Hey, Pedalpinters!

I trust you have been spinning those spokes and using our proven routes to local beer. I have.

It has been in the back of my mind for a long time now to post some quick updates to some of my posts. I could go into each post that needs updating (because the establishment has undergone significant changes, or my route has); but for now I will quickly list these significant changes for you, Pedalpinters.

  1. Double Barrel Brewing has changed a lot. Its name is now Bad Tom Smith Brewing. One of the two owners/founders, Sean Smith remains and the other, Charles has moved on. A guy named John V. has come in and moved the business forward.

    Perhaps more significant is this: When I first moved here and shared my adventures with you, I was more prone to seek out off-street trails when possible to get to beer places. I would even ride on the sidewalk when necessary. The occasional sidewalk riding has changed. As I shared in my post regarding my Cincinnati Observations, I have learned of the pervasive belief here that cyclists belong on the sidewalks. Due to this, I am especially loathe to ride on the sidewalks here. I don’t want to give the idiots the satisfaction and reinforce their idiocy.

    Since the time that I described my route to, then, Double Barrel I have discovered a faster, more direct route. Part of the reason for this is the addition of the bike lanes on Delta Ave. I just fly on down Delta instead of wasting time using the off-street trails.

    Bad Tom is one of my favorite breweries, despite its flaws (all breweries have flaws!) It’s one of the closest to my home and I have supported it from the start.  It’s got some very significant positives. They continue to improve, and are actually slated to move to Madisonville this year – unfortunately, placing them out of range for me to run there with my dog.

    Bad Tom has actually opened up a location in Ohio City, which I guess is basically in Cleveland. Both Sean and John are Cleveland guys. Go, Bad Tom, go!

  2. Whole Foods beer counter has taken a dive in desirability, and apparently in priority for them. One of the most amazing things about the Whole Foods beer station was price. We all know Whole Foods is infamous for high prices; yet they seemed to be offering beers at a merciful price point. I assumed it was considered by the corporation as a nice thing they could do for customers that would not really have a significant negative impact on the company’s bottom line but would garner love from the customer base.
    Things have changed. A while back I noticed, well, a sort of slipping in their offerings – not just in terms of the product, but the experience. There would be a couple of the taps out of order. The beers would be pouring poorly. The baristas (I’m no longer calling the beeristas as I did in my original Whole Foods post, sadly) seemed to not know much of anything about the beers or basic conventions of serving them. It’s like their beer taps have become an unwanted appendage.
    Consider, now, the killer for me: The pricing that was such a refreshing and appealing facet of the draught beer experience at my local Whole Foods has gone away. Where you could find $4 pints and even $3 pints, you now see the more standard pricing of $6 and $7 per pint (or smaller pour).
    Also disappointing is that they have reduced the seating/counter space at the front window that is so crucial to my beer sipping/people watching experience. There are not many front window seats anymore. Part of the reason is the addition of the Amazon lockers.
    Yes, you are still allowed, as far as I know, to pick up some bottled or canned beer from the beer section and enjoy some of it in the store and this is probably the only thing I would do from now on at the once-great Whole Foods beer counter.
  3. Moerlein Malt House in OTR has raised its pint prices from $5 to $6. This shocked me. The OTR Malt House, while a very cool and historic building and cool atmosphere, is a more bare-bones, no frills place. I assumed this was why beers were mercifully priced at $5 as opposed to the $6 at Moerlein Lager House down at The Banks. Now I wonder if the Lager house has raised their prices from $6 to $7! I don’t go there because of crappy service I’ve experienced. If I do go there, I’ll let you know.
  4. Rivertown Brewing has undergone ownership change. Randy, one of the co-owners left and the remaining guy wanted to focus on sours and bring in lots of arcade games. What’s more, they did away with my most favorite beers. After a couple experiences there – which required the rather long, arduous (but enjoyable) ride – that saw me turning around and leaving upon finding no beers on tap that I wanted, I wrote Rivertown off. Since then, they have closed their Lockland taproom and only have their new location in some town that is off my radar. Sad to see go what was one of my favorites.
    Randy, though, opened up his own brewery/taproom in Newport called Wooden Cask, and it is a favorite go-to for me.
  5. Fifty West has opened, across the street from the original Brewpub, their “Pro Works.” It’s in the old Hahana beach volleyball bar space. Pro Works is an interesting place. In fact, 50 West has adopted a new outdoorish, active lifestyle persona with Pro Works. The Hahana-like volleyball remains (and with it, sand on the floors and shirtless dudes ordering beers next to you).
    I was excited about Pro Works for a very short period. On one of my first visits – a weeknight near closing – I was excited to see the bicycle wheel lights over the bar. It  reminded me a bit of The HUB in Portland (which has an impressive, expansive display of used bike frames lining the space above the bar and stretching the entire length of the bar.) I was optimistic – wrongly so. The beertender closed up shop early as so many beer places do, and this is just one of 50 West’s problems these days.
    My Sunday visits to the original Brewpub to take advantage of their $5 flights has gone away. This is not because they have done away with Sunday $5 flights. It is because too many very disappointing experiences with the bar staff. It seems Sunday afternoons brings listless, care-less bar staff. Riding out to 50 West was enjoyable, but it takes a significant chunk of my limited time. It’s out of the way. It is extremely maddening to ride all the way out there and get crappy service. I could have used that time much more wisely!
    Sad to see you go from my list, 50 West!
  6. Listermann has undergone gradual major changes. This includes opening up a large indoor space that is pretty cool. The tiny bar that moved if you leaned on it has finally been replace with a larger, more legitimate bar.
    I have no use for Listermann’s canned beer releases that draw Black Friday-like lines of people; but here is the cool part. I can almost always come in on their Sunday Fundays when they offer $4 pours on all beers and enjoy those same beers.
    Another significant change is they no longer allow dogs inside the building.
  7. Mayday in Northside is now Northside Yacht Club (NSYC). I am pretty consistently impressed with this place in terms of decent service and good draught beer selection. Their pricing is not anything that good, but every once in a while it’s worth it.
    I have to mention that one of the owners is particularly cool. The guy, whose name I should know by now, seems to really appreciate folks that come in by bicycle. He’s friendly and down to earth. Unfortunately, I have to skip NSYC most times I’m in Northside, as it just means a couple more beers and time added to my docket. At this point, they remain a valued place in my program.

    There you have my updates, Pedalpinters!

    Cheers, and keep spinning those spokes!