Small space, big flavor: Multiple Brewing opens in Nelsonville

Written by on November 22, 2016 in Beer - 1 Comment

multiple-brewing

Opening a brewery isn’t easy. It’s even harder to open one in a small town, when many locals, unfamiliar with craft beer, say their beer of choice is Bud Light.

But high school sweethearts and husband and wife co-founders Jason and Michelle Warren saw opportunity in Nelsonville, Ohio; they opened the doors to Multiple Brewing on Nov. 6.

Nelsonville, a city in Athens County, is home to just 5,400 people. And Multiple Brewing fits right in to this tiny town — it is Ohio’s smallest brewery at only 1,100 square feet.

“We’re on a single barrel system, so everything we do is like cooking a big pot of soup,” said Jason. “I think us being so small makes us like a Ma-and-Pa restaurant, like a home-cooked meal.”

The Warrens expect to get craft beer-loving crowds making the 30-mile trek from the Lancaster area or the 15-mile trek from Athens. They’ve already seen hikers come down from Hocking Hills to give the place a try.

Converting the locals to craft beer, however, is a more daunting task. It’s Nelsonville’s first brewery since Hock Hocking Brewery opened in 1906, which closed twelve years later due to Prohibition.

And although their initial surveys showed locals interested in light beers, their porters and stouts have been the most popular, particularly the 6.4% Rational Rye Porter. Jason also recently released a 6.1% Volume Robust Porter, which Michelle describes as smelling “boozy,” but tasting smooth, nutty and chocolatey.

“We’d ask around the different styles what people would like, and most of them was like, ‘Well I like Bud Light.’ That was all the response. So that’s when we decided ‘Okay, we’re going to go light beers and light hops’—and then all of a sudden, everybody’s drinking porters and stouts,” said Jason.

He added that many non-craft drinkers typically enjoy the light Absolute Clementine, a 5.7% pale ale made with clementine rinds and fresh juice.

Jason and Michelle reside in Columbus with a 9-year-old son and a Great Dane Mix puppy (who was very excited about the interview and insisted on being pet). Michelle mans the brewery during the week while Jason works 45 hours a week, coming to Nelsonville to brew on Saturdays.

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While they looked into spaces in Columbus, they found that Nelsonville, home to much of Jason’s family, best fit their business model of starting small and slowly growing—no investors and no loans.

This wasn’t without struggle.

Because of paperwork and filings, (Jason strongly advises future brewery-openers to get familiar with dealing with government officials), the grand opening was about six months later than originally anticipated.

This meant that they had to make ends meet; at one point, they sold their cars for needed money.

“This was Jason’s dream. I want to see him succeed. This was literally our blood, sweat and tears put into this. It was work,” said Michelle.

Jason cited many specific laws around opening a brewery that proved difficult; because of laws stating that beer must be sold in a separate room from where brewing equipment is, he had to build a cooler from scratch out of a room.

He also had to improvise when they found that Nelsonville water was full of chloramine and “all kinds of components” that he has to buffer out to reduce unwanted flavors in the beer.

“We pretty much boil the water before we brew to sterilize it and get it to scratch, then we build the water profile from there,” said Jason, who home brewed for ten years before opening Multiple Brewing.

This experience has been worth it to create a variety of beers on tap. The Warrens aim to keep a Variable single-hop IPA on tap, changing the hop with each new batch. They also offer an Obtuse Chris, an approachable, American amber ale. The names of the beers reflect the theme of Multiple Brewing—math.

“Jason was like, ‘What would you name a brewery if you ever opened one?’ And we were just playing around, because breweries always have themes, and I was like ‘I like math, I would name it multiple, and then come up with math terms and stuff as the (beer) names,” said Michelle, adding that she went to school for education to teach fourth through ninth grade math, and Jason had worked pharmaceuticals for almost ten years. “When we came around to actually starting to do it, he was like ‘What if we just take that name you did and spun with it?’ So that’s what we did.”

Multiple Brewing is open 4-9 Wednesday and Friday and 1-9 Saturday this week for Thanksgiving. From then on, it will be closed Sunday through Wednesday and open 4-9 Thursday and Friday and 1-9 Saturday.

About the Author

Cincinnati native and strategic communication student at Ohio University. Occasional biker, Parks and Rec fanatic, and IPA enthusiast. Will probably ask to babysit your cat. Follow Rachel on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and at rachelhartwick.com.

One Comment on "Small space, big flavor: Multiple Brewing opens in Nelsonville"

  1. Mike Doughty November 22, 2016 at 9:31 PM · Reply

    Great tasting beer, Stop by and treat yourself

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