People who love good beer will find each other. They will frequent the same beer tastings, see each other at beer weeks and festivals, and share all of the best beers they are finding among the blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts they read. Some start Beer of the Week clubs where they will create their own tastings. It was at one of these Beer of the Week groups in Cincinnati that Brady Duncan, Jeff Hunt and Kenny McNutt, all home brewers, discussed creating their own brewery. That was in 2009; the seed that was going to grow into MadTree Brewing was planted.
“I bought them a few too many beers and forced my way in!” laughs Brady Duncan. A graduate of the University of Dayton, he spent a brief time in Alabama getting an MBA before returning home to run analytics for Proctor and Gamble. He remembers his time in Dayton “eating French bread pizzas at Milanos and drinking beer”. He discovered craft beers in Alabama, and has been a disciple of them ever since. That beer club idea was turned into a plan, and over the course of the next three years the three men worked on the financial structure, finding a place to brew, buying the equipment, and the most important part, brewing the beer. “We brewed each beer about thirty to forty times to make sure we had the right flavor,” Duncan said. Axis Mundi, their Russian Imperial Stout, was the exception. “Jeff and Kenny only brewed that a few times before they got it right. I think it was a recipe even before I got on board.”
Things had to change once they brought it to a larger scale. They started in Cincinnati with the capacity to brew ninety barrels and rapidly discovered it was not enough. “The demand here was much stronger than we thought,” mused Brady. “All of the accounts that we had were on allocation. Each account could get 3-5 cases max, and it sold out quickly. They would have to wait two weeks before they were able to get another shipment.” It is a good problem to have, especially when you are brewing a quality beer. The first batch of their beer went to Arthur’s, a Hyde Park staple famous for their burgers, in February of 2013. They were also able to get PsycHOPathy, a delightfully crisp IPA, into Great American Ballpark for opening day of the 2013 Reds’ season. It was a hit. Draft Magazine rated the beer 97 out of 100 making the list for their top 14 rated beers of 2013.
What makes their beer so popular in a craft beer scene that includes such stalwarts as Mt. Carmel, Moerlein Lager, Rivertown Brewing, Blank Slate and 50 West? “We have a good water source,” states Kenny. “There is a deep well on the site where we get our water. We take it from there and soften it, use a UV filter, then put the water through reverse osmosis. Each beer not only has its own malt and hop recipe, it has its own water recipe. The right water enhances the hops and gives the beer a good finish.” Another element that makes MadTree a hit is their brewing philosophy. “We brew our beers to flavors, not to styles. It is hard to put our beers into a category for that reason.” This adds some approachability to their brews.
They planned on bringing their beer to Dayton much earlier than January 6. They had to add more capacity to their brewery, 240 barrels since they opened, for a beer scene that he states is as good as the one in Cincinnati. “The only difference is that the breweries in Cincinnati brew at a higher capacity,” says Duncan, Dayton will be treated to an initial run of:
- Gnarly Brown – Brown Ale/Porter
- Happy Amber – Amber Ale
- PsycHOPathy – IPA
- Thundersnow (Seasonal)
- Lift – Kolsch-style Ale
At the end of the month Dayton will also see Axis Mundi, Galaxy High Imperial IPA, and a few other surprises. February will see the release of Rubus Cacao, a chocolate raspberry stout in the area. Towards the end of February is when we will see Lift in cans and Sprye, a pale ale to get us ready for spring.
When you are searching the shelves for these beers, don’t look for bottles. MadTree Brewery is the first brewery in the state to use cans for their beers. Jeff Hunt noted several reasons for the decision, the biggest one being the beer itself. “It is better for the beer. No light gets in to change the chemistry of the beer and skunk it. The seal on a can of beer is also better, keeping the product inside fresher for longer.” Cans are better for the planet (and trees); they are 50% more likely to be recycled. They take up less room in a truck, meaning less fuel is required to move more beer.
Brady Duncan is looking forward to the expansion in Dayton. “We are approaching Dayton as a local market. We know people in the Dayton beer scene, and look forward to being a part of it. We want to get as involved in the Dayton community as we are in our own. And they need some good beers around UD!” MadTree willbe kicking off in Dayton with a Launch Week of events. Come out to celebrate a new local addition to the growing selection of beers in Dayton. Cheers!
Launch Week Events:
Kings Table 5pm Release Party
PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Thundersnow
Chappy’s 6pm Tap Takeover
PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Happy Amber,Thundersnow, Relegation, Lift
Tuesday, Jan 7 5:30pm Craft Beer Pub Crawl
Thai 9 Lift
Blind Bobs Happy Amber
Psychopathy IPA, Identity Crisis, Relegati Gnarly Brown firkin with vanilla beans and coffee
Trolley Stop Thundersnow, PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Happy Amber, Proper Session Ale
South Park Tavern Relegation, PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Happy Amber, Lift, Thundersnow
Trolley Stop 6pm Meet the Brewer
Relegation, PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Happy Amber, Lift, Thundersnow
Thursday, Jan 9
Spinoza’s 6pm Tap Takeover
PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Relegation, Happy Amber, Thundersnow
Kroger’s Austin Landing
Friday, Jan 10
Milano’s 5pm Flight Night
PsycHOPathy IPA, Gnarly Brown, Relegation, Lift, Happy Amber, Thundersnow, PSA, Identity Crisis
*UD, Beavercreek, and Miamisburg-each account has 4 beers
Don’t despair if you can’t make these events, there are also upcoming events coming to Taggarts, Rumbleseat, Brunings Wine Cellar, Bunkers, Beef O’Brady’s in Beavercreek, Peachs in Yellow Springs and we’re sure, many more! Or you can pick up MadTree Brews at The Market, Kroger, Halls Corner Carryout, Speedzone, Vandalia Carryout, Liquor Wine Warehouse, Valero, Bee Gees, and the Beer Barn. We want to thank the fine folks at Cavalier Distributing for making this happen and we know that they are probably adding more locations as we type, so if you don’t see your favorite beer stop listed, just ask them to carry MadTree!