Before I get to the list, I want to say that 2017 was a transformational year personally and for Tour de Cincinnati. Personally, I was able to travel and set and attain a number of goals. I also had a lot of great beer, celebrated my 32nd birthday with a streetcar bar crawl, ate a lot of delicious food, shared in friends bringing new life into the world, and made a point to try new things (like the site’s first collaboration and wine).
This year TDC set out to (1) improve content, (2) make it the most read site it’s ever been, (3) surpass 1000 likes on Facebook, and (4) finally buy (and even sell) some merchandise.
(1) To improve content, I bought a new lens for my camera, which has greatly improved the quality of most photos I’ve posted this year. (For some examples, check out these Photo Recaps.)
(2) With regard to the site’s numbers, TDC had over 51,000 visits in 2017, completely blowing away the previous four years combined (32k). The site currently has more than 82,663 views from well over 100 countries around the world.
The three most read posts in 2017 were reviews of Fretboard Brewing and Jungle Jim’s and Red Sesame, with Hoots & Hops and In Memoriam: 2017 dang near tying for third. The Cincinnati Craft Madness series attracted nearly 20k site views, while some permanent pages — About, Beer, Dog-Friendly, and Best Of specifically — brought in quite a few more.
(3) Tour de Cincinnati has far surpassed 1000 likes on Facebook, and is increasing steadily. Haven’t “liked” TDC yet? You should! And tell your friends!
(4) If you follow the site on Facebook and Twitter, and me personally on Instagram, you read about the Cincy Craft Beer shirt that was sold just before the holidays. It was a limited run, so there are currently no plans to reopen the shop. In addition to shirts, there were Cincy Craft Beer stickers and Tour de Cincinnati Pride buttons created in ’17.
To add to the good that’s happened in 2017, here are 10 the best Cincinnati-related things from this past year:
1) New House in Westwood
In the two weeks I’ve lived in the city of Cincinnati’s largest, westernmost neighborhood, I’ve had goetta for eight meals, ordered pizza and prosecco from a drive thru (twice), and started carrying coozies with me in public. I may not like Pete Rose, but I’m pretty damn good at cornhole and like Price Hill Chili, so I think my acclimating to being a westsider is going pretty well.
As far as the neighborhood is concerned, we are within walking distance to a number of great things to do, including a brewery that is dog friendly each Wednesday and that has food trucks nearly every night. Current favorites in the neighborhood are said brewery, Muse Café, and the dog park, though there are a number of places I can’t wait to visit, including Fuzzybutts Dry Goods, Henke Winery, and maybe even Four Directions Studio for yoga in the new year.
2) FC Cincinnati
In its brief two years as a professional organization, FC Cincinnati has me (and thousands of others) head over boots.
FCC’s inaugural season was a year in our lives we never thought could be replicated. From the club’s announcement in August 2015, to broken attendance record after record, and 35,061 people at Nippert for the Crystal Palace friendly (July 2016), followed by a brief playoff appearance (October 2016), how could 2017 surpass that first year? Enter the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup run. The 3-2 RBNY result in the semifinal broke some hearts, but the Crew upset and Chicago Fire win in PKs will remain with us for years to come.
3) BLINK Cincinnati
BLINK was expected to be one of the nation’s largest light, art and projection mapping events, with more than half a million visitors. Its four-day-long festival spanned 20 blocks from The Banks and Central Business District, north to Over-the-Rhine, and it far surpassed expectations, both in execution and attendance. For more (photos, video, and a full review), click here.
4) Crosstown Shootout
A big reason behind getting season tickets to Xavier is to have tickets to see the Crosstown Shootout every other year. (That and my husband is an alum, plus I love college basketball and can’t get season tickets to Indiana.) Not only was this year’s the result I wanted (#21 Xavier handily beat #11 UC), we got to pregame at a favorite, Listermann, while having Chicken and Waffles from Renegade Grille. As a lifelong Cincinnatian, the Crosstown Shootout is one of my favorite annual sporting events in Cincinnati every year.
5) New Breweries in 2017
Best neighborhood brewery: Brink Brewing Co. and West Side Brewing
Best patio: Grainworks Brewing Co.
Best spinoff: Braxton Labs and Taft’s Brewporium
Best theme/concept: Bircus Brewing Company and Fretboard Brewing
Best beer of 2017: Listermann Satisfied? (chocolate, caramel and peanut stout)
Other favorite locals from 2017:
–Cellar Dweller Corporal Khaos (pale ale)
–Darkness Ike Ike Baby (vanilla brown ale with maple syrup)
–Listermann Imperial Marshmallow Fluff Nutcase (imperial porter with marshmallows and peanut butter)
–Streetside I Drink Your Milkshake! (milkshake IPA)
–Urban Artifact (with Sam Adams) Tricorne (tart pawpaw NE IPA)
6) Other New Things in 2017
Food and more: Dope, Landlocked Social House, Renegade Grille, Two Cities Pizza Co., Saigon Subs, and, yes, Taco Bell on Sixth downtown.
Public spaces: Ziegler Park and pool in OTR
Event: Hoots & Hops
7) The Arts
Cincinnati has a lot of great arts events to offer, and some of my favorites were:
–Drink & Draw: “Street” Art
–Craft a la Carte hosted by Taft’s Ale House at Taft Museum of Art
–Interactive flower installation with this wonderful artist at Victory Park in Norwood
–Matilda the Musical at The Aronoff
–Pop Art Con at Woodward Theater.
Cincinnati’s robust arts scene, including performing arts and a large community that cultivates fine arts, and there are many ways to get involved in 2018.
8) New Tattoo
I’d been wanting a Spirograph tattoo since college — as a way to commemorate my love for pop culture, design, and symmetry — but I always pushed it aside because I was hesitant that any place could achieve the perfection in line work that I needed. But I’d seen enough of White Whale’s work to know they could, so I finally did it.
9) Favorite Foods from 2017
Some of the best foods I tried in 2017 were:
–Musubi – Quán Hapa (OTR)
–Corn Eloté – Boca (CBD)
–Bootleg Bread – Two Cities Pizza Co. (Mason)
–Bacon pancake special – Senate (Blue Ash)
–Mini burrito – Red Sesame at Jungle Jim’s (Eastgate)
–Double cheeseburger – The Root Beer Stand (Sharonville)
–Pork banh mi – Saigon Subs (CBD)
–Plank Flank panini – Muse Café (Westwood)
10) Road Trips
We are lucky to live within driving distance of a number of great places to visit. Some ideas are Hocking Hills, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Put-In-Bay, St. Louis, Yellow Springs, and many, many more. Two specifically that BK and I chose — with the express interest in drinking a lot of beer — were Grand Rapids, MI and Asheville, NC. Fore more about our trip to Grand Rapids, click here. (This reminds me I need to write about the dog-friendly Asheville anniversary trip we took!)
It was a year filled with exploration, adventure, and some excellent food, featuring great friends and some bitchin’ Cincinnati scenery. I hope 2018 brings you personal peace and success, and I also hope that you get to explore and enjoy all the great things that this great city has to offer.
Featured image: Musubi from Quan Hapa. Spam musubi — yes, you read that right — is a popular snack and lunch food in Hawaii composed of a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with nori in the tradition of Japanese omusubi.