Stride up three flights of stairs and walk through the door. Stop. Absorb the immense hall that you have entered into. A wide open space greets you. There’s a bar to the left. Stainless steel fermentation tanks tower over you. Ping Pong tables to your right overlook the brew deck. A water buffalo glares at you from a far wall. Corn hole boards stand in front of you. Inside. This is Cincinnati after all, so what else would you expect.
Head to the left and enjoy a flight at the bar. Claim this empty table for yourself as hockey plays on the TV behind you. Take it all in.
Black lager. Nice. Roasty. Cherry saison. Tart. Puckering. Gummy Bomb. Smells amazing. Taste doesn’t quite match up. Experimental IPA #006. Peaches. Stone fruit. What hops did they use? Down your four beers and then explore. Remember that the bartender mentioned your tab is open at the rooftop bar as well.
Head to the right, advancing toward the corner and a sign that points to a rooftop. Climb more stairs. Catch your breath. Emerge into the crisp night air on this September night. The city lights greet you. Slow, moody electronic music fills the air. Perfect. You grab a seat at the bar. Thin strips backlight the tap handles. Lights on the hillside twinkle behind them. Fall in love. Is this Heaven?
No flights up here? Fine. Time to settle in for a pint or two. Order Streaker. Catch a dank, tropical waft from the pint glass. Drink it. Enjoy it. Contemplate the perfection of the moment. Stare at the nocturnal beauty expanding in front of you and encircling you on all sides.
Question where you are. Did you just pass people chilling on their front doorstep? Rundown buildings? Isn’t this the hot neighborhood in Cincinnati? It’s sure not what you expected. This is OTR? This must be what gentrification looks like in its early stages. Finish your beer.
Deluxe? A Amarillo and Mosaic pale ale? Hell yes. Order it. Walk to the edge of the roof. Rest on the wooden ledge abutted to the glass wall. Stare off into the distance, the lights of the city illuminating the moment.
Cars creep along the yellow streets beneath you. Remember that time a house party spilled onto the rooftop deck of the fraternity house. Speakers set up. Beers consumed. Yeah, it was kind of like this.
Shazam a song because this soundtrack is perfect. Note it for the playlist you’re going to create on Spotify. Build said playlist the next day and use it to perpetually remind you of this night while also soundtracking every enjoyable moment after 10:00 PM for the foreseeable future.
Taste the hops. Stare across the buildings. Snapchat your view. Tell your friends how you can’t wait to come back here. Start planning a trip. Consider finding your own abandoned factory with a flat roof to build a brewery in. There will be a rooftop bar just like this. Maybe overlooking a lake. Add Cincinnati to the short list of places you want to move if you ever leave home. Promise to visit this rooftop at least once a week if you do. Even in the winter.
Remember you have a two hour drive ahead of you. Check your watch. It’s getting close to time to leave. Contemplate another beer. Perhaps you can find a spot to stay in the city. Close this joint down. You don’t have to be back in Indy until ten the next morning. Leaving just before eight gives you plenty of time. You could sleep in the car at the rest stop you passed just across the border. Extend the night. It’s almost perfect. Tempting. If only you had someone by your side to share it with.
Think better of staying. There’s a bed, paid for, two hours away. Drink the last drops. Savor them. One more song. Pull yourself away from the edge. The lights. The beauty. Venture back down the stairs. Flight after flight. Easier going down than up. There were only this many? Seemed like more.
Walk out into the street. You’re now part of that yellow landscape you were just looking down upon. Walk along the sidewalk. Pass striped Sprinter vans. Do they self-distribute? They must.
Find your car. Pull away. You can’t quite pry yourself away yet. Circle the block. Parallel park. Take a few more pictures. Finally leave. Pull up Chet Faker and Flume on Spotify. Transport that musical atmosphere to your car. Recreate it. Relive it a hundred times in the next two hours. Come back tomorrow night? That’s crazy. But, maybe.