CINCINNATI -- Starting this Sunday there is a new way to get to the Cincinnati Bengals game and embrace the city’s craft beer scene too.
Taft’s Ale House and Cincy Brew Bus are teaming up to shuttle fans to and from Over-the-Rhine and The Banks.
The free “Jungle Shuttle” bus will start at 10:40 a.m. on select home games this season. The bus will leave Taft’s Ale House starting at 10:40 a.m. those mornings and make trips every 20 minutes to O’Malley’s in the Alley near Paul Brown Stadium.
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Taft's co-founder and head brewer Kevin Moreland said, “I’ve traveled a lot with my career, and I always felt that this is a service many cities need.”
He cited Great Lakes Brewing Company’s bus to Indians games as an inspiration for the new service.
“I remember getting frustrated with having to remember where to park and then to remember how to get to the breweries and other places you need to go,” Moreland said. “Fortunately, Great Lakes was there to get us to the games and the idea has stuck with me all the years since.”
Cincy Brew Bus owner Mike Stokes said both businesses are also looking to fill niches that are being underserved and quickly realized that they had an opportunity for success on their hands. Taft’s Ale House already serves as one of the main stops on the Brew Bus tours.
“If there are three things I can think of that I’m passionate about it would be: Cincinnati’s revitalization, beer and the Bengals,” Stokes said.
The pair said it’s an opportunity to not just teach people about the history or beer culture of the city -- or just as a convenient taxi service to games -- it’s a chance to bridge downtown with Over-the-Rhine.
“We’re not dropping you off at a humongous, busy stadium,” Moreland said. “We’re dropping you off nearby and connecting you with another great Cincinnati institution right by the big game.”
The action doesn’t end there either. O’Malley’s is also the first bar to have Taft’s beer on tap regularly. So fans can get a cold craft beer at each location. The first beers available will be Nellie's Key Lime Caribbean Ale on tap and Cherrywood Amber in cans.
After the game, the Jungle Shuttle -- it brings to mind the “IckeyShuffle” -- will pick fans up and deposit them back in Over-the-Rhine. That saves fans money on parking and gets them safely where they need to go.
“It’s a safety thing too,” Moreland said. “You want to make sure people are getting to and from the games safely. Especially for fans who are from out of town or are tailgating -- Mike will get you there safely.”
In addition to making sure fans get to and from the game while having a good time, Stokes said he’s excited to provide people and opportunity to visit both the downtown and Over-the-Rhine communities.
As for whether the service will expand to include the Cincinnati Reds next year, or the upcoming FC Cincinnati soccer organization; those plans remain to be seen. Both businessmen said they want to grow their businesses slowly and make sure they are meeting the demands of the customers they already have.
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To mark the occasion, each Taft’s Jungle Shuttle guest will receive a wristband making them eligible for a $1 off Taft’s beer at O’Malley’s on days the shuttle is running.
The new service is free but fans have to register at Taft’s Ale House. The bus will run on Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and Jan. 3.
Taft's Ale House is also open for brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. O’Malley’s in the Alley is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. everyday and Cincy Brew Bus runs everyday 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
For the latest Cincinnati beer news and entertainment, go to wcpo.com/beer or follow Jesse on Twitter at @wcpojesse .