Cincinnati Museum Center, Rhinegeist collaborate on beer 375 million years in making

A new beer from Rhinegeist Brewery aims to serve as both a fundraiser for Cincinnati Museum Center and a promotion of a permanent exhibit coming to Union Terminal.

Tiktaalik – a cold double IPA – is set to be released on Sept. 4.

The name is a nod to CMC’s upcoming permanent exhibit, “Ancient Worlds Hiding in Plain Sight.” It features fossils that will take guests 150 million years of evolutionary history, even highlighting what Greater Cincinnati likely would have been like way back then.

One of the fossils is a tiktaalik, a nine-foot-long fish that swam in waters in present day North America more than 375 million years ago during the Devonian Period.

Dr. Brenda Hunda, curator of invertebrate paleontology at Cincinnati Museum Center, called the species “critical in the evolution from swimming fish to four-legged vertebrates, including those who moved onto land.”

The partnership with Rhinegeist allows CMC to “pique the interest of amateur paleontologists,” she said, while also providing something to toast with as they open the new gallery.

“Cincinnati’s prehistoric past and its brewing legacy have made it a destination for researchers and revelers. Now, we’re bringing those two together once again,” Hunda added. 

Dr. Brenda Hunda

A fossilized version of a tiktaalik was first discovered in the Canadian Arctic, which made it a fitting name for a beer brewed at extra-cold temperatures. The hop-forward craft brew has 8.5% alcohol. It features a mix of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Talus hops, and bright citrus and tropical notes.

Limited quantities of the beer will be available at Rhinegeist beginning in early September. A portion of the beers sold will benefit the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Those looking to support the Museum Center can also attend the Over-the-Rhine brewery’s Beer for Humans Pint Night on Sept. 13. 

During these events, patrons receive a token with every pint purchase which they can use to vote for their nonprofit of choice, including Cincinnati Museum Center. Those votes correlate to a donation from Rhinegeist to support those organizations’ missions.

Through its Beer for Humans outreach program, Rhinegeist works with more than 300 nonprofits every year.

In honor of the upcoming exhibit, Rhinegeist’s Over-the-Rhine tap room will feature a 250-square-foot mini fossil exhibit. It’s set to open toward the end of September.

Rhinegeist tamproom

The Museum Center plans to make the brew available at its events, such as the opening of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting on Oct. 18.

CMC plans to greet each of the more than 1,500 scientists from around the world with a can of Tiktaalik at a welcome reception. 

The beer will also be available at CMC’s Layers of Discovery event on Nov. 3. The adults-only, after-hours party will allow guests to shuffle in and out of Museum Center’s exhibits, gathering spaces and OMNIMAX Theater. 

Rhinegeist will serve Tiktaalik and a selection of its other beers in Dinosaur Hall at the event.

“We strive to add as much value to Cincinnati’s brewing history as Cincinnati Museum Center does to the fossil record in the area, and we believe there are many parallels – although geologic time runs a lot longer,” joked Beth Boswell, community engagement and partnership coordinator for Rhinegeist.

This is the third collaboration beer between CMC and Rhinegeist since 2018. The first was a Belgian-style golden ale loosely named after the 60-foot-tall Galeamopus skeleton first displayed in Rhinegeist’s taproom. It later moved to its permanent home in the museum’s Dinosaur Hall.

“Turns out paleontologists love to share a beer, and we will always be happy to dig up a cold one with Cincinnati Museum Center,” Boswell said.

Cincinnati Museum Center exterior on a sunny day.

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