#SippyTimeBeer Review – The Best of #Cbus #CraftBeer

columbusFor the most part, I have steered clear of posting about the local beers unless I’ve had an idea in mind (Local beer article) since I know most of the people who read the site aren’t living in the 614 area code or anywhere close. To close out the year though when news is slow and everyone is doing end of the year lists, you’re getting an article about the best ten beers I have had around Columbus. I am making three exceptions to this list – Buckeye Lake Brewing, Homestead Brewing Company and Hoof Hearted Brewing – which are within a stone’s throw of 270. No Jackie O’s, Ohio Brewing Company or anything delicious I’ve had from Cincinnati. Just the Best of the ‘Bus.

What I’ve Tried

Actual Brewing CompanyWinter IPA (From a firkin)

Buckeye Lake BreweryChristmas Ale, Octoberfest, Oatmeal Stout

Columbus Brewing CompanySummer Teeth, IPA

Elevator Brewing CompanyBear Ass Pale AleBelgian Xtra BlondeDirty Dick’s Nut Brown Ale, Heiferweizen, Horny Goat, Wicked Goat, Procrastinator Doppelbock

Four String Brewing CompanyBackstage Blonde, Big Star White IPA, Brass Knuckles Pale Ale, Cherry Blonde, Skeleton Red IPASun Caster Summer Wheat, Vanilla Porter

North High Porter

Delicious Sandwich by the Paddy Wagon. Delicious Porter by North High Brewing.

Homestead Beer CompanyPine Table Pale Ale, Boat India Pale Ale

Hoof Hearted Brewing Voltan Russian Imperial Stout

North High BrewingHefeweizen, Porter

Seventh Son Brewing CompanyBlack Sheep, Glad Tidings, Oubliette, Saison Noir, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Stone Fort Oat Brown Ale, Wilderman

Zauber Brewing CompanyBuxom Blonde, Myopic Red, Portergeist, Stodgy Brown, Vertigo

What I Haven’t Tried

A lot. The Granville Brewing, L. Hoster Brewing, Neil House Brewery, Rockmill Brewing, Sideswipe Brewing and Wolf’s Ridge Brewing are companies that I haven’t even tried this year. If I stick with my exception, Staas Brewing in Delaware (a shade closer than Homestead and Hoof Hearted) would also be on the list. I haven’t tried all of the offerings from the companies I have listed above either. Trying thirty-six different is a decent start though and pairing it down to ten will be tough.

My Top Ten In Cbus

10. Hoof Hearted BrewingVoltan Russian Imperial Stout The best stout from a local company had to make the list and this one was it. Oubliette was in consideration but this one edged it out. Both are Imperial Stouts that made the comparison easy in that they were from the same branch of stouts. This beer ended up being amongst the best during the Cbus Microbrew Festival in the Short North out of a dozen beers that I tried. This Imperial clocks in at 9.5% alcohol content which will help you feel good quickly. They use espresso (which I tasted) dried figs (I don’t remember any sweetness) and licorice (still not remembering sweetness). No matter, even if I didn’t pick those flavors out, this beer is worth a try.

9. North High BrewingPorter – I definitely haven’t gotten to try as much from this company as I would have liked. I had them at the above mentioned Festival and at a food truck rally for Zauber before the Pittsburgh Penguins first game here in town. I certainly dig that you can go to their brewery and schedule one of their kettles and make your own brew. It costs between $190-240 and yields 15 gallons of beer which equates to 147 12 ounce bottles. Just over a dollar a beer isn’t a bad price for a craft beer of your own making. To the beer though, it’s got a great thick consistency and has just a touch of molasses which also helps to make this beverage a dark brown.

8. Homestead Beer CompanyBoat India Pale Ale – Because of their location outside of the 270 confines, I haven’t had much from this brewer either except at the aforementioned Festival. After reading their site more, I have found out that this beer is seasonal so I got lucky to try it. They tell me that they put passion fruit and citrus in it so even though I didn’t notice those flavors in particular, it was a noticeably more balanced IPA between sweet and bitter. Homestead notes that it’s a Pacific Northwest IPA, which I had to look up. The best description I came up with was from the Seattle Times which said

Most fulfill the traditional characteristics of the colonial style: strong hop bitterness, pronounced aroma and high alcoholic content.

Which means to me, it’s an IPA with some extra adjectives attached. Whatever name they put on it though is irrelevant. It’s a tasty beer with a 6.3% ABV that any good beer drinker would imbibe.

7. Zauber Brewing CompanyMyopic Red – I had a hard time picking my second favorite beer from Zauber. Their Vertigo hefeweizen was probably the beer I drank the most this past year. I really enjoy their Stodgy Brown too. I went with the German Red Alt won out though. It’s a top fermented beer, unlike a lager which ferments from the bottom. It is matured at a cooler temperature which gives it a fantastic crispness which goes down very easily. It has a red hue to it and carries a 5.0% ABV so it’s a session-able beer for those people who are tailgating.

6. Four String BrewingBig Star White IPA – This beer may have started my turn towards IPAs or at least towards being receptive to tasting more of them. According to my Google search, White IPAs were only created in 2010 when Deschutes Brewery in Oregon and  Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City got together to make an IPA that was mixed with a Belgian Wheat Beer. I do love wheat beers so it explains my taste buds opening up to this version of the style. Coming in at 7.0%, this beer will make you happy along with your taste buds at this cross roads of beers in your mouth.

Seventh Son Glad Tidings

5. Seventh Son BreweryGlad Tidings – I tried a lot of Christmas and Winter beers recently. The only two that can compete with this one is Southern Tier Old Man Winter and Full Pint Festivus. Note that I said compete, not better than. Glad Tidings is my favorite Winter beer. If you come here, I suggest doing so during this time of the year to try this beverage. It won’t stay good in a growler for that long.

summerteeth

4. Columbus Brewing CompanySummer Teeth – I became fond of this company when searching for an alternative to Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Their Winter Warmer could be my second favorite winter beer but I didn’t have it this year so it can’t make the list. My favorite beer from CBC though is Summer Teeth which is only available from April until August. It is a perfect beer to be drinking during that time because of it’s lightness that is highlighted by just a hint of lemon to evoke lemonade. It’s a kellerbier or cellar lagered and is not clarified which gives it a hazy yellow look similar to a hefeweizen or blonde. Don’t worry, which ever season it is in the ‘Bus, there’s a tasty seasonal beverage to go with it.

Seventh Son Stone Fort

3. Seventh Son BreweryStone Fort Oat Brown Ale -This English brown ale is different from all of it’s colleagues on the list and there’s absolutely something right about that. They use roasted coffee, cocoa, leather (Hmmm, maybe I should start questioning my taste buds. Isn’t the other part of the cow supposed to be the tasty part?) and biscuit flavors to come up with a smooth concoction that any visitor from the other side of the pond would be proud to call their own. This beer has an ABV of 5.25% and unlike the two preceding beers, this one is available year round.

backstageblond2

2. Four String Brewing CompanyBackstage Blonde – I know you can see the number one pick below. Yes, both of them are the same style of beer. It’s kind of hard to pick between the two. They have slight differences in them so that they are distinct. A blonde is a Belgian style of beer that is a light pale ale. Four String admits to using sweet malt, spice (which I suspect is clove or allspice, not coriander) and bananas which are all standards to this style. This tasty beverage comes in at 5.0% so it won’t knock your socks off on ABV but it will rock your socks off in the taste department.

Buxom Blonde along with some home made mac n' cheese and chicken burgers.

Buxom Blonde along with some home made mac n’ cheese and chicken burgers.

1. Zauber Brewing CompanyBuxom Blonde – Their brewery uses much from Germany (Their name meaning “magic” and their slogan Prost! meaning “cheers”), but they split their beer styles between there and Belgium. This beer is originally from the later location and it had me hooked the first time I tried it. This blonde packs a little more punch at 5.5% ABV and uses a similar assortment of sweet malt, spice and bananas to arrive at perfection. I have been bummed that they have been closed the last several weeks (So I haven’t been able to grab any of their beer as Christmas presents this year) as they move from one location to another. Per their tweet (@ZauberBrewing) earlier today

IT’S FINALLY HERE! Soft opening of our full bar at 909 W Fifth TOMORROW January 4th beginning at 4pm

Woohoo! Next time anyone is in from out of town, the bar will be in full swing with full production as they transfer from small brewing to large brewing equipment at the new location. Come and have anyone of these #SippyTimeBeers with me. – Kevin

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