Quaff Bros: Catching Up, Blue Melvin, and Beyond

Quaff Bros. is a gypsy beer label from Cincinnati, and now across Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. It’s been three years since my post helping you know your local brewery. There have been some changes at Quaff Bros that we’re going to get into, but rest assured, the future is bright and blue (melvin)!

Quaff Bros

Quaff Bros Recent Past

For the full history of Quaff Bros check out my previous post, but to quickly summarize Quaff Bros began with Danny Gold, The Party Source beer buyer, bringing barrels from The Party Source to local breweries for aging beer in. Recently, The Party Source made some changes including closing the Ei8ht Ball Brewery and parting ways with head Quaff Brother Danny Gold.

When the news about closing Ei8ht Ball got out many people worried about the future of Quaff Bros. Ei8ht Ball and Quaff were never directly related, though they did work on one barrel aged beer project together. Luckily, Danny was able to keep the Quaff name when he left Party Source and he now owns Quaff Bros, LLC!!

This means Quaff Bros is not going away or slowing down anytime soon if anything it sounds like they’ll be ramping up!

The Future of The Brotherhood of The Quaff

The immediate future isn’t changing from the recent past. According to Danny, there are about a dozen Quaff Bros projects across Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana in barrels right now. Those beers will still be sold at the brewery producing them and Party Source will still have first right of refusal to sell the beer, like they always have, so no changes anytime soon.

For any new projects, draft sales will still happen at the producing brewery like they always have. After that though, things get exciting. Without the ties to Party Source Danny will be able to sell Quaff Bros beers wherever he wants. This means you could start seeing Quaff bottles on shelves around town, though it’ll still be months to years before those beers are out of the barrel and ready for sale.

Sourcing Barrels

When anyone buys a lot of a certain liquor they can get the barrel. This is how Quaff started, with The Party Source buying so much liquor and getting the barrels. Going forward Danny still has strong relationships at Party Source and with Ken Lewis who also owns New Riff Distilling. Danny has already purchased some barrels from New Riff and will be on the top of the list as more New Riff barrels become available. Danny has also recently visited Kelvin Cooperage about buying barrels from them.

Quaff Bros. Blue Melvin

Most Quaff beers come and go with initial excitement that fades as the Quaff Bros Blue Melvin 2015bottles sell out. Blue Melvin was the opposite of that. It quickly became the most praised and sought after Quaff beer. On the rare occasions that it is still traded it commands a high price. Luckily, it’s coming back soon, a lot of it, and multiple variants! But first, some history.

Many years ago, Danny Gold worked at the Heritage Restaurant on route 50 in Mariemont. Howard and Janet Melvin owned the Heritage Restaurant. Fast forward a few years and the Heritage Restaurant is now the Fifty West Brewpub.

When it came time for the first Quaff/Fifty West collab they knew it had to be named after the Melvins. Once blueberries went in to the barrel the name Blue Melvin was born.

Blue Melvin came out two years ago. Packaged in 750 ml bottles with blueberry scented wax it premiered at a special Fifty West dinner, sold out at the brewery, and lasted only moments at the Party Source. From then on it became a Cincinnati beer legend.

It’s very rare for Quaff to do a beer twice, it’s only happened two or three times out of the all of the beers they’ve done.

We kicked around for a long time, do we recreate this? It seems like we captured lightning in a bottle. … I was concerned, can we redo this?

Blue Melvin 2017

You have this idea in your head of what it tasted like [last reelase] and [this release] fulfilled all those taste profiles and the imagery I had in my head of what it tasted like.

This year there is a lot more Blue Melvin to go around. First off, there are around eleven barrels, including the variants, vs two barrels last time. Also, instead of 750 ml bottles, it’ll be in the 12 oz bottles. So more people will be able to get more bottles. There will be a limited number of bottles per person, but that number is not yet set.

But it’s not just Blue Melvin that’s coming out. There are draft only variants which may not be ready for Blue Melvin Day but will be ready soon so keep an eye out for Sherry, Wine, and Brandy barrel variants of Blue Melvin.

Beyond Blue Melvin

The next Quaff beer you’ll be seeing very soon will be Picture of Nectar. A Quaff Bros Picture of Nectar Yellow Springscollab with Yellow Springs featuring their Captain Stardust saison in Quaff Bros Cabernet wine barrels that turned out to contain some Brettanomyces.

Talk about an organic process of making a beer that you never saw coming and definitely wasn’t in the plans from the beginning and the end result being something as beautiful as it is.

The remaining bottles of Picture of Nectar will be at The Party Source, but no release details yet. I haven’t opened a bottle, but it was amazing on draft at Yellow Springs. I have a hard time believing there is no fruit in this beer considering the strong peach/nectarine flavor.

Coming Soon:
  • Several projects at Weasel Boy
  • Listermann has two Quaff projects including Brandy Barrel Aged Brown Chicken Brown Cow which will be out sometime in May
  • Mash Cult has three projects in three different barrels
  • Blank Slate Tequila barrel aged Gose
  • Cellar Dweller brandy barrel aged sour eye opener with cherry and chocolate Draft only, plus a barrel aged mead
  • Rhinegeist project in red wine barrels
  • Urban Artifact project

All of these should be ready by June, July, or August. But, whenever you talk about barrel aged beers you have to take timing with a grain of salt.

Woof, that’s a lot of delicious beer to look forward to!

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