Request the Author Suite at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza for a beautiful view of the Ohio River. 

Arrive 2:00 p.m. If you’re just arriving into the city, drive directly to Dutch’s to fill your belly with a charcuterie board of some of the finest meats, cheeses and extras including pistachios and candied jam. While you’re at it, get the truffle popcorn on the side. Sit out on their large open patio or at the bar serving drafts, wine and spirits. Expect to see a wide variety of beer on the menu which consisted of hard to find brews to us Tennesseans like JW Lees Harvest Ale Barleywine, Avery Maharajah, Woodburn Steinpils and 3 Floyds Floyd Division. Be sure to pop over next door to the attached bottle shop on your way out and get some brews to haul home.

4:00 p.m. A short drive towards the Ohio River will take you to Streetside Brewery rooted in Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhood of Columbia-Tusculum. Go for Streetside’s refreshingly light and tangy Raspberry Beret Berliner Weisse.

6:00 p.m. Pop in for a free tour of the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. on Moore Street to see how Cincinnati’s award-winning craft beers are made and sample their beers in the original malt house taproom. Moerlein is one of Cininnati’s oldest brewery’s beginning production in 1853. As a result of prohibition, it closed its doors in 1919. After being revived in 1981 and being sold to a group of out-of-towners, it was purchased again in 2004 returning local ownership to Cincy, where it continues to thrive today.

Highlights from the Cincy Beerfest, be sure and attend in February 2018.

If you happen to visit Cincy the same weekend of the Cincy Beerfest, you’re in for a treat. Taking place downtown at the Duke Energy Convention Center each year in February, this beer fest hosts over 500 craft beers. That’s a lot of beer, and although you won’t get to try them all, don’t get discouraged. Plan ahead to seek out and try your most sought after breweries and remember your beer fests do’s and don’ts! (read about beer fest etiquette) Our favorite breweries included Revolution Brewing, Mad Tree, Fat Heads, Warped Wing and Urban Artifact.

8:00 p.m. Just down the road, you’ll find Liberty’s Bar and Bottle Shop situated among other shops like Black Plastic Records OTR and Crying Heart Tattoo. The laid-back shop pours rotating craft selections from 20 taps and about 25-30 cans. Overall, it’s a great place to put your feet up on the coffee table and stay for a while, as co-owner Tom Stephen intended. When you head out, pick up a six-pack sampler to haul back home.

The popular Rhinegeist Brewery in the Over the Rhine Brewery District.

10:00 p.m. Whether you’ve been to the beer fest or just having a late dinner, pop in to Senate for a solid food and beer menu. You wouldn’t expect to see hot dogs at an establishment like Senate. But their take on gourmet hot dogs with creative toppings will have you wondering just how many will you dare yourself to eat in just one sitting? The Trailer Park Hot Dog consists of a bacon wrapped beef dog topped with American cheese, coleslaw and crushed BBQ Grippos (the famous potato chips native to Cincinnati) on a lightly toasted, sweet buttery brioche bun. The thick cut duck fat fries are crispy with a fluffy center- an ideal complement to any entree. With a creative assortment of hotdogs on the menu, you’re bound to find something to your liking: the traditional Korean topped with kimchi and braised short rib; for Mexican food lovers, the Una Noche Con Nick Lachey is for you; and just for fun, the Lindsay Lohan, beef dog, goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, balsamic & tons of drama. For a fresh take on a bowl of mussels, the Mussels Charmoula is served in a tomato and saffron based broth unlike most traditional wine broths. The generous addition of cilantro adds a welcomed brightness to the hearty base and plays well with the hints of spiciness in the broth. You’ll want to use your shells to spoon it into your mouth and all I can say is carpe diem! Pir your meal with lots of liquid love to choose from available on draft, bottles and cans.

Cincinnati beer options that aren’t available in Tennessee.

Next Day
Tip: buy yourself an all-day rail pass for only $2 for the easiest, most cost-effective form of transportation to help you get around the city. The Cincinnati Bell Connector is an electric mode of transportation operating on a 3.6-mile loop connecting key communities in the city’s urban core. Don’t forget to download the app!

10 a.m. A lot of recommendations from locals were made about 1215 Wine Bar and Coffee Lab. What’s now becoming a more popular trend in coffee bars is a menu not only consisting of artisanal coffees or fancy teas, but also a full bar of beer, wine, and spirits. This makes any day a good brunch day! And after a night of sampling at the beer fest, also much needed. Start your day with a pour over like the Losantiville, a Guatemala/Sumatra dark roast blend with notes of cocoa and sweet smoke. Or if you need a little something extra with your caffeine, go for a coffee themed cocktail like an Irish Coffee made with Jameson, a Pale Horse Bourbon Latte made with white chocolate and Bulleit Bourbon or a Maple Rum Latte with spiced rum and clove. Beer lovers can always expect options in bottle or cans and three rotating taps; the 50 West Brewing Co. Punch-You-in-the-Eye-P-A made for a tasty liquid lunch.

Be sure and check out all our food recommendations as Cincy is a foodie paradise!

11:30 p.m. Ride the rail to the riverfront park and take advantage of the photo ops of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge; Paul Brown Stadium, home to the Bengals football team; the Great American Ballpark, home to the Reds baseball team; and the Reds Hall of Fame Museum. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll definitely want to plan your visit around a game and hang out at the Christian Moerlein Lager House on the banks of the Ohio River either pre-game or post-game or both.

12:30 p.m. Make your way over the bridge to Kentucky and walk over to Braxton Brewing Co. just a mile and a half from the river. Once you reach the other side, you’ll get an amazing view of the downtown Ohio skyline. The taproom was made to feel like you’re hanging out in your garage and that’s exactly the vibe you get. Lounge on the comfy couches or at the bar and enjoy the vibrant ambiance and laid-back attitude while sampling a flight and munching on a large soft pretzel. Our flights included the Blown Gasket Porter, Tropic Flare DIPA, Twisted Bit Lager and a Turbo Dry Irish Stout followed by the IPA Flight consisting of the Beta 1 Experimental IPA, Spotlight Wheat IPA, Beta 4.0 IPA and our favorite pick, the Revamp IPA, a delicious balance of tropical fruit flavors and gratifyingly mildly bitter hops. Be sure to stop by the retail shop on your way out for some cool merch.

2:30 p.m. Ride the rail to Findlay Market and grab some lunch among a diverse assortment of international food merchants. Follow your nose to The Arepa Place for the Colombian version of a grilled cheese, made of ground maize dough stuffed with chicken or beef and cheese or to Pho Lang Thang for traditional Vietnamese street food of fried spring rolls, banh mi and pho.

3:30 p.m. Walk three blocks north to the historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District and find Rhinegeist Brewery built within the old Christian Moerlein bottling plant dating back to 1895. Their name translates to Ghost of the Rhine, which you can see in their logo. Here we got to drink two of our long-time favorites, Café Ink Imperial Stout and Truth IPA, and some newer brews like the Uncle British Mild, Gramps Barleywine and Homie 2017 Belgian Dubbel. Also, worth trying is the Bubbles Rosé Cider made from apple, peach and cranberry with a sweet and lightly tart flavor. If you visit when the season is warm, sip your brews on their rooftop and enjoy the breath-taking views of the city.

Awesome views from the rooftop bar at Rhinegeist brewery.

5:30 p.m. Also in the neighborhood, you’ll find Taft’s Ale House, an airy brewpub set in a converted church. Tall ceilings give way to a mezzanine seating area, while beer hall style tables, wood, leather and subway tiles set the mood for an old-world feel. Choose from many styles of beer on their menu and have a pre-dinner flight; our favorites included the Post-Pro: Tettnang Hoppy Pils, Gavel Banger IPA and the Louisa Bramble blueberry infused Wild Sour aged in American White Oak casks fermented in the brewery’s Italian oak foeder. It’s a tart punch in the mouth you’re bound to enjoy!

7:00 p.m. Time for dinner. In the heart of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is The Eagle OTR where you can get southern classics like fried chicken, sloppy joe’s, white cheddar grits and spoonbread, which is basically like corn bread pudding. You’ll have an easy time finding a beer to your liking, since the menu boasts an array of draft brews and an impressive bottle list of Belgians, IPAS, sours and everything in between.

Check out the video arcade at 16-Bit Bar + Arcade.

9:00 p.m. Close out the night at 16-Bit Bar+Arcade. With a choice of over 50 classic free games, including Asteroids, Centipede, Galaga, MK3, Spy Hunter, NFL Blitz and Pac-Man, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time to your favorite childhood days. Party like it’s 1999 with old school cocktails like the Patrick Swayze (gin, lime juice and ginger beer), new wave cocktails like the Punky Brewster (rainbow sherbert vodka, cranberry and o.j.) and of course, some of the best local beers from Mad Tree, Rhinegeist, 50 West and Warped Wing breweries.

Veronica de la Cruz-Gibbs is a freelance beer writer living in Nashville, TN.