#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 – @BellsBrewery, @BrooklynBrewery, @NorthHighBrew and @GLBCinColumbus

IMG_20140131_182216Bell’s Brewery, Inc.Hopslam – This beverage is one of the more sought after beers in the area. Bell’s has a solid distribution area in twenty states. But this beer is one of their specialties and only comes out once a year. It’s so popular that a beer store in town was accused of buying cases from other stores for later re-sale.  Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch for that gem of a story. Is this beer worth getting in trouble for, yes. They use six varieties of hops and toss in Simcoe hops during the dry hopping process. Bell’s also throws in honey just for a touch of sweetness which is the only thing taming this beast of bitterness. They don’t list an IBU but it’s got to be around my 90 IBU threshold. It’s a double IPA so it packs a punch at 10.0% ABV. It’s only available from January until March so you’re out of luck for now but keep your eyes peeled next year.

IMG_20140125_191531Brooklyn BrewerySorachi Ace – I didn’t know the story behind this beer until reading their website. Here’s what they had to say:

A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony.

This beer is part of their Beer Master’s Reserve line because of the uniqueness of the hops. When I was tasting this beer though it was the Belgian yeast used that stood out to me. I do think that yeast has a flavor that pairs well with the lemon so it’s a good pairing. The hops aren’t overwhelming either with an IBU of 34. The hops certainly delivers a punch though because this beer is 7.6% ABV. Though I had this beer in January, it’s a perfect beer for the warm weather that is coming around now. If you can find it in your area, go give this special beverage a try.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BellsBrewery, @BreweryOmmegang, @Gordon_Biersch and @Weyerbacher

Bells Amber AleBell’s Brewery, Inc.Amber Ale – From time to time, I stop exploring the new world of IPAs and head back to my traditional drink of choice, ambers. Bell’s is is from Kalamazoo, MI and is quite well received around these parts. I liked the maltiness that was brought to the table by this beer but the sticking point to me the was bitter after taste that you got. It drank smoothly except for that end part. It is a little bit darker than most ambers but I’m not sure what that is from exactly. The beer clocks in at a low 5.8% ABV so it won’t knock your socks off if you want a relaxation beverage. If they have this one in your area, go for it but it’s good, not great.

Gordon Biersch Winter BockGordon Biersch Brewing CompanyWinter Bock – It’s quite handy to be able to stop in at Gordon Biersch before and after Blue Jackets games. It’s not always a common stop but they do serve good food and have a nice set of taps for beer lovers. They always have a seasonal beer and it happens to be winter so we get a Winter Bock. I do love monks because they had a love for beer. This bock is inspired by them. I had no idea though that monks liked toffee in very large quantities. It made the beverage too sweet by a small margin for me. The beer was appropriately dark for the style, had nice head and drank smoothly. This beer has an ABV of 7.5% so there’s a reason the adjective merry was followed by the word monk a lot. It also has an IBU of 26 so this isn’t making a dent in the bitter department. Not even like the after taste in the Amber Ale from Bell’s. Ohio is as far north as Biersch has made it, so if you’re in the south check out these available locations.

Ommegang Amber AleBrewery OmmegangRare Vos – The Knickerbocker Tavern in Altoona, PA has a fabulous selection of beers. It has been that way for quite a while so I go there frequently with the small contingent of friends I talk to back in the home town. I always try to get something that I can’t here but that’s been harder to accomplish. On an upside, their stock is so good that I can still find other kinds of beer from companies that I have tried. Ommegang is one of those companies. It’s hard to resist any amber and this one was more intriguing than most because it is Belgian style, cafe ale. I didn’t taste the orange peel that they say is in there but I did have the coriander and grains of paradise tap dance across my tongue. The beer went quickly down my throat. The hue of the beer is a more traditional amber color. It has a 6.5% ABV and is even less bitter than the Winter Bock at 21 IBU. This fine company is out of Cooperstown, NY and can be found in these area. This beer is a must try.

Weyerbacher VerbotenWeyerbacherVerboten – This beer was the second one I had at the Knick. If you’re not familiar with German (I took it in high school and for a semester at Kent State) Verboten means forbidden. I’m glad I wasn’t forbidden from drinking it. It’s a Belgian style pale ale. I have liked pale ales long before venturing into India Pale Ales. Now I know that they use less hops and it comes off far less bitter. That is confirmed by this beer checking in at 30 IBU. They use three different styles of malt with one style of hops and of course the always present Belgian yeast. It all combines into a fantastic beer that I would suggest drinking like a fool, which is the Belgian translation for Verboten. At 5.9% ABV, you won’t get tanked quickly on it. This company out of Easton, PA distributes to these 19 states so if you’re a lucky person, go and grab it.

My younger brother Brian gave me this map from Deadspin the other week and I forgot to link to it. It maps out the 2,500 breweries that are currently in the US. That’s a lot of different #SippyTimeBeers to try. Go and enjoy one from your area. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @HalandAls Winter and Christmas Beer Tasting 2013

Bells Winter White

Bell’s Winter White with the commemorative Hal & Al’s glass

I went to Hal & Al’s last night for their Winter and Christmas Beer Tasting. It was just what the doctor called for since the lady & I have been a bit grumpy getting prepared for Christmas. Our friends Chris & Lacey got there ahead of us. You got a punch card for the 12 beers of Christmas. At the end of the tasting, you got a special pint. Let’s delve into these four ounces of beer.

Bell’s BreweryWinter White Ale – Last year, I tried Bell’s Christmas Ale in my second Sippy Time Beer post. I also had the Winter White Ale in the fourth post. Unlike Christmas ales, Winter ales tend not to have cinnamon, nutmeg or clove. Christmas ales also don’t tend to be whites either. I’ll get more into that topic later. This beer doesn’t use any of those spices but the mixture of yeast, barley & malt do make it taste like it has a hint of clove in it. That line is a correction from the original review. This beer has a hefeweizen like quality without the wheat flavor. Availability here. Solid start.

Smuttynose Brewing CompanyWinter Ale – This beer was interesting because it was an amber ale, which isn’t used much for these style of beers. It did seem to have the normal spices in it which had a different tone to them since it was playing off the malt instead of hops. I enjoyed this beer out of New Hampshire. Availability here. Two for two.

Buckeye Lake BrewingChristmas Ale – This beer is obviously a local one that most read won’t get to try. This beer was more of a red ale with the usual spices but there was an interesting note on the beer list. This beer had graham crackers in it. I didn’t taste it unfortunately and it didn’t seem to make the beer any thicker. They also said it finished with a sweetness and it did. A little too much in my opinion.

Smuttynose Winter Ale, Buckeye Lake Christmas Ale and Southern Tier Old Man Winter (L to R)

Smuttynose Winter Ale, Buckeye Lake Christmas Ale and Southern Tier Old Man Winter (L to R)

Southern Tier Brewing CompanyOld Man Winter Ale – My third review covered Southern Tier’s other winter offering, 2xmas. This beer was more traditional than that one. The barley and hops stand out. You were supposed to sip this because of it’s high alcohol content, 7.0% which isn’t that high. I took this one down with a quickness. Availability here. Seriously, try it.

Full Pint BrewingFestivus – This beer comes out of Pittsburgh, PA. The verbiage of this beer gets the Seinfeld treatment so you don’t get much of a description and their site doesn’t even list. I think it was another amber ale though because of the heavy malt with a little more hops than normal. It was very tasty also. The distribution area is pretty limited but if you’re in this area, try it.

The Brew KettleWinter Warmer – This beer is another local offering that many people won’t be able to wrangle. From the northern city of Strongsville, OH this beer brings the usual Christmas spices of cinnamon, ginger (not as common) and honey. They also toss in some orange (not tasted much) and lemon (very much tasted). It actually helped to cut through the sweetness of the honey with the acidic taste of the lemon. I still don’t think it cut the sweetness enough. I sense a general trend of holidays beers that I don’t like.

Full Pint Festivus, Brew Kettle Winter Warmer, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas and Oskar Blues Yule Chub (L to R, T to B)

Full Pint Festivus, Brew Kettle Winter Warmer, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas and Oskar Blues Yule Chub (L to R, T to B)

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company12 Dogs of Christmas – The sweetest of the lot as noted a few weeks ago.

Oskar Blues BreweryYule Chub – This beer was a strange one because of it’s dark color. It looked like a porter or stout. Neither the description nor their website say exactly what style of beer it is. The website doesn’t even acknowledge that this beverage exists. That is probably why we were supposed to thank someone at the bar for procuring this limited edition keg. The description used orange peels and spruce tips in it and I tasted the pine flavor but not the orange. I am not a fan of of drinking spruce but the darker beer held up to it much better than a lighter style of beer. Availability here although you probably won’t be able to snag this beer in particular.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – Bell’s, Flying Dog and Six Point

Flying Dog Belgian WhiteBell’s Brewery, Inc.Lager of the Lakes – This beer from Bell’s is not one of their more popular choices. I can understand because it doesn’t have as distinctive a taste as their Oberon Ale or Two Hearted Ale. It’s a solid beer though. If you’re not into craft beers and just want to dip your toe into vat of them, this one would be ideal to try. You can find it in quite a few states and it’s one of their year round beers so it won’t need to look during it’s season.

Flying Dog BreweryWoody Creek Belgian White – Cayenne Pepper is an excited spokes dog for this one. I woke him up taking this picture. Unlike the previous beer, this one is seasonal with a summer release. It’s another light beer that has a kick of citrus and uses coriander as a spice. For those you who don’t do a lot of cooking, coriander is the seed that sprouts cilantro. It has a different flavor than it’s end product though. I don’t think it influenced the taste much either. It is another good refreshing summer beer though. There’s even more states that you can find this beer in.

Six Point Bengali Tiger

Sixpoint BreweryBengali Tiger – I bought this beer because of it’s packaging, which for some reason got lost on my Instagram account. It comes in a four back of pint sized cans. I do think the can and packaging looks sharp. The beer was more confusing though. The hue of the beer is about the same color of orange as that on the can. The first time I tasted it, I didn’t like it. Sixpoint says there is an “an abundance of citrus hop bitterness, and a full pine and grapefruit bouquet in the aroma.” Considering that I couldn’t identify one single flavor the first go around, I’ll take their word those flavors are in there. Another interesting twist was that by the time I was downing the fourth can, I enjoyed the beer.  It’s really complex and nothing like any other beer I’ve tasted. If you’re adventurous or can split a four pack with someone, I would suggest it if you can find it. Just in case your taste bud don’t start liking it after a pint of orange beer. -Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review

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Birra MorettiPremium Lager – The first time I had this beer, I was just starting my studies in Florence, Italy. One of my goals when I went there was to try over one hundred beers. I surpassed my goal but no thanks to the efforts of some of my kin. Moretti is the Budweiser (not the Czech kind) of Italy. It goes down and comes out with no special flavor. I wasn’t paying for this because it was at my office Christmas party. I wouldn’t go out of my way to order this beer, no matter what Italian restuarant you frequent. Order Chianti. You’re welcome.

Bell’s BreweryWinter White Ale – I went to see my friends’ band Australosurfecus on Thursday night at Byrne’s Pub. My window for tasting winter beers is closing with the New Year around the bend. This beer was a mix of the expected from a winter beer (clove) with a twist (the white ale). I really like the crispness that comes from white ales. Bell’s also drops hints of fruits (I think orange and lemon) to help freshen up the beer. It makes it taste more like a refreshing summer beer. If you live in these areas, you can taste this tasty beverage from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Never forget to check out TheFullPint to see if they agree with my palate about Moretti or Winter White Ale. -Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review

EliotNess

Great Lakes Brewing Co.Eliot Ness Amber Lager – One of my top five favorite beers even if I haven’t set down to rank them in any particular order. I’ll get to those beers when I drink them again which won’t be too far in the future with the holiday season coming around. It is an Amber Lager which happens to be my favorite family of beers. My cheap staple Yuengling and Saranac Amber Ale, a favorite from my days in Altoona PA when craft beer wasn’t as easy to come by, are both ambers. The malt & hops aren’t overwhelming and it has a little kick of caramel that makes it perfect going down. These states are where you can find Great Lakes. If you live near one of them, take a weekend trip and stock up.

Bell’s Brewery, Inc.Christmas Ale – This one was a surprise to me. Most Christmas beers have clove, nutmeg or cinnamon. None of those spices are in this beer. It also doesn’t have as high an alcohol content as most winter seasonals. It’s only 5.5%. A quick comparison would be Great Lakes Christmas Ale which is 7.5%. It’s a Scottish Ale so it has a red tint which makes it look Christmas-y. It went down fairly smooth but it left me wanting a little more of a kick.

I neglected to pimp Keesh’s TheFullPint.com last week. I will link to their reviews in the future. Unfortunately, they don’t have reviews for Eliot Ness or Bell’s Christmas Ale. Enjoy your Sippy Time Beer this week. -Kevin

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