There are a few things that I need to pack into a post about Wiedemann after being invited to come to hang out with them this week for a few beers. If you’ve been living under a rock of some sort, and haven’t heard – the brewery is finally back. After getting their infrastructure set up, a new POS system put in place to process orders like those from Revel Systems, and some restructuring of the place, they’re ready to open once more. I would say that they’ve brought back Wiedemann in all its glory, but that’s not a fair assessment at all.
What you need to know about this new Wiedemann brewery is that while they have brought back the brand, and certainly pay homage to it in a lot of different ways – this is not the Wiedemann that a lot of us remember. They’ve brought in head brewer Steve Shaw to pump out the best beer that has been brewed under the Wiedemann name in a long time.
The taproom manages to feel like an old neighborhood bar that has always been there… it’s exactly what Wiedemann needed to be in an ever growing (and crowding) Cincinnati craft beer market. They nailed it.
Managing The Craziness
It’s one thing to put out great beer, and be at the helm of a storied brand like Wiedemann. Between Jon Newberry and his undying dedication to reviving the brand and the skillful brewing talents of Steve Shaw, I feel pretty confident in those two sides of things. The real challenge becomes to manage that while operating a unique location like the new Wiedemann taproom.
The location is perfect, right in the heart of St. Bernard. It’s an easy hop, skip and a jump to get to Urban Artifact, Taft’s Brewpourium, Listermann… they’re all a quick uber ride away.
The taproom itself is damn near perfect. Like I mentioned before, they nailed the aesthetic, with a brilliant feeling of a neighborhood bar. They’ve got a kitchen, which is so important if you want people to stick around for longer and hang out. Outdoor seating in the summer. Space for live music. Games to play. I’m not worried about the taproom working for them, either.
Where it all becomes a little more difficult, is finding a person that can manage all of this. Innovate in a craft beer world that has a lot of people trying to get us to come into their taproom weekend after weekend. How do you push your kitchen to make food that is quick, easy and delicious? How do you find events that pay homage to your taprooom, your brand, and still feel fresh and exciting? This is the job that is the difficult one, and Wiedemann turned to Chris Goodin to make it all happen.
Chris makes the jump from managing Arthur’s to heading up the Taproom at Wiedemann at the perfect time. While they’ve gotten their doors open and started laying a foundation, it’s still a blank canvas to build the way he wants it all to run, and I have faith that he’s going to spearhead some great stuff to help showcase the brand and the beer in a way that it deserves.
The Food Program
I won’t talk too long about the Food, because I still have a couple more things I want to share with you (and I know you probably have a limited attention span) but while I was hanging out at Wiedemann this week, I also got a chance to have a sneak peek at some new pizza options that they are planning for their taproom.
I have heard people complain about pizza in breweries, that it’s too common, and I couldn’t disagree more. I can’t think of many foods that are as quick, easy, crowd pleasing, delicous, and that go with beer as well as pizza – and I’m all about it.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that these pizzas that Wiedemann is playing around with are freaking awesome. They had a bacon, goetta pizza that was incredible. As someone who lives a whole second life outside of my “gnome-life”… one that involves a toddler who calls me Daddy… bring on the pizza at every taproom, as long as it’s this good.
I expect that this is only one of the first changes that you’re going to see to an ever-improving food program at Wiedemann!
Fall Fest, and The Haunted Basement
It’s my favorite time of year to drink beer. (I mean… not that I dislike drinking beer any other time of year). The cooler air opens up a whole new bunch of styles that I tend to shy away from as much in the summer. It’s time for bonfires and groups of great friends hanging outside. Then, there’s the wonderful smell of leaves drying up. It’s amazing, and Wiedemann is prepping an annual event that pays homage to it all.
This isn’t an “Oktoberfest” celebration, because there are plenty of those. It’s Fall Fest…. which is pretty much the same thing. It’s a celebration of Beer, Food, Live Music and friends. The brewery has a whole list of things going on this weekend that you can check out if you hit them up on social media (look at their Facebook page here).
My recommendation? While it’s not an Oktoberfest celebration persay – they’ve got their Oktoberfest on draft right now, and it’s stellar. The beer also happens to pair well with the fall. Drink that. A lot of it.
While you’re at the brewery if you manage to get on a tour of the facility – do it. Maybe it’s the time of year – maybe it’s the building’s past history, but that basement has a little bit of creepiness to it. I can’t promise you that it’s haunted, in fac,t Steve is pretty confident it’s not after spending the night down there during construction… but it’s definitely creepy. You can see some of my pictures here and make your own judgment.
One more thing to note before I wrap this up – packaging. I’m hearing rumors (and by rumors, I asked them) that new Wiedemann packaging is very close to hitting your beer fridge. They are bringing in their own canning line, which is on its way – so keep your eyes peeled for more info on that soon!