The Sourest & Most Unique Craft Beer In North America
Craft beer is making a scene everywhere you look these days. It’s made a splash in Korea in recent years (finally) and when I arrived back in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio recently, I was happy to learn that there are now fifteen breweries in the region. I started making a list and a place that stood out, mostly because I knew it hadn’t been there the last time I was home, was the Carillon Brewing Company located in Carillon Historical Park and built in 2014. Just minutes from my house this brewery stands out for another reason that is far more interesting than how long it’s been there though.
The Carillon Brewing Company is the first licensed production brewery in a museum and more than that the entire brewery replicates a restaurant and brewery straight out of the 1850s.
In the 1800s, beer was enjoyed daily by almost everyone and it was seen as a nutritious not to mention sanitary refreshment because it was cleaner than water! The breweries in the Dayton area at this time were also a sign that the brewing process was changing from the job of the housewife to a business endeavor. The population of the area was growing and more and more people were coming so it became big business to own a local brewery open to the public. Because the Carillon Brewing Company is a museum as well as a restaurant, there are placards strategically placed with information and the menus come with more info so that not only can delicious food be enjoyed and interesting brews be had, but there’s also an educational opportunity.
Breweries in Dayton were producing beer, ale, distilled spirits and wine and dotted the region. The Carillon Brewing Company, a living history exhibit, is the only exhibit of its kind in North America which should mean that any local and definitely any visitor or tourist to the area NEEDS to have this on their list of places to wine (er beer) and dine.
Bakers and brewers adorned in era-appropriate attire wait on tables and demonstrate 1850s baking and brewing methods using historical tools and techniques right in the dining room. Food that is served up is era appropriate as well with fare that has been produced locally or would have been preserved and delivered via the Miami-Erie Canal or the National Road. According to their menu, food that has “been baked, brewed, dried, distilled, smoked, salted, fermented, brandied or candied” is served up in the spirit of celebrating the history of Dayton.
The atmosphere of the restaurant and brewery is extremely unique and in a very good way.
Are you heading to Dayton, Ohio for a visit or a layover? Stay downtown at the Crowne Plaza Hotel or The Hotel Dayton or stay in a nearby area at the Hotel Garden Inn for a great stay.
German delicacies like soft pretzel braids, saurkraut balls and wurst platters along with ruebens, schnitzel and more compliment the sour brews that will satiate any beer need. Get a flight and sit down to enjoy their Sour Porter, Coriander Ale, Berliner Weisse and their current specialty, a Squash Ale.
(From left to right in the photos below.) The Sour Porter is described as a mixed roasted malts with a thin body. The Coriander Ale is a pale malt with coriander and pepper and my table agreed was the sourest of the brews. The Berliner Weisse is a crisp and light wheat malt and wasn’t as sour as the others. The fourth is the seasonal Squash Ale fortified with locally grown from the Little Miami Farms roasted butternut squash, along with barley and Appalachian Wheat and some brown sugar and cinnamon. The waitress let us know that historically, during grain shortages this ale was brewed and boy is it delicious.
The sour taste of the brews might be off-putting to some, though everyone at my table quite enjoyed them. Everywhere you look, there are signs and information that let patrons know the brews will most certainly be unlike what they are used to from other establishments. What else can be expected when it’s brewed to be historically accurate though? After a few sips and a taste test of the four beers in the flight, conversation quickly ensued on the sourest and the most interesting/delicious of the lot. After a few sips too, the sourness isn’t as pungent but the other flavors start to come through as well.The house brews are said to have 4-6%ABV but our waitress let us know that that can vary. One of our ales, forgive me for forgetting which, had a higher alcohol content than normal and our waitress explained that one of their batches can out a bit higher than normal. There’s a bit less control in a historic brewery than in the ones today it seems. As if that was unexpected.
The rustic ambiance of the restaurant and brewery and the live “performances” which are actual brewing and cooking techniques done in the dining room combined with the delicious German fare and sour brews make the Carillon Brewing Company a MUST SEE AND EAT place in Dayton, Ohio.
Carillon Brewing Company
Address: 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, Ohio 45409
Hours: Monday ~ Saturday: 9:30am – 10:00pm (Food Service 11:00am – 9:00pm); Sunday: 11:00am – 10:00pm