Taft’s Ale House Coming to OTR

Posted on December 18, 2013 by amileham

Cincinnati will soon be home to a new “brewpub” in historic Over-the-Rhine where the Queen City’s rich brewing history began in the 1800s. Located at 1429 Race Street in the old St. Paul’s Evangelical Church, the brewpub will open in the fall of 2014 under the name Taft’s Ale House.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) stabilized the 1850s church in 2011, completing widespread floor repair, balcony repair, and some cosmetic work in the spring of 2012. The search for an appropriate commercial tenant to occupy the space ended with a trio of professionals looking to open a new concept in Cincinnati.

Kevin Moreland, David Kassling, and David Williams joined forces over a year ago, pledging to marry hand-crafted ales and lagers with versatile tri-tip steak and sandwiches in a distinct setting. The resulting concept is summed up in a tongue-in-cheek logo depicting the fabled moment when President William Howard Taft got stuck in a Whitehouse bathtub. Big Billy is one of Cincinnati’s native sons, after all, so there was no better city to bring this new concept.

Kevin Moreland started the Triple Digit brand at Listermann Brewing Company and is also a Cincinnati native. Kevin will serve as head brewmaster, while David Kassling, proprietor of New York City’s Tri Tip Grill restaurants, will manage the Taft’s Ale House menu and operations. David Williams of Pittsburgh is the investor and silent partner.

Taft’s Ale House will occupy all three floors of the historic church. The lower level, or first floor, will be dubbed “Big Billy’s Basement” and have a separate entrance from the street. Big Billy’s will serve the brewpub’s own barrel-aged products on tap with one rotating tap serving beer from other local Cincinnati breweries.

The second level, approached from a flight of stairs originally leading to the church sanctuary, will be the brew house floor. Fermenters and serving vessels will be stacked behind the main bar with a catwalk separating the top tanks from the bottom row and offering patrons an unparalleled view of the brewing operations. Long tables and benches will line the floor in front of the massive bar.

The third level, originally the church’s mezzanine, will be named the “Brauzzanine” and enable patrons to escape from the hubbub of the main floor while still enjoying the view below.

A menu featuring food fashioned from the tri-tip cut of beef will be available on all three levels of the brewpub. Tri-tip beef, cut from the bottom sirloin, is originally a California cut but has become increasingly popular for its superior flavor and pension for grilling. Kassling plans to spice up the Cincinnati culinary scene with his new menu.

The focal point of the brewpub will, of course, be beer, with twelve hand-crafted brews on tap. Three of the twelve will serve as “house” beers and remain on tap at all times, while the other nine will rotate. Moreland plans to shop Over-the-Rhine restaurants, bars and specialty food retailers to find local, exotic and out of the ordinary ingredients for his craft beers.  He anticipates a production capacity of 3,500 to 4,000 barrels per year, with three of the twelve in-house brewed beers available for purchase on draught in the local market.

Work will begin in January on the brewpub build-out, with Taft’s Ale House expected to open in the fall.

Visit Taft’s Ale House Facebook page.