Bright and early we loaded up and headed to the Findlay Market in the Historic Over the Rhine District. With Heather’s Aunt Gail as navigator we traversed the interstate that leads straight into the heart of this exceptionally German area.  The Findlay Market is the oldest continuously running public market house in Ohio. It was started in 1852 in the heart of the Over the Rhine district of Cincinnati.  This was one of the very first structures to use a steel frame and because of that the building has really stood the test of time. During the week Findlay market is home to numerous specialty businesses including a bean to bar chocolate shop, a 6 generation butcher, and store specializing in tea from around the world.  On the weekend the space surrounding the market is full of artisans and food vendors. It truly is a must see in Cincinnati.

At one time Cincinnati was the home of a large German population. This district was given the name  “Over the Rhine” because of the canal that separated the city which reminded the settlers of their home in Germany.  It was the home of numerous breweries until Prohibition destroyed the industry.


Heather, Gail, and I joined with a group of local students taking a culinary tour of the market. Barb Cooper of Cincinnati Food Tours led us to several of the vendors and shared a little history on each.  One example is Melissa from EM’s Baker. She has only been selling her delicious sour dough bread for a few weeks. Her special starter was given to her by her mother 25 years ago! That is a seriously long time to be taking care of a starter. When Melissa goes on vacation she has to take the starter with her or get a “starter-sitter” to feed and care for it! The E in the name stands for her mother, Ethel, and the M is for Melissa. Together they form EM’s bakery.

Another interesting shop is Maverick chocolates.  This store is not your run of the mill chocolate shop; they actually create all of their delicious chocolates in-house. And when I say create I mean they take raw coco beans and transform them into unique chocolate bars. From grinding, to roasting, to molding and packaging Maverick chocolates does it all in a storefront the size of a small clothing boutique.


Even though neither of us are “beer aficionados” we were determined to experience this very German aspect of the Over the Rhine district… the micro- brewery.   Since this area of Cincinnati is truly a community striving to remake itself, most of the local artists and craftspeople know and work with one another. Kelley Lanser from the Findlay Market told us to visit Christian Moerlein Brewing Company just a few blocks from the market.  She introduced us to Jesse and Mike. Their passion for the craft beer industry is contagious.  Jesse showed us the process of brewing a true German beer.  One of their craft beers, the Christian Moerlein  Select Lager, was given the Reinheitsgebot Purity Law designation. This accolade had never been given to a beer outside of Germany! Jesse’s passion for all things brewing encouraged Heather and I to taste a few samples. Jesse’s motto is, “There is a beer for everyone.” What surprised us both were the unique smells that each one had. Some were very fruity, others floral and still others spicy. We actually did find one that we each liked but then we were told about their newest product…. Cider!! Christian Moerlein has just started producing two types of hard cider. Our timing could not have been more perfect, since they had just started bottling it that week!! In their Malt House, Mike shared his passion for the history of craft brewing along with the amazing history of the building which houses Christian Moerlein.  Up until Prohibition, this building was the home of Kauffman’s brewery. The current “tap room” is called the Malt house with its brick arched and vaulted ceilings. Originally, this was the place where the grain was germinated. Full of long tables with benches, it truly gives one the feeling of being in an authentic German biergarten.  After years of housing other types of industries, the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. took over the building a brought it back to its original purpose.  Mike took us down to the basement and showed us the entrance to the tunnels that ran even further below the building. These “lager tunnels” served as the storage place for the barrels once they were brewed. They run for blocks underneath the city and are only just now beginning to be explored.  Thank you Jesse and Mike for sharing your love for craft beer and giving us a new appreciation for the industry!


Jesse and Mike told us to visit Moerlein Lager House beside the stadium since we were heading to a Reds game that night. Located right on the Ohio River with fantastic views of the Great American Ballpark, the river and the Roebling Suspension bridge, Moerlein Lager House proved to be great place to get tasty food before the game.  In keeping with our German theme, we ordered a beer brat. The food was excellent and the price was super, especially considering its location alongside the stadium.  As we sat at our table overlooking the river, I wondered why the bridge looked so familiar. Gail explained that the Roebling Bridge was the prototype to the Brooklyn Bridge!


The Great American Ball park is the 4th stadium to house the Cincinnati Reds team since its formation in the late 1800s.  We will share more about this after our stadium tour.  Our seats for the game were fantastic, right past third base about 12 rows up.  Right in prime foul bar territory! Heather was not too pleased with this but Gail and I assured her we would save her from any fly balls that came our way.

Although the Reds did not win, we still had a great time enjoying a truly American pastime.

Enjoy the journey,

Courtney and Heather