#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 – @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 – @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

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