Off the beaten path

Six of the area’s least likely beer spots

By Hayley Fudge

It’s easy to get comfortable visiting your favorite drinking establishments over and over again. Or maybe high on the priority list is checking out the latest addition to the craft beer scene that’s opened nearby. But sometimes it’s fun to revisit the older establishments that are a touch more inconvenient geographically or out of your comfort zone.

Here are a few places to consider visiting to bring some variety to your beer consumption.

571 Grill & Draft House 

Formerly known as Tom’s Deli, this low-key, cozy spot on state Route 571 (Milton-Carlisle Road) in New Carlisle can satisfy a good majority of food-loving beer geeks. Its 14 taps rotate a solid offering of craft brews and feature seasonal and locally brewed offerings, as well. The burgers and pizza are always a good bet, and special events such as tap takeovers and the popular Burgers and Beers deal every Thursday ($12 gets you a generous burger and a pint) draw a crowd. The small but well-stocked craft beer retail space lets you eat, drink and shop all in one trip.

Buckhorn Tavern 

Traditional steakhouses aren’t typically known for their craft beer offerings, so it’s a nice surprise when you find somewhere that brings a decent selection of beers along with its cuts of meat. This rustic establishment located along the Stillwater River in Butler Township near Vandalia has been in business since 1943. And while wine, traditional cocktails and martinis may garner more of the liquid attention, the bar has several craft bottle offerings and a few craft tap selections, too. With reasonable food prices, lunch and dinner offerings (melt-in-your-mouth ribs!) and a warm atmosphere, this is a destination worth revisiting.

Leaf & Vine 

If live music and an after-dinner stick suits you, this elegant, saloon-like Troy hotspot should be on your agenda. With a wide selection of cigars and libations, Leaf & Vine offers a more intimate atmosphere than a typical bar at its perfect location on the town square in the charming downtown. While the craft beer selection may not be the largest, you won’t be stuck drinking a beer “brewed the hard way.” Wednesday’s special is $1-off craft beers, and the selection of bourbons and scotches isn’t too shabby either.

Moeller Brew Barn

Taking a page from the rural dating site playbook, the Moeller Brew Barn proves that sometimes “city folks just don’t get it.” Deep in the heart of Auglaize County, this Maria Stein brewery in a barn proves you don’t have to live in or frequent a city to enjoy a good, fresh craft brew. Beer offerings come in a surprising number of styles and sometimes feature farm-fresh fruit flavors. Having a beer on a picnic table surrounded by cornfields instead of in an industrial warehouse turned brewery is a nice change of pace. Meat, cheese and snack trays are available, and remember to bring a growler to take something to go since this one’s a ways out of Dayton.

Mudlick Tap House 

Less than 30 minutes out of downtown Dayton is an adorable little place on East Market Street in an old Victorian house. With rustic decor, warm wood finishes everywhere you look, and a new chef in place, Mudlick Tap House in Germantown is serving up inspired comfort cuisine, a great little mix of local and regional beers and what is rumored to be a pretty damn good bloody mary during its weekly Boozy Brunches on Saturdays. Families can feel comfortable with children in tow, and couples can feel confident that going out for a couple of brews in this sweet spot can feel pretty romantic.

Valley Vineyards Wine and Brewery 

One of the better-kept secrets in the greater Cincinnati region’s craft beer community is the Cellar Dweller brewery that’s located alongside the Valley Vineyards winery operation in Morrow. With southern Ohio distribution picking up, Cellar Dweller beers are finding their way to Dayton taps on occasion. But a visit to the tasting room offers a chance for wine- and beer-lovers to coexist happily over flights of both libations, while snacking on cheese trays, soft pretzels and homemade pizzas. A short road trip to this scenic spot for a tour and tasting is a decent way to spend a weekend afternoon.

Hayley Fudge is one of Dayton City Paper’s Resident Beer Geeks. An enthusiast of craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, Hayley aspires to share her love of beer with others by whipping up beer-infused cupcakes on the regular. Reach Hayley Fudge at

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Hayley Fudge
Hayley Fudge is one of Dayton City Paper’s Resident Beer Geeks. An enthusiast of craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, Hayley aspires to share her love of beer with others by whipping up beer-infused cupcakes on the regular. Reach Hayley Fudge at

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