A Return to One of Cincinnati's Best Kept Secrets
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
This is archived copy of the post that was originally posted on Facebook.
Friday night brought me back to DogBerry Brewing in West Chester, OH. West Chester is a northern suburb of Cincinnati, and DogBerry's facility, like many rapidly growing breweries, is situated in a business community with good access for distribution, and the taproom front-ending the building.
DogBerry was one of the earlier stops on the Summer leg of the Great Brewery Tour, and this time it was wrapping up the Autumn leg. I was looking forward to returning, as my first visit put them among my favorite brewers that I've visited so far. On my first visit I think I focused on (and was blown away by) some darker selections, so on this visit I decided to try the lighter end of the menu (which, considering the season, now seems a little bassakwards... but on the other hand as I recall another reason I went darker last time was I was getting a little tired of IPAs, and this time one of my reasons was that Ive been drinking a lot of stouts and porters lately... so refreshing change is a good thing).
On this visit there were 19 options on the menu. That's a healthy selection! It's also entertaining to watch beer novices trying to sift their way through so many options and try to make a decision, but that's part of the joy of the taproom experience. I cheated... the always friendly Derek and Eric (guessing at the spellings) were again manning the bar, so I went with their recommendations...
DogBerry Brewing Company - West Chester, OH
DogBerry's products are available at the taproom, and at restaurants, bars, and retailers throughout Ohio.
I started with the new Tips Winter Warmer (7.2%). I had mine nitro fed (CO2 is also an option). For those not familiar with the variety, a Winter Warmer is usually along the lines of an English winter ale, often spiced. This one was a little lighter than I expected, both in terms of body and color. A nice crisp copper amber hue with a medium body, and the flavor was malty and sprucey (hence the “tips” name). A little bitter on the finish, but balanced well with the spruce flavor. I enjoyed it.
The spruce reminds me... I'm battling a bit of a cold. Nothing too bad, but enough of one that my nose was a bit stuffy and I couldn't really report on the aromas of the beers. This might have also had some impact on my taste buds, but I really only noticed it in that I couldn't smell the beers on this night (enter Dewey Cox “I have no sense of smell..” dialogue here).
My next pour was the Fall Beer, which was an experimental Pale Ale (5.5%). A brewery's “experimental” brews are usually a treat, as “experimental” often means “it didn't really turn out like we expected... but it's still pretty damn good!” When you see these, try them, as they often are quite good, often somewhat unusual, and as they were a bit of an accident they likely are of a very limited edition. Fall Beer poured as a crisp copper amber with a light head, and started out intending to be a red lager... but as can happen something reacts differently than expected, and what we got here was more like a red Belgian... with a slight Belgian flavor, but an unexpected banana taste. I have to say, I normally don't like Belgians, but in this case the banana really seemed to make up for it, and it was an interesting, tasty pint. Ya don't ever know...
On my last visit I did the Bray's Brown w/Coffee, as I was just starting out on my coffee kick (still on it), which I loved, and so I figured this time I'd try the original Bray's Brown sans the coffee. A brown ale, 5.7%, it's a very nice brown. Somewhat unusual in that the body is lighter/medium, the crispness of a medium carbonation, but you get all that toasty goodness of a brown, with a hint of nuttiness and a slight chocolate. The perfect time of year for a brown, this is a very good option for people who like the flavors of a brown ale but fear that they can be too sappy or heavy... Bray's is crisp and refreshing, while still delivering on those flavors you want in a brown ale. The pour had a hint of red in it, and a light khaki head. I'd put this one on my list of “must haves” in a growler.
Another great visit at DogBerry, I'm already looking forward to the next. I also need to shout out to Sammy's Craft Burgers and Beer who provided the food on this night. I've passed their location dozens of times and still havent made it in, so I finally got to try them and I'll be back! Craft burgers, a perfect partner for great beer!