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Moerlein teams up with Ohio Knife for special brew

Moerlein + Ohio Knife Signature Brew

Nov 20, 2014, 12:55pm EST

Christian Moerlein and Ohio Knife are teaming up on a signature beer.

Andy Brownfield

Reporter-Cincinnati Business Courier

Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. is teaming up with Cincinnati band Ohio Knife for a limited edition beer that will be released on Nov. 26.

Ohio Knife Amber Ale will be released at a concert at the reopened Woodward Theater on Nov. 26 featuring Ohio Knife and fellow Cincinnati band Electric Citizen.

It's not the first time a brewery has collaborated with an artist on a signature brew – Iron Maiden, AC/DC and KISS have all done it – but this goes beyond slapping a band's logo on a beer bottle.

The beer is being released in tandem with a new EP from Ohio Knife, which describes itself as a "punch you in the gut, unforgiving, rock n' roll band." Christian Moerlein brewer Greg Wilson is friends with Ohio Knife guitarist and vocalist Jason Snell and they used to play music together. He said he previewed the album while brewing the beer.

"I'm a big fan personally of American amber ales, they're balanced and structured and have a bit of a backbone. The album had dark tones, so from a conceptual level, something like a pilsner wouldn't work," Wilson told me. "I also added a pretty hefty amount of American hops for an angular perception of some of the music I heard off the album."

Snell told me that the idea of pairing a signature beer with an album release was a no-brainer.

"What's a better combination than rock and roll and a beer?" he said. "Whether you're listening to a record or writing music or going to a show, there's a common thread of beer."

Snell is very familiar with Christian Moerlein and the local brewing scene. He is the founder of creative agency We Have Become Vikings, worked on the Cincinnati Strongman mural in Over-the-Rhine and collaborated with Moerlein on its Strongman Porter.

He wants the beer and EP release show to be an event. We Have Become Vikings and four local print shops – BLDG, Cryptogram Ink, Southpaw Prints and Powerhouse Factories – are all designing huge posters for the event, each of which will include a download for a song from the album.

"The music industry in general, no one's buying records anymore. It's the Internet now. It's a lot of pay to play," Snell said. "You throw it against the wall and maybe people will listen to it, maybe. My philosophy has been to do interesting projects and see what comes of it."

The beer will be a very limited release and only on draft. Moerlein is brewing only 11 barrels, or about 20 kegs, Wilson said. Ohio Knife Amber Ale will be available at Moerlein's Lager House, as well as bars and restaurants through Over-the-Rhine, Northside and Northern Kentucky. Those will include Seante, the Northside Tavern, the Comet, Mayday, MOTR and the Drinkery.