Rhinegeist In Motion
Do you remember back in February when we all learned of some weird German-sounding brewery was in the works? Well it’s about four months later and they’re open for business helping drive the brewing renaissance in Over The Rhine. They officially opened the doors to their taproom this past Saturday, June 29th, but the team was kind enough to invite me to a preview the night before. Here’s a quick review of the taproom and the beers.
You enter the building off Elm Street through a fairly non-descript entrance with the Rhinegeist sign and door recessed from the street. Once through the door you begin your journey back in time as you make your way up a couple flights of stairs. The stairwell floors proudly broadcast their rustic heritage while the original iron hand rails guide you safely upstairs. You are then let out into a massive concrete stadium-like space adorned with enormous columns and full of natural light flooding in from skylights. Once the Christian Moerlein brewery’s bottling plant before prohibition it regains its heritage as a place for beer. As it stands currently, it looks to be 50-75 yards of open space with a ping pong table, corn hole set, and some benches with tables. Then there is an 8-10″ concrete riser at the north end of the building that holds the brewhouse equipment and fermentation vessels. This is where the magic happens and it is a mere ten feet or less from where you sit and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The taproom proper is about 100ft x 25 ft which comfortably holds two sets of Oktoberfest picnic-table style seating rows down the length of the room. To the west you have massive windows overlooking Elm and many of the old brewery buildings in the area. To the east you have the brewery itself. To the south you have a wall adorned with rustic old timber. And most importantly, to the north you have a short bar set in front of a black tile backsplash with a series of chrome taps mounted on the wall. A huge chalkboard sits above the taps to provide the menu and pricing info. To the right, sitting outside the taproom is a wall-o-swag full of t-shirts and growlers for sale.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the two enormous lanterns that adorn the south wall of the brewery. By massive, I mean like 25ft tall. I’m not sure I follow how they fit in with the overall theme but I guess it doesn’t matter. They have some cool giant tapestry-type artwork that seems to depict some 19th century happenings.
Particularly fun this night was the Framester photo booth. You press a big button, stand on a giant X, the camera gives a 10sec timer before shooting, and then you see your picture projected against a wall. This goes hand-in-hand with free flowing beers! While probably a temporary feature they should consider a year-round setup.
Pick Your Poison
They have come out of the gate with four standard offerings for the thirsty people of Cincinnati. Following their overall minimalist theme, they are named Cougar, Spikelet, Truth, and Uncle. Respectively, they are a Golden Ale, Hoppy Wheat, West-coast IPA, and a session English Mild. All four turned out really well for a first batch and were very well received by the crowd on hand. I personally sampled the Cougar, Spikelet, and Truth while there. I think Truth was my favorite since it is an over-the-top hopped up IPA chock full of tropical fruit aroma and a touch of sweetness. The Amarillo hops really shine through in the nose and flavor. It’s a home-run in my book. My wife found the Spikelet to be her favorite with its huge hop profile and light wheat backbone. We even ended up taking home a growler of it.
Reference this chart to learn about each one of their beers.
How To Drink There
You can find the Rhinegeist Taproom at 1910 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (about a block north of Findlay Market). The regular taproom hours are:
Fun fact:This is the sixth new brewery in Cincinnati in the past year or so! Blank Slate, Triple Digit, MadTree, Cellar Dweller, and Double Barrel are the others.