The expanse between northern Cincy and southern Dayton has been a waste land of bottle shops and growler stations for too long but that is slowly changing. Milano’s in West Chester is doing growler fills now but it’s a restaurant so no bottles. Dorothy Lane Market and Kroger at Austin pike in Springboro have been selling a decent bottle selection with the DLM just recently adding a 4-tap growler station.
That’s almost 20 miles of highway without a decent bottle shop. These few options still pale in comparison to a real bottle shop with a large growler selection. Luckily that is no more. Middletown Fine Wine & Spirits is an old, to be honest shit hole, of a liquor store. It’s been under new management for two years and their goal has been to up the craft beer game and fill this void.
Sam, the new owner, admits that he doesn’t know a tremendous amount about craft beer but is seeking out, and taking in, great advice. Much of that advice is coming from the owner of Cappy’s (which I wrote about back here). Cappy’s has become much loved in the local beer community, especially those of us who frequent Twitter often. Sam is following in Cappy’s footsteps along with guidance from both Brent Osborn, owner of Osborn Brewing, and myself. Because us country folk need to stick together.
To be totally honest Sam has paid for an advertisement on this site, which I realize goes along with Cappy’s and Osborn Brewing… but please trust in me that this post, as all posts, are unbiased and unswayed by advertising money or free review samples sent to me from breweries or publishers. Any praise I give to these stores is, I feel, deserved and is why I took them on as advertisers in the first place. Middletown Fine Wine & Spirits may not, as of now, deserve tremendous amounts of praise. However, the speed at which they are learning and adapting is amazing.
When they first reached out to me they were looking for tips and my initial glances gave little hope. As I said before from the outside it looks like a crap hole. I remembered driving by it over the past few years that I’ve lived out here and always driving by, assured they had no good beer. The inside of the store didn’t, at the time, do much to change that line of thinking. Plenty of wine and good liquor but the refrigerator doors were all full of macro products, and wine coolers. 1 door far to the back of the store had some bombers in it, Stone, Clown Shoes, and Southern Tier. I was worried I had foolishly chosen to try and help the helpless.
I then noticed a door for the walk in cooler, to walk behind the shelves of the doors. As soon as I open the door, right at eye level, are cases of MadTree and Jackie O’s. Looking to the left and right was plenty more craft beer from across the country, easily the best selection of bottles I’ve seen north of Cincinnati and outside of Belmont Party Supply. Once I got talking to the owner I knew good things were coming, especially with the eagerness that he took my advice. I’m now happy to report that they have 1 cooler door entirely full of craft beer with locals right at eye level!
Even better than that was the news that they were prepping to put in a Pegas growler system. For those unaware the Pegas is the height of growler technology. It fills the growler with CO2 forcing out all air, then comes the beer, and another blast of CO2 to keep it even fresher even longer.
It’s a 16-tap growler system dominated by local beer from MadTree, Cellar Dweller, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, and Warped Wing. The story of how Warped Wing got on there is a great one and, as far as I know, a first for Cincinnati. They held an online vote on their website, which also hosts an always up-to-date list of available beers.
I don’t know how many of our readers live this far north (30% show up just as Cincinnati, the next biggest number is Mason at 4%) but those of us out in the boonies can relax knowing that our long distance journeys to bottle shops are at an end. Check out Middletown Fine Wine & Spirits and most importantly follow them on Twitter and Facebook and let them know what you think and what beer you want in stock.