Blue Ash, Ohio — 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. For more information visit https://fretboardbrewing.com/
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