This post could go a lot of different ways for me, I have a lot of things to say about Big Cis.  The easy post is just to tell you about the event, and the beer… and maybe a little bit on why you should go (it’s benefiting a great organization).  I don’t like to do things the easy way, though.

Hang in there – this might get a little long, and a do a lot of rambling to get to the point.


Big Cis is about Mike.  If you never got the chance to meet Mike Cisneros, you missed out.  The good part for you is that you can still figure out pretty quickly who Mike was, or at least get a piece of the same feeling that you would have if you had gotten the chance to meet him.

Mike was craft beer… hang with me for a second.

Take a minute to sit down at a bar in a craft brewery in Cincinnati and you’ll meet people.  You’ll make friends, you’ll get advice and learn fantastic things from complete strangers.  Someone will buy you a beer… hell, someone will give you drink of beer from their own glass just so you can see if you like it.  You’ll make friends.  People will remember you, they will care about you.  People will get to know your family.  These things happen every single day in one of our 45+ breweries.  And they are little pieces of what it was like to know Mike.

I met mike sitting at the bar in Mt. Carmel’s taproom, and a couple weeks later we surrounding his kitchen table, sharing beers and recording the first episode of Cincy Brewcast.  From that moment on a lot of the parts of who I am as “The Gnome” were shaped by the conversations that we had.  Mike was Gnarly.  Mike got it, and I can only hope that as I’ve carried on Cincy Brewcast without him I’ve done justice to the vision that He, Tina and I had for the show.

When Mike died last year it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Not in the “should I keep doing this” way… it was more of the “I can’t ever stop this” way. This was a guy who dedicated every ounce of himself to the people around him.  He loved craft beer from ever single side of it.  He personified the things that make this industry good.  I live my life to be just a fraction of the man that he was.

About Mike’s Beer

It was only a few months after the big guy left that this beer community rallied together and put together Big Cis to remember him. Rivertown, Alexandria Brewing Company, Braxton Brewing Company, Bad Tom Smith, Fibonacci, and MadTree gave their time, and their expert skills to craft the perfect beer for Mike, a Czech Pilsner.

This year, Darkness Brewing joined the collaborative effort, and the beer was brewed again, in all its traditional glory.  Big Cis is light, crisp, just the right amount of pop from the Saaz hops – it’s pretty freaking fantastic.  I’m always blown away to see what goes into making a beer like this (and I love hearing Andy Reynolds try to explain to us “regular people” what the hell Decoction is…).  Brewing Big Cis is a pretty special event to me.  It all culminates in a tapping party, though, that is even more incredible.

The Big Cis Release

Mike would have loved seeing a beer with his name on it, T-shirts with his face on them, and a tap handle that had him grinning with a stogie in his mouth pouring a beer that he loved all evening.  He would have loved it to the point of annoyance from all of those around him.  But he would have never been happy with a tapping party that didn’t give back.  This years Big Cis release party will be benefiting Matthew 25 ministries, who has done an amazing job locally to help out with all of the disasters that have hit this country this year.

The party will be kicking off in the Braxton taproom at 6pm on November 11th, where you’ll get your shot at some awesome raffles and silent auctions (with all of the money going towards the charity) – a live Cincy Brewcast – the tapping of Big Cis and a taproom full of smiles that would have rivaled even that of Mike himself.

After the Brewcast, you’ll get some real entertainment with music from Erin Coburn (seriously… if you’ve never seen this girl play you don’t know what you’ve been missing).  Come.  Buy a shirt.  Drink some beer.  Remember why craft beer is different than any other industry out there. 

The Thank You Part

Number one, I have to give a shout out to Mike’s family.  Nancy, Tina, Angie, Mikey… I’ve never met a family like yours.  You guys have shown how even through the hardest times people can hold each other up, keep each other strong and make people smile.

Braxton?  To dedicate the time and space to make this beer, even while you continue to grow exponentially… dear god… thank you.  To see how fast the yes comes whenever we’ve asked for anything.  It’s always a yes – we’ll make it work, and for that Thank You.  A special thanks for Twitch, who managed to spend the whole brew day putting up with a bunch of people crowded onto his brew deck, asking to play with buttons and levers and dump hops.

The P3 folks, for taking the lead on planning an event that I would have had no shot to do on my own, you guys are stars.  There’s a lot that goes into these things, and most people have no idea what it takes to do something like this so successfully.

To everyone who spent the day at Braxton making this beer – especially Eric from Darkness, Bob from Fibonacci and Andy from Alexandria.  I won’t be able to properly thank you during the live show, because I’ll tear up – but you guys don’t know what it means to me to have friendships with you and to see you go out of your way to help with this beer.  I love you all, more than I’ll ever tell you in person.

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