Mt. Carmel defines what it means to be an OG in Cincinnati’s craft beer community. Not only have they been brewing since well before most of the people that fill the average taproom were able to legally drink, but they also do it differently than anyone else does.
The taproom atmosphere at Mt. Carmel is slower, quieter and more relaxed than most other places are. Spend an afternoon sitting on their porch with a beer in your hand and the world around you will slow down, and seem to stop – that’s a special thing that you don’t get when you step into other taprooms around town.
Growing A Taproom
The thing about Mt. Carmel is that they’ve been around so long, that when they “opened their doors” – you couldn’t have a taproom. The business was about getting beer into restaurants, into stores, and into people’s kitchens that way. There was no such thing as “porch sitting” at Mt. Carmel Brewing Company because there was no taproom, no patio, no bar to get a pint.
As things in Ohio changed, things in Cincinnati started changing – and the beer scene was set to explode. Mt. Carmel was the first brewery to open up a taproom, and they did it quickly. No one had any idea how popular taprooms were about to become, and Mt. Carmel wasn’t then and (still hasn’t been) prepared for that taproom experience to become such a focus of us drinkers.
Over the years, the taproom has evolved in the best ways that it could. The outdoor space at Mt. Carmel has flourished, bringing that amazing porch sitting experience front and center as part of what makes them so special. But the poor farmhouse taproom has always had its limitations, and it became clear some time ago that big changes were needed to take the next step.
The Carriage House
This has been incredible to watch happen. How do you rethink everything about your taproom, and yet try to keep it feeling exactly the same as it always has? Building a 7,000 square foot event space and taproom is hard enough, Mt. Carmel had to do that and make it feel like it was always there.
The new taproom sits right next to the old Farmhouse, and the Dewey’s went great lengths to make sure that it kept the same “farmhouse feeling” that makes porch sitting so fantastic there.
They added a from-scratch kitchen and a new bar that will feature 20 Mt. Carmel beers, 4 rotating wines, and a full bar featuring craft beer cocktails. They also used composite decking boards to create a safe and level outdoor space for anyone to enjoy. It’s a whole new experience – done the exact same way as they’ve always done things. I want to emphasize that – the experience is important to the brewery, and they have done everything that they can to improve it – without destroying what makes it special. The design is incredibly important for the areas that are open to the general public, with neon bar signs for sale cheap being considered to add to the overall aesthetic of the place, hopefully drawing more people in.
You now have a whole new decking area and a balcony upstairs that overlooks their 7 acres of outdoor space. With new landscaping, new water features, and that same charm that makes you instantly fall in love with them. They’re calling it an outdoor “oasis” and I think that might be the absolute best way to describe it. If you want to get away from your hectic life for an afternoon – this is your place. Vacation right down the street.
Upstairs in the Carriage House is a new event space – weddings, birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, they’ve all got a new place that actually comfortably fits them. They’ve also expanded their parking lot to support the crowds that a big event can bring along with it.
It might have taken 13 years… but this is the Mt. Carmel that it was always meant to be, and I’m so freaking happy to see it happen.
The Grand Opening
The doors officially open for business on Friday, November 16th at 4 pm. They’ve got music kicking off that night at 7 pm. The kitchen will be open, and they’ll have cold beer flowing. I can’t encourage you enough to head out this next weekend and show the Dewey’s your love and appreciation for not just making some incredible beer, but for always doing it in the way that they know is right. They’ve created something really special – and it’s something that not just they, but this entire city, should be proud of.