The Changing Cincinnati Brewery Food Programs


Written By: The Gnarly Gnome
Photography By: The Gnarly Gnome

There have been quite a few significant changes in our local craft breweries’ food programs. It’s been a whirlwind, and if I’m being honest, there is a lot to keep track of. If you’ve had a hard time keeping up with it all, I’m here to help you out (that’s kind of my thing).

We’ve got it all: new food programs, changing food programs, new menus, and even a pizza dispensing vending machine. If you like to eat when you’re drinking a local Cincinnati craft beer, you’ll probably be a happier drinker as we head out of this spring than you were when we headed into it.

16 Lots Southern Outpost

Many people were understandably upset when the news dropped early this year that 16 Lots Southern Outpost was not only struggling to keep its doors open but would have to shift its operations a little bit, including shutting down its on-site food operations, to make ends meet.

It’s hard to be a brewpub in the way The Southern Outpost has always envisioned itself when you aren’t operating a kitchen on-site.

Great news hit recently, though, when the brewery announced that through the support of their fans (and some outside investment), they’d hit their goal and were ready to schedule a full-on grand re-opening ceremony on March 15th. This Grand re-opening is only sweetened by the fact that their onsite kitchen is opening back up, too.

Their new streamlined menu includes burgers, wings, chicken sandwiches, and maybe my favorite addition, crispy Brussels sprouts. I’m pretty excited to be able to quickly grab some grub while I’m having a drink again!


One of the first big, noticeable changes when the new ownership took over Listermann Brewing Company last year was the announcement that they would bring their kitchen operations in-house. This is a big move for any brewery, let alone one with new ownership just coming on board.

Their kitchen finally opened on January 11th of this year and has been rolling along since then. They’ve got a wide variety of food available, everything from a great sharable charcuterie board to pork wings and flatbreads that are perfect for keeping your belly full while you knock back a few pints.

It’s been great watching the brewery take ownership over a part of their business that is critical in today’s taproom world – and to do it with food that would make any standalone restaurant proud to serve it to guests.


This was a big one. MadTree got almost everyone talking when it announced that its longtime food partner, Catch-a-Fire Pizza, wouldn’t renew its lease when it ran up this year. Their longtime fans have been chattering away ever since the announcement, wondering what the new menu would look like, full of excitement for this next phase of the MadTree taproom.

It shouldn’t have come as that much of a shock to drinkers when the news hit. The brewery has been operating the kitchen out of its Alcove taproom since it opened its doors in March of 2022. The move to manage their own food (from the outside looking in, at least) went off without a hitch, so it only makes a ton of sense as they expand their taproom presence around the area to bring that same model into each of the new (and existing) spaces.

Their grand opening of the new kitchen will happen on 3/16 for their big Spring Bonanza celebration. What we know now is that pizza will remain at the heart of the new menu, with sandwiches, appetizers, seasonal specials, and a kid’s menu rounding things out.


This one is a little different. Rhinegeist has never seemed to worry too much about the food offerings in their taproom. Although they own the restaurant space on the lower level of their building, they’ve always chosen to bring in other businesses instead of taking things on themselves.

That’s not changing right now… but a new partnership brings a wild, fun concept to the back corner of their taproom.

It’s a vending machine.

Mac’s Pizza debuted its pizza vending machines outside its Clifton location in 2023. The machine in Rhinegeist certainly has to be the busiest, though. On any given weekend, you’ll see folks gathered around, with the machine cranking out pizzas every three minutes to hungry guests, beer in hand. It’s a site to behold as the machine spits out the pizza with a satisfying little mechanical whirr.

Out of all the food changes that we’re talking about, this is easily the most fun, in my opinion.


When Sonder opened its new taproom in West Chester, it announced that it would operate its food program in-house. The menu at this location has been shifting and evolving since November 2023, slowly refining itself.

The brewery recently announced that this spring would also bring big changes to the food program back at their Mason brewery and taproom. Their food partner (Brew River) would be leaving, and they’d be taking on running their food program. We still don’t know exactly what that menu is going to look like, but if you’ve eaten at their new spot in West Chester, you’ll undoubtedly be as excited as I am for this new change to the taproom space.

West Side

There were many sad folks when they heard that Catch-A-Fire Pizza was leaving MadTree. Many of those frowns immediately turned to smiles when the news followed that they’d be opening a new space in the West Side Brewing taproom, though. Not only would Catch A Fire bring much-needed food to the taproom, but they also announced that they’d bring an expanded menu alongside it.

The brewery let loose with the news just this week (as of writing) that the grand opening was coming soon, too, March 22nd, in fact.

It’s an exciting new phase in the West Side brewing story, and I know a lot of folks are thrilled to see it. I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll be hearing the name West Side a lot more over the coming year or two!


When March First bought Woodburn back in 2020, they wanted to bring a new personality to the taproom. It’s taken a while, but that personality keeps developing and changing, with the latest focus being their food program. The taproom brought in pizzas, burgers, and a sharable menu that rounds things out into a great lineup of what I call “drinking food.”

It’s an easy-to-understand, easier-to-enjoy food menu that you don’t have to wait too long for the kitchen to crank out to you.

It also brings the food closer to what you expect from one of the March First taprooms. Anytime you can reduce confusion with drinkers, it’s a good thing for everyone!

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