It’s often a long process for small breweries to open their doors, and as soon as they do here in Cincinnati the floodgates are open and drinkers in this city have at their beer like rabid wolves. The pack of wolves shouts the entire time about getting beer from their favorites at their local bottle shop in the form of bottles or cans. There are some breweries the almost immediately upon opening their doors have packaging out the door, with it being part of their identity. Others plan for it in the future, but have their taproom on their mind front and center, and then others are just kind of tossed around and have no real idea how packing will go, and they more or less sort of play it by ear.
Old Firehouse Brewery in Williamsburg knew pretty early on that canning their beer would happen at some point in the future, but after the long and arduous process of opening the big garage doors to the public, who would think that that day would come any time soon? Luckily for us the demand was almost instant and they quickly signed with Cavailer Distributing about a month after opening their doors to get kegs of the beer around town… but of course it’s not enough for us. Their fans want beer on shelves…the want to stock their coolers with OFB when the go to parties… tailgating… to the lake. We just want more beer, more often and Old Firehouse is listening.
What to Expect?
The cans are coming, they keep reassuring us. After hearing the news this summer that the brewery was going to purchase the building next door for more space, it became apparent that they weren’t pulling our collective chain. They are serious about doing this, and doing it the right way. From the beginning it looks like they are going to be putting a few of their popular beers into 12oz cans, Code 3 Red, Flash Point IPA and Pin-Up Girl Blonde. I’m not sure how the rollout of these will happen, if they’ll all be available right as they start canning, or if they’ll each come along as time and production permits.
I like to keep my eye on the labels around town the receive approval from the State for distribution, and was thrilled to see the first of Old Firehouse’s move it’s way through the process. Code 3 is the first beer that was brewed on the system when head brewer Ben Ramsey finally fired it up and it’s been the base for some fantastic recipes that have come out of their taps in the last year.
Code 3 is easy drinking… perfect for a selection in a can, but it has a fantastic malty body, while still finishing dry and roasty without too much sweetness. This is a beer that, although I’m not a fan of labeling beers as such, will provide a great gateway for anyone who needs some help being pulled into the world of craft beer. Full of flavor, but nothing to shocking to a new and “uninitiated” palate.
I can’t wait to see this start popping up on store shelves in the coming months.
The next label that has popped up is their Flash Point IPA – This what they call their “Midwest Style IPA” – It has a very solid malt backbone, that allows it’s wonderful tropical character to be exhibited while not allowing it to take over either. The underlying bready sweetness balances the bitter notes out perfectly, making this a solid, easy drinking IPA that hopheads and those who think they might be a little adverse to hops to enjoy it equally… delicious stuff.
So… I told you that I like to keep an eye on the label approvals very closely to catch things as they roll through the process, but this isn’t the entire story either. Sometimes things take a bit longer and impatience means that I have to do a little digging to get more info… sometimes this can yield some fun surprises too.
Last spring I managed get my grubby little gnome-hands on a proof version of their labels while owner Adam Cowan had his back turned, which I quickly tweeted out to give everyone a sneak peek of what was coming down the pipeline.
Looking closely you can see that not only have the labels changed a bit before the final version, but there appears to be another label there…right?
Not content with waiting, I turned to my extensive network of Gnome-Spies to see what was churning around out in Williamsburg and got something else pretty fun. Keep in mind with this though, its not yet approved, and as you can see from the two proofs to the left, the process from conception to approval can yield a few different changes in the way a final label ends up looking like.
I will keep you updated when the final version makes it’s way through the state, and approval is granted, so keep your eyes peeled right here for all the updates including more information about when you’ll be able to find these in stores!