Nine Giant Brewing
will open its doors this summer in Pleasant Ridge’s newest development, Sixty99
, at the prominent corner of Montgomery and Ridge roads. The brewery is the brainchild of brothers-in-law Michael Albarella, a self-proclaimed beer nerd, and Brandon Hughes, who has a business background.
While on a yearly family trip to North Carolina, Albarella and Hughes hatched a plan to start a brewery. This was before MadTree and Rhinegeist, and the two felt that Cincinnati was ripe for a craft beer revolution.
“We were definitely onto something,” Hughes says.
He quit his job last April, and he and his wife moved back to Cincinnati to start making Nine Giant a reality.
When Nine Giant opens its 3,400-square-ft. facility, it won’t be launching flagship beers. Instead, each of its eight taps will be dedicated to a certain category of beer — there will always be a tap dedicated to pale ale, but it could be a German pale, an American pal, a Belgian pale or something more exotic like a chile-spiked pale ale, Hughes says.
“We’ll revisit beers over time, but we want to have room to experiment and to have fun and offer customers a great experience every time,” he says.
Albarella and Hughes will also be creating beers with lower alcohol contents, although that doesn’t mean all of the beers will be "session-style," or beers lower in alcohol so you can drink more in one session. There will be high-gravity styles alongside more session style beers, and there might be an imperial IPA with a 7.5-8 percent ABV, which isn’t a session beer but is lower than most double IPAs on the market.
“As a taproom-only brewery, we want people to be able to try a number of our beers at one time,” Hughes says.
Nine Giant is also a snackery and will offer a menu of 8-10 small plates that pair well with its beers. The final launch menu isn’t set in stone yet, but Hughes says there will definitely be a charcuterie plate and riffs on traditional American bar foot, including pomme frites and deep-fried housemade pickles. Sliders might make the menu, and there will be heavy Mexican and Central American influences.
“We’ve always envisioned ourselves being part of a neighborhood, a community,” Hughes says. “Pleasant Ridge was perfect. The local residents really rally behind local businesses, and the support and well wishes we’ve received since announcing the brewery have been amazing. The area has a ton going for it, with affordable housing, a new elementary school and great accessibility. We’re really excited to be part of the larger economic revitalization of this proud neighborhood.”