Home

An Adventure To Cellar Dweller Brewing

2 Comments

Join me as I roll up to Morrow, OH to Cellar Dweller Brewing. This adventure was mostly on separated trail!

CellarDwellerLogo

I have known about Cellar Dweller pretty much from the beginning of my living here in Cincinnati. It was, however, one of the two local breweries that I considered unbikeable (the other being the very nice Mt. Carmel Brewing). Then came the day I went to the Lunken Beerfest a couple months ago or so. I stopped by the Cellar Dweller booth for some tastes. The conversation turned to the fact that I had biked to the Fest. The man told me that they sometimes have cyclists visiting the brewery (well, I think he might have said “all the time” but I think that has to be an exaggeration). He said they’re located just a bit off the trail.

That’s pretty much true.

Cellar Dweller’s beers are good! I was impressed at the Beerfest and I was again at the brewery. The experience at Cellar Dweller was a bit of a departure from the norm. See, Cellar Dweller is a fairly young baby of the larger and far more prominent business, Valley Vineyards. Cellar Dweller’s beers, as their slogan suggests, come from the cellars of Valley Vineyards. The place is basically a big restaurant with a big patio. Now, I say restaurant, but I don’t think they really serve food. They have some sort of thing going where they sometimes offer cheese plates, and they have big grills on the front patio where guests can bring their own meat and cook it. I guess they offer salads, desserts, etc. to go along with it as well.

It was interesting for this guy who is simply out for local craft beer. I found myself in a restaurant-like atmosphere. As the hour progressed, I saw more and more people, mostly elderly and not appearing to be hurting for money, filter in and take their reserved seats. Well, it is a winery I guess, and not exactly Napa.

See my fellow patrons. I feel young and rowdy.

See my fellow patrons. I feel young and rowdy.

By the way, I love wine and wineries. My wife and I used to make the 5 hour trek from Seattle to Walla Walla for spring wine release. We had a handful of neat wineries on Bainbridge Island as well.

I rolled in after some confusion as to where exit the trail. I was drenched in sweat on this 90 degree humid day, having pedaled some 35 miles. My bike locked up to the bike rack out front (that’s right, a bike rack!), my soaked shirt draped over the rack and my backup shirt donned, I entered the air-conditioned building after observing the expansive front patio and the guy lighting up the big barbecue grills.

As mentioned, I kind of blew it on my directions. I had investigated the route a couple days prior, consulting Google Street View to get an idea what it looks like where I was supposed to leave the trail and ride on-street the fairly short distance to the brewery. I should have boned up the day of my trip. When I neared Morrow, I saw a cross street that I suspected was where I needed to exit the trail and turn. I doubted myself and proceeded just beyond the street. Stopping to see if my phone could help me, I encountered a nice guy who slowed to ask if everything was okay. I took the opportunity to ask if he knew where Valley Vineyards was and if the street just behind us was the one that led there. Well, I thank the guy who was very nice, but between him and my phone, I was encouraged to proceed on the trail which turned out to take me some three miles too far. Then, I got off the trail and onto a busy road that began to go steeply uphill. My legs and body were not excited. I pulled over, checked my phone and decided I needed to go the other way. After trekking that way for a while on the busy road, I again pulled over, deciding to place a call to Valley Vineyards. Talking to the woman and thinking things through, I got an idea where I had gone wrong.

Yes, I had gone too far on the trail then pedaled around Morrow in vain. This as I was about drained of sweat.

Cellar Dweller is located a bit before you get into Morrow on the trail (coming from Cincinnati). The road at which you exit the trail is named Stubbs Mill Road, people. Remember it. One of the women at the brewery told me they had a sign up on the trail for a while, but it kept getting removed. There is actually a small wooden sign across the road as you approach on the trail that bears the road’s name.

THIS is the road.

THIS is the road. Get off the trail here and turn right! Then turn left at the light.

As you approach your road.

As you approach your road.

It looks like this once you're on the road. Barely visible in this pic is the big gravel pit on the left – a major landmark.

It looks like this once you’re on the road. Barely visible in this pic is the big gravel pit on the left – a major landmark.

 

Looking the other direction you would see the giant wine barrel Valley Vineyards sign. I didn't photograph it but I'm pretty sure you can find a pic of it.

Looking the other direction you would see the giant wine barrel Valley Vineyards sign. I didn’t photograph it but I’m pretty sure you can find a pic of it. Notice the little market where the proprietors of this place sell their own fruit and vegetables. Neat!

Right away I saw the red tap handles behind the counter and on the right, though visually they play as significant a role as does Cellar Dweller to Valley Vineyards. I knew what I was there for and, for me, there was no missing those tap handles. Oh yes, I was getting my Cellar Dweller beer.

That's Cellar Dweller over there on the wall.

That’s Cellar Dweller over there on the wall.

I was greeted by a nice young woman in what appeared to be almost a uniform. Tasters were my poison of choice here. They offer a set of seven tasters for $8. The woman readily offered, though, that they offer individual tasters for $1. This suited me better, though I ordered tasters of six of their currently available seven beers. It was a good deal, Pedalpinters. The tasters were unusually large (though they appeared to intentionally fill them less than full). As you see in the menu, Cellar Dweller’s beers are essentially $5/pint save a couple which are of the feebler variety. Yes, this seems to be the law of the land at breweries and beer establishments: only the beers much lighter in gravity come at a more affordable price. Maybe this is a foregone conclusion to most, but I don’t remember it always being that way. Is it an Ohio thing? Is it a Midwest thing? I’d have to go back and visit the Pacific Northwest to find out. Sadly, I am actually glad to see they only charge $5 at a maximum. The price of beer just keeps going up my friends. $5 is the new $4.

CellarDwellerTasters

CellarDwellerTasters2

I took my paddle of tasters and – no, actually the woman offered to carry them for me – I found a table in the cool somewhat dim dining room. All the tables had cards displayed on them with names and the time of the reservations. I was prepared for this, as I had called a total of three times leading up to my adventure to get a feel for the atmosphere there. More importantly, I needed to confirm that they would be open before I blew a day of travel in vain. The deal is, comrades who are just out for a bit of beer and a bike ride, the place takes reservations and fills up with diners and winers at 4 o’clock. Prior to that, though, you are welcome to visit and enjoy the beer (and wine). Just make sure you are ready to vacate your table before the reservation time unless you want an uncomfortable moment.

Makes you want to settle in and have a nice dinner with friends or family eh? Nah. I think I'll ride 30 miles home now.

Makes you want to settle in and have a nice dinner with friends or family eh? Nah. I think I’ll ride 30 miles home now.

Of the six Cellar Dweller beers I had, I enjoyed Dead Dweller the least. Dead Dweller is good. This tells you how I feel about these beers. Standouts for me are the Ryno amber which tasted a lot more like an IPA or hoppy pale than an amber. It is listed at 27 IBU but has to be hopper than that. The Lookout Stout and the Hoppy Poppy IPA are very good as well. Shawsome black IPA is good but not, to me, quite as good as the aforementioned. Just a matter of taste, but all quality beers! I’d like to try their wines sometime.

CellarDwellerBeerMenu

At first I sat at a table for two not far from the gift shop/counter. Later, I moved to a big table diagonally across the room that was next to a front window, as I craved more light and a view outside. This table had a reservation time of 6:00 compared to the 5:00 at my first table. It was getting close to this hour because I had left home later than I wished, having had to deal with a flat tire before departing and of course getting a bit lost on the way.

When I saw a significant amount of people saunter in and fill the area around the counter I figured I’d better get up there and pay lest I be caught waiting behind a crowd of distinguished guests, my time ticking away. I joined the crowd and settled up with the responsive friendly staff. To my surprise, there was a lull in the action a bit later for which I should have waited. 

From my window I was able to see my bike and the two other bikes locked to the rack that were there when I arrived. Yes, there were a couple other cyclists there, though I couldn’t tell who they were. I have the strong suspicion that most people that bike to Valley Vineyards do so from somewhere around Loveland (home of Cappy’s a place detailed in another of my posts), or maybe from some point to the North of the winery. I don’t know that the place sees many visitors from Cincinnati, a 65-70 mile round trip away.

After thoroughly enjoying my tasting experience, I finally used the restroom. Yes, I had downed about 1.75 liters of water since leaving home in addition to my beer and just now had to pee a little. That’s how much I sweat. It was time to take off and start the ride back home.

I exited on the gravel drive that runs parallel to the road, then joined the road. It’s not far until you reach the road where you turn right to reach the trail which is probably 1/3 mile away.

The ride on the trail this day was peaceful and pleasant but tiring and, frankly, boring. Two hours each way does get old. Of course there is also the ride to and from the trail from my neighborhood which you will see on the map.

I’m glad to have had this adventure and thus made it to the final Cincinnati brewery I had not visited. I’ll do it again, though maybe in the winter!

Thanks for joining me on this adventure.

Cheers, and keep spinning those spokes!

Advertisements

Updated July 14: An Adventure To Cappy’s Craft Wine And Spirits

Leave a comment

Join me as I play recreational Cincinnati cyclist and finally try out the Loveland Bike Trail. There’s one major difference however: I didn’t drive a car, park it, then start my ride. I rode from my house. Yes, take that. I believe most of the time a bike ride should not involve gasoline and an internal combustion engine.

Cappy’s Craft Wine And Spirits is a place I’ve heard of a few times and finally had brought into the forefront of my consciousness by the web presence known as Hoperatives here in the Cincinnati area. It clicked that this was a place not far at all off the Loveland Trail that fills growlers and carried a lot of craft beer. Sounds like an adventure to me.

Allow me to take a moment to address something: One day as I was at Rivertown Brewing recently, there was a guy I’d just met talking about cycling with me and the Loveland Bike Trail came up. Suddenly from my other side came a loud, adamant, somewhat obnoxious voice proclaiming that it’s not the Loveland Bike Trail. It’s the Loveland Multi-Use Trail! The man, a cyclist, insisted that walkers did not want him blazing along the trail at 30 miles per hour or something like that. You know what? He has a point, albeit a point I already understood. It is indeed a multi-use trail and cyclists should yield and give as wide a berth as possible to those on foot. His point I do think bears repeating here, as I believe most folks call it the Loveland Bike Trail. Many cyclists – almost exclusively those clad in bright Lycra and atop expensive road bikes – ride fast, disrespectfully and unsafely to others on trails such as this.

I feel bad leveling a dig at serious and somewhat serious roadies, or even wannabe lookalikes. I love and promote all forms of cycling. The more people in bikes the better! People, though, need to be respectful and considerate of others. I love to ride fast, and would like to think I’m pretty good at it. I, however, almost always slow down, and put as much space as is reasonable between me and slower riders, and those on foot.

Something else very much needs addressing here: Pedestrians have their own serious burden of responsibility in sharing paths and other ways of travel. So many people traveling on foot (cyclists too) are oblivious to the world around them, but particularly anything and anyone behind them. Walkers, please, if you’re going to spread out and take up most or all of the way of passage (as is apparently human nature) please put in some effort toward periodically checking behind you or at least listening!! Almost every time I come up behind people walking, whether I am running or whether I am cycling, my attempts to get their attention with anything less than a loud, rude holler, fail. Pay attention, or don’t spread out and block the way, people! This should be basic.

Now, back to beer adventuring.

Pretty nice selection for what feels and looks like a traditional small town.

Pretty nice selection for what feels and looks like a traditional small town.

Cappy’s is located in Loveland, in case I haven’t mentioned it. The ride from my house, I think, was about 25 miles one way. This place is part of the trend – one that amazes me – of offering beer on tap at stores. There is a grocery store in Cincinnati that fills growlers, and this is one of two convenience stores that I know of in the area that also do. Cappy’s has a very nice selection of bottled beers as well of course. It’s a place to find nice wine too, though I didn’t take the time to check that out on this maiden voyage. I refer you to my post on Chuck’s on 85th, known now as Chuck’s Hop Shop for a writeup of a place that is doing the same thing in Seattle. The main difference, aside from the fact that Chuck’s has a lot more on tap, and more in bottles, is that Chuck’s is allowed to serve glasses of beer to be consumed onsite. Cappy’s currently is limited to offering four tiny samples for $1. The guy who helped me this day at Cappy’s, though, told me that this coming fall they would become allowed to pour beer for consumption on premise. Two pints he thought would be the limit. Neat! Guess it must be up to Loveland lawmakers, as the Whole Foods in Cincinnati makes no mention of a pint limit.

Nice stuff.

Nice stuff.

Getting to Cappy’s from my location in Hyde Park was not bad. Basically you ride the same route you use to get to Fifty West Brewing, but you proceed a fairly short distance past it, crossing the intersection at Newtown Rd. and then find the beginning of the trail on your right.

I will provide a map next, and further describe the ride and the growler filling experience at Cappy’s.

July 12 update follows:

Here’s the map:

http://goo.gl/maps/IkeRN

The ride from Hyde Park to Cappy’s brought back memories of Seattle. How? Think Burke Gilman Trail. From my home on Bainbridge Island, WA I’d ride to the ferry, take the boat, then sometimes ride a handful of miles to where I could pick up the Burke Gilman then head off to my destination. Here, I rode a handful of miles where I could pick up the Loveland Trail and head to my destination. Of course a major difference is that there are far fewer useful places the Loveland Trail can take you compared to its Seattle counterpart.

I took Erie to the east, followed it and enjoyed the bike lanes that are present on parts of it, and at Murray Rd., turned right. See, there is another short separated multi-use path to enjoy here that takes you into Mariemont. On this trip I had a nice experience talking to a fellow cyclist on the Murray Trail. An older gentleman in riding gear pulled up alongside me and asked where I was headed. Informed that we had moved here last fall from Seattle, he shared some information about the Loveland Trail with me that I already knew. A nice experience that you just cannot get driving a car. Human connection.

The Murray Trail ends and leaves you to ride on a residential street with, oddly, another residential street running parallel to it. Take this to the intersection with Plainville Rd., a stop sign intersection where you cut diagonally across and proceed on Madisonville Rd. which curves right and takes you down to the heart of Mariemont’s business/entertainment district. Cross the stop light intersection, turning left onto Wooster Pike/50.

From there you ride on the roadway with no bike lane or appreciable shoulder through the eastern part of Mariemont. There is a great downhill stretch before you pass the big grocery store. Not too long after that you pass Fifty West Brewing which is on the left. Proceed past the intersection with Newtown Rd. and shortly after that find the entrance to the Loveland Trail on your right.

Before long you pass a park. This is always great, as you can possibly fill a water bottle and use the restroom unless these facilities are closed for the winter (hate that!).

The rest of the ride is pretty self-explanatory. There are some places where you deal with intersections with roads. At least a couple of them are pretty treacherous.

When you get into Loveland, get off the trail and go left on Loveland Ave. (I recommend staying on the near side of the road, dismounting and walking/running on the sidewalk) It’s not far to where you cross an intersection then see Cappy’s on the left.

Cappy’s, frankly, doesn’t look very nice on the outside. Well, neither does it on the inside. This is pretty much on par with Seattle’s Super Deli Mart and Chuck’s Hop Shop however. It’s a quickie mart that has beer on tap.

Notice I didn’t say it pours beer. Not until this fall according to the guy who helped me.

On this visit to Cappy’s I filled two growlers – one with the local Mt. Carmel Snapshot Series Imperial IPA (very good) and the other with Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. I’ll quickly mention Mt. Carmel Brewing since I probably won’t document an adventure to that brewery. See, it’s not possible as far as I can tell to ride a bike there. One day I had to drive to Eastgate Mall and I made the trip more worthwhile by finally visiting Mt. Carmel. I was quite impressed. The tasting room space is very nice, the service is friendly and the beer is good. You’re inside an old house and can proceed back into other areas of the house that are very tastefully appointed. Outside there is a sitting area and a pond complete with two fake ducks and sometimes two real ones. Any time I have to drive out that way I’ll be stopping in (if they’re open).

Back to Cappy’s. Well, more on Cappy’s next!

July 14 update follows:

Pull your bike up to Cappy’s and, of course, find no bike parking. I locked up to something out front and hoped no locals would complain. Yes I was struck by how, oh how to I phrase it, towny this place appears. I had heard good things about it online and was impressed that Cappy’s is smart enough to maintain an active web presence, providing Twitter updates showing their current tap lineup. What do I expect, I guess. It’s a convenience store in a relatively small town in the Midwest. Even the two quickie marts in Seattle that pour beer are frankly pretty crummy in appearance, and only one of them has a bike rack out front. The standard macro beers occupy a surprising share of Cappy’s coolers and floor space.

On to the good: Cappy’s does have a nice selection of both bottles and draft beer. If I recall, they have as a standard offering Bell’s Two Hearted Ale for a decent price per growler fill. The prices on the rest of their fills are typical – mostly somewhat overpriced for this bargain hunter.

On this visit there was a mixup. The cordial, genuine young man helping me filled one of my growlers with the wrong beer. This wound up being a slightly bigger issue than I would expect. He couldn’t see his way to pouring the beer into another vessel where it could serve another purpose. Instead he offered, to my dismay, to swap out my growler for a new one. I got the feeling he didn’t fully understand the basic tenet of growlership that states that the growler is the property of the customer. This was my growler from Seattle’s Peddler Brewing Company – a bicycle-themed brewery that I’ve written about. There was no way I was letting him keep it, and I was offended that he seemed to think he had the right to take it. I don’t want to be hard on the guy. He was nice and in the end came up with a solution that was agreeable.

An interesting thing about Cappy’s: They offer 1/2 size growlers pre-filled with beer that comes out of their lines just prior to their cleaning the lines. I really appreciate their finding a use for this beer that otherwise would go wasted. It’s sold at a decent discount, however, this discount is wiped out by the fact that you must purchase the new 1/2 size growler glassware at the same time. I wish they would provide this offer while allowing you to exchange a 1/2 size growler of your own, thus relieving you of purchasing the new glassware each time.

The selection of bottled beer at Cappy’s is fairly impressive. I have some pics of the bottled beers that I may share at a future date, but my wife and I have switched phones temporarily. You get the idea regarding Cappys though. It’s a solid place that I’m glad to have available. I look forward to their beginning to offer beer for consumption on premise. I wonder if they will install a seating area, and how far this will be taken. I don’t personally need seating, as wandering around a bottle shop while sipping a beer is a favorite activity.

Well that’s Cappy’s, folks – at least from my unique perspective. The ride home is just a reversal of the outgoing trip and of course can feel sort of long. I stopped in Fifty West on the way back and found it overrun with what I found out to be a load of tour bus revelers. Don’t get me started on the whole craft beer tour van/bus thing taking root in Cincinnati.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure. Look for an adventure that may take place in the immediate future that will see me on the Loveland Trail again and blazing all the way to Morrow, OH for a visit to Cellar Dweller Brewing!

Cheers, and keep spinning those spokes!

Updated Nov. 13 w/Shortcut: An Adventure to Double Barrel Brewing

Leave a comment

November 13 Update is italicized paragraph below, and new map link:

Pedalpinters, I recently paid another visit to Double Barrel and tried out a partly different route from Pleasant Ridge. It cuts off about 2.85 miles but sheds the separated trail aspect of the journey. It’s a good tradeoff. Of course if you’re coming from downtown Cincinnati or some point near the city’s southern border, use the route that includes the trail. Below is the link to the updated map that shows the shortcut (the orange line) on Linwood Avenue. Enjoy!

http://goo.gl/maps/76oTI

Join me as I roll along Cincinnati’s southern, waterfront border on my way to Double Barrel Brewing. This trip from Covington, KY was largely on bike lanes and separated multi-use paths! Cincinnatians will know to absolutely not get used to this.

This is one of many beer places I have biked, or run, to thus far during my nascent residency in the Queen City. I chose to share it with you at this time both because I actually went to the trouble of looking like a geek and taking pics there and because it stands in contrast to the brewery “reviewed” in my previous post: Rhinegeist.

Double Barrel is, as I understand it, an operation started by two Dads who used to take their kids to the same sports practices or something like that. Apparently they took out no loans to build and start this operation, and took some two years to open it – doing much, if not all, the construction work themselves. This is pretty respectable to me.

View from the bar. Side garage door open.

View from the bar. Side garage door open.

I’m not, however, in the business of trying to be especially in the know on the beer places I visit; so enjoy as I provide my impressions of and experiences at Double Barrel – and more importantly as always – the experience of getting there by bicycle!

I’ll start off by supplying you with a map, complete with comments and tips, of the route I used to adventure to Double Barrel by bicycle. The map (use the link below) includes both the route from my then residence in Covington, KY and a route from the Pleasant Ridge area.
When I was living in Seattle (actually, a 35 minute ferry ride across from downtown Seattle) I would map my routes from the ferry terminal. I figured this was a good choice of starting points for my maps because it’s downtown. Now that I live in a less central neighborhood of of my wonderful new city, it’s less clear from where I should start my mappings. Hopefully, though, it will be useful to many of you especially since I have mapped the route from two different starting points.
http://goo.gl/maps/d51Cu

November 04 Update Follows:

The route to Double Barrel from Covington is an interesting one that includes some riding on separated multi-use trails and a stretch of bike lane – two things that are very scarce in Cincinnati. Yes, I know we have the Loveland bike trail; I wonder though how useful it is in actually traveling from one place to another. My family and I drove to Loveland a few weeks ago to visit a neat pumpkin farm. It was funny to see how the town caters to bicycle riders and the notion of bikes. I must admit I haven’t researched exactly where the Loveland bike trail starts and ends, but I don’t know that it provides connectivity. I imagine the vast majority of its riders drove their bikes on their cars to their starting points. I’d welcome news that I’m wrong.

After rolling over the Roebling Bridge into Downtown Cincinnati, literally make your first right, staying on the sidewalk and going between a building and a green space. If you use Street View on the attached Google map, you’ll see trucks blocking the sidewalk. This is not uncommon here as there always seems to be some event that has crews setting up or tearing down. This stretch of sidewalk can be busy at times, mostly depending on the weather and what events are going on. So of course be courteous and give right of way to pedestrians.

I go this way because it is the only way I’ve found that doesn’t require carrying your bike up or down stairs. I wouldn’t like to be someone trying to get around here in a wheelchair.

Soon you’ll be going right behind the Moerlein Lager House where the wide sidewalk becomes a nice ramp and heads down to Joe Nuxhall Way. By the way, if you take a look at Street View here you will see the Lager House is under construction and not yet really there, as the photos were taken in 2011 or so.

The Moerlein Lager House is, to me, an upscale restaurant built to cater to sports fans and other Downtown revelers. Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. has a very long history in Cincinnati, but I’m not familiar enough with it to describe it. They do have another presence in town which is more my speed: the brewery and taproom located in Over The Rhine (the lovely neighborhood I wrote about in my post on Rhinegeist Brewery). Moerlein’s taproom is actually great and is one of the several places I have backlogged in my brain, awaiting write-ups.

Back to our adventure: After turning right onto the sidewalk of Joe Nuxhall Way, go across Mehring Way and onto the sidewalk there where you will proceed left and begin in earnest your off-street trip to where you venture out onto the roadway onto Riverside Drive. I will only provide highlights of the route along the waterfront here, as the details are too numerous. Consult my map and, like me, you’ll find your favorite way to navigate this area.

About the time you go under the first bridge, you may want to begin riding along the old railroad tracks that are right there in the midst of this spacious, non-motorized area along the riverfront. I find choosing this line lets you avoid some waiting for meandering walkers to recognize your presence.

In the area under the second bridge (the yellow one) you go by a children’s playground so use caution.

The trail becomes fine gravel not very long before you get to get the the driveway of a fancy restaurant that often has valet parking employees present. It is here that you may choose to get out onto the roadway. I do so if traffic is light. Otherwise you can just ride on the sidewalk, which I have not yet found busy.

After about 3000 feet, you need to get out onto the roadway if you haven’t already. Here, the path continues a short distance, but it’s easier to just join the roadway. This is adjacent to International Friendship Park, and there is a driveway that has a gate that consists of long arms that raise and lower. It’s there to keep drivers from inanely driving into the park area. I’ve found these arms up just a bit sometimes. But even if they’re not you can still get through on bike. The good news is that bike lanes start here! They have been recently installed, so they aren’t pictured on Street View.

The next significant thing you encounter is the road curving to the right as it goes under a railroad bridge. Here the bike lanes tell you to hug the inside of the curves, which I find unsafe. I think it’s better to put yourself farther out into the roadway in this curve to increase your visibility. Of course, how you ride is up to you.

Another landmark will come up on your left after a short while: Brew River Gastropub. It’s easy to miss it unless they have a sandwich board out (which they usually do). Brew River is a nice thing to have here, but it has its drawbacks, not the least of which is the crazy prices they charge for most of their beers. I will give them credit for their nice little policy of offering $1 off your first drink if you show a bike helmet. I may be wrong, but I assume they adopted this policy around the time that it became known that the bike lanes were going in.

A bit more than 1.5 miles farther, you get to leave the roadway and head onto a separated trail!

November 6 Update Follows:

The street you’re looking for is Corbin St. You go toward the water on a street which ends where a sidewalk begins (always a joyous thing!) with short metal poles blocking car traffic. The trail turns left and parallels the water, but not too closely. Soon you go through a park.

Now, I have to divulge that I have yet to understand what is the deal with the names of the trail(s) in this area of Cincinnati. There is “Ohio River Trail” and there is “Ohio Bicycle route 1” – the latter being something that sounds pretty cool and useful. It’s not just here that I see signs for the “Bicycle Route 1.”

I know that there is a bike trail that takes you from this southeastern corner of Cincinnati all the way up to Columbus (some 100 miles). I don’t know how seamless that trail is. Most trails have many gaps and unclear areas in them. If this Cincinnati to Columbus trail was nice, complete and well-signed, it sounds like a great adventure. I picture starting out early, bringing food along, making the ride to Columbus, having a nice dinner and crashing in a hotel. Stay a day and a night in Columbus, then make the ride home.

Back to our adventure: Very shortly after the trail takes you through the park, it ends at a road where you turn left and go over to the main road (Kellogg Ave.) which the trail then runs alongside. You’re essentially riding on a sidewalk here and you must deal with crossing over driveways and side streets. Nice “trail” eh?

Soon you come to an intersection with Carrel St. where the trail ends. Turn left with the light and roll along the lovely street, passing Kellogg Auto Parts and its distinctive baby blue building and fence. Fortunately before long you see a crosswalk and, on the right, a trail complete with car-blocking poles! FYI: The map (and I definitely am familiar with seeing signs saying the same) has this section of trail labeled “Ohio Bicycle Route 0.” It’s zero now? Okay.

The trail takes a big curve to the left. Shortly you arrive at an intersection (with Airport Rd.) where the trail ends. What you need to do here is cross the street to the right (Wilmer Ave.). The trail picks up again and parallels Wilmer Ave. This is apparently now the Lunken Airport Trail.

This section of trail, while it is at least a separated trail, crosses many driveways and has many significant bumps (which of course are the enemy of your wheels especially if you have narrow road-wheels like me). After something like 1.5 miles, the trail curves right a bit and moves away from the roadway and runs by a big park. The trail comes to a point where you are about behind home plate of a ball field. You’ll see a drinking fountain ahead.

A very nice thing to have a working water fountain here at this relaxing stopping point.

A very nice thing to have a working water fountain here at this relaxing stopping point.

Don’t follow the trail as it branches to the right. Instead you have to leave the trail here and get onto the sidewalk of the roadway Wilmer Ave. Travel some 500 feet then go left at the stop light intersection.

It then curves around to the right and goes under an overpass. Immediately after going under this overpass, look left and see the three-level set of stairs – lighted at night – that take you up onto the overhead roadway and over the railroad tracks, then back down the stairways onto Eastern Ave.

IMG_0699

IMG_0697

IMG_0696

IMG_0695

Proceed, from the base of these stairs, to your right and quite shortly you arrive at Double Barrel Brewing! I must mention an important point: Though I really like pedestrian overpasses, and find it a unique part of this adventure, it occurred to me on my return trip that the only benefit this pedestrian overpass – and all its stair-climbing – gains you is passage in the event of the presence of a train. On my return trip, I simply stayed on ground level and crossed straight over to where the base of the stairs are on the other side then proceeded on my route toward home. If I recall, I had to pick up my bike to get it over those railroad tracks.

Double Barrel’s building is no-frills which is, of course, the norm for small breweries. The funny thing about it is that its parking lot at least used to be overflow parking for the, I guess, well-known Terry’s Turf Club which is a bit down the street. I would imagine folks still park at Double Barrel then walk to Terry’s. Fortunately, having arrived by bicycle you won’t have to worry about finding parking!

When I arrived the evening of my first visit, it was starting to get dark. I found a middle-aged guy sitting out front smoking. Yes, smoking just outside the entrance/exit of a building: The accepted norm here in this region despite what I thought was a standard law stating there must be a 25 foot distance observed by smokers. It’s common practice for businesses to place ash trays directly outside their front doors. This is where my negative impression started but fortunately began to fade quickly as my visit unfolded.

I began to look for something to which to lock up my bike when the guy spoke up and said to me that if I was there for Double Barrel, I could take my bike inside and just lean it up against the bar. I figured he was an employee or maybe even a guest but it turns out he is one of the owners.

Thankful, I rolled my bike on inside and did just that, checking with the young man running the place inside. This guy, my beertender for the evening, turned out to be a very nice guy and did Double Barrel right as he presented their offerings in a genuine, friendly and accommodating fashion. He and I, in fact, spoke at length as I tasted a few of their beers, then ordered a pint or two more.

Belgian, Helles, Bad Tom, Old Abe, IPA (I believe, in that order)

Belgian, Helles, Bad Tom, Old Abe, IPA

Behind these doors is the brewing equipment.

Behind these doors is the brewing equipment.

Double Barrel’s signature, perhaps flagship, beer is Bad Tom. If I have the story straight, the man known as Bad Tom was the last person hanged in Kentucky. (Someone please correct me if I have the story wrong.) The really interesting part is that the owner I met that night (he came in and out of the taproom that evening and was a nice guy) is a direct descendant of Bad Tom.

Of the beers I tried on this visit, my favorite was Old Abe if I recall.

It’s interesting how the building’s layout has things, but the beer taps are not behind the bar. They, of course, have to be attached to a wall surrounding the cold room (or the beer can be carried by long lines from the cold room to the taps, but this is less than ideal). So you order a beer and the beertender walks out from behind the bar and over to the taps and pours it. Not at all important to me – just interesting.

Double Barrel offers free popcorn (seen on the far right of the photo of the taps). At least they offered it on the evening of this visit. Despite the knowledge that almost all popcorn you find contains things that aren’t good for you, I often succumb. On this adventure, I was short on food so I was especially grateful for the popcorn!

Through that little hallway beyond the taps are found the bathrooms. Note the popcorn machine on the right.

Through that little hallway beyond the taps are found the bathrooms.

During my visit, Double Barrel wasn’t busy. I believe it was a Saturday evening. I understand that it does get packed in there sometimes, so it must have been a fortunate fluke for me. It remains to be seen how the experience will be in there when it is busy, but I came away from this visit very happy.

I will describe the return trip as a simple reversal of the outgoing trip. I would like to mention that, to my great surprise, I encountered a Ghost Bike on this trip. It was located along the trail somewhere in the airport region. I did not expect that the culture of honoring, and bringing attention to, the people who have died at the hand of careless drivers would be found here. I saw several Ghost Bikes in the Seattle area, but the one here – especially alongside a bike trail – really took me by surprise. I don’t know if the deceased’s life was taken out on the roadway adjacent to the trail, or if it happened at a crossing with a road or driveway, but the Ghost Bike was locked to a signpost along the trail.

GhostBikeOnWayDblBarrel

Based on my initial experience, Double Barrel is a good brewery/taproom and I’m happy to have it part of our local beer scene. Its location is pretty far down in the corner of Cincinnati, but it seems to me the ride from my Pleasant Ridge location would be about as convenient as my ride from Covington. I look forward to more visits to this, one of our precious few local breweries!

Thanks for joining me on this adventure.

Cheers, and keep spinning those spokes!

%d bloggers like this: