Behind-the-Scenes at the Home of The Midwest Fruit Tart Ale

By Haley Manker

I think it’s well known in the store that if there is a sour on tap from Urban Artifact, it’s most likely going to be followed with “*Haley’s Pick*”. I’m a dedicated fan girl of the Midwest Fruit Tart and I have absolutely stocked my fridge full of Urban Artifact’s amazing brews (I need all of the Squeezebox, forever). When the idea of taking a ‘field trip’ to Urban Artifact came about in conversation, you know I immediately was on board and ready to go.

Urban Artifact made their home in the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in 2014 and began serving their funk and ‘gossip-worthy’ brews in 2015. The taproom is located in the basement, the brewery is located next door in the old gymnasium, and the reliquary is used for events and larger musical acts. It is clear that they have a special talent for making tart, wild, balanced, and heavily fruited beers and Cincinnati is a major fan of what they’re doing. When taking over the historic space, they made sure that the rustic features of the building stood strong and were incorporated within the design of each portion of their establishment. The iconic copper handles seen to pour each beer are made from upcycled copper pulled from the building. Parts of the gymnasium floor are used to aid in soundproofing the music/stage area within the taproom and you can see parts of the gymnasium flooring peeking through behind the chalkboard tap list.  The reliquary still features the original confession booths and if you look toward the front of the space, you can see the stained glass window that inspired the Urban Artifact logo. While on our tour we were told that Urban Artifact was granted State Historic Tax Credits that will help renovate the spaces Urban Artifact occupies, including a focus on the reliquary. Renovations pertaining to the reliquary will include repairing the iconic stained glass window, adding a working elevator, adding and further soundproofing to accommodate more local and national musical guests. The magic doesn’t stop with just the gorgeous historical church, the real magic happens next door in the brewery.

Across the courtyard is the old gymnasium that houses the brewery. When you walk into the building, you see a wall of stickers from various beers that have been produced next to the stairs. As you enter you are welcomed by all of the gorgeous can art and beers that are currently in distribution. There is a shelf to the side where long-lost and heavily loved beer labels rest, reminding us of all the thousands of barrels of beer that have been drank. When you walk into the other section of the brewery, you are greeted by two massive 120 BBL fermenters and several other smaller fermenters where the magic truly happens. To one side of the room there is a smaller micro-brewing station where experimentation happens. There are about 450 barrels on site that hold secret and not-so-secret beers. The secrets held within the barrels and fermenters will be forthcoming, but you can absolutely prepare yourself for can releases of Keypunch and Pickle in the near future. I know I’m going to be stocking my refrigerator with all of the possible amazing, tart, wild, and balanced beers that Urban Artifact continues to produce.

And if you’re salivating just reading this, join us for our Celebration of Sours on May 9th starting at 5pm. We’re tapping Tapestry, a barrel aged midwest fruit tart with peach and passionfruit, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and more from Urban Artifact! Click here to get more information!