#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BreckBrew, @GreatDivideBrew, @GreenFlashBeer and @SeventhSonBrew

Breckenridge Christmas AleBreckenridge BreweryChristmas Ale – Breckenridge brews some seriously good beers. This beer is no exception. It didn’t have the usual nutmeg or cinnamon in it which was a nice change of pace. They went for caramel and chocolate in their beverage so it made it more like a porter than any Christmas beer I have tasted. The hops are pretty much absent with a 22 IBU but the alcohol isn’t at 7.4%. That will give you some Christmas cheer. Since this company emanates from the fine city of Breckenridge, CO and gets the whole way here to Columbus, I’m going to guess you might be able to find some in your area. Probably in the clearance aisle now that we’re almost a full two months removed from Christmas.

Great Divide Hibernation

Great Divide Brewing Co.Hibernation Ale – This one wraps up my Christmas beer selection, which has been quite extensive. I’m more than ready to leave nutmeg and cinnamon for the next ten months. Interesting enough though, this beer didn’t have either of those ingredients. Which might have been one of the reasons I didn’t like this very much. It’s an English style old ale which doesn’t taste all that good to my palate despite having plenty of malt in it. It clocks in at a nice 8.7% ABV so it does have it virtues but I wouldn’t recommend this one come late 2014. If you want to try it though, they distribute here.

Seventh Son Seventh SonSeventh Son Brewing Co.Seventh Son – I had no idea what an American Strong Ale was until having this beverage. It is a beer that uses a lot of the grapefruit and stone fruit hops meets a meets the malty goodness of an Amber Ale. They blend seven types of hops during the dry hopping process to make sure the name fits. The earlier hops cut through the dry hopped part perfectly with their fruitiness. The malt still comes through even with plenty of hops in this beverage. To continue the Seventh Son theme, the ABV comes in at 7.7%. Unfortunately for some, it’s only available here in Columbus. When you come to visit, we’ll definitely grab several pints at their brew pub. It doesn’t hurt that they almost always have a food truck there and most of them make tasty food. The picture also reminded me that I love their half growlers. I’m starting to see them at all of the local brewers now but they were the first spot I saw them at.

Green Flash TrippelGreen Flash BreweryTrippel – This beverage was the first new beer of 2014. Time to start a new picture folder and a new count down for the end of the year on my computer. It’s always good to take monks old recipes and updating them. Belgian yeast has been a noticeable taste that keeps popping up in my beers and when the formula comes from monks, it’ll definitely be there. Green Flash pops in pale malt and a pair of hops flavors to come up with this bad boy. The hops aren’t overwhelming or even that noticeable since Trippel only comes in at 24 IBUs. I talked about a Double White last week. This one is triple brewed so guess where the ABV is at? 9.7% is what this beer delivers. It was a perfect beer on New Year’s Eve since I was hosting the party and I bought this beverage in 22 ounce form. This company is out of San Diego, CA so if I can find it you should be able to also. I recommend this one if you like the Belgian style beers. It’s right up your palate’s alley.

Another fun part of Seventh Son Brewing is that they have teamed with other small brewers to produce some unique joint beers. I recently got a mini-growler of Seven Fists of Deth which is a collaboration Revolution Brewing out of Chicago. It’s a double IPA which I will be reviewing in November at this rate. They are also doing a collaboration with Rockmill Brewery out of Lancaster, Ohio. Here’s a little video they put together during the brewing process of Urban Cowboy Stout they are collaborating on. Have a good weekend and enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer! – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @21stAmendment, @AveryBrewingCo, @GLBC_Cleveland and @Harpoon_Brewery

21st Amendment Back In Black21st Amendment BreweryBack In Black – The picture doesn’t do justice to yet another quality beer can label that 21st Amendment uses. For some reason I chose to feature the label instead of the art. This black IPA is more than just the fancy graphics on the outside. It was brought to my attention by my lady’s sister, whose hand is also in the picture, because of her love of the style. It gets the black color from dark malts which enters the taste equation more than an regular IPA. It may have also led to a thickness that was reminiscent of a porter.  The hops are still front and center though. It is noticeable with the 6.8% ABV. This beverage is out of San Francisco CA and can be found in these locations. Enjoy it if you can.

Avery White Rascal

Avery White Rascal

Avery Brewing CompanyWhite Rascal – Anything other than an IPA recently has seemed out of the norm. This beer is a unfiltered wheat, aka white, beer. The difference in naming is basically a geographic change from Germany to Belgium. Because it is unfiltered, you will get some yeast at the bottom of your glass after drinking this fine beverage. The cloudy white ale has a tinge of orange because there is orange peel in this brew that comes in the flavor. Also present in it is coriander which is a go to spice for wheat beers and compliments the citrus. This beer is only 5.6% ABV so you can enjoy this one over a longer time frame. Avery emanates from Boulder, CO and can be sipped at these locations. If you like wheat beers, this one will tickle your taste buds.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Brewing CompanyChristmas Ale – This beer fulfills my promise to cover a Christmas or Winter beer for the month. Yeah! I did drink  this one a while ago though before a Bluejackets game. This beer gets a lot of play around here and has for a while. I went to a friend’s bachelor party almost four years ago and his brother-in-law had saved a six pack of it for him until June. I think that’s an extreme reaction to this beer. I enjoy it but I don’t think it needs to be saved for six months. It has a nice maltiness which I enjoy. Like some similar beers, they use honey which sweetens it too much for me and is where this beer goes wrong for me. The ginger and cinnamon make an appearance in just the right doses. Christmas Ale also provides just the right amount of ABV at 7.5% to help you forget about the terrible sweater your aunt just gave you for Christmas. If your memory doesn’t serve you, this company is out Cleveland, OH and distributes to these places. The season is almost over so if you’re one of those types that’s going to hoard this beer, I suggest going out and purchasing it with a quickness.

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon BreweryHarpoon I.P.A. – I thought I remembered this beer from when I was at Kent State. I could be correct since it got started in 1993 but I doubt it. It is still one of the earlier IPAs I remember trying and disliking. I think it may have been because I had never had a beer heavy with hops in it. Now that I’m getting into IPAs, I dislike it for a different reason. This one just seemed too tame to me in the hops department. At 5.9% ABV, that would seem to confirm my suspicions. Since there isn’t much malt, there isn’t a back up flavor to it. Harpoon doesn’t feature the yeast either. Which is unfortunately their stated goal for this New England style IPA. They wanted a well balanced triumvirate of flavors that none dominate. To me, that makes for a bland beer. You’ve got to lean to one of those three sides to highlight what else in the flavor profile. This beer comes out of Boston, MA and can be found pretty much anywhere in this fine country.

No fun links for this week but I will give everyone a heads up that I have rounded up a fine set of drinkers and their top five favorite beers of this past year. For the ladies, my woman is even throwing in her top five cider beers if you don’t like the traditional brews. Now go out and enjoy UFC 168 with a tasty #SippyTimeBeer in front of you. – 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 – Jackie O’s, Ohio Brewing & Boulder Beer

JackieOs_Chomo-lung-ma

Jackie O’sChomo-lungma – I had never heard of this brewery out of Athens, OH before I went to Kenny Road Market this past week. The owner of KRM, who I’ve known since I moved here in ’99, told me it’s one of the best breweries in the country. His co-worker backed him up. I found it a little suspect since I’ve had a number of friends who went to OU and only live forty five minutes from Athens but I had never heard of this bar. The main reason for that is that they hadn’t packaged their beers until recently. Jackie O’s is also in the link below for top 25 breweries in the country. I had no such intentions because I had only picked up the beer because of the packaging. After having the first beer when I got home, I was disappointed with the taste of this honey nut brown ale. I thought maybe I had too high expectations for it. So the next evening, I went for round two. Then had another one when doing the Raw Blog. I only have one left in my fridge after having the six pack for six days. I’m starting to think that it tastes pretty good. From the way KRM talked, this beer wasn’t their best so I’ll look forward to trying more.

Ohio Brewing CompanyVerich Gold – Another company from the Buckeye state but it resides in Akron, OH. People need to drink to live there so I’m not surprised there are a number of good breweries up there. Yeah, it’s a hack joke but it’s true. I have only had two kolsch style beers during my review phase, if memory serves. The third kolsch was finally one that I enjoyed. It was a light beer that gave you malt first with just a hint of hoppy bitterness at the end. The other two beers had too much hops. They are distributed in Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Cincinnati/Kentucky so I’m not sure how I got it. Probably the impeccably stocked Kenny Road Market.

Boulder BeerSweaty Betty – Yet another hefeweizen that is perfect for the hot summer. Betty had some familar friends in the party, a hazy, cloudy look, hints of banana & clove and a whole lot of wheat. I’m looking for more to say but I think it’s pretty much covered. You can find their beers in these states. They don’t cover Ohio but I’m sure I got it from KRM. So not only should you support your local breweries, support the stores that supply tasty beers from all over this country like Kenny Road Market.

If you happen to live near the Cleveland area, go to the Burning River Festival that will serve the (at least around these parts) legendary Great Lakes Christmas Ale and help pay for ecological clean up for a river that may not burn any more but still look pretty bad.

If you want to have a say what’s the best brewery in America (at least according to TheDailyMeal.com) go to this link. They already cut the vote down to 25 breweries grouped by region. Give your input then go enjoy a Sippy Time Beer. -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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