Bad Tom Brewing
Bad Tom Brewing Co., formerly Double Barrel, is a new brewery in Cincinnati that offers a delicious array of beer and a history so deep, so ruthless, and so bad that you are immediately captured in the infamous tale every time you visit.
Bad Tom Brewing opened it’s doors on January 1, 2013 under the name of Double Barrel with their first batch of flagship brew Bad Tom Brown Ale. This beer captured the history of Bad Tom Smith, a man who was loved and hated by many. Bad Tom Smith was hanged in front of 6,000 people in 1895 for numerous counts of murder in Northern Kentucky. He was the first man to be hung in Breathitt County and thousands traveled far to see the infamous murderer be brought to justice. Prior to his execution he was baptized in a public act of forgiveness and God’s grace. He then delivered an unforgettable confessional speech upon having the noose placed upon his neck. Bad Tom was also a singer. He performed one last tune, “Singing from the Gallows”, before the noose choked his last note. His history has just been recently re-discovered in Cincinnati, and the stories have been rolling in. Was he really the bad villian of Northern Kentucky, or a victim of unfortunate circumstances? On April 6, 2014 I had the pleasure of meeting one of the brewers behind the Bad Tom name. Sean Smith, Bad Tom’s great great nephew filled me in on the story of Bad Tom Smith and how the brewery came to be.
The brewery was initially birthed as Double Barrel Brewing. A loaded shotgun of a name that stood out in Cincinnati and could intimidate anyone with their shotgun stock tap handles. However, fate intervened and through the crazy logistics of brewing in America, Double Barrel changed its name to Bad Tom Brewing Co. I for one, welcome the new name. As a history buff, Bad Tom carries much more weight in Cincinnati and helps attract more people to the brewery. One thing that separates craft beer from the main stream alcoholic beverages is that within each glass of beer there is a story, a history of passion, dedication, and sacrifice. Sorry to get all melodramatic; I feel that if I was having this convo on the porch, and we were still within the 1st or 2nd round of beer, you would be fetching another beer to avoid the rest of it. Now if it was the 4th or 5th round, we would probably start talking about the cosmos and how beer is truly God’s gift to man.
Ok, back to the story. Landing on the name Bad Tom Brewing, the team has re-launched into Cincinnati craft brewing to make a name for themselves once again. The new name has only been around for about three months but is already starting to catch on. I mean Bad Tom does rhyme with bad ass right? Located in historic Linwood of Cincinnati, they help create a night-life, and Saturday/Sunday sports spot. Brewer Sean Smith and brew master Charles Boucher, completely renovated a condemned building by hand to create their brewery. Through literal blood, sweet, and no tears (real men don’t cry) they built the home of Bad Tom Brewing. Charles, the brew master, has been home brewing for over ten years. He and Sean met through their kids’ soccer practice, and after many soccer parties and home brewing sessions, the brew team was born. With a staff of only three, Charles, Sean, and Eric, they are able to produce 25 barrels a month, and maintain six styles of brews.
Bad Tom had its debut at the Cincinnati Winter Beer Fest 2013. With the first batch not being completed until about a month and half before hand, the brewers were rushing to get another barrel to the fest. Bad Tom Brown Ale was ready to drink hours before the festival, and the team rushed it there. Cincinnati was introduced to the legend of Bad Tom at the 2013 Winter Beer Fest. You can also check out the 2014 Winter Beer Fest here.
Bad Tom Brown Ale is a deliciously refreshing American brown ale, that will take you all the way back to the late 1800’s. It is light brown in color, with a creamy white head. Aromas of malt and nuttiness waft into your nostrils. For me, I could not pin-point the nuttiness. I tasted some chestnut, walnut, and even pecan. Pecan may be a stretch, but the nut flavors are definitely there. An ABV of 6% made it so everyone could enjoy this beer. It is light in body, with refreshing characteristics to it.
Bad Tom does not let space or man power confide them from producing a wide range of brews. On top of their flagship Bad Tom Brown Ale, they produce five other great beers, including Old Abe – American Strong Ale. This beer rolls in with a 10% ABV and a strong bold flavor. The color is a translucent reddish orange with a frothy head. Floral aromas with malt and hops mixed in. Strong flavors of spice, malt, and hops. The American strong ale captures all of the flavors. Old Abe is certainly an ale that will enlighten your palate.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Do they have a stout? An IPA? What about a beer with clementines?” The answer is yes to all the above, and even one more. Bad Tom brews a scrumptious Belgian Wheat called Brother Clement. A refreshing Belgian Wheat beer with tasty clementine flavors throughout. This is definitely the beer for Spring, light, tasty, fresh and fruity. Everything you need to welcome the season.
Bad Tom’s IPA, Addlehead is not following the norm of punch you in the face with hops. Instead, it is a balanced IPA with a citrus nose, floral flavors, and smooth finish. Addlehead has an ABV of 7.6% an IBU of 96. The brewers use Galena, Cascade, and Hersbrucker hops that lead to the floral and mild flavors.
Now the last two brews in the line-up include the Kloppenburg Helles, a light, buttery strong pilsner in character that has an ABV of 5.4% and the Black Kettle Stout. This was a low ABV stout with 5.8% that has vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, and crushed cinnamon sticks added. Full of flavor and consistency, the Black Kettle will put you at your favorite holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, you name it. Your taste buds are in for a treat when the cinnamon flavors blended with vanilla dance around in your mouth. A nose of spice and savory aromas, is complimented by a full body flavor of molasses, cinnamon, spice, and a dark chocolate finish.
Be on the lookout for Bad Tom Brewing making its way into local beer bars and restaurants throughout Cincinnati. They are a self-distributing brewery, with a staff of three, and they are not stopping. Despite their name change, Bad Tom still has both barrels loaded is looking to party in Cincinnati.