Catawba Island Brewing Co. has a new head brewer. Mike Reynolds, who previously worked at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron, took over the brewing duties last month. (August) Reynolds grew up in the Port Clinton area and said it was a great opportunity to return home.
“I always wanted to come back home and make beer for my hometown,” he said. “It was kind of hard to say no.”
He had worked at Thirsty Dog for three years brewing and doing, as he put it, “whatever they needed me to do.”
Catawba Island, which opened earlier this year, has a 10-barrel system, but it’s not up and running quite yet. They’ve been making do with a pilot system. Reynolds expects that bigger system to be operational, hopefully, within 30 days or so.
In the meantime, he’s put together a manageable brewing schedule to keep the beer flowing at the tasting room and said his experience working for a larger production brewery has helped. He noted that there were six beers on tap last weekend, the most the brewery has had available at any one time.
The brewery is selling growlers now, too. It couldn’t at first because there wasn’t enough beer available for the tasting room. But with Reynolds focused on the brewery, that’s allowed owners Mike Roder, Shad Gunderson and Cindy Gunderson to focus more on the tasting room, he said.
“The quality of the beers has gone up and they noticed that and pretty much let me do what I want with their recipes and my own recipes,” Reynolds said. He noted that he recently made a malty pale ale, Belgian-style golden ale and black India pale ale.