Zero and Ten Years in Cincinnati

cac01Cincinnati has a new carousel and an old brewery. Carol Ann’s Carousel officially opened on Saturday and Mt. Carmel Brewing Company celebrated its tenth anniversary the same day. The carousel is part of Smale Riverfront Park on the Ohio River between the baseball and football stadiums. It’s inside the low brown building near the center of the picture at right. I parked on the south side of the river just so I could get that picture (and park free).

cac02cac03cac04Musicians and other entertainers kept things lively until the opening ceremonies began. Parks Director Willie Cardens spoke briefly himself and also introduced others, including the mayor and the artists and planners who created the carousel. They were all just as happy as he was. Music from the Cincinnati Children’s Choir included Happy Birthday for the carousel’s namesake, Carol Ann Haile. It would have been her 92nd birthday. She’s been called “everyone’s Aunt Mame” and someone who knew her said the carousel is a perfect match for her “spirit of whimsy and wonder”

cac05The ceremonial ribbon cutting marked the culmination of a two and a half year 5.5 million dollar project. The carousel itself was $1 million. The building accounted for the rest.


cac06cac07cac08With the ribbon cut, VIPs were ushered in for a ride while everyone else pressed against the glass walls for a glimpse. Actually, it was all good. Those VIPs included the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and lots of other children and parents were allowed to slip inside to photograph the happy youngsters. I joined the line and was soon rewarded with my first view of the carousel without looking through tinted glass or at a computer screen. It’s a beauty with unique Cincinnati related critters and objects, carved by Carousel Works of Mansfield, Ohio, everywhere. A description of the figures and a lot more is available through the link at the beginning of the article or directly here.

cac11cac10cac09When my turn came, I laid back a bit to let others mount something they’d been targeting. I was just happy to be there and didn’t want to block someone from their favorite. When I saw that the cicada remained available I was all over it — literally. If you really need to know what the bottom half of an old man on a cicada looks like, here you go. I don’t own a selfie stick and my arms just aren’t that long but you can see that I’m having a good time and get a sense of those lovely red eyes.

cac12cac13cac14There is a lot more to Smale Park. These are some pictures I grabbed in the area near the carousel. The playground in the third photo was just opened in the last week or so. More will be coming online in the near future.

mcbff02mcbff01Beer wasn’t the only thing pouring when I got to to Mt. Carmel Brewing Company. The rain had been heavier, though, plus nobody really minded. The oldest brewery currently operating in Cincinnati was celebrating its tenth year with a Firkin Fest.

mcbff03mcbff04mcbff05It was dry in the tap room and dry spots had been found in the brewery for the music and the firkins. Birthdays with beer and carousels really are special.

Beer not Weak. Beer Week.

Taps at Zip's CafeOne response to a request to name 212 things that first appeared in 1926 would be Zip’s Cafe and 211* US Highways. One of the routes designated when the US Highway System was adopted was US 50 from which Fifty West Brewing Company gets its name. When Zip’s and Fifty West collaborated on a beer to become the restaurant’s house brew, the name 1926 Amber Ale was chosen as something that had meaning to both. The “official” tapping took place on Thursday, the first day of Cincinnati Beer Week.

This post appears very near the mid-point of Cincinnati Beer Week which, like all good weeks since 1964, is eight days long. Cincinnati Beer Week is immediately followed by, but not connected with, the Cincy Beerfest. The Beerfest is a great place to sample a large number of beers though I personally don’t find big events of that sort nearly as enjoyable as I once did. Fortunately, the appearance of “rotating taps” in a large number of taverns lines up well with my own proclivities and allows me to sample a variety of beers over time from the comfort of a bar stool.

So, while I encourage others to do so, I won’t be attending the Beerfest this year nor, for similar reasons, will I be going to the bigger Beer Week events. At least not during their peak periods. The event that started my Beer Week, the Brewer’s Choice for Charity at Arthur’s Cafe, is a big event that packs the place in the evening but I was there early in the afternoon. Arthur’s was the first (if not only) area bar to switch all of their draft beer taps to local brands. For this event, each of the eight taps pours something from a different brewery and each brewery picks a charity to receive a dollar for each pint sold. The restaurant then matches the amount earned by the top selling brew. I beat the crowd while scoring a buck apiece for Madtree and Blank Slate.

Zip's entrance in snowThen I headed on over to Zip’s and even snapped a photo of the entrance with a fair amount of snow covering the curbside area out front. I feared that the tapping at Zip’s might be something of a frenzy but, even though the place was quite busy, it wasn’t crazy. There was not a big ceremony and the new beer started flowing well before the clock struck 5:00. I suspect the introduction was even less formal at the brewery itself, which had several representatives on hand.

At least one of the Fifty West people used to work at Jackie O’s in Athens, Ohio, and there is still a connection of sorts. On this evening, four of the eight taps at Zip’s were devoted to Jackie O’s products and the other four (in the top picture) to Fifty West. While waiting for the 1926 Amber Ale, I stayed hydrated with a standard Fifty West brew, the Thirty-37 Pale Ale.

Zipburger and 1926 Amber AleFifty West 1926 Amber Ale’26, as I heard one of the brewery guys call it, struck me as a pleasant middle of the road brew that should fill the role of restaurant house beer quite nicely. My own timing was no more precise than the new brew tapping and my glass of 1926 Amber Ale was half gone when my Zipburger arrived. They still still make a lovely pair.

* There are many ways to count the number of “routes” covered by the adoption of a national numbering system on November 11, 1926. 211 is the number of entries in the list provided here by Robert V. Droz.

Feedly Fumble: Two weeks ago, this website switched hosting companies. On the morning of January 26, a blog entry titled “Moving Day” was posted from the old server. Toward the end of the day, when the move was essentially complete, an entry titled “Meet the New Host” was posted from the new server. The actual RSS feed and most accesses behaved as expected with the morning post disappearing to be replaced by the evening post in due time. The Feedly reader, which I use and generally like, has been the exception. To date, it continues to show the early post rather than the later one and no flushing, resubscribing, or incense burning has helped. If you use Feedly and fear there is something you’ve missed, the first blog entry from the new host is here. Feedly has performed just fine with subsequent posts.