A new brewery here offers a place to grab some craft beer without trekking to the region’s two major metropolitan areas.
FigLeaf Brewing Co. debuted over the weekend at 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Middletown, just north of the Monroe border, to help bridge the “beer towns” of Cincinnati and Dayton, according to co-founder Brian Yavorsky.
“We felt that being smack in the middle of Cincinnati-Dayton is the place to be,” Yavorsky said. “I-75 is a huge commuter corridor, and there are a lot of rooftops and households within certain mile radiuses of either the Middletown or Monroe interchanges.”
Having a brewery that close means giving Butler County residents a place to go after dinner with the family without repeating a 45-minute commute, Yavorsky said.
While FigLeaf Brewing’s 1,900-square-foot taproom has the capacity for 20 taps, its initial offerings include an American IPA, an Imperial brown porter, a Red Saison and a Basmati Cream Ale.
FigLeaf also offers cold-pressed coffee from the two metropolitan areas it seeks to bridge, Wood Burl Coffee from Dayton and Smooth Cincy Coffee Co. from Cincinnati. Nitro taps give coffee from both companies a "smooth, velvety soft and rich finish" much like a stout or a porter, Yavorksy said.
By Wednesday, the 8,400-square-foot brewery plans to introduce homemade soda pops Mango Monster, Huckleberry Cherry and three other family-friendly concoctions, he said.
Craft beer lovers Laura and Derek Clark, of Liberty Twp., said they have traveled “all around” to locations outside of Ohio to enjoy craft beer. Having a brewery so close to home is key, they said, especially one with a pleasurable ambience and a good selection of beers and coffees.
“Variety is always better,” Derek Clark said. “The different craft breweries and taprooms that we go to, obviously, people are going to come the first time to check it out, but if you make good beer, people will come back and so far, from what we’ve tasted, we’ll definitely be back.”
Matt Cox, of Lebanon, who said he enjoyed FigLeaf’s IPA and cold-pressed coffees, was glad to find a close-to-home place that won’t mean a trip “all the way to Cincinnati or Dayton.”
“You really don’t have to take the highway. You don’t hit any traffic,” Cox said. “You can come out here and it’s got a local feel.”
Yavorsky, of Liberty Twp., said he co-founded Star City Brewing Co. in Miamisburg and left there for FigLeaf to "do something bigger and bolder."
His partners and co-founders in the business include Rich and Tasha Brown, of West Chester Twp., plus full-timers Andy Allgeyer, of Springboro, and Jeff Fortney, of Dayton, who is heading up brewing operations at FigLeaf after serving as head brewer at Warped Wing Brewing Company under brew master John Haggerty.
Other breweries opening and expanding during the three years it took FigLeaf to get up and running will “bolster the area even more” for the brewery, Yavorsky said.
FigLeaf is working with Middletown catering company Central Connections, which is already using Figleaf beers in its recipes, to cater food at the brewery and is inviting area food trucks to do the same, Yavorsky said.
The next 30 days will see FigLeaf ramp up its distribution of kegs to local pubs and restaurants to more than two dozen locations, he said. Plans for the next 12 to 24 months call for canning and bottling for retail sales, he said.