[Ed.: As I’ve said in numerous other places, the authors at QCD are given almost full discretion to create critical and/or contrarian content. We aim to maintain QCD not as a vehicle to softball or pander, but to provide a voice that is willing to say when a product is subpar. As consumers in the beer, wine, and spirit market, we owe it to ourselves, our readers, and those industrious men and women who create and sell these products to be as honest as possible. With that in mind, this is the first (and definitely not the last) piece treading this ground. If you disagree (or agree) with Steve, let us know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more! – J]
I know many of you are going to disagree with me on this article, but I am going to write it anyways. Part of me thinks I am going to get excommunicated from the city of Cincinnati for voicing this opinion. Oh well, here goes nothing.
As a craft beer destination, I think the Moerlein Lager House is not as spectacular as most people think. It is fine; just not the second coming.
Sure the structure is beautiful, the location is perfect, the food is good and the outdoor space is phenomenal. I also think it is going to make a ton of money and be wildly successful and great for downtown. But I am talking about the beer. And that is where it has fallen short, at least thus far for me.
Let’s start with the guest tap and bottle list.
Yes it is good and yes it is great that before the game you can buy craft beer downtown. At the same time, if you showed me the beer they sell at the price it is sold, I would not be more compelled to go there over many of my favorite Cincinnati beer bars (Dutch’s, Dilly, Fries, and Comet in particular).
Moving onto the brewery part.
The funny thing about the Lager House is I don’t even really think of it as a brewery but more of a Cincinnati focused gastropub that brews beer on the side and is owned by a large brewery. Want proof? They had a grand opening with exactly zero beers brewed on site and to date have made two styles.
This is a place that has every resource available to make fantastic beer. They have state of the art equipment, a world-class brewer, and a ton of capital. To me, it is clear that the brewing part is just not high on their list of initial priorities. Seeing that the commercial turn around on an ale is about 10 days and on a lager is about 28 days, they could have easily knocked out several batches by now (even if they started brewing the day they opened). This is the part I don’t understand- why pay for that brewer if you are not going to give him the keys to the car?
Maybe it is still in the working out the kinks stage. Maybe I’m being overly critical because there were such high expectations. Maybe I just need a to display a little patience. Or maybe everyone else loves the beer and thinks I’m crazy. But at least for the time being, when I am in the downtown area and want a locally brewed beer, you can find me drinking Mitch’s beer at Rock Bottom.