In A Market Crowded With Breweries, DogBerry Is Among the Best
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
This is an archived copy of what was originally posted on Facebook.
I'm running a day behind on my brewery posts, has been a busy weekend, and quite honestly I needed to catch up on some sleep. I'm back now, and ready to tell you all about the fantastic DogBerry Brewing in West Chester, OH (I take detailed notes at each place). West Chester, BTW, is a northern suburb of Cincinnati.
I want to start by saying that DogBerry is doing it the right way. As the craft beer movement has exploded, there have been some establishments, particulary in the cities, that have jumped on board, put literally millions of $$ into creating a gorgeous taproom and trendy menu... and forgot the part about learning how to make good beer. I'm not going to mention any names, but there are a few very popular ones just in Cincy that seriously need to hit "pause" and put some real effort into learning how to brew, because they call themselves breweries and the beer is clearly an afterthought to the interior decorating.
DogBerry Brewery - West Chester, OH
Beers sold on tap and to go at the taproom, and currently distributed throughout much of Ohio.
Played: 8/31/18, 11/30/18
DogBerry, on the other hand, (or more accurately founder Tony Meyer) started in a small room a few miles away from their current location, has put the time and effort into perfecting their craft, and the result is obvious: they make a wide variety of awesome beers. Once the product was spectacular and they had an enthusiastic market for their beers, THEN they moved to a larger space where they could increase the volume and also open a more substantial taproom, and that's where they are today.
The taproom is large, a sort of rustic industrial feel (lots of wood and metal), and a nice balance of roomy and cozy. You can sit at the bar or big picnic tables, or leather couches. The room is stocked with dart boards, video games, and skee ball (all free!), as well as board games, and a very popular Trivia Night on Thursdays. Sundays are also popular due to $10 growler fills. Food trucks provide food on site, or you're welcome to bring your own. Friday night Eric and Derek (I hope I spelled those right) manned the bar, and you couldn't ask for two friendlier conversationalists.
The beers: as previously mentioned, my fav here is the Bray's Coffee Brown Ale, which is a smooth coffee infused brown ale, nitro fed. Smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of coffee. Delicious. On this night I wanted to dig deeper into the options, so I started on Friday night with the Undone IPA (6.7%) which was very refreshing, a bit citrusy (from the hops, not juice) and pretty bold. Not what I'd call overly hopped, but it was hoppy (in a good way), maybe a little piney as well.
At set break I went for the Hosen Oktoberfest (5.7%) which was unusually dark for an Oktoberfest, with a nice tan head, and it was surprisingly crisp and refreshing, somewhat toasty, and not at all as heavy as I anticipated when I saw it's hue. I don't know why I still equate dark with heavy before tasting, but it seems to be a reflex. It's always a pleasant surprise to see dark, then experience a bold yet crisp drink without excessive heaviness. We're heading into Oktoberfest season, and you should seek this one out. DogBerry Hosen Oktoberfest... remember that.
In a rather drastic change in direction, I then had the Flogger Czech Pilsner (6.0%). This one I could drink all day, and perhaps I will sometime soon... (drink responsibly, kids!). A beautiful clear, golden pour, and quite thirst quenching. I admit I put this one away pretty quickly. True to the Czech form, this pilsner wasn't as bitter as a German pilsner, yet had more body and flavor than an American one. Well done.
Finally, for dessert, I closed the evening out with the Supernova Nitro... a creamy, well balanced, bold while not overpowering chocolate stout (9.0%). This was actually the bar's top recommendation when I got there, but I knew I needed to save it til the end if I was going to make it through my sets. I don't call it "dessert" lightly... I don't eat cake or sweets, etc. but at the end of an evening a pour like a nice chocolate stout has the same impact that I imagine a chocolate cake or good cheesecake has to those sorts of people.... you savor each sip, sips that perhaps are a little richer and creamier than what you'd normally reach for.... and by the end of the pint you have this sort of satisfaction that can only be enhanced by heading home and melting into your couch or bed. This one was fantastic.
In a region with many breweries, DogBerry is among the cream of the crop, IMO, and a well-kept secret that needs to start getting more attention. Take the short drive to West Chester and check them out (or buy their stuff at your local store), and tell your friends. Their variety goes way deeper than trendy IPAs or sours (I don't think they currently even do a sour, which is fine by me), and the stouts, brown ales, pilsners, etc. are world class. And I haven't even touched on the other half of their beer menu.... a friend loved the Sir Griff IPA (8.0%) so much that he stuck with it all night, and the Zestic IPA (5.7%) was also highly recommended, along with 4 or 5 more...
On a musical note, I had the honor of being the first live music they've ever hosted. I played straight through the "Euphobia" album and most of "The Criminal Ear" in album-order, which I think is the first time I've done that, with a handful of trad songs sprinkled in. The room sounded great, so hopefully more live music in the future at DogBerry!
Next stop was yesterday's show at Little Miami Brewing Co., typhoon and all! Post on that stop coming shorty....