It’s time for a night out – and you want a beer. With 40+ breweries in the Cincinnati area, they can make for a fun evening, and at least one should be conveniently located to you, be it in Lawrenceburg, IN., Liberty Township, or Loveland.
So, what are you looking for in a brewery?
How close is the brewery? More importantly, do they have food, and if not, how close are they to food options? For breweries that don’t have food, often times they will bring a food truck on weekend nights to provide something for patrons. Those who don’t have a food truck – and usually even when they do – allow outside food to be brought in, as well.
This seems basic, but it’s something to check out before you settle on a brewery, or maybe the first one of the evening if you want to take in multiple of the city’s fine craft beer producers. The breweries themselves are good about updating their social media events pages, although some are better than others with different media. Facebook might not say anything, while Twitter will be updated multiple times a day, or Instagram might have a picture of what’s going on at any given moment. Still, this research is readily available – and it helps if you like or follow the breweries ahead of time.
Are we bringing the kids?
While not everyone is comfortable with this, others are. So what are the rules on kids being in breweries? Almost all of them are kid-friendly, but the degrees vary. The general rule of thumb is that kids have to be out by 9 pm, especially on the weekends. A lot of breweries keep games, coloring books, and other child-friendly options in their taprooms, knowing they want to keep their smaller guests occupied so mom and dad can enjoy themselves. Most offer soft drinks and water, as well, with a few even making their own soft drinks. MadTree offers a non-alcoholic option on tap, and Rivertown has an entire line of soft drinks, for example.
Still, there is kid-friendly by rules, and there is kid-friendly by experience. Not every taproom has activities, and some of the smaller ones can get cramped quickly. Another thing to consider is dog-friendliness, and whether or not you or your children are comfortable with that. While 99 percent of the dogs who are in breweries are docile, if not downright happy to be there, just like people, it only takes one to ruin everyone’s good time.
Duh, the Beer!
Certainly one important reason to pick a brewery is for their beer! While most breweries offer a wide variety of beers from a style standpoint, some prefer to specialize in particular styles. Urban Artifact, for example, is known for their funky beers, which appeal to those who like things on the sour side of the taste spectrum. Bad Tom Smith, where I work, tries to hit a wide variety of palettes, but definitely, keeps a couple of “easy drinking” beers on tap for those whose tastes don’t run to extremes. Sometimes, a check of a website can help with beer descriptions – and sometimes not.
One avenue is to call and ask about a tap list, but fair warning here – if the bar is busy, there is no promise the phone can be answered. TapHunter and Untappd are apps that can help, even if the beers you see aren’t on tap, it can give you a good idea about what styles are offered – and what other folks like!
At the end of the day, breweries and beer are supposed to be about fun – and part of the fun with so many choices is to try different places to see where you and your tribe feel most at home!
Any questions about breweries in general or Bad Tom Smith specifically, I’d be happy to answer. My email is [email protected] and you can find me on Facebook under Andy Foltz.
Special thank you to today’s guest blogger, and local craft beer enthusiast, Andy Foltz.
Andy’s Bio: I am a veteran journalist, blogger, and bartender who now plies his trade doing a bit of each – and a bit more – as brand manager for Bad Tom Smith Brewing in Cincinnati, Ohio.