Christian Moerlein will launch a new small-batch, draft-only series in February called Tempest. The first beer will be a barrel-aged winter warmer called 10+161 that will help celebrate an important milestone for the Christian Moerlein brand.
The name is a nod to the Cincinnati brewery's long history. Christian Moerlein started brewing in 1853 and then shut down for Prohibition. The company was relaunched in 1981 and current owner Greg Hardman took over the brand a decade ago. All together, Christian Moerlein will celebrate 100 years of brewing next year.
The new Tempest series marks a departure for the brewery, which has focused on its core brands over the years. But the tastes of craft beer drinkers are constantly changing and there's less brand loyalty today with consumers always seeking something new and different.
"We see the whole era as an era of change," said brewmaster Richard Dube, who won a silver medal at this year's Great American Beer Festival for Emancipator, a doppelbock. "We will be known as a company that is, at the same time, very respectful to the tradition and the styles where they come from but also very creative."
Other styles expected in the series include a Belgian-style tripel. The beers will be available only in the Cincinnati market. There is a chance some of the bigger beers will be bottled on a limited basis, said Josh Jansen, general manager for the production brewery.
The Tempest series stemmed from a conversation between Jansen and Dube.
"He and I were sitting down talking down one day about how our core brands are so important to us and we've done such a great job of fixing those recipes since we started brewing them [in Cincinnati] and we're making them really well now," Jansen said. "But we needed to change and do new things. We didn't want to ignore our core brands at all so we decided we could fit in some small batch recipes and see what we can do to stretch ourselves and be creative."