Reanimating a cavernous old brewery with positive vibes.
Like walking into a cathedral. That’s how Bryant Goulding recalls his first glimpse of what is now Rhinegeist brewery. Originally built as a Christian Moerlein bottling plant more than a century ago in Over-the-Rhine, it closed in 1919 due to Prohibition. Hence the name Rhinegeist—literally ghost of the Rhine.
Reopened this past June by co-founders Bob Bonder (president) and Goulding (VP of marketing), the location now features a brewery/taproom. Fetch a draft and grab a seat at a communal table hand-built from salvaged wood, play a few games of cornhole and Ping-Pong, or just drink in the Salvador Dalí-inspired mural.
Head brewer Jim Matt describes his ales as a spectrum from sessionable (low in alcohol) to hoppy. On tap year-round: Uncle, a malty British mild that’s dark in color but light on the palate; Cougar, an American golden ale that’s mellow enough for your domestic-drinking friends; Spikelet, an American wheat ale with a lemon-lime quality; and Truth, a very dry, unapologetically hopped West Coast–style IPA. Specialty brews like Fiction (a Belgian extra pale ale) and Panther (a porter) rotate seasonally.
Rhinegeist’s pint already runneth over. Three new tanks arrived in November, doubling capacity, and Matt hopes to be canning beer by early 2014. “There are a lot of great beer towns,” says Goulding. “Cincinnati was one, and it’s becoming one again. We’re harnessing this community’s positive energy to brand Cincinnati beer.”
Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St, Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-1356, rhinegeist.com
Originally published in the December 2013 issue.