#SippyTimeBeer Review – @ActualBrewing, Chimay, @ColumbusBrewing and Southern Tier

Actual Elektron PGThis list of beers comes from an evening of drinking at Zauber’s Brew Pub. Because they are still dealing with small tanks, so their beers are only on tap Thursday and part of Friday. Even when they don’t have their own beers, they have plenty of good and local choices. Even if they’re not local choices, they’re good choices. Here’s what I drank the first time I went there.

Actual Brewing Co.Elektron – I started off local with this beer. They are from the east side of Cbus. I have only had one of their beers previously and it was their Winter IPA from a Firkin. I was hoping for a better result with their Amber Ale. One thing that makes it unique is that they use malted rye instead of barley malt. It certainly gives the beer a different taste which I’m not that big of a fan of. The malt doesn’t come through as strongly to me which I enjoy quite a bit. I know it wasn’t the normal problem child of an amber which to me is too much hops. This beer only clocks in at 27 IBUs. The beer wasn’t overly alcoholic either which will throw off the taste from time to time. It’s at a reasonable 6.2% ABV. They still have three beers that I haven’t tried so I will hope I enjoy them more.

Chimay TrippelChimayTrippel – Chimay developed their line of beer from Trappist monks in Belgium. We all know what that means now, right? We’ve got Belgian yeast in play for this beer. We have double fermentation in play too. The first happens in the vat while the second takes place in a fermentation cellar for at least 21 days. Chimay even crafted a glass specifically for this beer which Zauber uses. (You do see the giant Chimay on the glass, right?) They use muscat & dried raisins so you get some sweetness which is balanced out by bitterness on the back end. Because it is double fermented, the ABV is at 8.0% which will do the trick for just about anyone. You can find this beer all around the world, so no excuses for not trying this tasty beer.

Columbus Pale AleColumbus Brewing Co.Pale Ale – I have had this beer more than any other craft beer in town because it has been sold at various bars for as long as I have lived in Columbus. I had always liked Rolling Rock which is also a pale ale so it made it easy to try this one since I wasn’t into beer the way I am now. Drinking large quantities of beer for the cheapest price was the order of the day then. I’d throw in a fancy beer every now and again to try something new. Because of my history with this beer, I do feel it’s old hat but I shouldn’t because this is a quality beer. It has 28 IBUs which is barely above the Elektron but the base is so different you can’t compare them. Low malt makes the hops more prominent especially the splash of citrus hops that they dry hop. It makes it a really great beer. It comes in at 5.5% ABV. It can be found throughout the state of Ohio so if you’re passing through, be sure it give it a whirl.

Southern Tier 2xStoutSouthern Tier Brewing Co.2x Stout – I forgot to mention during my tour of North High Brewing that milk is used to sweeten stouts because it is not ferment-able by beer yeast. They told us that during the tour and the write up for the 2xStout jogged my memory. Both companies use the milk to sweeten up a bitter drink. Or at least that’s the goal of using the milk. I don’t feel like Southern Tier brought the sweetness, which is never overwhelming but just enough to make it more than a one note drink. It has a good roasted malt & coffee flavor though. I don’t think the coffee is too much but it’d helped if it were more sweetened. The drink is the right level of thickness for a stout. It can also be a doozy if you drink too much of it because it comes in at 7.5% ABV. This beer is one of their year round beers and is available in these areas so give it a try and see if you think it has enough sweet to bitter. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Sour Beer & Russian River

Russian River Supplication

You have to drink it a Belgian beer glass.

At the beginning of the month, I posted an article tweeted by Michael Symon that was titled “A Brief History of Sour Beer” from The New Yorker. It was more brief than I expected. And the beginning of the story was more recent than I had expected. A batch of beer that was made in 1996 by William Reed impressed Michael Jackson, a British beer maker, and it helped make the style take off in America. The main differences between this beer and other are: letting wild yeasts infect the beers through the barrels they are aged in or through contact with open air. It is mostly a Belgian invention, around World War I, so that is where the Americans have learned from. It is also where I tried previous sour beers, but not known it. My ex-wife liked Lindeman’s lambics quite a bit and so did I. The price was an obstacle to drinking it more often. Recently though, I have gotten to taste two, authentic sour beers made in California from Russian River. I’m sure glad my neighbors like to drink too.

Russian River Brewing CompanySupplication – This beer happens to be aged in Pinot Noir barrels with cherries added. The article pointed out that the beer re-ferments when they add a fruit after the original fermenting. The beer itself starts as a Brown Ale but definitely morphs into something much different from normal. The cherry taste makes you pucker quite a bit. The comparison to liquid Sour Patch Kids in the article is appropriate. I’m not much of a wine expert since I mainly drink Chianti, which is from Tuscany in Italy. I’m not sure what flavors it brings to the beer but again, you can tell there’s a difference. The barrels are made of oak so that flavor is supposed to seep in too but I didn’t taste it. I know it can be tasted because Brothers Drake Meadery in town has a Honey Oak Meade and it has a very distinct woody flavor. Even though a lot of thought and time went into this beer, I wasn’t a fan of it. Too much pucker in it to be a beer I like.

Russian River Brewing CompanySanctification – I wouldn’t be able to write this column if it weren’t for my level of curiosity. I knew I didn’t like sour beer #1 but you need to try three to officially stop torturing your palate. This beer starts out as a Golden Ale but makes a less complicated journey to a final product. The sour taste was more pronounced, probably because there wasn’t the extra Pinot Noir & oak flavors tossed in there. It could also be because Golden Ales tend to have a less forceful flavor than a Brown Ale. It was wise to choose the stronger flavored beer to stand up to additional flavors and the less assertive one to take on less flavor. It leads me back to the point of it being more sour though, which I’m not looking for in my beer. I’m not really a sour guy though I do enjoy some Sour Patch Kids and lemonade from time to time. Strike two for sour beers. I’ll let you know when I try #3 before giving up on them. -Kevin

Russian River Sanctification

Or you can drink it in an old English pint beer glass.

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