Review: Wooden Cask and La Mexicana

Friday afternoon, on a whim, I asked BK if he’d like to walk to Wooden Cask Brewing Co. after work for happy hour. It had been a long (short) week, the weather was wonderful, and I’m obsessed with walking these days. I figured he’d say no anyway. Thankfully I was wrong and, around 5pm, we set off on a journey from the Central Business District (where we both work) across the river to enjoy some beer from a brewery we’d not yet visited.

Thus, for Monthiversary Vol. 9 (!!!), we took our talents to Newport.

We walked to Wooden Cask, which is located on York Street, a pretty direct route across the Taylor-Southgate Bridge. The space was open, airy, and pretty large — would be a wonderful place for groups. As we’ve come to expect from breweries, there were board games, free popcorn, and a food truck (Cheese N Chong) outside. They had 12 beers on tap, so we decided flights were the proper route. At $7 for four 5 oz. pours, flights were a good deal and a great way to try as many beers as we could.

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Wooden Cask Brewing Company, exterior
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Wooden Cask, interior
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Wooden Cask, food truck out back
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Wooden Cask, interior

The first flight included Local 45 (American ale), Kentucky Farmhand (American wheat), Pacifica Time (IPA), and Reformation (Scottish stout) on nitro. The latter was arguably their most popular beer at the time of Cincy Craft Madness (at least according to Untappd), so we had to have what ended up being a Sweet Sixteen contender. It did not disappoint, and I don’t even care for nitro beer. On the second flight were Girl Next Door (blonde), Yorkshire Ale (English ordinary ale), X IPA, and Hell Yes (helles bock). My favorites were Reformation, Yorkshire Ale, and X IPA. Seeing as we recently spent two weeks drinking English beer, the Yorkshire Ale was reminiscent of our trip, and a surprisingly great take on a proper English ale.

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Menu board at Wooden Cask
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Wooden Cask
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Flight at Wooden Cask
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Popcorn at Wooden Cask

The beer was good, popcorn was delicious (there were about eight seasonings available for flavoring, too), service was friendly and helpful, prices were reasonable, and I absolutely loved taking in the space as we sat on a couch to unwind and relax with beer after a busy week. Best part? It’s dog-friendly inside and out.

After Wooden Cask, at BK’s suggestion, we walked around the block to La Mexicana, a Mexican grocery and restaurant often hailed as the most authentic around. (They have Lengue and Sesos tacos for goodness sake!)

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La Mexicana, exterior
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Sangria
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Chips and salsa
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Queso with chorizo
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Tacos (Asada, Birria, Al Pastor)
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Chile relleno and rice

We sat outside, where we ordered drinks — sangria for me and Pacifico for him — and queso with chorizo to start. The chips were delicious and the salsa actually had a kick to it, which was great. BK ordered three tacos: Birria (seasoned goat meat), Asada (skirt steak), and Al Pastor (seasoned pork shoulder). I decided to keep it simple and got rice and chile relleno. The chile relleno was outstanding. During the meal BK actually handed me his Al Pastor and said, “Here, take a bite of the best taco in the city.” I don’t care for corn tortillas, but it was very good and clearly fantastic quality. He obviously liked it, too.

The service was okay, the food was very good, and the sangria was delicious. I also really liked sitting outside, where it didn’t matter the service was slower because it was nice to relax in the beautiful weather with great company and good food. While on our trip abroad, we became more accustomed to slowing down and enjoying dinner out, and it’s something we still need to get used to.

It was wonderful to spend quality time together in a neighborhood we don’t often spend time.

Follow Wooden Cask on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Follow La Mexicana on Facebook.

Wooden Cask Brewing Co.
Location

629 York Street
Newport, Kentucky 41071

Hours
Monday–Thursday, 12–10pm
Friday–Saturday, 12–11pm
Sunday, 12–8pm

Parking
Private lot

Other notes
Dog-friendly and food trucks on occasion

La Mexicana
Location

642 Monmouth Street
Newport, Kentucky 41071

Hours
Monday–Thursday, 11am–9pm
Friday–Saturday, 11am–11pm
Sunday, 11am–8:30pm

Parking
Street and lots nearby

Other notes
Outdoor seating

Featured image, left: flight from Wooden Cask; right: sangria and chips and salsa from La Mexicana

—————

Monthiversary
Every month on our around the day we got married (the 8th), we decided to challenge ourselves to try somewhere new. This seems easy enough, but we want to be sure that we are still exploring, trying new places, and essentially still dating each other, even now as an old married couple.

In 2013, after about six months of dating, I started Tour de Cincinnati. I set out on a journey to try a new place or restaurant every week for 52 weeks of that year. I’m happy to report that I achieved that goal in both 2013 and 2014 despite the fact that it got to be pretty expensive and obligatory at times. We got to try so many places in this area and I am thankful for that, but over the past few years we have exhausted ourselves by always trying somewhere new (and not often being able to return to places we like). Making a point to do this once a month is not only a way to commemorate our marriage, but also give us the motivation to get out and explore this great city without breaking the bank.

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