Red Ear Brewing Company Starting Microbrewery at Vito's Cafe

Vito's Cafe has historically been known for its singing servers that always entertain the guests, but now the restaurant is home to Cincinnati's newest microbrewery offering seasonal beers with a personal touch.

The microbrewery will be run by Matt Wehmeyer, son of Vito's owners Mary and Vito Ciepiel. Wehmeyer's new business venture is named Red Ear Brewing Company after a familiar fish he used to catch called the "Red Ear Sunfish."

"I remember seeing a hundred different beers on the shelf and not knowing anything about them," says Wehmeyer.  A recent trip to Asheville, NC is what really sparked him to move forward with starting his own brewing company.

"I took a trip to Asheville where they have like seven microbreweries, and I thought to myself that we needed more microbrews here in Cincinnati," says Wehmeyer.  Red Ear is one of the first microbreweries in Northern Kentucky and one of the few in the Cincinnati region.

Wehmeyer took a class on how to do home brews at Thomas More College, where he learned the basics of brewing. The first two batches of beer produced at Vito's were five and ten gallons respectively, and the restaurant sold their first Endless Summer Ale on August 9th just after they got their license.

Currently Red Ear is producing about 20 gallons a week of their Endless Summer Ale which will be sold through the end of September.  The plan, Wehmeyer says, is to start very small and continually grow and learn to brew bigger and better batches of beer.  The next seasonal beer will be a bolder brew more often found during the winter season.

The next step for Red Ear is to obtain a retail license so they can start selling their beer at stores and festivals around town, but for now Wehmeyer is content with turning out a high-quality product in small batches each week.

As for Wehmeyer, he says that he loves fellow Cincinnati microbrews like Mt. Carmel and Barrelhouse, but he also really enjoys Kalamazoo microbrewing giant, Bell's Oberon.

Vito's Cafe is located at 654 Highland Avenue, Suite 29 in Ft. Thomas (map), and is open Wednesday through Thursday from 5pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 11pm, and Sunday from 5pm to 9pm.  The Endless Summer Ale is sold in pints for $4.50.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
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