#SippyTimeBeer Review – @HomesteadBeerCo, @ElevatorBrewing, @ZauberBrewing and @RivertownBrew

IMG_20140311_200026Homestead Beer Co. –  Claim Jumper IPA – This company sure does like to make IPAs. They talked me into trying their BOAT Series IPA last year at the Cbus Microbrew Festival last year. After going to their website, they have it listed as “Out of Rotation.” They have two other IPAs Station Master Session IPA and The Galactic Heroes IPA. They all have varying degrees of IBU and ABV that does separate them. This one was their second good one that I have gotten to taste. They use a blend of Columbus, Nugget and Galena so that is always a good start for me. It didn’t have anything to cut the hops like roasted malt or a heavy dose of citrusy hops but stopped right near my edge of IBU pleasure. This one is at 81 IBU. I would expect a higher ABV than 5.8% because of the high hops count but that’s what it is. Though they boxed it into a pleasure area for me, it’s closer to a straight IPA so I liked the BOAT Series better which did have the citrus notes. This one is worth drinking if you’re an IPA fan.

IMG_20140311_210607Elevator Brewing Co.Big Vic Imperial IPA – One of the standard bearers for Columbus craft beers makes this one. It is a wheat IPA so that cuts some of the bitterness out of the drink. They don’t divulge much on their website for what particular styles of hops they use but they do note that they dry hop the beer to make it go from regular to Imperial IPA. The dry hopping gave it something that Claim Jumper didn’t have, the citrus note to cut out some of the bitterness. They are easy to compare because of their similar IBUs. Big Vic stands at 80 IBU so there’s a single difference. My hunch may have been wrong about Claim Jumper’s ABV, but it was correct with this one sitting at 8.6% ABV. I liked this one more than the first. Good beer to have around in the summer since the wheat does provide a lightness that other IPAs don’t have.

Zauber Brewing Co.Vertigo – I have taken a look at this beer previously but much like the Nitro Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing, I didn’t take a full look at this one. Unfortunately, their full capacity brewery isn’t quite ready yet. I am very much looking forward to that day since this fine beverage was consumed back in March. It is a hefeweizen so it was a little early in the year to be digging into the lighter side of beers but we had a Bluejackets game this particular Thursday when they did have their own beer. I was very happy they had this one on tap though. It is very light, crisp, a hint of spice and just a little hazy in it’s golden tone. It only has a 5.4% ABV and 12 IBU so this beer can be session-able. It went down really well with a wrap from the Paddy Wagon Food Truck. When I was doing my Year In Review list for Cbus beers, this one wasn’t in my top 10. It’s still a fantastic beer whether it’s there or not.

Rivertown BreweryBlueberry Lager – I have had much luck with this fine company out of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, this beer is not among them. It is a light lager so it has a similar body to a light beer which isn’t a good start. They use artificial flavor for the blueberry taste. I’m assuming that even though it’s not completely clear in the description. The blueberry flavor isn’t overwhelming so it does match better with the light lager. It all adds up to a very weak tasting beer. Even good companies make bad beer. – Kevin

 

 

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BellsBrewery, @BreweryOmmegang and @FullPintBrewing,

Bells OberonBell’s Brewery, Inc.Oberon – I was more than happy to find out that the Columbus Bluejackets decided to start serving craft beer. Considering that this is a Summer seasonal beer, I was a bit surprised to find it even at the end of the hockey season. It comes with a slice of orange because it has a very orange flavor to it. The bottle comes with an orange label to reinforce the idea. The beer normally looks more orange than the picture above does too. It is a wheat beer so it is quite light. They don’t list an IBU but they do use a low dose in there. Bell’s uses their own in house ale yeast for it too. This beer has an 5.8% ABV. So it’s a good, refreshingly crisp, perfect summer sipping beer.

Ommegang Fire & Blood

Brewery OmmegangFire & Blood – This beer name was named after the motto of the House of Targaryen in Game of Thrones. They produce three different labels for this beer after the three dragons, Drogon, Rhaegal & Viserion. I got this on draft at Gallo’s Taproom so I didn’t get to see any of them. They would be cool to check out in person. The problem with trying this beer was that the keg blew so that picture is all I got. The beer is a red ale which gives it a nice malty taste. They add some fire by soaking dried ancho chilies in the beer which helps give it an even darker red hue. The IBU isn’t listed but they aren’t a prominent taste. It will infect your blood at 6.8% ABV. Even after a small smapling, I would suggest giving this beer a taste, even if you don’t care about Westeros.

Deschutes Inversion IPA

Deschutes BreweryInversion IPA – This IPA is around my limit for IBU at 80. They mixed in six kinds of hops (Millennium, Horizon, Centennial, Northern Brewer, Cascade and Citra) which is my favorite kind of IPA. With the later two types of hops bringing a good dose of citrus which helps cut through the bitterness of the other types of hops. Despite all of the hops, the ABV is only 6.8%. Even in their description, Deschutes mentions that there is some malt just for additional restraint on the hop flavor. Deschutes has expanded their coverage so you can’t grab this in Wisconsin, Michigan and then the east coast so if you like IPAs, try and find this one.

Full Pint White LightningFull Pint BrewingWhite Lightning – I had this beer during a work lunch. It was perfect for that occasion since it’s light in the ABV content at 5.5%. It was very light since it is a Belgian style wheat beer. They combined two very distinct flavor profiles in this one by using both Belgian yeast and Grains of Paradise. They’re a fantastic fit together. Full Pint tossed in two usual suspects into the mix by using orange peel and coriander that helps to make for one refreshing beverage. With all of that going on, they only use a dash of Northern Brewer hops to come to a low total of 18 IBU. This company is out of Pittsburgh but they only distribute in PA, OH and FL. It’s a perfect beer for this time of the year so go out and grab it if you can.

Have a good #SippyTimeBeer this weekend! – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @LagerheadsBeer, @ROCKMILLbrewery, @SeventhSonBrew & @4StringBrewing

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Since I have been doing two of these articles a week, I decided to tweak the set up. I’ll go local beers, aka those from Ohio with possible expansion in PA later, on Tuesdays and I’ll do the national beers on Friday. If I have a trip like New Orleans or Colorado Springs, they’ll change to complexion of this separation but we’ll cross that bridge when necessary. Let’s start drinking local.

Lagerheads Brewing Co.Kilt ‘Em All – Other than starting off my birthday with Left Hand’s Milk Stout, I went local for the remainder of my beers. This one from Medina OH was the one from furthest away. This beer is a Scottish Ale and as usual, it delivered on the malt content. There was an unidentified spice in it though that gave it a funk that I wasn’t a fan of. I usually get help from their website to help figure out what the little tastes are to make it taste differently but Lagerheads doesn’t provide much information. It may be the toffee that is included but I usually enjoy that spice. They do let you know that it has a 5.9% ABV and a 27 IBU.

IMG_20140301_210528Rockmill BrewerySaison Noir – This company is located south east of Columbus in Lancaster, OH. Saison is a very loose term meaning seasonal in French. Noir means black so you’ve got a decent idea of what this beer looks like even if I didn’t provide a picture of it. I’m not sure what the season on this beer is but I did have it a month ago during a dinner out. This beer has nothing in common with Ommegang’s Hennepin despite the fact that both are considered a farmhouse saison. This beer is similar to a Black IPA but without as much hops in my opinion. Rockmill doesn’t give an IBU so there’s no way to check. They use raspberry, candied fruit, potato creme brulee, caramel and tobacco in this beverage. I couldn’t pick out any of those flavors on their own but the creme brulee does add a creaminess to viscosity of the beer. The complexity of the flavors did come through with a fantastic taste. This beer does have a kick at 8.0% ABV. It was the first beer I tried from Rockmill and it was a great first impression.

IMG_20140303_202238Seventh Son Brewing Co.Humulus Nimbus – I’m not sure this company needs an introduction since I’ve reviewed their beers here, here, here, here and here. I’ll hope not to do all of that linking in later columns. This beer is considered a super pale ale but they don’t admit to dry hopping like Rhinegeist‘s Fiction Belgian Extra Pale Ale. Seventh Son does use mosaic and simcoe hops to come to their flavor. I don’t get the hints of blueberry from it but I do get the pine hints with the bitterness of the hops. There is not much to offset those flavors which is right for a pale ale. Though it’s the main flavor, it doesn’t have the extra bite that comes with an IPA so it works well. At 6.0% ABV, this beer is a good one for sipping. It was a good beer to get lubed up before doing the Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of WWE Raw on my birthday.

IMG_20140308_164256Four String Brewing Co.Russian Imperial Stout – I’m not sure they need an introduction either but the links are here, here, here and here. The first (Halloween theme Skeleton Red IPA) and last link (Cherry Blonde) are similar to this beverage in that it’s a spin on one of their regular beers. They call it their Solo Series. I recently tried their Saison from this series. Their stout isn’t part of their four beer core but it does pop up from time to time. This beer was their Russian Imperial Stout with coffee. They were not lying about the coffee part either. This beer was so heavy with coffee, I’m surprised I haven’t started drinking coffee in the morning. They don’t have an IBU for this beer but the coffee supplies plenty of bitterness instead of the usual hops. The imperial stouts seem creamier on a whole and this one was on that level. It was a little too smooth at 11.0% ABV. You can get hammered in a hurry with this tasty beverage.

If you haven’t gotten enough of Ohio beers, check out this article on Drink Up Columbus about North High Brewing’s new brewmaster, Jason McKibben who worked for Anchor Brewing Company. Now go out and enjoy one of your own local #SippyTimeBeer no matter where you live. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @LeftHandBrewing, @BreweryOmmegang and @OrkneyBrewery

IMG_20140301_181925Left Hand Brewing CompanyMilk Stout Nitro – I reviewed this beer a little more than a year ago. I feel like the reviews have improved since then and since this was my first beer on my birthday way back in March, I had to review it again. I’m not sure the Guinness analogy works any more other than the fact that both are stouts. Milk stouts seem like enough of a division to do away with that in my book. I did forget to mention in the North High Brewing review that milk is used because it doesn’t ferment in the brewing process and it keeps it’s sweetness. They use brown sugar and vanilla cream to help sweeten up this beer. They have just enough bitterness from the hops (at 25 IBUs) to offset some of the sweetness. It also comes with an ABV of 6.0%. They distribute a whole lot of places, so even if you don’t like stouts, give the company a try because they have many fantastic beers.

IMG_20140228_211358Brewery OmmegangHennepin – This beer was from my lady in my birthday six pack. This beer is one of their year round offerings. It is a farmhouse saison Golden ale. They use Grains of Paradise in it, which much like Belgian yeast that has a very distinctive flavor that you can’t miss. They also use coriander, orange peel and ginger in smaller dose because you just get hints of them. Those sweet ingredients are offset by a low IBU of 24. The beer itself lives up to the golden name in color. It’s very smooth and crisp going down. For a beer of this style, it has a high ABV at 7.7%.  I’d have to say it’s a very good beer for this time of the year, even if it’s available all year. Find out where you can get beer from this Cooperstown NY brewery here.

IMG_20140228_225831Brewery OmmegangGlimmerglass – I bought the Glimmerglass for a spring beer that was to be an Irish beer substitute for St. Patrick’s Day according to the worker at Kenny Road Market. It wasn’t a substitute for an Irish beer, but that doesn’t mean that it was bad. It is a limited edition beer during that time of the year so technically she may have a point. If I called the Hennepin smooth and crisp, I’m not sure how to describe this beer. It comes off lighter and less full bodied, but just as crisp and tasty. Without the Grains of Paradise, the light flavors of pear, apple and citrus come through more. It was hard for me to notice the spice that is said to be in there. This beer doesn’t pack much punch at 5.2% ABV. I wish this beer were more of a summer selection instead of spring as it would work very well in warmer weather. It’s a good beer though so if it’s still on the shelves or in a bargain aisle like Kenny Road Market has, go and grab some.

IMG_20140227_232402The Orkney BrewerySkull Splitter – I haven’t had a lot of foreign beers. I didn’t actually chose this one as it was a birthday six pack that I had received from my lady. I’m quite happy to get this craft beer from England. The company has a viking motif for all of their products.  Dragonhead Stout, Dark Island Reserve Ale and photos of Stonehenge like rock formations are among their imagery. Skull Splitter is named after Thorfin Einarsson, the 7th Earl of Orkney. This beer is their heaviest of the lot at 8.5%  ABV. It’s not the highest but it will do the trick especially with how smooth this malty goodness was. Though I didn’t notice the flavor, they use figs and dates in this beer. They use East Kent Goldings hops to bring about a light bitter note. If this doesn’t make it to my top five beers tasted this year, I’ll be surprised. Considering it’s English, I’m pretty sure anyone can find this beer.

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @GViewDigfest Smapling

Grandview-Digfest-LogoGrandview Digfest was larger in scope than most tasting I’ve gone too. They didn’t just cater to beer drinkers. They had numerous tents for liquor, which the lady wholeheartedly took part in, for food purveyors and local craft manufacturers. I will buy a shirt from one of the company’s for my younger brother’s birthday.  So what beers did I try? Let’s run down that list of six.

Catawba Island Brewing Co.Seiche Scottish Ale – I tried their Whitecap Wit a little more than a week ago when I went to the Drink Up Columbus 3rd Anniversary Party. They are out of the northwest part of the state, sitting on Lake Erie. I will end up reviewing the second beer I’ve tasted before the first. I have been trying more Scottish ales because of their fantastic malt tastes. This beer was not much different save for a little bite of hops, this time courtesy of the East Kent Golden variety. The dose is noticeable even at 16 IBU because of the sweetness from the malt. This beer was my first of the evening and got me started at 7.8% ABV. No wonder I didn’t make it through the UFC 174.

Wolf’s Ridge BrewingClear Sky – This brewery is one that I haven’t found myself at yet even though it’s in town so I wanted to try one of their beers. I decided to go with this cream ale, which I’ve found out is related to a pale ale. I can understand the comparison as it wasn’t very hoppy or malty and had a clear yellow coloring to it. I did throttle back on the alcohol content with a 5.1% ABV. If Wolf’s Ridge was going for a craft version of Genesee, they hit the spot.

Rhinegeist Fiction (L) Wolf's Ridge Clear Sky (R) and Catawba Island Seiche (B)

Rhinegeist Fiction (L) Wolf’s Ridge Clear Sky (R) and Catawba Island Seiche (B)

Rhinegeist Brewing Co.Fiction – This beer is another that I’ve had another offering of theirs (Truth, an IPA) that I picked up on a trip to Fairfield, OH. The second beer will also get reviewed first again. This company is out of Cincinnati and don’t distribute this far north yet. This beer is one of their rotational rarities, which I believe is a fancy word for seasonal. This beer is a Belgian Extra Pale Ale. Belgian yeast is present so that gives the pale a twist. The extra pale part comes in with a dry hopping of Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops. At 40 IBUs, it isn’t that bitter especially with the yeast doing it’s job. Fiction has a 6.0% ABV so I went back up the scale.

Zaftig Brewing Co.Scottish Perle – After we finally grabbed some food (Let’s just say a sandwich shop was out of sandwiches. Maybe they should work on that aspect for 2015.) I realized that I was behind on drinks so I decided to get a full beer. The problem was I decided to grab a beer that was 10% ABV. Good idea on a catch up beer, moron. It was a Scottish Strong Ale. I was expecting a dose of the grapefruit hops that is present in Seventh Sons’s Seventh Son American Strong Ale. Another reason I expected it was that they listed it at 43 IBU. This beer did deliver on the promised roasted malt and chocolate. It may have actually been a bit too much roasted malt. It wasn’t my favorite beer but I do want to try more from this company based here in Cbus.

Sideswipe Coop Looter (Duh), Millersburg Blonde (L), Guinness Chocolate Cupcake from Sweet! Mobile Cupcakery and Zaftig Scottish Perle (R)

Sideswipe Coop Looter (Duh), Millersburg Blonde (L), Guinness Chocolate Cupcake from Sweet! Mobile Cupcakery and Zaftig Scottish Perle (R)

Millersburg Brewing Co.Lot 21 Blonde – This company is proud to be part of the Browns Backers. Yuck. They are based between here and Canton so that is too be expected. I needed to back off the heavy beers so this one came down to 5.5% ABV. Blondes are good for that kind of beer. It was a great cool off beer. It was light and crisp. As usual in blondes, it only has a 23 IBU so little bitterness to be found. Just what the doctor ordered. Now if I just would have swapped this beer and the Scottish Perle, my liver might have been happier.

Sideswipe Brewing Co.Coop Looter – This company is the third of the evening that I will be reviewing beer #2 prior to beer #1 that I have tried. I have shied away from buying their beers in part because they only come in 22 oz. I did try their Elegant Hoodlum Smoked Stout which is fantastic so I had to try another beer from them. I crept back up in ABV at 6.0% with this Saison. It was a perfect summer beer. It was light and crisp with just a hint of spice. I would have called it a Hefeweizen if I didn’t know any different. Another good beer from a company here in Cbus.

As usual, go out and enjoy your own local #SippyTimeBeer and let me know how it is. I may travel there to try it! – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Reviews – @StrangewaysRVA

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My first comments after this picture were “I knew my head was large but it looks gigantic.”

Our second brewery tour was not exactly smooth sailing. My brother planned on taking me, the lady and parents to Hardywood Park Craft Brewery but it opened at two instead of noon as my brother had planned. As a back up plan, we headed to Strangeways Brewing which I was looking forward to trying more anyway. To make up for missing Hardywood, my brother got the brilliant plan to bring their Gingerbread Stout to Thankmas later this year. He did list it as one of his five favorite beers last year so I look forward to it. On to the strange beers from Strangeways.

Unlike Rock Bottom, this brewery is a Richmond establishment only. Another thing they don’t share in common is listing IBUs. They do have the numbers listed on their site so I can get into them in my reviews but I was unaware at the time of tasting. It’s pretty easy to guess by type of beer whether it’s going to be bitter or not. I’m not sure that matters in this instance because they’re bringing the funk on their beers that no one else I know is doing.

Strangeways BrewingAlbino White Monkey Ale – The base of this beer is a White Belgian Ale and is part of what they call their “Nucleus” series. They had an option with Grape in it but I had already picked the beer below so I wanted to try one of their beers without extra flavoring. I decided to start with this one because of it’s probable IBU, which ends up being 25. It had a couple of usual suspects in the white ale department, orange peel and coriander. I think what made this peculiar was the use of white pepper. It gives it a little hint of heat that helps pique the other flavors. They also provide just a little heat with the 5.0% ABV. I didn’t have a ratings card for Strangeways and I’m not sure I need one. This beer was a great starter.

Strangeways BrewingCaramel Woodbooger Belgian Style Brown Ale – Without the caramel, this beer is part of their “Nucleus” series too. From their description, this beer is normally more balanced. I don’t think adding extra caramel threw this one out of whack but I’m sure it is sweeter than their regular serving. It has a nice toasted malt flavor to it which brings about the color and classic brown ale taste. As usual, dark chocolate is added to the profile but I had a hard time picking it out. My mother may have considering she felt this beer tasted like burnt toffee. They use fruit esters in this beer too but again, I’m not sure I tasted it. Even though I can’t taste the later two flavors, you can tell how complex the taste is. This beer provided more punch than the last at 6.0% ABV. Even after missing some tastes, this beer tastes fantastic.

Strangeways BrewingMelon Disintegration Barrel Aged IPA – This beer is part of their “Woodsman” series which barrel aged in various casks. This one happened to be aged in oak. I didn’t know that the beer was barrel aged at the time of tasting. Like their other beers, it has a Belgian base for this IPA. It isn’t very high for an IPA with the IBUs at 70. The bitterness was wiped out by the oak flavor. It was obvious as soon as I read about aging. The citrus end of hops didn’t pop up much either. I will account the aging to that also. In my opinion, the barrel aging washes out a lot of flavors of the original beer. Since my mother had enjoyed an IPA the day before, I gave her a try. She told me it was “burny, throaty.” She didn’t like her second venture into IPAs. In IPA fashion, this beer does lay the wood on you at 7.7% ABV. Too bad the wood was the worst tasting beer I tried there.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @RockBottomRVA

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I went to Richmond VA to visit my older brother and his family. He’s lived down there for as long as I’ve lived in Columbus. This was the first visit I’ve gotten a chance to actually visit some of Richmond instead of hitting a party for <insert occasion here> and leaving. Because of the #SippyTimeBeer articles, they of course took me to a couple of breweries in town. The first one we went to was Rock Bottom Brewery, which is a chain much like Gordon Biersch. We thought the name was familiar and it was because there is one in Colorado Springs. They also had a fantastic deal of a flight of six beers for $6. You can’t beat that with a stick. They were also very generous and mixed up my brother’s flight with mine so they gave us an additional beer to taste. Here are the reviews.

Rock Bottom BreweryWhite Ale – When I have the information to do a tasting from lowest IBU to highest IBU like North High Brewing suggested, I do it. Rock Bottom did provide this information so I started with the White Ale which comes in at 11 IBU. Like a lot of white ales, we get orange peel and coriander to spice up the drink. They both came into harmony with the Belgian yeast since this is a Belgian style beer. It packs average punch at 5.3% ABV.  They actually gave you a rating card with the flight. I listed this beer as their best.

Rock Bottom BreweryKolsch – This beer was next up on the IBU list at 20. I had this style from Saint Arnold on my New Orleans trip and really liked it. This one was not as good as that one. It didn’t seem to have punch either way. I didn’t taste a light wheat in it or a nice bitter hop note. It tasted a bit like a pilsner, which I’ve come to figure out I don’t like. Like a pilsner, it comes in at a modest 5.0% ABV. This beer went to, ahem, rock bottom of my list.

Rock Bottom BrewerySweet Magnolia Nut Brown Ale – My normal procedure is to use the brewery name to hyperlink to the specific beer in question, if possible. That is not possible in now because each Rock Bottom location has a brew master who gets to create their own unique flavors. I think that’s a cool way to make the chain stand out. This beer was one of the Brew Master Becky’s creations. It fell into the IBU spectrum at 24 so it was next on my list. My dad took a sip before I did an approved. That was the second time in my life I saw him drink beer. I ended up approving of it too. It had a good nuttiness to it and was smooth. It stayed in the same area as the other beers with an ABV of 5.7%. I should have take a picture of my rankings to jog my memory on exact rankings aside from the top & bottom. Very good beer.

Rock Bottom BreweryN2 Cafe con Leche Stout – This beer rotates so the link isn’t entirely accurate. Stout beers don’t tend to very hoppy so the IBU comes in at a mild 27. It does have bitter notes that come from a very heavy coffee taste. It had a great thickness, darkness and head to it. This stout didn’t have any other prominent notes in it though. I thought the N2 might mean nitro but I’m not sure. Those beers tend to be more smooth than this one. There was no sweetness from milk. It was a good beer but not outstanding.

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