Beer Food and Drink

Brewery Series: Fretboard Part One, the Beer

Cincinnati has a ton of local breweries brewing up some delicious beer. There’s nothing I like more than going around to each one and seeing what’s awesome. Fretboard is my favorite, and there are many reasons why. Let’s start with the beer…

One of my favorite things in life is to find a local craft brewery and sit down with my wife, friends, family, or all of the above and enjoy a few pints. Whether it be an IPA, a stout, a lager, or some eccentric creation, I love them all and look for a great atmosphere with which to enjoy them. 

Fretboard is my absolute favorite spot to post up with a cold one and it’s so good I need to split the blog about it into different parts. This one strictly deals with the beers, which is why you go to a brewery, after all.

To start, Fretboard splits their taps into “Year Round Chart Toppers” and “Seasonal & One-Hit Wonders.” They do a marvelous job of creating ample amounts of both so when new beers pop up you and I have plenty of opportunity to enjoy them. Let’s start with the recurring guests.

Vlad is an easy drinker for every occasion. Whether you are enjoying a burger or a an afternoon sitting on the porch, you can count on Vlad. It’s not going to throw you for a loop with any sort of wild flavors or anything, just a good, solid, baseline beer. Fretboard also cans it, so you can take it home with you.

Another canned option that is always on Fretboard’s menu is one of the better IPAs you can find, Bootsy. It’s called a Brewski IPA but if you google to try and figure out what that is, Bootsy is the first thing that pops up, and with good reason. It is a frsh, citrusy, and light feeling beer with lots of hoppy goodness. Better on draft than out of the can and also, pro tip, take with food. Fretboard has some good food options that pair well, but I’ll get more into that later.

My personal favorite of the Year-Round Chart Toppers is Crazy Train. A smooth, yet full, Belgian ale with a rich taste. If you’re into beer awards, this one is Fretboard’s most decorated offering and is good any time of the year in any situation. Maybe a little better on its own than with food, though it’s just fine with dinner. It’s malty goodness is a smidge heavy if you’re enjoying a plateful, but if you’ve got nothing going on after dinner, then it’s just fine.

The rest of the Chart Toppers include a diverse group of brews. A strawberry blonde ale called Reba, which is surprisingly good with breakfast. A fine amber ale called Trey which I’d put against any amber ale in a city that’s full of them. A nice 7.1% IPA called Improv. A stout called Jazz that I’ve admittedly only had once but looking forward to trying some more. Last, but certainly nowhere near least, Island Style, which is a tropical red ale infused with lime that’s fresh enough to drink by the pool but full enough to warm you in chilly weather.

The other side of the menu is the seasonal listings and “One-Hit Wonders.” Fretboard keeps up a decent list of these and rotates them fairly often. Around the beginning of the year they have a bourbon-barrel aged stout event which yields some tasty dark beers. There is currently a holdover from that event in their can refrigerator called ‘Nati Dread which is very good.

Of the ones currently on the list, Experience (pictured above) is amazing. I’ve had it three times and I swear each time there’s a different aspect of the beer’s flavor profile that is prominent, i.e it’s a different, and yet awesome, experience (hah!) every time you order it. Oohahh is very good and has a solid taste that I can’t quite put my finger on. Ungespundet lager isn’t something you see a ton of around Cincinnati, though, and I’ve liked my first taste of it.

Of the rest of the seasonal selections, Peso in my Hand and Gold Plated Jet are pretty good, but not my first choice off the menu. The rest are new to me, but I do love a Hefeweizen. This menu is current as of March 24. You can follow this link to see the up to the minute draft list and get a feel before you go. They always have something for any beer-lover’s taste.

Check back for more on Fretboard. One post is not enough for me to talk about my love for this place.

By Jeff

Curator of

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