Review: Fretboard Brewing

Another day, another new brewery in greater Cincinnati! (This is a good thing.)

This marks the 34th brewery within 30 miles of the city center and one of 10 to open in 2017 alone*. Cincinnati certainly doesn’t have any shortage of breweries, and, truth be told, they are all pretty good. Between their taprooms and beer selections, they all have something to offer, and are welcome additions to the brewery scene and to their respective neighborhoods.

That said, Fretboard Brewing is one of the best new breweries to open in the area.

Since I’ve now been to every taproom in greater Cincinnati, it’s easier to get to each new one that opens. Fretboard had its Friends & Families night last weekend and, as of this week, they are open for regular business hours and operating in soft opening stages before its grand opening celebration on November 4.

BK and I made our way up to Blue Ash after work, so traffic was less than desirable. It was well worth the hassle to be able to check out Fretboard, which featured great branding and corresponding decor, cornhole boards, TVs, a stage for live music, and truly great beer. The parking lot was large enough to accommodate a crowd and, well, the inside was, too. I particularly enjoyed how the fretboard theme was used in many details, especially the guitar strings that ran the length of the ceiling above the bar.

Photo Oct 23, 5 52 10 PM-edited
Exterior and entrance, plus fretboard design on the garage door that opens to the taproom
Photo Oct 23, 5 52 43 PM-edited
View of taproom with stage on the back left
Bar area with guitar strings above

There were seven beers on tap so we decided on flights in order to try them all. (They come in flights of four for $8.) We got Jazz (stout), El Jefe (hefeweizen), Vlad the Impaler (Czech pilsner), and S23 (session IPA), but because that wasn’t quite enough, we decided on a second flight: Lyric (pale wheat ale), Rider (blonde), Trey (amber), and a second serving of El Jefe because it was so good.

Illuminated menu board
Flight of Lyric (pale wheat ale), Rider (blonde), Trey (amber), and El Jefe (hefeweizen) on a fretboard flight board
Interior with cornhole boards

All of the beer was good, though the standouts were El Jefe and Vlad the Impaler. El Jefe was properly cloudy and delicious, while Vlad the Impaler was a great Czech pilsner. I was very impressed by the great quality of beer and parity in beer styles. BK even complimented the amber, which is not a style he usually cares for.

In a city that has no shortage of great beer, I was really impressed by Fretboard and will absolutely go back for more. Don’t miss their grand opening on November 4, which will feature five bands on the main stage, tap list additions, and food they will be serving from the grand opening going forward (BBQ). Click here for more information about Jam Session: Fretboard’s Grand Opening celebration.

For more about Fretboard and its events, follow them on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Untappd.

5800 Creek Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242

Monday–Wednesday, 3–9pm
Thursday, 3–11pm
Friday–Saturday, 11am–12am
Sunday, 12–9pm

Private lot

Featured image: menu board and guitar strings above the bar

*View this list for Tour de Cincinnati’s guide to all things local breweries.


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