MadTree Brewery: Trio of mad geniuses challenge beer drinkers to try more interesting beer...

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By: Jesse Folk, WCPO Digital
CINCINNATI - The mad geniuses at MadTree Brewing have something they
want you to do -- try more interesting beer.
That they happen to brew more interesting beer is just a happy
coincidence.  

MadTree is the beer lab (brewery) run by Kenny McNutt (The ‘Beer’ded
Baron), Jeff Hunt (Beer ‘Can’noisseur), and Brady Duncan (Secretary of
Beer Defense), just off Duck Creek Road, at 5164 Kennedy Ave. in
Cincinnati.
The trio got their start as homebrewers and their dedication to making
unique, independent beer dates back to those beginnings.  

When McNutt and Hunt first got interested in brewing in 2005, they
were holding a beer of the week club amongst friends. Everyone would
get together each week and bring a six-pack to try different brews
they were interested in.

“Initially we were homebrewing, so it was ‘What brews do you love,
what brews do you enjoy?’” McNutt said.  

Like many homebrewers, their first beer was an extract recipe.
However, while many brewers continue to make extract beers for a
while, Hunt and McNutt ramped up production after their first and
immediately went to all-grain brewing, piecing together equipment as
they could.  

After about a year of brewing independently for a year, the pair met
Duncan and they joined forces. The group then started to “brew beer
like crazy,” according to McNutt. The team would try out 20- to
25-gallon batches each weekend as they perfected their recipes.  

All throughout this period, the trio was sneaking their homebrew in
among the beers at their club meetings to see how their beers stacked
up against the pros. Pretty soon they were getting good feedback from
family and friends, and were even taking requests. Their first “order”
was to brew a beer for a friend’s wedding.  

During that time they also started writing their business plan and
after 16 months of perfecting it, thought they had one that was solid.
Business happens to be a specialty of the group as one of the most
well-educated brewing teams in the Tri-State: McNutt and Hunt have
engineering backgrounds with an MBA each and Duncan started in public
relations and has an MBA in project management/IT.  

From there it was on to fundraising, and while their friends and
family might have enjoyed their beer, actually investing in a brewery
was harder sell than just getting people to try a new brew.

“The biggest glaring question was, ‘How much have you raised so far?’
That moment took a while to get going, but once we really got that
ball rolling -- it’s the laws of cumulative advantage, right? -- all
of sudden we had all this momentum behind us and we exceeded by far
what we planned to raise,” McNutt said.  

The extra money helped because they initially didn’t plan to buy as
big a building or have a tap room at first. Having a tap room wasn’t
legal when they opened but thanks to some recent changes to Ohio’s
legal code, the tap room is packed on weekends.  

“The second biggest question was, ‘Why cans?’ And we had a slew of
statistics to throw out there,” McNutt said. “We truly believe in cans
and what it does for product and the package. It’s for the active
lifestyle. We all believe that cans are going to be on the forefront
of the craft beer industry at some point.”
MadTree happens to be one of the only breweries in Tri-State that is
canning its beer. Besides protecting the beer in what many brewers say
is a better format, cans come with fringe benefits such as allowing
the beer to be served in more places and being easier for people to
buy and store.  

“We were fortunate to ride the waves of some of the big guys -- Sierra
Nevada and New Belgium -- and even people like Avery -- and kind of
ride their skirt tails into the market and convince Cincinnati and the
Midwest that cans are the right answer. We ended up as the first can
craft brew in the state of Ohio. Wait six months and you’ll see, I’d
guess, four to six more in the state of Ohio if not more,” McNutt
said.  

Once MadTree had a facility, the brewhouse and the production line was
up and running, it was time to hit the streets and get people drinking
their beer. McNutt said they decided not to self-distribute even
though that’s allowed in Ohio.
Instead, Cavalier Distributing handles MadTree’s account. Beer fans
can find MadTree in just four counties right now -- Clermont,
Hamilton, Butler and Warren -- but there are plans to expand into
Dayton and Northern Kentucky.  


Read more:
http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/madtree-brewery-trio-of-mad-geniuses-challenge-beer-drinkers-to-try-more-interesting-beer#ixzz2bNm7Ycmb


Re: MadTree Brewery: Trio of mad geniuses challenge beer drinkers to try more interesting beer
On Thu, 08 Aug 2013 09:05:36 -0400, Garrison Hilliard

Quoted text here. Click to load it



Posted: 5:51 AM
Last Updated: 1 hour and 55 minutes ago
By: Jesse Folk, WCPO Digital

CINCINNATI - The mad geniuses at MadTree Brewing have something they
want you to do -- try more interesting beer.
That they happen to brew more interesting beer is just a happy
coincidence.  

MadTree is the beer lab (brewery) run by Kenny McNutt (The ‘Beer’ded
Baron), Jeff Hunt (Beer ‘Can’noisseur), and Brady Duncan (Secretary of
Beer Defense), just off Duck Creek Road, at 5164 Kennedy Ave. in
Cincinnati.
The trio got their start as homebrewers and their dedication to making
unique, independent beer dates back to those beginnings.  

When McNutt and Hunt first got interested in brewing in 2005, they
were holding a beer of the week club amongst friends. Everyone would
get together each week and bring a six-pack to try different brews
they were interested in.

“Initially we were homebrewing, so it was ‘What brews do you love,
what brews do you enjoy?’” McNutt said.  

Like many homebrewers, their first beer was an extract recipe.
However, while many brewers continue to make extract beers for a
while, Hunt and McNutt ramped up production after their first and
immediately went to all-grain brewing, piecing together equipment as
they could.  

After about a year of brewing independently for a year, the pair met
Duncan and they joined forces. The group then started to “brew beer
like crazy,” according to McNutt. The team would try out 20- to
25-gallon batches each weekend as they perfected their recipes.  

All throughout this period, the trio was sneaking their homebrew in
among the beers at their club meetings to see how their beers stacked
up against the pros. Pretty soon they were getting good feedback from
family and friends, and were even taking requests. Their first “order”
was to brew a beer for a friend’s wedding.  

During that time they also started writing their business plan and
after 16 months of perfecting it, thought they had one that was solid.
Business happens to be a specialty of the group as one of the most
well-educated brewing teams in the Tri-State: McNutt and Hunt have
engineering backgrounds with an MBA each and Duncan started in public
relations and has an MBA in project management/IT.  

From there it was on to fundraising, and while their friends and
family might have enjoyed their beer, actually investing in a brewery
was harder sell than just getting people to try a new brew.

“The biggest glaring question was, ‘How much have you raised so far?’
That moment took a while to get going, but once we really got that
ball rolling -- it’s the laws of cumulative advantage, right? -- all
of sudden we had all this momentum behind us and we exceeded by far
what we planned to raise,” McNutt said.  

The extra money helped because they initially didn’t plan to buy as
big a building or have a tap room at first. Having a tap room wasn’t
legal when they opened but thanks to some recent changes to Ohio’s
legal code, the tap room is packed on weekends.  

“The second biggest question was, ‘Why cans?’ And we had a slew of
statistics to throw out there,” McNutt said. “We truly believe in cans
and what it does for product and the package. It’s for the active
lifestyle. We all believe that cans are going to be on the forefront
of the craft beer industry at some point.”
MadTree happens to be one of the only breweries in Tri-State that is
canning its beer. Besides protecting the beer in what many brewers say
is a better format, cans come with fringe benefits such as allowing
the beer to be served in more places and being easier for people to
buy and store.  

“We were fortunate to ride the waves of some of the big guys -- Sierra
Nevada and New Belgium -- and even people like Avery -- and kind of
ride their skirt tails into the market and convince Cincinnati and the
Midwest that cans are the right answer. We ended up as the first can
craft brew in the state of Ohio. Wait six months and you’ll see, I’d
guess, four to six more in the state of Ohio if not more,” McNutt
said.  

Once MadTree had a facility, the brewhouse and the production line was
up and running, it was time to hit the streets and get people drinking
their beer. McNutt said they decided not to self-distribute even
though that’s allowed in Ohio.
Instead, Cavalier Distributing handles MadTree’s account. Beer fans
can find MadTree in just four counties right now -- Clermont,
Hamilton, Butler and Warren -- but there are plans to expand into
Dayton and Northern Kentucky.  

At first, their plan was to go for high-end craft beer stores and bars
but MadTree found that the demand far exceeded their expectations. So
much so, that the brewers have been able to narrow their focus and
keep their accounts where they’re at. The team said they want to be
able to reward the people who took a gamble on them starting out.  

“The feedback that we’ve gotten has been tremendous. It’s honestly
hard for me to believe that we’ve got such positive feedback and such
passion from the community. People actually come in and thank us for
making beer. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around,” McNutt said.  

One of the first beers the trio made was actually a style they’re not
usually fans of. McNutt said they started with amber and brown beers.
“We said, ‘let’s add a little more to this, let’s make it a little
more fuller-flavored. Let’s throw some hops in during the secondary
and see if we can get some more aromatics out of it,’” McNutt said.  

Once the process was done, they had a brown that won a medal. It was
also the beer they made for their friend’s wedding.  

“Our friend was getting married, so we made bottles of it for her
wedding. It was well-received, but we still thought it was a little
boring. So we bumped up the roast a bit, bumped up the body, it’s now
a 7.5 percent brown, add some brown sugar but no adjuncts and I’m
actually shocked at how popular it’s becoming around town. I didn’t
know we were going to have such a following for that beer,” McNutt
said.  

MadTree is known for making beers that don’t quite fit in any
category. One of their most popular brews -- the Identity Crisis -- is
like a black IPA, but thinner with a lot of roasted malt.  

“We definitely started it off as a black IPA, the dry hop is very
similar to Sublime and Self-righteous but we kept kind of bumping the
roasted malts up so we had a lot of chocolate malts, roasted barley,
black malt, which is not typical in a black IPA,” Duncan said.
“Usually people make an IPA and then they use a carafay, which is a
bittered malt, which doesn’t add a lot of roast character to the beer;
it’s more of a food coloring and I wanted to avoid that.”
MadTree’s owners say their Psychopathy is the beer they’re most proud
of. Most of their beers came from brewing over and over again in their
basements in large batches. Psychopathy was one of those recipes and
the group said they felt it didn’t stack up right at first.  

It was when they moved to their production facility everything
changed.  

“We brought it over here, and while the recipe (had) barely changed
since we made it in my basement, but I think the water source and the
way our yeast is working now, the beer just tastes better,” Duncan
said.  

MadTree gets its water from their own well that is tied to a creek
that feeds the Duck Creek. From there, they put it through a zeolite
filter to take out some of the minerals and then use reverse osmosis
and a UV filter. After that, they take the time to rebuild the water’s
chemical profile and design each beer exactly the way they want it.

“So we start out pretty much nothing in the water and then we build
the water profile back. So the cool thing is we can put a lot of
magnesium sulfate in the water, which enhances bitterness perception
in the beer. With our brown we use more sodium which enhances the body
of the beer. We can really play with flavor a lot here, and we know
exactly what is going on with our beer,” Brady said. “A lot of people
say, ‘I don’t like IPAs but I like yours.’ I think that’s because that
bitterness isn’t there, it finishes clean.”
As MadTree’s brewers look to the future, they see great things for
their own brewery and for Cincinnati as a whole.
“As we get more and more larger (sic) breweries here in Cincinnati, I
still think there’s plenty of room to expand. We’ve barely scratched
the surface,” McNutt said. “I think that we have a really good thing
going here and maybe better than a lot of the other big cities in the
U.S.”  

The team said they hope Cincinnati can continue to focus on making
great beer first and expansion later.  

As for their own futures, McNutt, Hunt and Duncan mainly hope to be
profitable soon and to be able to continue living their dream.
“I just hope to be getting a paycheck by then, putting money into
retirement, and having a good time. I do drink a lot of beer, which is
a natural preservative, so I should live longer. I’m trying to protect
myself by drinking hop-forward beers,” McNutt said.  

The three had some tips for any brewer out there who think they have
the right brews to bring to market.  

“Don’t underestimate the market. We’re seeing huge demand for
breweries in Cincinnati. I think there’s a lot of room for growth. A
lot of breweries can be a little afraid to go big. Even we started a
bit conservatively. You have to get past that fear that you won’t be
able to support what you want to do,” Hunt said.  

They were also emphatic that brewers should blueprint conservatively
and have a solid business plan.
“Making beer is just part of the process. Don’t underestimate the
overwhelming nature of everything else. There are a lot of pieces in
growing a business. … Not to mention doing accounts, keeping up with
meetings and meeting new people. Just paying the taxes you have to pay
on a monthly and quarterly basis, there’s just so much you have to
learn,” McNutt said. “Everybody says double what you think you need.”  

Business aside, MadTree is all about the beer and they want to make
sure that no one wastes time and money on bland beer anymore.
“This beer is made right here,” McNutt said, “If it tastes like s***,
don’t drink it. But if there’s something good in there -- it’s not for
mass consumption or volume -- it’s about the ingredients that are in
there. If you like the different flavors in there, that’s awesome.”
----------
MadTree is located at 5164 Kennedy Ave. and has taproom hours at:
Wed: 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thu: 4:00 pm - 12:00 am
Fri: 4:00 pm - 1:00 am
Sat: 12:00 pm - 1:00 am
Sun: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
---------
Want to talk brews with us tonight? You can! WCPO Digital and 9 On
Your Side will be at MadTree Brewing from 6-8 p.m. for the #9Beer
Tweetup.
Please go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/626802637352865/ for
more information.



Read more:
http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/madtree-brewery-trio-of-mad-geniuses-challenge-beer-drinkers-to-try-more-interesting-beer#ixzz2bO6NOvZA


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