Cincinnati has long had a history of mixing beer drinks. At the turn of the 20th century, beer mixed with soda water was even known as a Cincinnati Cocktail.
With the resurgence of the craft-brew movement, present-day Cincinnati is home to dozens of beer cocktails, known as beertails, in bars and taprooms around the city.
Beertails allow bartenders to play with the full roster of cocktail ingredients and also blend different styles of beers into that mix. The resulting beertails range from light and sweet to heavy and rich, a flavor profile to meet any craft beer drinker’s delight.
Here are some of our favorites for you to try.
RIVERTOWN BREWING & BARREL HOUSE
- 607 Shepherd Drive, Wyoming. rivertownbrewery.com; 513-827-9280
Rivertown Brewing has a full menu of six to 10 beertails at any given time. Because of the wide variety of beers on tap, Rivertown uses beertails as a way to celebrate each season. Autumn is no exception: Rivertown is currently pouring two pumpkin beertails, among others.
Take that, Pumpkin Spice Oreos.
- Pumpkin Roebling Latte: A blend of pumpkin and Roebling Porter, with a touch of vanilla whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
- Pumpkin Ginger: Pumpkin ale with a splash of ginger beer and apple cider, garnished with a slice of orange.
- Pumpkin not your thing? Rivertown offers a Beermosa and a Bloody Mary made with Lil Sipa. It also offers a full Bloody Mary bar on the first and third Sunday of each month.
- 1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. www.kruegerstavern.com; 513-834-8670.
Krueger’s Tavern prides itself on its wide variety of canned beer offerings (there are currently 60 available). So it’s only natural that Krueger’s would mix up a few beertails to use this bounty. Bonus: Krueger’s beertails use a full can of beer.
- Bremen Shandy: 1 can of Angry Orchard hard cider, Fireball whiskey and lemon.
- The Western Row: 1 can of Mad Tree Happy Amber, Four Roses Bourbon, orange bitters, lemon and cucumber.
- 3520 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum. www.facebook.com/PearlsCincy; 513-832-0485.
General manager Clint Hefner said that beertails are part of the culture at Pearl’s. “It’s an opportunity for us to experiment with new drinks based on what’s current,” he said. Be sure to ask the bartenders (Ben, in particular) what’s brewing lately with beertails.
See you tomorrow, Ben.
- The Creamsicle: Whipped cream vodka, triple sec, Sprite, orange juice and Blue Moon beer, shaken and served in a cocktail glass.
SUNDRY AND VICE
- 18 W. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine. www.sundryandvice.com; (513) 721-8423 (VICE)
Sundry and Vice is a high-end cocktail bar with house-made syrups, fresh juices and tinctures, but that doesn’t mean that beers aren’t the order of the day. Sundry and Vice always has at least one beertail on the menu.
“Cincinnati is a beer town, so it’s only right that we feature a beer cocktail,” said bar director and general manager Julia Petiprin. “Beer cocktails are a great option for the drinker who doesn’t want a craft cocktail but rather something more beer focused.”
We couldn’t agree more.
- The Hasty Peach: Dogfish Head Festina Peche (brewed with peaches), vodka, fresh lemon and lime juice.
- 2062 Riverside Drive, East End. www.brewrivergastropub.com; 513-861-2484.
BrewRiver is a gastropub with a New Orleans influence. While you will find Oyster Po’ Boys on the menu, along with an incredible New Orleans-style brunch featuring shrimp and grits and Eggs Sardou, owner-partner Joby Bowman wants you to know that BrewRiver is a craft beer restaurant first and foremost.
“When we opened three years ago, we were one of the first restaurants really focused on sharing craft beers and beer cocktails along with gastropub fare,” Bowman said.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: Listermann's Nutcase Peanut Butter Porter and Liefman's Cuvee Brut.
- Chocolate Covered Cherry: Any Nitro Milk Stout and Liefman's Cuvee Brut.
- Bowman said that the beertails are not just for hard-core beer drinkers, “They’re for any adventurous cocktail drinker.” That’s evidenced by BrewRiver’s upcoming beertail the Marie Laveau (named for the famous New Orleans voodoo priestess). It includes a spritz of Absinthe, Broker’s Gin and is topped with a Belgian Duvel or Golden Ale. Sounds like it would pair perfectly with shrimp and grits.
TAFT'S ALE HOUSE
- 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. taftsalehouse.com; 513-334-1393.
Taft’s Ale House is the new kid on the block for craft-brew restaurants in town, but its various beertail offerings should not be missed. Taft’s currently has four beertails on the menu, but the mixologists at Nellie’s Tap Room are always experimenting with more.
- Nellie’s Michelada: Jalapeno-infused Cazadores tequila, Taft’s Ale House Bloody Mary Mix and Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale.
- Commander in Chief: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Scotch, Brandied Cherry Juice, Chambord and Cherrywood Amber Ale.
THE FAMOUS NEONS UNPLUGGED
- 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine. wellmannsbrands.com/neons; (513) 827-9361.
It’s hard to mention unique cocktails in Cincinnati without mentioning the creative efforts of the bartenders at Neons. While any one of the bartenders at Neons would be happy to mix up a beertail, here are a few that are pouring now.
- Pay it Forward: Rum, habanero simple syrup and orange juice, topped with West Sixth Cocoa Porter (courtesy of bartender Erin “Thunder” Ennis).
- Honey and Hops: OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka, brown sugar and pineapple, topped with MadTree Psychopathy (courtesy of bartender Sara Hutslar).