just a quick word on the new-ish Mad Tree Brewery/Tap Room location.
I went there for my first visit last night, knowing the new location is extremely popular. The parking lot was full and then some (I do love someone who has the guts to say, “I think this is a spot” when it is clearly not). I parked around the corner (as a good downtowner, I’m cool with a short walk) and entered through the busy courtyard.
My friends had been there for a while, sitting at the inside bar drinking flights and from 5 or so till 8:30 the place was pretty packed for a weekday evening. I’m all about “time of the day/day of the week” and for Thursday happy hour time, the place had an East-side professional vibe. Lots of well-dressed people stopping on their way home from the office, a slightly older, suburban crowd. When we left at about 8:30 the crowd was already starting to skew younger with flimsier clothing. I imagine, like most drinking places, Mad Tree has several personality profiles.
Of course, if you’re drinking AT Mad Tree, you are drinking Mad Tree beer ’cause that, and house made soda is all they serve. I’m currently drinking their PSA, a fine session IPA, but I also like their Sojourn Saisson, and their full-bodied IPA Psycopathy.
There’s good greasy pizza available from Catch-a-Fire Pizza. Greasy, thin crusted, and slightly charred on the bottom, meaning, the perfect pizza to enjoy with beer. Early on the line was backed up half-way across the main room. By the way, when I see someone who has been drinking beer for over an hour waiting for their pizza and they finally get that hot Za in their mouth, I feel like I’m getting a glimpse of what heaven might feel like. Their happiness is immeasurable.
Overall, the Tap Room space is nice, but nothing special. In fact, it’s kind of a generic tap room.
Outdoor space with tables and cornhole? Check!
Chalk Board Beer Selection Board? Check!
Simple food (and a small selection)? Check!
Classic Rock on the speakers with a few new tunes thrown in? Check!
Slightly understaffed bar where half the people behind the bar aren’t servers? Check!
Open ceilings and terrible acoustics? Check!
Huge industrial vats of beer-matter viewable from the bar? Check?
Even the bathrooms look exactly like large tap rooms I’ve visited in Colorado and North Carolina. Sadly, Mad Tree could drop down in almost any city in the Country and be at home. I hate that because Mad Tree is supposed to be a Cincinnati product, not a generic craft brew. The tap room has no local flair.
Doubly sad, because the design of their beer cans suggests they know a lot about design.
Which brings me to my saddest point, the whole exercise seems to be an opening salvo for Mad Tree to get bought out by Annhauser Bush or some other beer-making conglomerate. The generic look of the new place makes me think it’s just a matter of time.
I’m sure I’m going to spend more than a few hours here and there at Mad Tree but that’s a testament to the beer, not the space.