Monday, March 4, 2013

Bockfest Brewery/History Tour

Saturday we got up bright and early.

Ha, no silly, not to run in the 5K in the snow

We took the brewery history tour through historic and still-reviving Over the Rhine.  The tours sold out again this year, as they have every year since we've been going to Bockfest.  This was the first year we've bought tickets early enough.

The tour also goes underneath OTR, into the catacomb-like Lagering Cellars and tunnels built underneath the brewery buildings and even under Vine Street.
Crown Lagering Cellars

Crown Brewing
Crown History
Some of these tunnels have only been re-discovered in recent years.
Hudepohl Brewing

The view from Hudy building to Findlay Market
As we were climbing in-and-out of whitewashed brick tunnels, and up-and-down rickety staircases ladders, we passed this sign on one of the walls in the Hudepohl Brewery Building:

Which was hilarious.
It was as if the sign was meant for us personally.
D and I had bought a beer sign at the Bockfest Hall right before the tour began, which the vendor was holding for us until the end of the tour.  It made us laugh that we were being reminded not to leave without the Hudepohl sign I'd purchased, in the Hudepohl building.

And then, on our way to the next site, I saw this hilarious sign painted on the side of this red building.

Perhaps the most puzzling use of punctuation I've ever seen.
"We" like people.  
heh heh

OTR is famous for being one of the biggest collections of Italianate architecture anywhere.  And even if you don't know much about architectural design, all you need to do is look up to find something to appreciate.

The Moerlein Building

Another terrifying, narrow, steep, staircase into ... enormous, air-raid-shelter-grade structure.  For real, if Cincinnati is ever going to be bombed, this would be the place to be to wait it out.  With ventilation to help C02 brewing byproducts escape, you'd be safe and sound, and only a little bit cold.

The photos really don't capture how huge these spaces are.  Hundreds of German immigrants down here, digging in the dark in the 1880s.  I can barely imagine it.  They were paid in money and beer.

Ticket prices help to fund further excavations.  It's so impressive to me, what people were able to build.  It's kind of thrilling too, to think that we have a warren of cellars and tunnels underneath the city, just like Paris, and a lot yet that remains unexplored.  

I think it's great too that the excavations of Cincinnati's brewing history comes at a time when Cincinnati brewing is coming back, the business of brewing is being developed here again.  
I like that its come back to its roots, becoming a local, craftsman industry again, and reweaving itself into the community.    

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