Patrick Mulrey is the head brewer at 3 Points Urban Brewery in Cincinnati. The brewery opened last year.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I'm a glutton for punishment. I previously worked in specialty coffee (as well as many other things) and needed a career kick. My father-in-law is a third generation brewer and kept telling me I was the right amount of stupid to succeed in brewing. At the time my wife and I were living in central Illinois (for her master's program) and I was having a hard time finding a full time job. I was spending a lot of time reading about brewing and homebrewing in my free time.
So I dropped a resume off at DESTIHL brewery to work on its packaging line. I started shortly after, part time, which quickly grew into full time plus. I worked pretty quickly from packaging to cellar and then onto the brew deck. I had a very good mentor there who pushed me to learn as much as possible, challenging me to solidly learn the fundamentals of brewing science.
After her program was finished, we moved back to Cincinnati and I started working as a shift brewer at Rhinegeist. At Rhinegeist, I got a crash course in high volume production. I'm a process junky at heart so that never-ending quest for efficiencies and process improvement was great. After a few years and my second child, I was looking for a change of pace and shifted over to Three Points. In short, I crave problem solving and manual labor.
Q: What's the story behind the name 3 Points Urban Brewery?
A: It's in the very tiny neighborhood of Pendleton in Cincinnati's urban core. The neighborhood itself is shaped like a giant triangle. We wanted a nod to the neighborhood without being geographically tied to area (i.e. Pendleton Brewing Co. or some such nonsense). Hence, three points of a triangle. We try to structure everything around our three tenants: Art, Experience and Beer. The neighborhood has a strong historic arts culture and we wanted to honor that in our approach to business.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite craft beer trends now?
A: I don't really have a least favorite trend. I'm not a huge fan of gimmicky shit i.e. glitter, candy in the mash, etc., but I can't argue with consumers. If it's what the people want to drink, then let them drink it.
As far as favorites go, I'd have to say lagers, lower ABV offerings, and everyone dialing back the bitterness in IPAs.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?
A: Our best-selling beer is our house IPA Origami. I think it sells well because it's a happy medium. We affectionately call it a 'post-coast IPA' because I tried to marry the aspects that I enjoyed in West Coast and East Coast style IPAs. We employ techniques and processes used in both styles to produce it. Origami sits just under 7% ABV has amplified tropical and citrus fruit notes, and restrained but balancing bitterness, as well as a dank dry finish.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/brewed and why?
A: Saison Dupont. It's perfect and I'm envious of a brewery that obsessively gets to focus on one product to dial it in and perfect it. Culturally, I like beers that are catalysts for togetherness. Beverages for sharing, be it physically or emotionally. I think Saison Dupont is the perfect beer to analyze critically or forget about entirely during dinner. It's a highly flavorful chameleon, taking center stage when it needs to and fading into the background when it has to.
Editor's note: The Five questions with ... feature appears each Friday. If you would like to participate or would like to nominate someone to participate, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.