View from Moerlein Lager House
View from Moerlein Lager House

My husband, son and I went to the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company at 1621 Moore Street and enjoyed a visit to the taproom. Our beer meister, Dave, served us up some cold beer. I chose an Exposition Vienna Lager, my husband had a Hudepohl Classic Porter and our son had a root beer (he is only 9). Dave then gave us a look at the brewing room and a bit of history about Christian Moerlein, the man and the brewery, and its return to Cincinnati.

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company tap room
Christian Moerlein Brewing Company tap room

Christian Moerlein was born in Truppach, Bavaria in 1818 and immigrated to the United States in 1841. He settled in Cincinnati and worked as a blacksmith for a time. He saw the need for a German style beer in the neighborhood he lived, Over-the-Rhine, and established a brewery on Elm Street in 1853. Moerlein passed away in 1897 but his brewery became the 13th largest in the nation prior to Prohibition. However, the Eighteenth Amendment caused many breweries to shut down, including The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. While the main brewery building no longer stands, other buildings remain. In 1981, Christian Moerlein Select Lager was reintroduced to Cincinnati at the leading edge of the craft beer movement. Then in 2004, Greg Hardman purchased the Christian Moerlein brand, and it has been his mission ever since to bring it back to its home.

Hardman chose the former Kaufmann Brewery/Husman’s Potato Chip plant on Moore Street for its home because of the extensive underground lagering cellars which could be made available for tours. He honors the memory of the Kaufmann Brewery by displaying the blue prints and maps which are amazing to see. The tap room is located in the old malt house. We learned so much about the old and new brewing processes from our tour.

Moerlein Lager House
Moerlein Lager House

To compare the old and the new and enjoy some outside dining, we went for lunch at the Moerlein Lager House, located at 115 Joe Nuxhall Way.

We were treated to a visit with former brew master Richard Dube who thoroughly explained the brewing process. Be sure to take a tour on a weekend visit, but you must book your tickets online. We chose to eat out on the second level deck with views of the Ohio River.

BBQ burger at Moerlein Lager House
BBQ burger at Moerlein Lager House

It was a beautiful July day with low humidity and lunch was amazing. I had a Helles Bierwurst with a glass of Vienna Lager, my husband had the Cuban Sandwich with a glass of Barbarossa Double Dark Lager and our son had the BBQ Burger with a root beer (do you see a trend here?).

Be sure to check out the past and present with visits to the tap room at the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and the Moerlein Lager House and enjoy the return to Cincinnati’s brewing heritage!

Written by Ann Senefeld of Digging Cincinnati History.