#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.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – #Cbus Microbrew Festival

Cbus Microbrew Festival '13

I got to taste a lot of local beer when I went down to the Columbus Microbrew Festival. I had a chance to taste some of my favorites but as usual, I decided to try beers that I didn’t have. Zauber Brewing is still working on a larger facility. Four Strings had a couple of offerings there and I passed on them along with Barley’s, Barley’s Smokehouse & Pub, Columbus, Elevator, Gordon Biersch, Great Lakes, Ohio & Thirsty Dog because I have had and reviewed a number of all of their products. I’ll list in alphabetical order what I did have since I’m not completely sure of the order I drank them in. They were supposed to serve 4 ounce portions but almost everyone was very generous with their pours so I got a good idea of how they all taste.

Buckeye Lake BreweryOctoberfest – It’s that time of year, Oktoberfest & Pumpkin beers are everywhere. I’ll get around to a whole column on pumpkin beers later. This brewery just east of Columbus in, you guessed it, Buckeye Lake has gotten good reviews from my friends in the area. It was finally time to try some for myself though. I’m not sure if it was fair to try a seasonal beer though. If it is indeed seasonal since they don’t even have a beer list on their website. The beer had the red hue that most “Marzen” (March in German because of when they brewed them) beers have. This one has a nice balance of hops and malt to make it taste really good. Thumbs up for my first taste of Buckeye Lake.

Great Black Swamp BrewingWetlands Wheat – This company is based in Toledo, OH so it’s not the most local beer there but it was a new one to me. No one wants to go to Toledo so I’m glad they came to us. I love wheat beers so it was an easy first choice from the company and it delivered. Nice and crisp on a night that was reminiscent of Fall than the Summer.

Great Black Swamp BrewingBull Frog Stout – Because there weren’t any cider beers on tap, my girl friend ended up giving me her tickets. Since they had a hard closing time of 10 PM on Friday, we had to venture back Saturday afternoon to finish using the tickets. You don’t need to twist my arm. Since I had a second crack at this brewery, I went with their Bull Frog Stout which was quite good. Double thumbs up from this company.

Homestead Beer CompanyPine Table Pale Ale – This beer is from Licking County which, like Buckeye Lake, is just east of Cbus. Unfortunately, my memory of this beer is hazy at best. I didn’t take notes and I didn’t Instagram each beer, just their label. No, it wasn’t from drinking too much, this time. It just means I’ll have to try it again.

Homestead Beer CompanyBoat India Pale Ale – On Saturday, I couldn’t remember how many choices Homestead had. When I got to their station, I was talked into trying this beer. “It’s the right balance of hops & malt” said the worker who must have been part of the brewery because he was dead on.I could get into more IPAs if they were like this one.

Hoof Hearted BrewingVoltan – Russian Imperial Stout – Aside from the over played but somewhat amusing name, they do have a goofy centaur as a mascot so these guys know how to market. Of course, it helps when you have a fantastic beer. One of the best beers of the weekend.

Jackie O’s BreweryMatriarch Tri-Pa – I have reviewed two of their beers with another one on my “To Get To” list. I hadn’t seen their Tri-Pa probably because it contains six different kinds of hops and a total of five pounds of it per barrel. It’s no wonder this beer cost me not the normal one ticket for four ounces but three tickets. Another reason the cost was so high was because of it’s 11% alcohol content. If you want to get drunk in style and quickly, have this beer if you can get a hold of it.

Lagerheads BreweryWhite Water Witte – When we arrived Saturday, I grabbed this beer first because the vendors let us in without getting our 21 and over wrist bands. No one cared that we didn’t have them on. Yep, starting to get old. Any way, since it was good and sunny, mid 0s I went with a Belgian wheat beer. Perfect plan to soak up some of the last rays of summer. Come Fall and Winter, that whole sun thing is going to be scarce around these parts. Glad I could enjoy a smooth crisp and citrusy beer. They are located up in the Abbeyville OH which is just south of Cleveland.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – 3rd Annual #Cbus Winter Beerfest

I went to the 3rd Annual Columbus Winter Beerfest on Saturday. It was the first time I’ve attended the event. I went with my girl and my neighbors. We paid for the VIP entrance an hour early at 6:30 PM and it lasted until 11:00 PM. We got a set of twenty five tickets, one for each beer that you could taste. Many of the vendors didn’t care if you gave them one or not. The samples were supposed to be 5 ounces but most of the vendors topped you off to about 8 ounces. In no way am I capable any more of drinking that much. I got around to twelve samples. Here’s the list.

Weasel Boy BrewingBarrel Aged Brown Stoat Cherry Stout – I started off the night with a local beer from Zanesville, OH. It was a wise choice as it was quite good. It had nice head and was as thick as expected out of a stout. The cherry kicked in as an aftertaste. I think it matches well with a stout. It was one of my favorites of the night.

Victory Brewing CompanyRed Thunder – This beer was served to VIPs only. It became a mission to try as many VIP only beers as possible in our hour head start. It wasn’t as much of a help though because a majority of the crowd pitched in the extra $10 for the the extra hour. This beer was served out of a double deuce bottle that was chilled on ice. They don’t have this beer on their website so it was an exclusive. It tasted like a red amber. A big bounce back from the Prima Pils.

Six Point BrewingResin – I’m not much of an India Pale Ale fan. The heavy dose of hops is not my favorite taste. This IPA is very tasty. The hops was kept to the minimum considering the type of beer. They’re out of Brooklyn, New York.

Kona Brewing CompanyBig Wave Golden Ale – This beer was very crisp and refreshing. This one would be my other favorite beer of the night. Outstandingly smooth. They’re out of Kona, Hawaii so I won’t be able to get this one too often. That’s too bad.

Green Flash BrewingSaison Diego – I was told this was “some type of Belgian Blonde” by the woman working the counter. On the beer map, it was called Grand Cru but it is definitely not that. I’m guessing that it is the Saison Deigo because of the slight fruit note at the end with a summer ale feel. As can be implied by the name, they’re out of San Diego, CA.

North Peak Brewing CompanySiren Amber Ale – This beer got the thirty two second video review above. It was very tasty with some spice kick at the end. I did this review just in time because things started to get ugly soon there after. My presentation could have been better. As I do more of them, hopefully they’ll get better. I hope not to tell my camera woman when to cut next time. They’re out of Traverse City, MI.

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