Ohio’s rich history of craft beer brewing truly comes to life at Carillon Brewing Company in Dayton. Not only is it a brewery and restaurant, but also a living history exhibit within Carillon Historical Park. It is the first licensed production brewery in North America to be operated in a museum.
I first visited Carillon Brewing Company for lunch one day while in Dayton with my son. I knew my husband would love it and went back again with him for dinner one evening.
Carillon Brewing Company doesn’t look like modern craft breweries; you won’t see stainless steel equipment. Instead, expect to find copper kettles heated by charcoal fires and lots of wooden barrels, with costumed workers doing the work. Historians are in charge of the brewing, and they’ve paid attention to the details. They even use historical recipes. One volunteer told us that the recipe for their most popular beer, Coriander Ale, came from the journal of a Cincinnati-area farm wife.
About a dozen beers are rotated seasonally. A flight of four beers for $7 is a great way to sample the different brews. My husband selected a Spiced Dunkelweizen “Dark Wheat,” while I opted for a flight of Porter, Coriander Ale, Berliner Weisse, and Spruce Ale.
The culinary offerings at Carillon Brewing Company are inspired by the German, English, and Irish immigrants who lived in Dayton in the 1850s. My husband and I started with a soft German pretzel braid served with beer cheese and mustards. You’ll also find schnitzel, wurst, fish and chips, and more on the menu.
To make the most of your visit, be sure to spend some time looking at the exhibits and talking to the workers. They have a wealth of knowledge to share about the history of that time period as well as their methods of brewing, and they welcome questions from visitors.
Museum admission is not required to visit Carillon Brewing Company, but after visiting the brewery, you’ll probably want to see the rest of Carillon Historical Park too.
For more Ohio brews, Find It Here at Ohio.org.