Monday, March 7, 2011

Sign a waiver for your history and beer

Sometimes I wonder how I present myself on my blog, and how I present the way Alex and I are together. Let me be direct: he and I are very, very different.

Since we’ve been together, I’ve done many things I wouldn’t normally do on my own. Many of these are physical. I would NOT take the physical challenge. Many of things we’ve done have required us to sign waivers. And actually, all of these were my suggestion.

The Pink Jeep ride in Sonoma, Arizona.

Trip2 003

Zipline canopy tours in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Here I am about to zip between trees, and I’m freaking out. The guide finally stopped chiding me when I told him I disliked the movement on the rope, not the heights.


And most recently, rock climbing (that’s me at the top! – yes, freaking out!). Usually I have to wait on the 5-year-olds to clear this wall, as I can only really do the easy one. See all those holds? The only challenge is going up and coming down, no strength or strategy required.


But now, something more my speed: the Prohibition Resistance Tour here in Cincinnati. As a part of the annual Bockfest, the Over The Rhine Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Group offered tours of historic breweries and cellars around town. The tour was informative for the history buffs, and it was more of a treasure hunt than a thrill ride. Although, like each of the other waiver-requiring activities, I was initially put off by the high ticket prices, I’m glad we did it. Hey, at least this time, the ticket price included a beer!

On a dreary, drizzling Saturday, we walked through Over the Rhine and entered a dilapidated looking building on McMicken Street. Under this building, and under the street Alex is looking across, there are large lagering cellars. Before mechanical refrigeration, underground cellars kept beer cool while it was stored (lager means store).


Take a look behind our tour guide at the narrow tunnel. This is directly under the street, under the building with the garage door Alex is looking toward.


We came up the other side, heard some more history and beer buffs talk, and walked around to more breweries and viewed the exteriors, as most all of them were closed, and most were in serious disrepair. Some had architectural details that showed what industry was inside, like these hops.


All of these presenters were filled with pride in Cincinnati, and I was very impressed with everything I learned and saw. Even though the tour was titled Prohibition Resistance, the theme that struck me the most was that there really was very little resistance to Prohibition, and not much of it was successful. In addition to Prohibition, the anti-German sentiment during World War I and even some technological advances that made these underground cellars less necessary really stunted Cincinnati’s industry in brewing.


The tour ended in the largest cellars we saw, which were part of the Kauffman Brewery that closed in 1919 or 1920, depending on your source. These are now filled with debris. There were pipes, trash, and dirt shoved into a pile so that the tour groups could wander around.


We went directly from these cellars back up the building where we started: Bockfest Hall, which was originally a brewery, then a potato chip factory, and with new plans to be a Christian Moerlein brewery. The Christian Moerlein name has been reclaimed; Moerlein, said to have come from Bavaria with $7 in his pocket in 1841, is one of Cincinnati’s most famous brewers. Although his brewery didn’t live through Prohibition, the name was brought back in 1981.


After the tour, we enjoyed our cups of Bock with fried pickles and soft pretzels and mustard. I am hungry for some hot German potato salad, but I’ll have to make my own meatless version at home, and soon!


  1. Canopy tours and rock climbing!? I wish I was as brave as you. It looks like you've been doing lots of fun and exciting things lately!

  2. great post! im not really a bread person, but that pretzel looked..REALLY GOOD! i love how you said many things you have done required a waiver...very catchy!!! good for you trying all sorts of new things.

  3. Oh this sounds right up my alley! I'm a huge history nerd and a big fan of beer :) There's some really wild stuff underneath our cities, and I love learning about it! And even if I didn't, I'd still go on the tour for a beer and that awesome looking pretzel.

  4. Everything sounds like a blast. I loved the pics of the old buildings since architecture is something that I enjoy. Thank you for sharing.


  5. Zip lining and rock climbing are two things that are on my bucket list. I would love to zip line in the rain forest in Costa Rica. I would totally be freaking out while I was doing it though. :o) Good for you in doing those two things!

    That sounds like a really neat tour! I love checking out old buildings. Of course the beer would be a big plus. :o)

  6. Too bad you have to take the tour to get to the beer & pretzels.

  7. I'm with you on the dare-devil sort of activities. That wall looks scary; I have no problem climbing trees, but going straight up like that with only little nibs to hold on to would bring me out in a sweat. The tree swinging sounds like fun though.

    Interesting history of Cinncinnati, brewing, and the Prohibition. History is all the more compelling when you are in the actual locations. And, I love the relief detail of the hops on the outside of the building; it's like decorating the outside of the cake with things that indicate what flavors are inside.

    Fried pickles are something I reeaally want to try! I just found out there's a place here that has them on the menu....I'm making my fried pickle plans already.

  8. dan & i are very different as well - he's a lot more adventurous than i am - and i kinda like museums, hiking, and more "cultural" things often times. it's nice to have someone who balances ya out though. :)

    the Prohibition Resistance Tour would be right up my alley, and i'd drag dan along, but you know he'd end up having fun. the tour sounded awesome! and the pictures are fork'n cool! thanks so much for sharing, Jessica. all those neato burrito things + fried pickles (i have yet to find vegan fried pickles here in rva, but when/if i do i shall no longer be jealous of yours because i'll be stuffing my face with a million of them!) + beer = one helluva awesome day! superw00t!

  9. These activities are over several years. And I've been getting braver and braver! Michelle, zip lining in Costa Rica most definitely will surpass doing it in Ohio!

    There's a lot of history in Cincy, I'm having a good time learning about it. It also helps me to understand why some residents are stuck in the past.

    Jessy, I've found that oftentimes beer-battered fried pickles are vegan, although some do contain egg. I hope you find some, they sure are a treat!

  10. My husband and I are very different too. That pretzel on the bottom looks so tasty. I love mustard and I LOVE fried pickles!