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.
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.