Brews, one of the official Bike Month activities of the City of Cincinnati’s Bicycle Program. Bikes+Brews is the perfect segue into next week’s American Craft Beer Week as it will offer riders the opportunity to explore the city’s urban core while learning a bit about craft beer and how it plays into both the past and future of Cincinnati.

The ride will depart historic Findlay Market promptly at 1pm, so feel free to come early and enjoy a beer at the market’s biergarten and some hearty grub from Cafe de Wheels, who will be on hand beginning at 10:30am.

A handful of guides will be on hand, identifiable by navy blue Over-the-Rhine All-Star t-shirts, to help answer questions and keep the ride on track. This year’s ride includes a total of nine stops along a seven-mile course beginning and ending at Findlay Market. This will allow participants to meet at a single location, and offer a convenient parking location for those that will be driving to the event. That being said, it is strongly recommended to use either pedal power or public transportation.

From Findlay Market the ride will proceed past the Samuel Adams Brewery in the West End, and on to Rock Bottom Brewery on Fountain Square. A quick jaunt across the river into Northern Kentucky will take participants to Keystone Bar & Grill in Covington, then Newport’s Hofbrauhaus, the region’s largest brewpub.

After all riders have sufficiently stabilized themselves, post-liters of German brew, the peleton will cross back over the Ohio River, via the Purple People Bridge, for a quick stop at the newly opened Holy Grail at The Banks. Our final three stops will take us back into Over-the-Rhine, the heart of Cincinnati’s brewing history, for pints at The Lackman Bar, Neon’s Unplugged and finally our end destination of Market Wines somewhere in the vicinity of 6:30pm.

Bikes+Brews 2011 is part of more than 40 Bike Month events, and is free and open to the public. Admittedly, this year’s ride will be a bit more strenuous both in route, distance, number of stops and brews consumed, so please be sure to keep yourself hydrated with water. That being said, riders have complete autonomy to join late or forgo portions of the trek to either finish early or meet us at a future stop. Bikes+Brews 2010 was a great success, and one of our favorite events of the past year, and UrbanCincy is looking forward to building on the momentum this year. Let’s Ride!!!

Hops on the Ohio to offer nation’s first two-state beer festival this weekend

A truly unique craft beer experience is on tap this Saturday from 12pm to 12am, and it is being put on by the same group that organized the wildly successful Cincy Winter Beerfest. The old L&N bridge, now known as the Purple People Bridge, will be the stage for the novel Hops On The Ohio concept, which offers beer lovers the nation’s first-ever two-state festival.

Over 200 different craft brews, including many special releases will be spanning the Ohio and Kentucky border from river bank to river bank, and attendees will have the rare opportunity to taste this wide selection in essentially one location. Most breweries and beers are only distributed in certain states and many of the beers at the festival may only be available in either Kentucky or Ohio, but not necessarily both, so here is your chance to have both state’s portfolios at your disposal.

That being said, there is one catch, legally the beer cannot cross state lines, or in this case the imaginary line on the bridge, and there will be “crossing guards” in place to kindly remind people of this fact.

All tickets are available for purchase online.  General admission tickets cost $35 in advance and $45 at the gate. This will get participants a five ounce tasting cup, 25 beer sample tickets, and exclusive access to the bridge, as the structure will be closed to the general public. There will be designated driver tickets for $10 that include two tickets for non-alcoholic beverages.

Additional ticket options include the “Hophead Combo” for $45 in advance ($60 at the gate) and in addition to regular ticket privileges, Hopheads get bumped to the front of the line for the exclusive release of Stone’s 10.10.10 Vertical Epic, as well as beer samples and entry to the Schlafly Beer Sellar-Bration, where there will be 47 different beers on tap from the St. Louis brewery. Schlafly Beer-Sellar-Bration tickets are also available individually for $15.

All proceeds, from the festival, will benefit the Big Joe Duskin Music Foundation and its mission to bring local professional musicians into area schools to perform and lead presentations about the impact and enjoyment of playing music. Organizers say that there food and live music will be available.

Hops on the Ohio will take place on Saturday, October 9 from noon until midnight on the Purple People Bridge (map).  Automobile parking will be available on both sides of the river.  Those unable to secure a designated driver are encouraged to take advantage of nearby taxi stands or utilize Metro bus service (plan your trip).

Brewery District to host three new Oktoberfest tours next weekend

What does September mean in Cincinnati? Oktoberfest of course! One of the area’s favorite festivals, in all of its German heritage, food and beer splendor, returns downtown September 18-19. In addition to the traditional consumption of bratwurst, märzen lagers, and chicken dances, the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District is teaming, once again, with the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company to host a series of tours focusing on Cincinnati’s rich brewing history. The three separate, but intermingling, tours will be offered at various times on both Saturday and Sunday and all three will begin and end at the future home of Christian Moerlein brewing operations (located at 1621 Moore Street in OTR).

The first is the popular Prohibition Resistance Tour which is run by the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District every year during Bockfest in March, and now during Oktoberfest as well. This two-and-a-half hour tour begins with a historical overview of the brewing in Cincinnati, followed by stops at six different breweries including descending 30 feet underground into abandoned lagering cellars for an authentic glimpse of Cincinnati’s brewing past. This particular tour has typically sold out quickly and OTR Brewery District executive director Steve Hampton says that tickets have been selling just as fast this time around. The tour includes a beer ticket and costs just $30, so make your reservations soon.

A second tour will highlight the release of Mike Morgan’s new book entitled Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King. This new tour will take participants along the length of Vine Street through Over-the-Rhine, allowing them to travel through both the Crown and Kauffman breweries while also learning about OTR’s early history and politics from the author himself. Tour organizers say that Morgan’s tour will only be offered at two times this weekend: Saturday at 3:10pm and Sunday at 3:20pm. Each tour will last approximately two-and-a-half hours and include the requisite beer ticket. Tickets cost $35, however $45 gets you a ticket for the tour as well as a signed copy of Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King.

The third and final tour is much more informal, free, and included in both of the aforementioned tours. Throughout the weekend people are encouraged to stop by the former Husman Potato Chip plant to check out the future home of Christian Moerlein brewing operations and get a look at the the planned brewery layout, future equipment placement, and renderings of the new Christian Moerlein Lager House taking shape on Cincinnati’s central riverfront. The tour will be offered approximately every 40 minutes.

As a special early kick-off for these tours, please join the OTR Brewery District this coming Thursday, September 9 at 10am, as volunteers Reconnect the Kauffman. During this “open to the public” event a wall, sealed during prohibition and blocking an underground tunnel, will be ceremoniously torn down to reconnect 2 buildings of the Kauffman Brewery, which at its height was the 4th largest in the city.

For those interested in being more involved with the Brewery Districts efforts, or just more involved with beer in general, volunteers are still needed both for the tours, and for serving beer through out the weekend at the future Christian Moerlein Brewery in OTR. Get your tickets soon and please sign up to be part of this great Cincinnati weekend. Cheers!

Over-the-Rhine Biergarten opens for summer, wraps up American Craft Beer Week

Following a week delay in opening due to permitting issues, the Over-the-Rhine Biergarten returned last weekend to its summer-long post at historic Findlay Market. The biergarten provides the perfect opportunity to round out American Craft Beer Week in Cincinnati once the beers start to flow this Saturday and Sunday.

Offerings include cans of Hudy and Burger beer for $2 a piece, as well as three Christian Moerlein selections on tap. Drafts will run you $4 for a 16 oz. pour, or $5 for the larger 22 oz. size and you can have your choice of OTR Ale, Lager House and the newly released Northern Liberties India Pale Ale.

Over 600 guests got to enjoy samples of Moerlein’s first venture into hoppier beers with the Northern Liberties IPA keg tapping event at Rookwood Pottery when it was officially released on Friday, May 6th. A traditional British style, the IPA got its descriptive name as a result of the increased level of hops and alcohol, both natural preservatives, needed to allow the beer to keep for the long sea voyages from the UK to the colonies in India.

The beer style has evolved over the years and American IPAs tend to push the envelope of hop additions much more so than their British counterparts. The Northern Liberties may be the best Moerlein brew to date, and despite the increase in hops, it still retains the distinctive, malty Moerlein taste and mouthfeel. American IPAs can range from 40-70 International Bitterness Units and 5.5-7.5% Alcohol By Volume, and Moerlein’s IPA comes in at 55 IBUs and 6.3% ABV.

In an effort to make the biergarten more accessible to all Findlay Market patrons, a cooler has been added to the operation that will allow shoppers to keep any perishable groceries cool while they enjoy a cold beer in the summer sun. The taps will be flowing from 11am to 5pm on Saturdays, and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays, every single weekend from now through Labor Day, and all proceeds benefit both the OTR Brewery District and the OTR Foundation.

Whether you plan on heading to Findlay Market already, or you decide to use this as your excuse, venture down to the Over-the-Rhine Biergarten this weekend to toast the closing of American Craft Beer Week, and come back all summer long to enjoy the sights and sounds of one of Cincinnati’s greatest assets, all while drinking for a good cause. Cheers!

Going “Topless” at Arnold’s Bar & Grill with Rivertown Brewing – 5/19

As the clouds part and the sun returns to the skies of Cincinnati today, Arnold’s Bar & Grill is making the most of it and going “Topless.” On this, the third day of American Craft Beer Week, the city’s oldest bar is throwing a party in conjunction with the area’s newest micro-brewery, Rivertown Brewing, and all are invited.

All Rivertown beers will be on hand for only $3 all night long, including bottles of Helles Lager, Heffeweizen, Oatmeal Stout, Wit Beer, Hop Bomber Pale Ale, as well as, 16 oz. drafts of their Dunkel, which will be ceremoniously tapped at 8pm.

Jason Roeper and Randy Schiltz, Rivertown owners and brewers, will be on hand to answer questions and talk about each of their brews. Blues musician John Redell will take the courtyard stage from 8pm to 10pm to entertain the beer loving crowd. Arnold’s will also be preparing a variety of dishes, all of which will be beer infused with Rivertown offerings.

As you wrap up your day, head over to Arnold’s downtown (map) to enjoy one of Cincinnati’s oldest, and newest traditions…TOPLESS as Arnold’s takes off the cover to their famous outdoor courtyard space.  This event has no cover charge.  Free bicycle parking is available nearby, on- and off-street automobile parking is available for payment, and Metro bus service is also available (plan your trip).