Nine Giant Brewing to open in Pleasant Ridge

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Brothers-in-law Brandon Hughes and Mike Albarella are working to open
Nine Giant Brewing, a microbrewery and gastropub, in Pleasant Ridge.

If all goes well, they'll be serving their beer and what they're
calling "elevated bar food" by late summer at 6095 Montgomery, near
the intersection with Ridge.

Albarella has been home brewing for about 20 years, before he was
legally old enough to drink. Hughes has a business background. Though
they lived on opposite coasts, they'd spend family visits – their
wives are sisters – talking about combining their skill sets to open a
brewery in Cincinnati, close to family.

"When we started talking about this (about three years ago), there
wasn't craft beer here," said Hughes, who was born in Bethel. He lived
in California for about six years before moving back last April with
an eye toward launching the brewery. Mike, a native of South Bend,
Ind., relocated to Cincinnati from Brooklyn about three years ago.
"This place has gone from a fizzy yellow beer town to a craft beer

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They'll add to the city's craft beer offerings with brews that balance
hops, malt and yeast character, Hughes said.

"Our concept on beer is really built on balance," he said. "That might
not sound sexy, but a lot of craft beer is really hop-centric. There's
not malt balance to it. We're adding some nuance back to things that
have gotten a little one-note."

Eight taps at the brewery will constantly rotate. Nine Giant won't
have year-round brews, but will always have certain styles. For
example, they'll always have an IPA, but it won't always be the same
IPA, Hughes said.

"When someone comes in, we want them to have a different experience
than they had the last time," he said. "It's always new; it's always

He said they expect to open with 200-300 barrel capacity, but they
could expand to 500 as they keep growing. Beer will be available only
at the tap room, to drink in pints or take home in growlers, and
perhaps a few draft accounts. Though wider distribution, including
bottling and canning, are something they might consider in the future,
Hughes said they want to keep their focus on in-house service.

"Mike and I love tap rooms," he said. "We really want to focus on
creating the ultimate tap room."

To enhance that tap room experience, they'll offer food that pairs
well with their beer, in the style of Spanish tapas – sharable,
small-size plates. The menu will include interpretations of
traditional bar food, plus dishes that explore other cuisines, made
with local ingredients whenever possible. Options might include a lamb
meatball slider with chimichurri sauce, pommes frites, house-made
ricotta crostini with local honey and pink peppercorns, and braised
brisket with an Eastern Carolina-style, mustard-based barbeque sauce
and pickles, jalapenos and pickled onions.

Hughes said tap room visitors could put several dishes together for a
meal, but he envisions them more as snacks to share with companions
while drinking a beer.

As far as the 3,400-square-foot space goes, it will be, "hip, edgy
(and) clean; modern without being cold," Hughes said. "We want it to
feel like it could have come out of Brooklyn or San Francisco."

It will have seating for about 70, including 16-20 at the bar.

Nine Giant will likely be open Wednesday through Sunday, from happy
hour into the evening during the week, and from noon into the evening
on Saturday and Sunday.

Visit the brewery's website at

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