I stopped into March First in Blue Ash the other day to chat with them about their upcoming anniversary celebration (which deserves an entire post dedicated to it, alone) and walked out of the brewery’s new taproom with a can in my hands that I have to talk about. The folks at M1 gifted me a 16oz can of a cider that is so symbolic of the things that they are not only doing there but of what road I think that they are on, that much like their anniversary party, I think it really probably deserves it’s own post too. Let’s start with the big elephant (or is it a giraffe?) in the room – the new taproom.
And The Beer Gods Said – Let There Be Space!
When March First opened their doors, it was almost as if a taproom was just second thought to what they were doing. The bar was small, seating was limited, and their patio was mostly just a small corner of their parking lot roped off for the warm weather drinking that this city loves. It’s clear now that the brewery/distillery/cidery had much bigger things in the back of their minds about what M1 could be long term – and we’re starting to see a lot of that come to life.
These guys have been on fire lately – with a new location in Milford announced to showcase their Sycamore Whiskey brand, innovation on the local spirits side has been a major focus. But that tiny taproom? It’s gotten a new life in a major way, too.
The former event space side of March First is becoming their new taproom. If you’ve driven by or been watching them on social media, you’ve probably seen the construction of what is going to be their new patio… well, that’s just the start of it. The taproom itself has multiplied in space to create something that is beautiful, functional, and 100 times a better representation of the March First brand that these folks have spent the last 2 years building.
The space itself is anchored on one side by a big wall that looks like a barn, while the other is used to house the massive new bar, which is needed to pour the wide variety of things that these folks have been making to satisfy the varied drink needs of Cincinnati.
As I mentioned before – each of these things is deserving of its own post… and that’s probably on the schedule to get done for you – but for now… we have to move on to this cider I mentioned!
Bourbon Barrel Aged Raspberry Cider
I am not a huge fan of the overly sweet ciders that are out there in the market – though I can drink one of them at a time, and really enjoy what they are, they’ll never be something that I can have more than one of in a sitting I don’t think. This new one from M1 is definitely not one of these. While a raspberry cider that pours a pinkish hue in the glass is something that you’d be forgiven if you assume a sugar assault, as soon as you get close to it you know this is something “else”.
Aromas hit your nose like a sucker punch – not at all what you’d expect. Big bold bourbon notes hide next to soft floral, fruity berry smells. It’s like summertime in Frankfort, Kentucky. A mix of booze and a soft, warm breeze.
When you drink this Bourbon Barrel Aged Raspberry Cider, you’re struck by how light on the palate it is. This is, dare I say it, really drinkable? Especially when you consider that this cider comes in just a hair under 9%… it’s something that will surprise you at how easy going it is. There is definitely a boozy quality to it, but not one that is harsh or overpowering. This is a fun one.
This new barrel-aged cider will be not only among the incredible tap lineup this weekend at March First – they will also be dropping a very limited amount of it in 16oz cans for you to take home and enjoy with your friends. If that’s not reason enough for you to head out…. you should really take a look at this event too!
The Anniversary Celebration
To celebrate another trip around the Sun, March First is throwing a party that will not only showcase the new taproom they’ve built – but will allow them to take the weekend to serve up and show off some of the clever, delicious beer, cider, and spirits that they’ve been crafting. As each of these goes on tap they’ll be available until they are kicked – so if you see something you want get there early or else you might miss it!
If live music is your thing, you’ll want to make sure that you get there on Saturday evening while Hayden Kaye will be performing in the taproom from 7-10pm.
Now, without further delay, here it is… the tapping schedule:
Friday – March 1st
- 11 am
- Bourbon Barrel Aged Raspberry Cider
- Honey Whiskey
- Pineapple Coconut Rum
- 4 pm
- Imperial Stout
- Oreo Firkin Imperial Stout
- Voltage Lemoncello
- 6 pm
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout
- 8 pm
- Cherry Limeade Cider
Saturday – March 2nd
- 11 am
- Iris Coffee Red Ale
- Maple Pecan Brown Ale
- Smoked Orange and Cherry Bourbon
- Plum Vodka
- 1 pm
- Mango Jalapeño IPA
- 3 pm
- Plum Cider
- 5 pm
- Almond Cookie Imperial Stout
- 7 pm
- Bourbon Cream Swiss Chocolate Stout
Sunday – March 3rd
- 11 am
- Maple Bacon Brown Ale
- Peach Apricot Cider