Cincinnati beer named among top 50 beers in the world
The fruited sour ale is the highest ranked sour on the list and one of just two representatives from Ohio.
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Urban Artifact’s Gadget is one of the top 50 beers worldwide, according to a new list published by Men’s Journal.
The popular fruited sour ale, part of Urban Artifact’s Midwest Fruit Tart lineup, is flavored with blackberries, raspberries and vanilla beans. More than 2,400 lbs. of berries and 30g of vanilla beans go into each 30 barrel batch.
The beer lands at no. 41 on the list and is the highest ranked sour ale. Holiday Beer from Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland also made the list at no. 48.
Men’s Journal wrote of Urban Artifact: “This Cincinnati brewery specializes in massively fruited sour ales it calls Midwest Fruit Tarts. They deliver balance, zippy acidity, and plenty of real fruit character without the cloying sweetness.”
The berries for Gadget are primarily sourced from farms in Oregon and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, according to Urban Artifact Chief Brand Officer Scott Hand.
Hand says the Northside-based brewery often uses between two and ten times as much fruit in its fruited beers as other breweries, including an astonishing 0.2% of all blackberries in the United States. As of 2022, Urban Artifact uses more real fruit than any other brewery in the world.
Urban Artifact must employ a dedicated piece of equipment to cook the massive amount of fruit before it goes into the fermentation tanks, where the beers acquire their signature tartness. That allows the brewery to avoid extra flavorings or additives; all the flavor and color in its beers are entirely from the fruit.
“There are a lot of challenges, including seasonal pricing and availability for some fruit,” Hand said. “Since we use a much wider variety of agricultural products than most breweries, we often have to plan very far in advance.”
Founded in 2015, Urban Artifact quickly occupied a quirky niche in Cincinnati’s craft brewery scene. It has seen significant growth since then. The brewery now boasts a tap room, an event space/wedding venue, a radio station and regular live music from its confines at St. Patrick’s church.
Its distribution footprint continues to expand as well. Urban Artifact began retail distribution to Oregon and Florida in 2022 and to West Virginia, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey and New York in the first six months of 2023. Hand says to expect an announcement about some brewing investments later this year that will “expand our options (and portfolio).”
None of that success has diminished the brewery’s founding quirkiness. It still showcases hand-drawn can art, nostalgic naming conventions, a unique late-Victorian aesthetic and a Sommelier-like focus on the local terroir.
Then there’s Pickle Day, an event born of the brewery’s popular Pickle Beer, to be held July 1 at the taproom in partnership with Jungle Jim’s. Attendees will have the opportunity to compete in a pickle-eating contest.
Said Hand, “Urban Artifact exists to reward the curious.”
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