The Best Brewery Hops in Dayton

Branch and Bone Artisanal Ales Dayton

Dayton has plenty of historical sites and museums to entice travelers, but for our money, there’s nothing better to do in Dayton than to take in a minor league baseball game and drink some delicious local craft beer. It may not have the sheer volume of options that Cincinnati or Cleveland has, but it does boast an absolutely killer hop, starting at the stadium and working your way down Wayne Avenue. You could hit five breweries in 1.3 miles– and a sixth with terrific food, Fifth Street Brewpub, if you tag another three-quarters of a mile onto your expedition.

Most people can only do two or three breweries in a single hop, so if you’re one of these fine folks, I’d perhaps recommend doing a Warped Wing –> Toxic –> Branch & Bone hop, all three within under a mile. Or if you’re trying to avoid the calamity of the minor league game rather than embracing it, perhaps start at Branch & Bone or Fifth Street Brewpub, park farther from the stadium, and walk your way inward. Mileage may vary depending on your walking preference, the weather, and your enjoyment of baseball. That said, we’ll detail the brewery hop as if it’s one long hop, starting at the stadium, and let you craft your own using the information we provide. No matter how you craft your hop from these options, it’s hard to go wrong (unless you choose to ignore Branch & Bone).

Lock 27 Brewing –> The Dayton Beer Company –> Warped Wing Brewing Company –> Toxic Brew Company –> Fifth Street Brewpub –> Branch & Bone Artisan Ales

Lock 27 Brewing Dayton Flight

If starting at the stadium, you’ll start at Lock 27 Brewing. When I say this is a stone’s throw from the stadium, I don’t mean that metaphorically– I mean you could step outside of Lock 27, take a stone, throw it, and hit the stadium. This is definitely a restaurant, not a tap room, so bring your appetite, as their menu is extensive. They’ve got some options beyond the typical pub fare: vegans will be especially pleased with their soyrizo tacos, Beyond Burger, and smoked jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwich. Their beers we tried were all drinkable and would all do the trick for gathering with some friends for pre-game pints. Our recommendations: the Mouth Breather is a light, citrusy IPA, and they had a strawberry and hibiscus blonde, the Second Base, that provided some variance from standard tap selections. Russell isn’t one for floral flavors in beer, but Emily definitely enjoyed it.

A short trek from the stadium takes you to The Dayton Beer Company. The Dayton Beer Company is set up like a massive German bier hall, complete with large patio and bier garten. They have a *huge* list of guest taps– at least two dozen– that features exclusively in-state craft beer. They have a good numbers of games on hand, including a few arcade games. 2nd Street Pizza is attached to the brewery, giving those who didn’t eat at the last stop a tasty alternative. Truthfully, and we don’t mean this as an insult, the actual beer brewed at Dayton Beer Company is the least of its attractions. The beer is good enough, but the brewery as a whole is what makes is a great visit. Our recommendations: the Java Man Cometh is their coffee stout, which definitely gets the job done to give hoppers a tasty boost early in their day. We favored the stouts in general– the Mad River Milk and Broken Empire should satisfy those craving a milk stout or Russian Imperial Stout, respectively.

Warped Wing Dayton Beer Halloween

From there, it’s less than a five-minute walk to Warped Wing Brewing Company, the second huge taproom you can visit in a row. Warped Wing boasts a massive warehouse with a towering bookshelf of board games, giant Jenga, a row of arcade games, foosball, and undoubtedly more that we overlooked– those looking for games will find nearly everything they’d want here. While their meal options at the Spent Grain Grill all seem tasty, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the tater tot poutine, crispy tots smothered in cheese curds and gravy. Your stomach may have regrets later, but your tastebuds will be in heaven in the short term. The beer is also delicious enough to say Warped Wing has the best balance of beer, food, and games in Dayton. Our recommendations: the Gamma Bomb is a hoppy but eminently drinkable IPA, and the Creepshow, a smoked porter, certainly ended our flight on a high note. One added word: their barrel-program beers were sold out during our visit. We’ve heard very good things and would recommend via word of mouth any barrel-aged option if you’re luckier than us and find one or more of them on tap.

Another five minute stroll south will land you at Toxic Brew Company. We know you don’t often want to hear the words “toxic” and “blast” in the same sentence, but Toxic Brew Company is a blast. It’s a funky tap room adorned with skull imagery, which felt extra appropriate during our Halloween visit. There are scores of games, including shuffleboard, a personal favorite for Russell (albeit a never-ending source of frustration). They also have free popcorn on hand for those who get the munchies after a couple of pints. The tap list is lengthy, includes several guest taps, and boasts a wide variety of styles for any type of drinker. Our recommendations: the Safety Third is a potent but surprisingly light triple IPA— as our bartender warned us, it’s easier to drink than the double IPA despite a heftier ABV, a blessing for those looking to sip delicious triples and a curse for those looking to remain upright after two pints. The Hangar 18 is a smooth and flavorful coconut porter, and for anyone who enjoys a spicy ale, the Jalle Berry has considerable kick.

Fifth Street Brewpub Dayton

At this point in your stroll south, if you’re hungry, make your way east to Fifth Street Brewpub. Most brewpubs stylistically struggle to find the right “brewpub balance,” feeling either more like a sit-down restaurant that happens to have beers or more like a casual tap room that happens to have food. Fifth Street Brewpub toes the line perfectly, which makes it a great place for large gatherings or sports watch parties. There’s plenty of space inside, both at the bar or at the myriad tables, but the outdoor patio is a highlight if the weather is kind. There’s an extensive menu with a variety of tasty options— their burgers are a staple, but Russell thoroughly enjoyed his turked avocado sandwich, and the waffled chips are a perfect crunchy accompaniment to the beer you’ll be sipping. Our recommendations: JoJo’s Stout is a smoky stout that they use in several of their menu items, and the Definitely Frances v4.0 was a sharp double that goes well with any burger or sandwich.

Finally, make your way back to Wayne and head south to Branch & Bone Artisan Ales. Branch & Bone is our favorite stop in Dayton, standing out from the pack in multiple ways. After the multiple brewpubs and large taprooms, Branch & Bone’s small room and elegant, simplistic interior was a breath of fresh air. More importantly, their beer has no equal: we went from pilsner to IPA to sour to porter and were thoroughly impresed by everything their tap had to offer. We sat, played Uno, and went through multiple flights of top-notch beer— if you’d prefer a rowdier end to your hop, then maybe hit this one earlier, but see that you don’t miss it. Our recommendations: we’ll give several. The Monostatic #2 is a crisp Vic Secret-hopped hazy IPA, the best IPA we had in Dayton. The Unmasked is a smoky, delicious porter, and the Dimmer is a terrific coffee blonde (regular readers know how much we enjoy a well-done coffee-infused beer). Finally, the Passionfruit Salty Salute is a must for any sour aficionado, with strong juice flavor, serious pucker-inducing tartness, and the hint of salt that sends it over the edge and sends us over the moon.

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales (Runners-up: Toxic Brew, Fifth Street)

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales (Runners-up: Warped Wing, Toxic Brew)

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales

Warped Wing (Runners-up: Dayton Beer Company, Toxic Brew)

Dayton Beer Company (Runners-up: Fifth Street Brewpub, Warped Wing)

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales

Fifth Street Brewpub (Runners-up: Warped Wing, Lock 27)

Which is your favorite in this lengthy brewery hop? Which of these combinations is your preference? Are there any you love that we neglected to mention? Please shout them out in the comments below! Also, please keep an eye out for our upcoming Cincinnati brewery hop guide, and use our lists of Ohio’s top-rated breweries to craft your own brewery hops in cities like Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus!

Toxic Brew Company Dayton Mural