WORTH THE DRIVE: 50 West’s burger bar in Cincinnati perfect on summer days

The 50 West Brewing Company campus in Cincinnati boasts not only a state-of-the-art craft beer production facility with a taproom, but also a bike shop, a canoe and kayak livery, sand volleyball courts, a massive beer garden, a futsal court that converts to pickleball courts and a burger bar steeped in 1950s roadside nostalgia. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN
The 50 West Brewing Company campus in Cincinnati boasts not only a state-of-the-art craft beer production facility with a taproom, but also a bike shop, a canoe and kayak livery, sand volleyball courts, a massive beer garden, a futsal court that converts to pickleball courts and a burger bar steeped in 1950s roadside nostalgia. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Brewing company in Cincinnati offers outdoor fun and comfort food

CINCINNATI — Entrepreneurs think big and dream big, it’s why they are driven to do what they do.

So when they announce a business venture with great fanfare, it’s a waiting game to see what they will actually be able to execute on.

When 50 West Brewing Company opened its doors at the end of 2012, only time would tell what the brewery, located on U.S. Route 50 near the Little Miami Scenic Trail, might be able to ultimately become, both to the Ohio craft beer scene and as a destination.

ExplorePHOTOS: Burgers, beers and outdoor fun at 50 West Brewing Company

A little more than eight years later and those big dreams have become an impressive reality for the Cincinnati-based brewery located just east of the charming Mariemont area.

The dream was to brew beer that people would come back for again and again and serve it up on a campus dedicated to outdoor recreation, catering to open-air lifestyles, hobbies and families.

Today the 50 West campus boasts not only a state-of-the-art craft beer production facility with a taproom, but also a bike shop, a canoe and kayak livery, sand volleyball courts, a massive beer garden, a futsal court that converts to pickleball courts and — its most recent addition — a burger bar steeped in 1950s roadside nostalgia.

The focus on outdoor programming paired with opening a restaurant that could cater to dining alfresco during the pandemic proved to be a winning combination for 2020. As most restaurants closed or contracted, 50 West was able to grow by allowing large groups of people to gather socially distanced and safely outdoors.

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Better that the outdoor comfort could be followed up with outdoor comfort food. The menu features a dozen sandwiches named after states along the 50 West thoroughfare that runs coast to coast. Choose a protein — a house-ground single or double burger patty, grilled chicken breast, flat-top all-beef hot dog or a black bean burger — and choose your state ...

  • California – Guacamole, lettuce, tomato
  • Colorado – Spicy green chile salsa, ghost pepper jack cheese, jalapeno
  • Illinois – Horseradish aioli, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion
  • Indiana – Fresh corn salad, American cheese and lettuce
  • Kansas – Smokey BBQ, American cheese, bacon, cole slaw, pickle
  • Maryland – Old Bay tartar sauce, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion
  • Missouri – Marinara, provolone cheese, parmesan crisp
  • Nevada – Buffalo bleu cheese sauce, crispy onion straws, pickle
  • Ohio – Cincinnati chili, shredded cheese, mustard, onion
  • Utah – Fry sauce, pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickle
  • Virginia – Pimento cheese, grilled ham, pickle
  • West Virginia – Apple butter, American cheese, bacon, caramelized onion
Wings and loaded fried at 50 West Brewery in Cincinnati
Wings and loaded fried at 50 West Brewery in Cincinnati

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Pair your sandwich with crinkle cut fries and a shake, house-made soda, float or a 50W draft beer and you’re in business.

There are three shareable plates to help soak up the spoils of happy hour — a pita plate with veggies, hummus, guacamole and fresh corn salad ($8), eight bone-in buffalo or smokey BBQ wings ($10) or loaded fries ($8) with American lager beer cheese, buffalo bleu cheese sauce, shredded cheese, bacon, green onion and jalapeno. On multiple visits the wings were the standout on the menu — meaty, tender, flavorful and moist, they were a perfect foil to the hoppy draft From the Heart IPAs brewed with Ohio-grown malt as a collaboration with the Ohio Craft Brewers Association.

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Grabbing a beer at 50 West Brewery in Cincinnati
Grabbing a beer at 50 West Brewery in Cincinnati

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

The menu, which can be ordered and picked up at pass-through windows next to the beer garden, is small, straight-forward, unassuming and familiar. This is the old-timey roadside stand your grandparents would have cruised into with the careful execution that hipsters will appreciate. The wonderful nostalgia it evokes, coupled with the generous beer garden and outdoor space that connects the burger bar to the brewery makes it a destination worth seeking out regardless of COVID numbers and Health Department orders.

During the multiple visits we made, dogs, kids and their adult counterparts could be seen relaxing, cavorting and soaking in both the fresh air and the chill open atmosphere.

The 50 West brewpub across the street has a more expansive, flavorful menu, but for summer the burger bar is where it’s at.

As with so many things, it’s the experience that elevates the very basic menu and this is an experience worthy of the road trip you’ll have to make on 50 West to 50 West.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

HOW TO GO

What: Fifty West Brewing Company

Where: 7668 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati

More info: (513) 834-8789 or fiftywestbrew.com