Seven new breweries are in the works for this year so far, including more in Northern Kentucky. Here’s a look at what to expect on the new brewery front in Greater Cincinnati in 2016.
A year ago the Pleasant Ridge-based brewery announced plans to open at 6095 Montgomery Road. The owners weren’t able to launch in 2015, so now they’re targeting a May date.
“It may be a little earlier or a little later, depending on how long it takes to get our state license,” co-owner Brandon Hughes said. The brewery, run by brothers-in-law Hughes and Mike Albarella, will have a 200- to 300-barrel capacity and 10 rotating taps, each dedicated to a different style of beer, but no flagship beers.
"Our goal is to always offer a broad range of beers, from the malt-focused to the very hop-focused," Hughes said. "We want to always offer a new experience to customers." They also plan a "snackery," offering small plates of gourmet food. Nine Giant will enhance the in-development area, which is already occupied by the popular Overlook Lodge and the soon-to-open Grand Central Deli and Share: Cheesebar.
Darkness will insert itself in the Northern Kentucky market when it opens in Bellevue, joining Ei8ht Ball as the second brewery in that town.
If you can’t tell by the name, it’ll primarily deal in dark beers, such as porters, stouts and browns, with some lighter beers. Darkness expects the taproom to be a fun hangout place and will host live music and billiards. It's still in construction mode at 224 Fairfield Ave., but it looks like they're moving right along. If all goes well, co-owner Ron Sanders said the brewery should be selling beer by February. The addition of Darkness comes at a good time: The beloved Virgil's Cafe a few blocks down the street recently closed, and Darkness will help fill that void.
East Walnut Hills’ Woodburn has been in the planning stages for a few years, but finally some progress is being made at 2800 Woodburn Ave. Owners Chris Mitchell and Dennis Chacón just had concrete poured inside their 107-year-old building, which was a movie theater, then a bank, and most recently a dry cleaners. Offsite, they’ve been making test batches of brews, including a pawpaw beer and an award-winning German pilsner. In a few weeks their 20-bbls system will be in place, along with a 3-bbls pilot system so homebrewers can make small batches and sell them in the brewery’s taproom.
“Our goal is for somebody to walk in the door and there’ll be something here that they like,” Mitchell said. If all goes well, Woodburn will start pouring beers in early to late spring.
Columbia-Tusculum will gain another brewery when Streetside opens in the summer at 4003 Eastern Ave., the former home of East End Café. The brewery will be a family business, with homebrewers Brian and Kathie Hickey working with their son, who will be head brewer. They plan to go big, brewing up to 3,000 barrels per year inside a 13,757-square-foot space.
Located inside Kentucky’s historic Ludlow Theatre, the brewery pairs a circus with local history-named beers such as Ludlow, named after Israel Ludlow, one of the three founders of Cincinnati. Owner Paul Miller also runs Circus Mojo and got the idea to open a “bircus” during a trip to Belgium. There, he encountered a circus where the performers earned money by selling beer. Bircus plans to brew under 1,000 barrels a year. The brewery has been in the works for over a year, but it appears it will finally open to the public in June.
The Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati
After a failed Kickstarter campaign, four guys will still bring beer to Blue Ash when they open Queen City at 11253 Williamson Road by the fall. It will have a 1,200-square-foot taproom, where they’ll brew 500 to 1,000 barrels of a black IPA, a citrus IPA, a scotch ale, a nut brown and an oatmeal cinnamon stout. Inspired by Fountain Square, the brewery's logo features the Genius of Water from the Tyler Davidson Fountain.
Six String Brew Works
The brewery is shrouded in secrecy, as owners are still negotiating a location; they’ve said only that it’ll probably be “central.” The owners have already brewed a few beers. Last year Six String collaborated with Rhinegeist for S23, a charity beer for fallen police Sgt. Eric Sierra. Recently at Incline Public House, brewers debuted a stout infused with coconut and vodka-soaked cocoa nibs called Sultan of Swoon, an homage to Frank Sinatra. They’re shooting for a third-quarter opening, but in the meantime expect to see their brews pop up at special events around town.