Ohio has been social distancing and quarantining for a while. The week of Gov. Dewine calling for the closing of all bars and restaurants I found myself at Firehouse Grill talking shop with their head brewer Justin “Pee Paw” Chaney. Since the purpose of these articles is to encourage those of you that haven’t been to the brewery to get out and check it out I thought publishing it during the height of the pandemic would be silly. I decided to hang on to it until things started opening back up and we’re finally at that stage. Hopefully you’re all starting to get comfortable with getting back out there and exploring new places.
Firehouse Grill & Brewery is located at 4785 Lake Forest Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45242. When you pull up to the building you’ll find plenty of parking in a huge lot. A pond accents the side of the building and makes for a scenic view from the large patio. Inside you’ll find a very spacious setting about 12,000 sq ft to be exact. An island bar anchors the main room with TV’s all around it. The main room is surrounded by private rooms that can be reserved for special events. The pictures really don’t do this place justice. It’s a very big, open space.
If it’s your first time at Firehouse you’ll notice you don’t get the traditional taproom vibes. Firehouse has been open since 2011 as only a restaurant. This is evident when you look around and see the layout of the place as well as the different seating options. Booths, tables, and hightops are all options in addition to seats at the bar. They’ve always offered a fantastic selection of local craft beer but finally decided to start brewing their own.Their brewing operation really just launched in February and if you take into consideration the pandemic they’re still very much in their infancy when it comes to brewing. Luckily, they brought in a well experienced head brewer in Justin to put them ahead of the game.
Firehouse has over 40 beers on tap, most of them local. On my visit they had 8 beers of their own on tap. That gives you almost 50 different beer options. You’ll find at least one that you really like. In addition to the beer options they have a full bar available as well to give you all the options. Of course, I was there to only focus on Firehouse’s beers and luckily I was able to try all 8 that they had on tap.
Flights, pints, and growlers are all available. I had 2 flights on my visit so I could try everything they brewed. All of the beers were solid but I always pick out the top 3 that stood out for one reason or another. Here’s my top 3 from Firehouse:
3. Watson’s Wit – Named after the Watson Bro’s Brewhouse that once occupied the same building this Belgian wheat beer is refreshing. It’s very well balanced, herbal, earthy, and has a twist of orange. It’s easy to drink and pairs well with a lot of the menu items. 4/5.
2. Flight Path IPA – Certainly playing homage to the airport Blue Ash used to be home to this IPA is what an IPA should be. It checks in at 6.5% and is very piney, hoppy, and balanced with citrus. It’s labeled as an East Coast IPA but it isn’t hazy and drinks like a West Coast IPA (the best coast for an IPA). 4/5.
1. Summit Saison – You can tell a lot about a brewery by their saison. This one blew me away. At 6.2% it is absolutely packed with bubblegum flavor. I’ve had plenty of saisons that claim to have that flavor but they’ve came off faint or not there at all. This one is the real deal. 4.5/5.
Firehouse Grill & Brewery may be pretty new to the brewing game but with a well experienced head brewer and an awesome space they are set up to do some really cool things. They have a great, easy-to-get-to location and the beers to back it up to make it worth the trip no matter what part of the city you’re from. With an extensive food menu ranging from buffalo chicken rolls to pizza and sandwiches it’s a great spot for lunch or dinner. If you’re anxious to get out of the house but not quite ready to sit at a bar I’d definitely recommend trying out the patio.