Dayton’s brewery explosion

And what to drink while you wait

By Kevin J. Gray
Photo: Tap handles show offerings from Yellow Springs Brewery

Just over a year ago, I reported on three Miami Valley brewpubs in the works: The Dayton Beer Company, Toxic Brew Company and Vitruvian Brew Company. At the time I wrote the article, there was still no locally produced commercial craft beer in the Dayton area. What a difference a year makes.

Dayton Beer Company has been steadily growing since their opening last spring. In fact, the brewery has just upgraded to a larger brew system to keep up with demand and is scouting new locations for a production facility that they hope to open in late fall/early winter.

Meanwhile, movement continues on the other two breweries. After mounds of zoning variances and inspections, Toxic Brew is finally close to opening this spring. The brewery in the heart of the Oregon District has but one or two minor inspections before they are ready to start making beers. Vitruvian is also moving along steadily. The tiny Yellow Springs brewery was working to secure label approval late last year and recently installed their bar in their taproom.

Ohio’s brew license law, which now allows for on-premise taprooms as part of the brewing license, seems to be fueling a modern day brewery boom. In addition to the three breweries above, there are now five more breweries in the works.

The Fifth Street Brewpub seeks to be Ohio’s first cooperatively owned small-batch brewery. Using crowd-sourcing techniques, the brewery has sold approximately 1,500 memberships at $100 each. Fifth Street hopes to open in the first half of this year.

Yellow Springs will likely host not one, but two breweries this year. Next door to Vitruvian, the folks at Yellow Springs Brewery put in long hours over the winter to open. They are now brewing and waiting for their product to mature. An April grand opening is currently in the works.

Centerville may also see a brewery later this spring. Lock 27, located between downtown Centerville and the giant new Kroger’s, will feature a “gastrotap room” that echoes the travels of founder Steve Barnhart, who spent years traveling the better part of five continents. Barnhart is targeting a May opening.

Neighboring Kettering is likely to see a second brewpub – the Dayton Beer Company is also located in the suburb. Eudora Brewing Company has been in demolition mode, renovating their Wilmington Pike location. Eudora will not only brew beer, but will also allow patrons to brew on premise using Eudora’s equipment.

Finally, the Carillon Brewing Company will be taking a more traditional route. Unlike all of the breweries listed above, with their stainless steel tanks and other “newfangled gadgets,” the folks at Carillon will be brewing beer the old-fashioned way. The brewery will be a full-scale 19th century brewery, making beers the way Dayton brewers in the 1800s would have. True to Carillon form, expect costumed interpreters to demonstrate the brewing process. The brewery will be breaking ground this month.

While you wait for our hometown breweries to open or grow, fear not! There are several new or interesting beer locations within about an hour’s drive of Dayton.

Cincinnati was once a brewing powerhouse. Several small craft brewers are working to restore the Queen City to its former glory. The most recent addition to the local beer line-up is 50 West, located on Route 50, just east of the city. The brewery opened last year and has been an instant success.

There are several other Cincinnati taprooms worthy of consideration. Triple Digit is another relative newcomer, celebrating its year anniversary. The brewery is an extension of Listermann’s Homebrew Store, a staple of the Cincy homebrew scene. And while in Cincinnati, be sure to check out the taprooms at Mt. Carmel and Rivertown, two of the city’s “veteran” craft brewers.

Many may be surprised to discover what a craft beer mecca Indianapolis has become. The Broad Ripple area features a number of excellent pubs, including Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Thr3e Wise Men and Brugge Brasserie. The latter specializes in Belgian-style beer and food and offers some phenomenal sours. In Indy proper, Flat 12 Bierwerks makes an exceptional porter and many of Sun King Brewery’s beers score well on beer geek sites like BeerAdvocate and Rate Beer. Ram Restaurant & Brewery has long been a favorite of beer travelers.

Finally, Columbus is no slouch when it comes to craft beer. The city has its own Brewery District, after all. Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus is a cool destination for the architecture alone – the site features a hand-carved, hand split Philippine mahogany bar that complements the rest of the historic décor. Barley’s Brewing Company has been around since the early 1990s and is still a crowd favorite – the highest ranked brewery in the city, according to BeerAdvocate. The aptly named Columbus Brewing Company has an even longer history with Ohio’s capital. The original Columbus Brewing Company was founded in 1830. In 1988, a new brewery opened and paid homage to the original owners of the name.

This year should be a fun one for fans of locally produced craft beer. While our neighbors to the South, West and East currently satisfy our demands for high-quality artisanal beer, in a few short months beer travelers from each of those cities will be headed to Dayton to check out what’s new.

Reach DCP freelance writer Kevin J. Gray at

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