It’s the giant beast that has lurked on Central Parkway for years, barely getting a mention in craft beer geek circles not because they didn’t make good beer, but because they were big. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the brewery that has always been there, in every beer cooler and on every tap list. They aren’t exciting anymore for your “developed palate”. I hope from the bottom of my heart that all that is about to change for the average beer drinker here in Cincinnati – it’s time to showcase who this company is, and why they got to where they are.
First, though… let’s talk a little about this taproom that’s opening.
The Sam Adams Cincinnati Taproom
If you haven’t heard the news by now Sam Adams is fulfilling the whispered dreams of a lot of beer fans in Cincy. On November 15th they will open the doors to their OTR taproom in a move that will hopefully bring them into the spotlight of our local beer scene in a way that they’ve deserved for a very long time.
The taproom will be a new banner for the brewery here in town. A flag that they can post in the ground, and not only say “here we are”, but “here we’ve been”. The space (which is located at 1632 Central Parkway) will be home to a 9,000 square foot taproom and will include 3,500 square feet of patio space outside. It won’t be small by any stretch, but the brilliance of this taproom is that it’s just a shrine to creativity, passion, and hometown pride. It doesn’t have to support an entire company on its shoulders.
The biggest things you’ll see come out of this taproom are a new pride for a brewery that is prouder of being in this city than we all used to give them credit for. We’ve all heard that Jim Koch is from Cincinnati, his Dad was a brewer at Schoenling. I think for a long time no one understood how deep those roots go into him, and into the company as a whole.
The Reason You Should Respect This Company
It’s easy to look at Sam Adams, or Boston Beer and respect what they’ve done (and continue to do) for the craft beer industry. They’ve got the power as a massive brewery to help push changes, to help stop changes and to do good where good can be done. But for Cincinnati? It’s much more personal.
Our brewing industry was about to die. Corporate mergers, changing tastes from consumers… whatever reasons you want to cite – Hudepohl/Schoenling was on its last leg. They were contract brewing beer for Boson Beer at the time and when the brewery shut down Jim Koch and his company stepped in and decided to call Cincinnati home.
Yes, it was a nice big brewery building for them. Yes, Cincinnati is a great spot if you want to distribute beer across the country. But it was deeper… they saved beer in Cincy. It’s hard to see it today, with our deep pond of fantastic craft breweries, but if things had gone differently, who knows what that space on Central Parkway would look like today? It certainly wouldn’t be home to one of the countries biggest craft breweries.
Today Sam Adams tows a line. They make a lot of beer that is approachable, easy drinking and not intimidating for new craft beer fans. They also brew more styles than I think a lot of you realize. Their lineup goes deep. Even before we start touching the barrel program, Utopias and the really “fun” stuff… they’re putting out a TON of traditional and modern styles alike. They brew a beer just for Cincy, called 513. The taproom? It’s only going to take this and run with it. It’s going to get really exciting now.