The craft beer industry is full of stories of homebrewers who opened their own commercial brewery. Listermann Brewing Company in Cincinnati takes a unique twist on the homebrewer turned commercial brewer. The history of Listermann Brewing closely mirrors that of craft beer in Cincinnati with each growing year by year to reach their current stature.
In 1991, after several years of homebrewing Dan Listermann officially started a small manufacturing company that produced homebrewing equipment. Listermann continued his day job as a quality engineer, and with his wife Sue’s encouragement they rented out space at the Hamilton County Business Development Center. Fast forward four years, Dan had quit his job and decided to open a homebrewing supply store. The store was just across the street from the business center, which made his life easy. Eventually Dan closed the manufacturing side of the business to focus solely on homebrew supply. In 2008, he purchased a used two-barrel system and opened Listermann Brewing Company. As the brewery grew, the homebrew shop relocated within the building, which allowed the brewery to increase the tasting room size.
Story behind the name
There is no elaborate story behind the eponymous Listermann Brewing Company. However, the evolution from a “manufacturing company” to a “brewery supply” store to a “brewing company” is an interesting story to retrace. Dan’s retelling of the process is on the brewery’s website.
Visiting the brewery
Listermann Brewing Co. sits at the intersection of Dana and Idelwild avenues across the street from Xavier University.
Visitors to the brewery see two things the moment they come in the door. They will see a large wooden bar in front of them, and the brewery’s current beer list to their left.
There are a handful of seats at the bar itself, and a corner booth that seats six to eight people. A few circular tables that can accommodate four to six people each are also on the pub side of the tasting room. In the corner closest to the booth contains the brewery’s merchandise for sale.
The largest seating area is the indoor biergarten, which is up a small step to the left of the bar. It includes several picnic tables with bench seating. The biergarten includes a colorful mural with a quote from Dan Listermann. The quote says, “Bier ist gesund zu jeder Stund.” It translates to say: “Beer is healthy at every hour.”
In addition to the tasting room there is a homebrew supply store on site. The homebrew shop contains everything necessary to brew beer whether you are a novice or experienced homebrewer. The store also carries wine making supplies.
One of the most unique aspects of the homebrew store is the kits for replicating Listermann Brewing’s beers. Breweries religiously guard their proprietary recipes, so these kits provide homebrewers an opportunity they are unlikely to find elsewhere.
Although Listermann Brewing provides kits so homebrewers can replicate their favorite beers, the brewery produces a wide range of beers. The brewery may be best known for Chickow!, which won a silver medal at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers (FOBAB) in 2015. Chickow! is an imperial brown ale with notes of chocolate and hazelnut. Barrel-aged Chickow! won a gold medal and best of show in 2016 at FOBAB and a year later brandy barrel-aged Chickow! won a gold medal and was runner-up in best of show.
In addition to a well-earned reputation for producing outstanding barrel-aged beers, Listermann Brewing has become known for its experimental India pale ales (IPAs). Many of the IPAs are named after the Cincinnati Zoo’s famed hippopotamus, Fiona. There are about a dozen beers that are part of the “Team Fiona” collection. Besides Fiona, the Cincinnati Zoo has been blessed with an array of births since 2017, so the brewery created Zoo Babies to celebrate the other recent additions to the zoo menagerie (read more here).
Like most breweries, Listermann Brewing offers a wide variety of beers at its taproom. There are about sixteen beers on tap with the most current beer list available on the brewery website.
Touring the brewery
Listermann Brewing does not offer guided tours, but visitors may be able to get an impromptu tour of the brewhouse. Visiting on a Saturday may be fortuitous if someone is brewing on the pilot system, and has time to show you around the operation.
Getting to the brewery
Listermann Brewing Co. is located about five miles north of downtown Cincinnati in the Evanston neighborhood. The facility is across the street from Xavier University and surrounded by a residential neighborhood. If you use mass transit, Bus #4 (Kenwood/Blue Ash) departs from Government Plaza and travels along U.S. Highway 22. Visitors should get off at Montgomery Road and Dana Avenue, and walk the remaining 0.3 miles to the brewery. Driving from downtown visitors should take I-71 North to Exit 5 (Duck Creek Road), which takes about seven to ten minutes. There is limited street parking, but also a small parking lot on Idlewild Avenue.
Address: 161 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45207
Taproom Hours: Monday to Tuesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday 10 a.m. to Midnight; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Home Brew Store Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday to Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Accessibility: There is a soft slope into the tasting room, but there is a step up to the indoor biergarten.