Updated: Oct 6, 2020
As a musician who frequently travels with Dennis O’Hagan on the Great Brewery Tours, we thought it was time for me to finally get out and start visiting some breweries on my own as an official featured artist! For years I have played with a band out of Cincinnati called Freak Mythology, playing everything between small intimate venues and large theaters, travelling around the country amongst our favorite cities. One could say the tour life is no stranger to me, and the excitement of the open road and endless venues calls to me. It’s only natural that Dennis and I can team up, due to the growing popularity and demand for the Great Brewery Tours… and we have some very big plans coming together. I am incredibly lucky to be taken under Dennis’ wing and be a part of this truly unique twist on the artforms of music and beer making, and how they come together to make for a perfect social experience. I am just a young Jedi, and I have much to learn...
Dennis and I will be doing a New England leg of the tour this October, and also mapping out southern runs through the winter to escape the cold. I have travelled with him in the past through various tour legs through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, the Outer Banks and Virginia beaches, as well as runs through Alabama, Georgia, and the Shenandoah Valley. Not only do we have a blast playing the breweries, but we find that many of our interesting stories and fun moments happen along the drive as well. We had an interesting hotel moment this past weekend in Indianapolis… be on the lookout for a video online that will get further into that. Before we met up in Indianapolis, I visited Dayton, OH for my first solo outing for the Great Brewery Tour.
Lock 27 Brewing – Dayton, OH (2 locations)
Located at the ballpark in downtown Dayton, as well as one in Centerville (suburb south of the city). Beer is distributed throughout the region in retail outlets as well as finer drinking and eating establishments.
I rolled into Dayton early Friday to get a good feel for the city. Living between Cincinnati and Dayton, I have spent much time in Cincinnati and have never found a chance to visit downtown Dayton until I was invited to play Lock 27 Brewing. It was an amazing first visit, as this place is a true gem. The downtown location is in a big white building adjacent to the home of the Dayton Dragons minor league baseball team. The brewery’s doors are literally at the main gates to the ballpark. During baseball season this has to be the “Go-To” drinking spot for Dragons fans due to the fantastic location and welcoming surroundings. The taproom features glass garage style doors that open to the ballpark, giving you a direct line of sight to the field!
This year Covid-19 has sadly canceled the benefits of a baseball season, so the brewery is creatively introducing other activities to keep the place as lively as possible. Many places struggle in this regard, especially downtown locations with so many businesses being closed or restricted, but Lock 27 seems to be adapting better than most, turning to fun promotional events to draw people in. On this night they threw a “Keep the Stein Night”, promoting their very popular Loktoberfest beer. Upon ordering this brew you were given the chance to choose the size stein you wanted to take home with you, naturally I claimed the 32 oz. to get my night started. I was the brewery’s very first time hosting a music act, and they were my very first time reviewing a brewery. It just made perfect sense from the beginning.
Upon entering the taproom you are greeted with smiles and the smells of their chef’s work. It's truly mouth watering before you even get to glance at the extensive menu. I was lucky enough to sit down with the Executive GM, Jennifer, to share some drinks and get some background and history of their establishment.
The name of this brewery, as well as many of the beers on the menu, reference Dayton’s historical use of canal locks, which is quite interesting. I found a link on their website that gets more into that. https://lock27brewing.com/why-the-name-lock-27-brewing/ . As mentioned above there are two Lock 27 locations... the first opened seven years ago in Centerville, OH (a suburb south of the city). The owners are locals who used to work for big corporations and would travel the world for work, and they eventually decided they wanted to hunker down, spend more time at home, and pursue their dream in brewing beer. Starting off small, they saw growing success and added on a hired chef to expand on their unique gastropub atmosphere, which then eventually led them to expand to their Dayton location three years ago. Beyond their two locations they also distribute to retail stores and restaurants. Going strong and living the dream! That’s what it’s all about!
Jennifer was very excited to all me to sample some of the brews they are most proud of, so here is my take on what I tried with her:
Loktoberfest- This beer had the prefect well rounded embodiment of a dark German lager. It was malty, but wonderfully crisp. Because of the stein night, I ordered a 32 oz, and wanted a refill within minutes. I had other beers to explore so I promptly asked for a 6-pack to go… Sipping one while type this up as a matter of fact. This beer alone will bring me back there. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Charlosta- A honey brown ale, which is another great fall time brew. It was a wonderful transition from the Loktoberfest. It was not too sweet on the honey side. It was the perfect hint of honey to bounce off the bitterness of a nut-brown ale. This one went down easy too, at this point I was so impressed I had the thought “this is going to be the kind of place I enjoy too much, better watch how fast I take these down as I haven’t even started playing yet!”
Oat IPA- So we have all heard of an oatmeal stout, but an oatmeal IPA? This was new to me. And I didn’t know what to expect. But it seemed like the best way to transition into those kinds of beers after having a few darker, malty beers. And I was right. Sometimes you want the oat flavor without wanting to commit to the alcohol content, or heaviness of a porter or stout. This beer was EXACTLY THAT. Refreshing easy drinker with delicious oat taste. This was not a hoppy beer, which made that transition very pleasant.
Its Always Sunny- First of all great name, in reference to a favorite TV show. This one was loaded with citra hops and really woke my pallet up. I loved this name because I change the kind of beer I drink through the seasons, and hoppy IPAs are my choice in warm weather. The citra hops in this would agree well with a hot summer day when the ball games are going on and you are hanging out in your greenman suit.
Belgian Tripel- This beer is a troublemaker. I thought “okay triple IPA…9% ABV… this ones going to be a heavy one”. NOPE. This beer blew my mind. It drank like a light IPA and had me thinking something wasn’t right. I must have gotten the wrong one. I refused to believe a beer so light and inoffensive could be that wicked. This is the kind of beer your friend buys you when you go out and “just have one beer”. The 31 IBU is what makes this. Fantastic.
Stjordalsol- I did not get to try this brew, but everyone was raving about this incredibly smoky Norwegian farmhouse ale. They pulled this off the menu the second I wanted to try it, so it must be one popular brew. The reason I still mention this without trying it is because this is the beer they have entered in to the Great American Beer Festival competition. Hoping they do well! Results will be out late October.
That is all the beer I managed to sample on this visit, though I hope to get back and try the rest of their menu! Out of all the beers I tried I absolutely approved of every single one, and I only tried a few varieties and didn’t even get to touch the others (yet)! The menu is very extensive. After playing my set I sat down and ordered the Short Rib Grilled Cheese which was the best sandwich I have had in ages. The meat, onions and cheese contained so much flavor between two pieces of Texas toast. Compliments to the chef as well! I envy the folks that live in the Lofts that share the building with this brewery. I would be here every day. Very much looking forward to hearing from Jennifer about possible future visits.
Dennis O'Hagan's Great Brewery Tour is completely grass-roots. Your support is appreciated, and can be shown by coming to the shows, frequenting the featured breweries, wearing our t-shirts, and via tips at: http://venmo.com/DennisOHagan