I’ve always had a soft spot for Quaff Bros. The beers they put out are fun, unique, and – most importantly – very good. With the expansion of the Party Source, the new brewery space hasn’t really received as much attention as the distillery. Since they’d be brewing in house (rather than their current nomadic habits), they needed a tried and true individual for the head brewer position. As of 10:00 PM, I am at liberty to tell you that they got their man. Mitch Dougherty will be taking his talents across the river to Northern Kentucky from Rock Bottom to the new brewery, Eight Ball Brewing.
This is a hell of a catch and I was very, very excited to hear it. Mitch, being as skilled as he is with barrel treatments, will fit in perfectly over there. I’ve been very excited since Danny Gold (Head Honcho at the beer department at Party Source) filled me in on this, and luckily pulled some more information from both him and Mitch. What follows is a short, lightly edited interview.
Congrats to Party Source and Mitch!
What initially drew you to Mitch for your head brewer?
His obvious passion and commitment to his craft and over-all knowledge. Also after just a few meetings we could tell he was one of “us”. We feel
we are pretty good judges of character and Mitch nailed it for us with his personality.
How much creative discretion will Mitch have? How do you see ideas for beers coming about now that you will have a head brewer and aren’t contract brewing anymore?
Mitch will have my full support to be as creative and as inventive as he can get. I think we have an advantage being a retailer and myself as the
senior buyer that we know what styles people are looking for. I want to be clear though that we will still contract brew. Quaff Bros. has always and
will always stand for the brotherhood of locally made craft beer through collaborations of great ideas and the mission statement to continually
push the envelope through barrel aging beers.
Now that Mitch is on board, what will be his role until the expansion is up and brewing has commenced?
Design and build all that is beer.
When do you anticipate the expansion to be complete and brewing to begin at Eight Ball Brewing?
Within this calendar year.
What will be your production capacity once everything is up and running?
It is a 15 BBL brew house with a number of 15 BBL fermentor and one 30 BBL fermentor.
Do you expect to distribute or will the beers continue to be Party Source only?
Some will be TPS only or if we collaborate it will be available at those places. We plan on distributing at some point but we will be very select on where it goes.
Will you be doing only limited releases like you do now or will you have regular/seasonal offerings?
We plan to have full time beers which are approachable to any drinker (wine/spirit/beer geek or beginner). Seasonal rotators and anything we
feel like thereafter.
Will the beers still be barrel-aged only or will we see some non-treated beers?
ALL types of beers. Not barrel exclusive.
What should we be looking for from Quaff/Party Source in the next few months?
Join us January 19th at Listermann’s for the tapping of the latest Quaff
creation, “Jenny”. We know how much you liked the Bourbon barrel aged
Stout with coffee named “Joseph” now it’s time to unleash the much smaller
production but equally as impressive draft only offering that is “Jenny”.
One keg, that’s right just one keg is all that exists of this Belgian
Blonde Ale aged in Corsair Gin/Rum barrels making it a truly experimental
brew. If you like the Quaff project and the chance to taste super rare
beers that will most likely never exist again, then this tasting is for
WHAT: Quaff Bros. “JENNY” – a Belgium Blonde Ale aged in small Corsair
barrels that first were used for aging Rum, then Gin, and now Quaff!
WHERE: Listermanns 1621 Dana Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45207
WHEN: JANUARY 19TH AT 5:30PM
If you wouldn’t mind, tell us a bit about yourself, how you got into brewing.
I was born and raised in Buckeye AZ. I started as an apprentice with the Rock Bottom in Phoenix AZ in 2004. In 2007 I became the Head Brewer for the Rock Bottom Cincinnati.
What was it that made you take this offer from Quaff Bros/Party Source and leave Rock Bottom?
The opportunity to build and design a brewery has been a career goal of mine for some time. Not to mention 100% creative freedom with the beer.
What do you think will be the biggest change moving from Rock Bottom to Eight Ball Brewing?
Well, going from a restaurant/brewery to a retail shop/brewery. I am excited about the wall of inspiration as I call it. (THE WALL OF BEER)
Being surrounded by beverage is exciting.
Your barrel treatments have been a huge hit at Rock Bottom. Will you be bringing those recipes with you?
Barrel aging will be a big part of what I do for the rest of my career. Bourbon and beer are my favorite beverages and it only makes sense to
combine the two. In fact, I enjoy them most when they are combined. With that said I will not discriminate other barrels (wine, brandy, rum etc..)
Do you anticipate doing any sours? I assume that at Rock Bottom locations, wild yeast was a no-no?
Wild yeast was always ok at Rock Bottom. I actually did a couple of sours at RB. At Eight Ball Brewing we will have no restraints.
Do you anticipate creating some over 12% beers now that you’ve freed yourself from the Ohio ABV caps?
With having 100% creative freedom we look forward to make beers of ALL ranges and styles. The sky is the limit!
What are your thoughts on the Cincinnati-area brewery scene? It seems like new outfits are popping up every month. Is the bubble here about full or do you think there is room for more growth?
I think the scene is great. I think between the rich brewing heritage and the population throughout the Tri-county, it is large enough to support
many more brewery operations of all sizes. My motto is that “if you brew great beer they will come” Yes, I’m also a huge baseball fan.
It’s silly, but it’s a question I ask in every interview: you’re trapped on a desert island and can only have three beers for the rest of your life. What are they?
Well, it would have to be three beers that I made on the island. This way I would never run out. So you might have to ask the island.