The Northwood Cidery Makes Norwood Home

Joseph Klare walks me through the empty building, gutted of all the features that made it an auto shop, and explains how it will soon become a thriving craft cidery in the heart of Norwood.

Northwood Cider Co. will be  the first and only dedicated hard cider company in Greater Cincinnati when it opens in the summer of 2022. Klare’s enthusiastic descriptions fill the empty space for me: the storage areas up top, where the cider will be fermented in the back, and the bar running along the west side of the building.

“We’ll have a cold storage room where we’ll have all of our finished product and some of our stuff that hasn’t been fermented yet. And then there’ll just be a very small chain divider between the front house and back house,” Klare said. “We want people to be able to see… how it’s made and where it’s made. This’ll be a production area, so people can’t just wander back, but we will be doing tours and “How Cider’s Made” classes and things like that. We’re not going to be a huge operation, obviously, but we can hopefully get some information out to people that are curious about the process and how we’re trying to use as local ingredients as possible.”

Klare and his wife Rohan Krehbiel partnered with couple Darrin Wilson and Keyu Yan to bring their love of cider to greater Cincinnati with the aim of being inclusive and inviting to all the people of Norwood. Klare met Wilson at a brewery when grabbing drinks and dinner with a mutual friend. They discovered both had a passion for home brewing cider. Klare and his partner Krehbiel, had found craft cidery through a trip to Ireland in college despite not knowing each other at the time. After the two got married home brewing became a popular hobby, especially wines and ciders due to Klare’s gluten intolerance. Wilson, on the other hand, also discovered cider while abroad and living in England. He had an existing interest in home brewing and brought home to his wife, Keyu Yan, the art of cider brewing. Wilson previously owned a brewery, but sold the business when he and his wife moved. It seemed like the perfect encounter when the two met, and the next morning Wilson messaged Klare to ask about his thoughts on starting up a brewery together. Klare describes that they “brought [their] spouses into the mix and everyone hit it off as friends”.

Greater Cincinnati’s market didn’t have breweries specialized in craft cider despite its growing popularity in the United States following the popularity of craft beer. Searching for the right location within the Interstate 275 loop, Klare and Wilson, who both work in economic and community development in their day jobs, knew they wanted a place near both residential and business areas.

“We were seeking locations where we could function as a neighborhood living room for residents, a great starting point for visitors to explore a community, and a community that had a great deal of passion and activism to make itself more vibrant,” Klare said. “Tom Perry, who previously worked for the City of Norwood, happened to be one of Darrin’s students and suggested the pair take a look at Norwood. A group organized by Norwood Together showed them around town and pointed out a few potential buildings and explained all of the great things happening in Norwood. They spotted the old Norwood Brake building, right next to Victory Park and across from Surrey Square and Kroger, and a few months later were under contract.”

The Northwood Cidery will feature classic cider flavors as well as experimental flavors that are crafted on a rotating basis, so there’s a drink for everyone. 

“The idea is that it’s going to become a flexible space so that we can hold community events. You could call us and reserve a table for some 20 people for your birthday party. You can bring your kids in and sit in the lounge and watch a basketball game with them. Or, you know, when Off Pike Market’s happening outside, and you’re out shopping. Maybe your husband or your son or your family is coming with you and you want to sit down for a while. [You want to] take a load off and grab a drink and people can keep shopping,” Klare said. “So we’re trying to make it a space that’s flexible, but accommodating and one that’s comfortable visually.”

The cidery plans to have five to six year round ciders on draft as well as five to six ciders that rotate seasonally based on what fresh ingredients are available at the time. In regards to the diversity of what the cidery/taproom has to offer Klare says this about the drinks available, which will range from various ciders, a few beers, and potentially a few wines,  

“Technically we are wine, and we want to try to convert wine drinkers into cider drinkers, but we will have two or three taps of beer for people that just can’t get into cider. Again, we want to accommodate people as best as we can. And if you just can’t get into cider and we’ll have a beer and try to talk you into trying one.”

The Northwood Cidery and Tap House plans to open in the summer of 2022 and will be located in the old Norwood Brake building at 2075 Mills Ave.

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Be Heard At Norwood’s Community Council Meetings

(Norwood Together, November Release) As the end of the year comes to a close, Norwood Together takes a look at the Norwood Community Councils’ growth and showcases how vital these community meetings can be. The council meetings aim to connect residents with their representatives and to make the Norwood leadership accessible. Demystifying the people in charge opens up more comfortable conversations where residents feel their voice is being heard. 

The Community Council meetings arose from this very need, as residents expressed through the Norwood quality of life survey that they felt disconnected and unheard. The council meetings started in ward one in 2019 but grew as the need for connection grew. Now all four wards organize a council meeting. Other than connecting with representatives, the meetings have speakers from all aspects of the community, including the health department, Norwood’s recycling program, the police and fire department, as well as members of the school board. 

Norwood Community Council meetings are an opportunity to voice excitements and concerns in the city while spending time socializing and meeting neighbors as well as city representatives. The goal of the council meetings is to make residents feel more informed about Norwood. Sara Lehew of the Community Council points out that in Ward 1 in particular, “We have been represented by council members from the Democratic and the Republican parties, and no matter what their political affiliation, the council members for Ward 1 have strongly supported the meetings and the info-sharing that is a main goal of the group.” Lehew says that the group strives to “help mitigate the feelings of uncertainty and negativity in residents by ensuring that information is shared with as many people as possible and comes directly from our elected leaders.”

Due to the pandemic community council meetings were put on hold but resumed in March of 2021 with a dedication to continue connecting residents to the services and leaders across our city and a strong push from Norwood Together. The Community Council meetings will resume in March of 2022 once again.

“We’re excited to hit the ground running in 2022 with more of a unified plan and predictable agendas”, said Alisha Loch, one of the Norwood Community Council organizers. “It’s our goal to be even more problem solving; we’ve dabbled with this by getting residents the answers they need or connecting them with the right person to address their issues, but would like to dig even deeper in creating grassroots solutions to each wards’ concerns.”

Follow the Norwood Community Council Facebook for more updates and meeting locations as we approach 2022.

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The Oldest Streets of Norwood Are Begging to Be Seen

Norwood Historical Society is partnering with Norwood Together again for the 2021 Historic Home Tour.

From 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 16, rain or shine, tour groups will meet at Victory Park and walk a mile through some of the oldest streets in Norwood. These houses, dating back to the 1880s and early 20th century, were popular for boarding. Students and laborers, many coming from the South in search of work at Norwood factories, would rent out rooms.

The tours will last about 70-80 minutes, and each tour group is limited to 15 people. Tickets are $10 a person. Buy them here. 

“Norwood Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, publish and educate about the history of Norwood, Ohio. Anytime we get a chance to carry out our mission, in any shape or form, while partnering with other organizations is a great adventure. When we uncover the history behind these homes and share it with the public, the stories bring them to life,” said Susan Daniels, President of the Norwood Historical Society. 

The Norwood Historic Home Tours began two years ago, with Norwood Together and the Norwood Historical Society aiming to showcase Norwood architecture and landscaping and also to encourage civic pride. These tours also give non-locals a chance to appreciate the beauty and complexity of Norwood.

The tour will be exploring Ward 1 this year, one of four political wards in the city. With the neighborhood dating back to the turn of the 20th century, it’s an extremely walkable community, and because many homes have been updated throughout the decades, the tour will be interesting for both modern and historical architecture enthusiasts.

In addition to architecture and history, Historic Home Tour ticket holders will get the chance to learn about gardening and how to raise and keep chickens in Norwood.

When you return from the tour there’s even more fun to be had. The Norwood Fall Festival will be at Victory Park during and after the Historic Home Tour, from 2 to 6 p.m. The free Fall Festival will have live music, food vendors, pumpkins, Off Pike Market, and a variety of family activities, giving you a chance to take in the beautiful sights of Norwood then support its community.

This event is sponsored by Realtor Jennifer McGillis, UDF, Ventura Builders Group, Cappy’s and Off Pike Market. 

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Norwood Welcomes America Dinner: A Great Success

The Norwood Welcomes America Dinner highlighted the rich culture woven into Norwood and its people.

Welcome America Week is a national movement observed in the second week of September. Along with Welcome America Week events around the country, the Norwood Welcomes America Dinner asks immigrants in the community to take the lead. Norwood residents from Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Palestine, and Jordan planned the sold-out family-style dinner, which brought 50 neighbors together at Lower Millcrest Park to share a meal and their cultures.

“The ultimate goal is to create a Norwood where people from all cultures are known, respected, and loved,” said Carson Sotelo, Event Chairman.

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Norwood Together’s Welcome America Dinner

How many of your Norwood neighbors have been to Sri Lanka? Experienced the rich culture of Venezuela? Enjoyed a family style meal in Palestine or Jordan? On September 12, the Norwood Welcomes America Dinner will highlight the rich culture woven into Norwood and its people.

Welcome America Week is a national movement observed in the second week of September. Along with Welcome America Week events around the country, the Norwood Welcomes America Dinner, sponsored by Norwood Together, asks immigrants in the community to take the lead. Norwood residents from Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Palenstine, and Jordan planned the sold-out family-style dinner, which will bring 50 neighbors together at Lower Millcrest Park to share a meal and their cultures. 

“​​Norwood is a diverse community, and yet we all can naturally gravitate towards and build relationships with people like us.  You bond over shared interests, ways you were raised, or shared values,” said Carson Sotelo, Norwood Together event chairman. “This event serves as a catalyst… The person who before felt profoundly different from you is now sharing a meal from their culture with you. You experience a piece of their life.  You’re neighbors and equal members of the Norwood community.” 

After last year’s virtual event for Norwood Welcomes America Week, we felt the excitement of our community when we had the opportunity to celebrate this year in the form of an international picnic. An example of what those participating will get to experience is a taste of Palestine through a traditional dish called Qidreh, or lamb with rice stewed with spices in a heavy copper or brass pot, best served with a fresh tomato salad and yogurt sauce. The dish is designed for shared meals and is often cooked in communal wood fired ovens. Sotelo adds, “The ultimate goal is to create a Norwood where people from all cultures are known, respected, and loved.”

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