I hope that you don’t look at the new 13 Below Brewery in Sayler park and assume that they are “just another brewery”, which I’ve heard a few people express. In the few days that they’ve been open, they’ve been busy – and it’s for very good reason. They’re making some solid beer, but it’s not the “best” in the city, so that’s not what packs their taproom. Everyone likes the new shiny thing… but there are other new shiny things all around them right now, so I don’t think that’s it either.
To understand that biggest factors that I think make them stand out in our craft beer market, I think we should look at their location first and foremost – they’ve tapped into a community that has yet to be tapped into in our local beer scene – boaters.
13 Below is located right on the river, with access for people in the summer to pull their boat up, hop out and have a place to get a good craft beer. Why it took someone that long to connect those dots in Cincy I’m not sure but it will most definitely get them a loyal core of regular customers that I think will be supporting 13 below on (and off) their boats. Their taproom is located on the West Side of the city, another pocket within our community that is a little lacking in craft brewery options, and they’ve placed themselves in Sayler Park, a community that is desperate for some redevelopment and revival. It all combines into a perfect storm that if they capitalize on it in the right way could lead to a thriving brewery.
If you’re already familiar with Sayler Park, you might remember their building as the former Mariner’s Inn reception center on Forbes Rd. After their renovations they’ve got a big wide open interior space that houses a fenced in 10bbl brewhouse that feeds their 13 taps (though with how they’ve set things up, there is plenty of room to expand if they decide they need to). The taproom is a wide open room, with plenty of bar seating, followed behind by some picnic tables, high tops, and then a few booths along the walls.
The real centerpiece of their space though is their sprawling beer garden area. They’ve got a patio, a gazebo and a ton of grass area for you and your family to spread out a blanket and have an impromptu picnic. It’s a great layout. If you find that you’re in a hurry though, and just need to grab a growler and get back – they’ve got a special ‘quick service’ window just for that purpose.
They had a nice lineup of beer when I stopped in on Day Two of their grand opening and I managed to try it all:
- White Ale
- Rail & River Porter
- Fall Ale
- West Coast IPA
- Confused 13 Brown
- Lock & Dam #37 Scotch Ale
- River Castle Amber Ale
Like I mentioned earlier… everything I tried was pretty solid – and its a worthy tap lineup of any brewery opening their doors to the world. I talked to a couple people around the room, and it seemed like the River Castle and the West Coast IPA were starting to separate themselves out as the crowd favorites. I’m excited to see how things develop as they get some time and experience under their belt.
If you’re one of those people, who only goes to a brewery because of the liquid that they pour into your glass – and you don’t already live in Sayler Park or near by – and if you don’t have a boat that puts you on the river frequently… well… I don’t fault you for not visiting the brewery yet. It might not be a place that jumps out at you.
But if you are like me and love visiting new places and seeing the little things that they do differently you might wan to add them to your list. If you enjoy the little pieces of a space, that make it unique and fun, and meeting the amazing people who have pushed themselves to make a dream come to life – you might want to meet the folks at 13 Below.