One of the Christian Moerlein sales reps offered me samples of a few of their beers that have gone under recent recipe changes. I then decided to take these reviews as an opportunity to try and tell the story of Moerlein and help everyone know the company a little better. To tell the whole story I’ve split it up over three posts, 1 for each beer and each period of Moerlein’s history.
- Barbarossa and the pre-prohibition Christian Moerlein
- OTR Ale and the rebirth of a brand
- Northern Liberties and the reformulation of Moerlein
The original Christian Moerlein Brewing Company was founded by a Bavarian named Christian Moerlein. Christian was born in 1814 and learned blacksmithing and brewing in Bavaria then immigrated to the United States in 1841 and eventually settled in Over-The-Rhine and started his brewery. The company went on to become the biggest brewery in Cincinnati at the time as well as one of the top 5 in the entire country.
Christian died in 1897 and his company was not long to follow suit due to prohibition. Like many breweries in Cincinnati and across the country Christian Moerlein Brewing Company was unable to continue on and the brewery and brand died with the birth of prohibition. Luckily for us that was not the end of this brands story.
One of the beers brewed by Christian Moerlein (the guy) was his Barbarossa. This recipe has been tweaked since his time but the brand and idea remain the same. Here is what the current Moerlein company has to say on this beer:
The Barbarossa is slow-aged with a reddish-brown color and a malt aroma derived from Munich dark malt. Named in honor of Frederick I, emperor of Germany, known as Barbarossa.