Retreat to The Mohicans, an ideal getaway for Ohio’s beer lovers
By Hayley Fudge
Photo: The Mohicans’ Little Red Brew Haus was originally designed as a tasting room for craft beer; photos: Hayley Fudge
If there’s a word that describes the cultural thread that seems to weave its way through the craft beer community, that word is passion. And sometimes—every once in a while—you come across a special scenario that intersects craft beer with something else for which there is an equal passion.
While researching column ideas, I came across information about a place less than a three-hour drive from Dayton. A place where you can sleep in a magical treehouse in the woods; a place where people go to get away from everything for a couple days and enjoy the sweeping, scenic valley views; a place where couples stay and celebrate their wedding vows; a place whose owners could not have put more love and care into the construction, carpentry, and craftsmanship of everything on the property; and a place where craft beer is thematic throughout—in ways both big and small.
Although owner Kevin Mooney spent time in the Mohican Valley area as a kid, it wasn’t until he was seeking somewhere to spend weekends with his family that he decided to invest in some acreage in the area.
“We just wanted somewhere we could come and relax on the weekends,” Mooney says. “We didn’t even care if it had running water or heat.”
But what started as camping land with two empty trailers has evolved into one of Ohio’s—and arguably the United States’—most unique places to stay.
The Mohicans, as it’s now called, boasts four cabins that sleep anywhere from eight to 15 people. The retreat is also held in high regard for its unique treehouses that host from one to four people. The treehouses are booked months in advance.
The first cabin was built as an upgraded family retreat for the Mooney family. But the combination of a desire to share those beautiful woods with others and a piqued interest in treehouse construction led Mooney to commission famed treehouse builder Pete Nelson to design and build a unique elevated getaway on the property. And the rest, as they say, is history.
As Mooney’s getaway vision was taking shape, one of his sons was dreaming up ideas to start a brewery there. Nelson was called back to build a second treehouse that would serve as a tasting room for the Mooney’s soon-to-be Treehouse Brewing Company (not to be confused with the highly regarded Tree House Brewing Co. in Massachusetts), and the Little Red Brew Haus was erected. That treehouse was featured on a season one episode of Animal Planet’s popular Treehouse Masters series. (Note: mad amounts of craft beer were consumed during the construction of this treehouse.)
But as reality hit, plans and priorities changed. The Mooneys made a business decision: the way to grow and expand their business in the short term was not via the brewery, but by positioning the property’s Grand Barn as a premier rustic wedding venue for nature-loving couples. With barn weddings all the rage these days, that decision has proven to be a fruitful one, enabling the construction of additional treehouses and cabins, and paving the way for that brewery vision to become reality.
Several touches throughout the property—as well as big plans for the future—indicate the love of beer is alive and well at The Mohicans. The Little Red Brew Haus is no longer a tasting room treehouse, but is now remodeled into a cozy shack for singles or couples. Its coasters awaiting your cold ones say, “I Heart [in the shape of Ohio] Beer.” Couples marrying at the Mohicans can use the property’s beer wagon, which is a standalone bar on wheels that can hold a keg of their choice to offer their wedding guests. And the brewing equipment that will eventually allow a wedding party to brew their own beer onsite at the Grand Barn to serve on their wedding day is already purchased.
But even bigger are the plans to resurrect the brewery in an off-site barn just a mile away from The Mohicans. Mooney’s sturdy old barn with good bones and massive potential is already being transformed into what he envisions as a production brewery and taproom to continue that vision started a few years ago. And while it’s taken longer than he would have liked, Mooney believes that his family can still create the ideal “beercation” getaway for the region’s beer and nature enthusiasts.
He’s hopeful that if progress stays on schedule, they could be brewing in the barn by the fall. But as with everything at The Mohicans, they will do it the right way, with the right people, when the time is right.
“Craft beer is the future,” Mooney says. “I can’t wait to see what we can do here.”
The Mohicans is located at 23164 Vess Rd in Glenmont. To make a reservation or for more information, please call 740.599.9050 or visit TheMohicans.net.