It’s really hard being a Cincinnati craft beer fan and to look back at what that meant 10 years ago. I was but a wee gnome, early in my drinking life… learning the ins and outs of what craft beer was. We were all living in a city that had a rich history with beer, that at the same time had all but died. There were a limited number of people that could see what craft beer was going to become in this city, and were willing to put it on the line and make beer in Cincinnati. You have to realize that beer was risky in Cincinnati at that time, with the industry in Cincinnati fresh off a few major closings (or major places on their last legs)
Greg Hardman was one of those folks that could see the vision of not just what it could be, but what he could make beer in Cincinnati once again. He was midway into his four phase plan to bring the historical brands back to this city when the newly revamped Christian Moerlein Brewing Company brought their OTR to market. The brands hadn’t been brought back to Cincinnati yet, but it didn’t stop the company from paying homage to the neighborhood where the beer was not only once brewed, but would soon enough be flowing again.
In 2007, the brewery tapped the very first keg of this beer. OTR (the beer) was built around a history that so many people in this city had forgotten about. It was named after a neighborhood that a lot of people had written off, and it sliced off its own piece of that memory and shared it with all of us who would take a moment to listen.
The keg was tapped at the (temporarily) rehabbed Elder Cafe in Findlay Market. This space is now Market Wines, and will be the site of the tapping this month to celebrate.
April 28th, Moerlein is hosting a keg tapping where beer lovers, Cincinnati fans, and the like can gather and celebrate this milestone. From 4-8pm the party will take place at Market Wines with the keg being tapped at 5:30pm. On hand will be the original keg tapping presenters, too. Jim Tarbell, Steve Hampton, Mike Morgan and Greg Hardman will all be on hand to recreate that event 10 years ago, albeit in a very different OTR than it was held in back in 2007.
The OTR TrAle Pub Tour
As if it’s not enough, the festivities will continue on through the weekend. There is a self guided tour that goes along 10 different participating OTR establishments that will each feature a different variant of the now beloved Moerlein OTR Ale. Fans are invited to travel around to as many of the featured stops as they would like to, starting at 1pm on Saturday April 29th and continuing throughout the day.
There will be passport cards available at the keg tapping on Friday, or at the Moerlein Malt House as well as each stop and you can collect stamps along the way to try to collect them all. If you manage to collect 6 or more stamps and bring your card back to the Moerlein Malt House Taproom on Saturday and Sunday you’ll get a free commemorative T-Shirt to mark the occasion.
So… what’s on tap around the neighborhood that the beer got it’s name from?
The venues that are participating (along with their variants) are as follows:
- The Drinkery – Cherrywood OTR
- Che – Oaked OTR
- Lacheys – Coconut OTR
- 16-Bit – Caramel and Peanut Butter OTR
- Halfcut – Lemon & Basil OTR
- Arnolds – Bergamot OTR
- Market Wines – English Breakfast Tea OTR
- Goodfella’s/Wise Guys – Mexican Chocolate OTR
- Rhinehaus – Hopped OTR
- MOTR – Fruited OTR
- Malt House Taproom – Special Elixir Brewer’s OTR
What better reason can you find to get your butt down to OTR? Let’s celebrate the past, the present and the future of not just Christian Moerlein, but for what they represent in Cincinnati Craft Beer.