MARCH 3, 2021
Fretboard Brewing Company is proud to announce the release of “Bright Side of Life”, a Session IPA brewed in honor of a great friend and former Fretboard business partner, Jeremy Bowman. Bowman, who passed away in late December at the age of 43, was a familiar face in the Cincinnati bar scene for over the past twenty years.
From his early years as a bartender and bar manager to becoming a business owner at Jefferson Social, O’Bryon’s Bar & Grill and Smoked Out Cincy, Jeremy’s vibrant personality awarded him with many friendships over the years. Recently married to wife Kelsie, “Bright Side of Life” is being brewed to help financially support Kelsie Bowman.
The story of friendship between Fretboard Brewing’s co-founders (Jim Klosterman, Joe Sierra, and Brad Plank) and Jeremy began over twenty years ago and is rooted in music, beer, and good times. In the late 90’s, Bowman worked as a bartender at Jefferson Hall in OTR where Klosterman and Sierra performed in a local band. As the years progressed, Jeremy continued to work with their band when Jefferson Hall moved to Newport and ultimately to its current location at the banks (Jefferson Social). Now as a co-owner of Jefferson Social, Bowman, a craft beer enthusiast, kicked around the idea of brewing a lower alcohol IPA with Klosterman and Sierra for his new establishment.
This “session” IPA would soon become a reality when Brad Plank (Fretboard co-founder and head brewer) brewed a fun homebrew test batch for the friends. But just as these test batches started, everything suddenly changed when in November 2014, Sierra’s brother, a local Cincinnati Police Officer, Eric Sierra passed away due to a brain aneurysm. It was through this tragic event, Bowman was determined to help Joe and his family any way he could and through his connections, Jeremy petitioned Rhinegeist Brewing with the hopes they could collaborate on a beer in honor of the late Sgt. Eric Sierra. Coming to the aid of the Sierra family, Rhinegeist brewed Fretboard’s original Session IPA known as “S23”, named in honor of Eric Sierra and his badge number. Not only did the test batch become a reality, Fretboard’s recipe would be brewed on a mass scale thanks to generosity and caring of Rhinegeist.
This event would become the catalyst for Sierra, Klosterman, and Plank to see to it that Fretboard Brewing became a reality. Although Bowman wanted to contribute financially to this young startup brewery, federal liquor laws prohibit bar owners from owning shares in a brewery or an alcohol distributorship. Therefore, Jeremy and his business partner Jason Esterkamp (O’Bryon’s Bar & Grill) started Smoked Out Cincy, a small scratch smoked barbecue kitchen located within the Fretboard Brewing taproom. Launched in late 2017, Fretboard Brewing and Smoked Out Cincy became an instant success story in a long history of friends working together.
When Jeremy passed in December 2020 from Covid-19 complications, it sent a shockwave through everyone at the brewery and through the Cincinnati industry. Now to repay the grandest gesture that Jeremy made six years prior, the decision was made to brew the original ‘S23’ recipe, under the name “Bright Side of Life”, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Jeremy Bowman Fund. The Monty Python classic, “Bright Side of Life”, was a favorite of Jeremy’s. A whimsically honest outlook on life and death, it was always Bowman’s wish to have this song played at his memorial service. And so they did, but while many of Fretboard’s team couldn’t be there due to the limitations involving the pandemic, they will raise a pint of “Bright Side of Life” in his honor, on its release March 13th, and toast to a great friend and local legend in Cincinnati’s hospitality scene.
This limited release will be available first at O’Bryon’s Bar & Grill and Jefferson Social on Friday, March 12th beginning at 4pm. A special tapping celebration at Fretboard’s Blue Ash taproom will begin at 2pm on Saturday, March 13th, with a special performance from Fretboard’s own house band, comprised of owners Jim Klosterman (Guitar & Vocals), Joe Sierra (Drums) and Brad Plank (Guitar), brewer Mike Walle on bass, and events coordinator Cecilia Long on lead vocals. A portion of the proceeds from all 6-pack and draft sales of “Bright Side of Life” will be donated to the Jeremy Bowman Fund, helping his widow, Kelsie Bowman in these tough times. 
FEBRUARY 4, 2021
After three and a half years of hitting the pavement hard throughout greater Cincinnati, Fretboard Brewing Company (Blue Ash, OH) now looks to their neighbors in Dayton. Coming off a big win at Great American Beer Festival, and numerous medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship and Ohio Craft Brewers Cup - including gold for their flagship IPA, “Improv” - Fretboard felt now was as good a time as ever to expand their reach and bring beer north to Dayton and the surrounding suburbs. Though Covid has presented a unique set of challenges for the craft brewing community, Fretboard has managed to grow in recent months, with additional sales and logistics professionals joining the team, making the jump to Dayton that much smoother for the self-distributed brewery.
As part of the excitement in serving a new city, Fretboard co-owner and production manager, Kevin Moreland, felt it was only right to work closely with the brewery most notably connected to Dayton, Warped Wing Brewing Company. Moreland, a figure in Cincinnati’s craft-beer boom for nearly 20 years, reached out to John Haggerty, co-founder & brew master at Warped Wing, to begin the process of collaboration. With John and the Warped Wing team on board, the resulting beer was “Gold Plated Jet”, a Golden Ale with Lotus Hops. The name stems from a series of nods to both brands, and Dayton’s rich history in flight. For Fretboard, being a music-themed brewery, “Jet” is both a reference to the classic Wings song and is also a guitar brand. Most obvious, however, is the aeronautic nod to Warped Wing, whose name refers to “wing warping”, a technique used and patented by - Dayton’s own - Wright brothers. Being a Golden Ale, “Gold Plated Jet” just made sense on multiple levels.
The beer itself is a trending style in craft. Haggerty agreed with the style choice; “I couldn’t argue with any of the logic. I want to make something that’s sessionable, with a little bit of hop character. So it has some twist to it. That’s exactly the kind of beer I love to drink.” Using German hops as the bittering hop - as opposed to its more common American counterpart - is the subtle piece in “Jet”, giving the ale a more reserved and refined approachability. Moreland added, “I would say 90% of Golden Ales in the U.S. don’t use German hops to bitter, and they probably don’t use Lotus hops to dry hop. Lotus hops provide a bouquet of orange and vanilla. We also used an English malt, ‘Golden Promise’, and English yeast, which we don’t do at Fretboard. So that will provide a whole other spectrum of fruity character to the beer.”
Fans of Warped Wing and Fretboard can expect 6-packs of “Gold Plated Jet” to his shelves in both Cincinnati and Dayton markets beginning the week of February 8th. Along with their collaboration, Fretboard flagships like “Vlad” Pilsner (2018 World Beer Cup winner), “Bootsy” IPA (2x Gold at U.S. Open Beer Championship), fan favorite “Reba” Strawberry Blonde, and seasonal options will all be found throughout Dayton, Yellow Springs, Oxford, and surrounding neighborhoods. Warped Wing plans to host a special tapping event at their Springboro Barrel House & Smokery, on Wednesday, February 10th. 6-packs and draft will be available at Fretboard’s Blue Ash taproom beginning Friday, February 5th.
Back to Top