That’s right, while all you are busy staring up at the bright sunny sky and giggling because summer is finally approaching a winter-weary Cincinnati – behind the scenes of a historic brewery building in OTR a few folks have been working their tails off for the last couple of years to get a brewery’s doors open for business. You’ll get your chance very soon to step inside their taproom and experience what they’ve been working on, but I want to take you back there ahead of time and give you a little sneak peek!
About Northern Row
I’ve given you a few little hints about this place over the last year or so (you might remember them by their original name of Henry Street). But who are they? Well… the project is a big one. The space is a historic Moerlein ice house, which is located on the block behind Rhinegeist’s now famous bottling plant-become-taproom. The building which has Apex written very big on the side from its other history as a furniture store was built in 1895 and is a stunning piece of history here in town. With big, thick walls and a 25-foot deep basement (both to keep things cold), coupled up with the thick steel beams and girders and their industrial riveting… it’s a really great space to have a beer in.
Their taproom doesn’t just work around the building itself, it’s designed to highlight the unique features of the space that they call home. Their building is from a unique time in Cincinnati’s construction history, and they didn’t want to forget that when they came in and started repurposing the space. From the floors to those gorgeous steel beams – it’s all become part of Northern Row’s personality.
Northern Row gets its name from the area that it’s located, which was once called “The Lawless Land Above Liberty” It was the Northern Row of where the city stopped, and the lawless, unsavory places existed. Sounds like a fantastic place, and name for a brewery if you ask me!
Oh… speaking of having a beer – we need to talk about that pretty quickly.
About That Beer
I mentioned that Northern Row has been working their tails off. They’ve been brewing up a storm to get ready for the thirsty masses of drinkers here in Cincinnati.
The beer names as you scroll your way through seem to all be themed for people that you might have found up “North” of Liberty at one time, the more “seedy” characters that made Cincinnati Home, coupled with some historical ties. It hopefully gives you a little peek at what the personality of this place is going to be!
Without dragging this on longer, here’s what you can expect to find on tap:
Robber – Extra Blonde Pale Ale – 6.5% ABV – 45 IBUs
This attempt at a Blonde ale emerged from its fermenter like many of us emerge from a winter hibernation: healthy. Once we realized what we had done, we dry hopped with Centennial and Cascade hops to hide some of its body. More balanced now with a dry malt profile and a citrusy/dank dry hop, this beer is ready to show itself to spring, curves be damned.
Outcast – Amber Ale – 5.6% ABV -30 IBUs
Enough malty roasty sweetness complimented by just a hint of hop bite, the Amber is sure to please.
Butcher – Munich Helles – 4% ABV – 15 IBUs
Awww Helles No, a beer can’t possibly be this flavorful and low ABV?!? YES IT CAN! Combine full bodied Munich and Vienna malts with German Pils, lightly hopped to end with a bready, crisp and luscious lager that you will want all summer.
N.A.B.F.P – Barleywine – 9% ABV – 70 IBUs
When you want to learn the capacity of your brewhouse, you make a barleywine. Ours is more English than American profile. The focus is more on the maltiness than the grain but the hops are certainly there. Drink it now for a warming, malty and hoppy beer or let it sit til winter for a warming malt bomb.
1895 – German Pilsner – 5.3% ABV – 25 IBUs
Want to do a German pilsner? Then make it as German as possible. Combine German pils grain, German yeast, and select German hops. The result: a pleasantly malty lighter German lager that balances itself with just enough malty sweetness and noble hopness.
Drifter – Irish Stout – 4.2% ABV
This Dry, Irish stout is dark, sweet and full-bodied with slight hints of vanilla and chocolate that is not as heavy as you might think. You’ll quickly see why this is the beer that saved modern civilization!
Blonde Ale – American Blonde Ale – 5% ABV – 16 IBUs
Our American Blonde Ale is perfect for the seasoned craft drinker looking for a lighter option or those new to the craft world. Nice crisp finish that is accentuated by very low hop bitterness.
Mosaic – Small Pale Ale – 4.2% ABV – 22 IBUs
Named because you can make it with a small pail. Add the best grains, a clean yeast, and aromatic hops and you are left with a juicy pale ale that you could drink by the small pail-ful. Look forward to other single hop varietals to come.
If you venture over to their website, you can see a list of places that you can already snag a pint of their beer, but rest assured that this list is going to start growing very rapidly soon. From what I understand, these guys are hoping to expand quickly.
Oh… there’s one more thing that needs mentioning too.
Yeah, you read that right. Not only is Northern Row a brewery, they are one of the new wave of distilleries opening up around town (and only the second to combine both a distillery and brewery in the same space). They’re creating a line of Gins, Rums, Vodkas, and Bourbons – though you may have to wait a little while to start tasting all of those. Have no fear, though – if a beer isn’t your thing… they’re going to have a full bar as well as a selection of wine to hold you over in the meantime!
If you haven’t gathered, this project is a big one – and you’re going to be hearing a lot more about them in the near future. Stay tuned for a taproom opening date, for more information about their distilling program and I’m working on getting them onto an episode of Cincy Brewcast so we can really dig into who they are, and what they’re doing.
It’s a good time to be a drinker in Cincinnati.