#SippyTimeBeer Review – @LagerheadsBeer, @ROCKMILLbrewery, @SeventhSonBrew & @4StringBrewing

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Since I have been doing two of these articles a week, I decided to tweak the set up. I’ll go local beers, aka those from Ohio with possible expansion in PA later, on Tuesdays and I’ll do the national beers on Friday. If I have a trip like New Orleans or Colorado Springs, they’ll change to complexion of this separation but we’ll cross that bridge when necessary. Let’s start drinking local.

Lagerheads Brewing Co.Kilt ‘Em All – Other than starting off my birthday with Left Hand’s Milk Stout, I went local for the remainder of my beers. This one from Medina OH was the one from furthest away. This beer is a Scottish Ale and as usual, it delivered on the malt content. There was an unidentified spice in it though that gave it a funk that I wasn’t a fan of. I usually get help from their website to help figure out what the little tastes are to make it taste differently but Lagerheads doesn’t provide much information. It may be the toffee that is included but I usually enjoy that spice. They do let you know that it has a 5.9% ABV and a 27 IBU.

IMG_20140301_210528Rockmill BrewerySaison Noir – This company is located south east of Columbus in Lancaster, OH. Saison is a very loose term meaning seasonal in French. Noir means black so you’ve got a decent idea of what this beer looks like even if I didn’t provide a picture of it. I’m not sure what the season on this beer is but I did have it a month ago during a dinner out. This beer has nothing in common with Ommegang’s Hennepin despite the fact that both are considered a farmhouse saison. This beer is similar to a Black IPA but without as much hops in my opinion. Rockmill doesn’t give an IBU so there’s no way to check. They use raspberry, candied fruit, potato creme brulee, caramel and tobacco in this beverage. I couldn’t pick out any of those flavors on their own but the creme brulee does add a creaminess to viscosity of the beer. The complexity of the flavors did come through with a fantastic taste. This beer does have a kick at 8.0% ABV. It was the first beer I tried from Rockmill and it was a great first impression.

IMG_20140303_202238Seventh Son Brewing Co.Humulus Nimbus – I’m not sure this company needs an introduction since I’ve reviewed their beers here, here, here, here and here. I’ll hope not to do all of that linking in later columns. This beer is considered a super pale ale but they don’t admit to dry hopping like Rhinegeist‘s Fiction Belgian Extra Pale Ale. Seventh Son does use mosaic and simcoe hops to come to their flavor. I don’t get the hints of blueberry from it but I do get the pine hints with the bitterness of the hops. There is not much to offset those flavors which is right for a pale ale. Though it’s the main flavor, it doesn’t have the extra bite that comes with an IPA so it works well. At 6.0% ABV, this beer is a good one for sipping. It was a good beer to get lubed up before doing the Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of WWE Raw on my birthday.

IMG_20140308_164256Four String Brewing Co.Russian Imperial Stout – I’m not sure they need an introduction either but the links are here, here, here and here. The first (Halloween theme Skeleton Red IPA) and last link (Cherry Blonde) are similar to this beverage in that it’s a spin on one of their regular beers. They call it their Solo Series. I recently tried their Saison from this series. Their stout isn’t part of their four beer core but it does pop up from time to time. This beer was their Russian Imperial Stout with coffee. They were not lying about the coffee part either. This beer was so heavy with coffee, I’m surprised I haven’t started drinking coffee in the morning. They don’t have an IBU for this beer but the coffee supplies plenty of bitterness instead of the usual hops. The imperial stouts seem creamier on a whole and this one was on that level. It was a little too smooth at 11.0% ABV. You can get hammered in a hurry with this tasty beverage.

If you haven’t gotten enough of Ohio beers, check out this article on Drink Up Columbus about North High Brewing’s new brewmaster, Jason McKibben who worked for Anchor Brewing Company. Now go out and enjoy one of your own local #SippyTimeBeer no matter where you live. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @GViewDigfest Smapling

Grandview-Digfest-LogoGrandview Digfest was larger in scope than most tasting I’ve gone too. They didn’t just cater to beer drinkers. They had numerous tents for liquor, which the lady wholeheartedly took part in, for food purveyors and local craft manufacturers. I will buy a shirt from one of the company’s for my younger brother’s birthday.  So what beers did I try? Let’s run down that list of six.

Catawba Island Brewing Co.Seiche Scottish Ale – I tried their Whitecap Wit a little more than a week ago when I went to the Drink Up Columbus 3rd Anniversary Party. They are out of the northwest part of the state, sitting on Lake Erie. I will end up reviewing the second beer I’ve tasted before the first. I have been trying more Scottish ales because of their fantastic malt tastes. This beer was not much different save for a little bite of hops, this time courtesy of the East Kent Golden variety. The dose is noticeable even at 16 IBU because of the sweetness from the malt. This beer was my first of the evening and got me started at 7.8% ABV. No wonder I didn’t make it through the UFC 174.

Wolf’s Ridge BrewingClear Sky – This brewery is one that I haven’t found myself at yet even though it’s in town so I wanted to try one of their beers. I decided to go with this cream ale, which I’ve found out is related to a pale ale. I can understand the comparison as it wasn’t very hoppy or malty and had a clear yellow coloring to it. I did throttle back on the alcohol content with a 5.1% ABV. If Wolf’s Ridge was going for a craft version of Genesee, they hit the spot.

Rhinegeist Fiction (L) Wolf's Ridge Clear Sky (R) and Catawba Island Seiche (B)

Rhinegeist Fiction (L) Wolf’s Ridge Clear Sky (R) and Catawba Island Seiche (B)

Rhinegeist Brewing Co.Fiction – This beer is another that I’ve had another offering of theirs (Truth, an IPA) that I picked up on a trip to Fairfield, OH. The second beer will also get reviewed first again. This company is out of Cincinnati and don’t distribute this far north yet. This beer is one of their rotational rarities, which I believe is a fancy word for seasonal. This beer is a Belgian Extra Pale Ale. Belgian yeast is present so that gives the pale a twist. The extra pale part comes in with a dry hopping of Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops. At 40 IBUs, it isn’t that bitter especially with the yeast doing it’s job. Fiction has a 6.0% ABV so I went back up the scale.

Zaftig Brewing Co.Scottish Perle – After we finally grabbed some food (Let’s just say a sandwich shop was out of sandwiches. Maybe they should work on that aspect for 2015.) I realized that I was behind on drinks so I decided to get a full beer. The problem was I decided to grab a beer that was 10% ABV. Good idea on a catch up beer, moron. It was a Scottish Strong Ale. I was expecting a dose of the grapefruit hops that is present in Seventh Sons’s Seventh Son American Strong Ale. Another reason I expected it was that they listed it at 43 IBU. This beer did deliver on the promised roasted malt and chocolate. It may have actually been a bit too much roasted malt. It wasn’t my favorite beer but I do want to try more from this company based here in Cbus.

Sideswipe Coop Looter (Duh), Millersburg Blonde (L), Guinness Chocolate Cupcake from Sweet! Mobile Cupcakery and Zaftig Scottish Perle (R)

Sideswipe Coop Looter (Duh), Millersburg Blonde (L), Guinness Chocolate Cupcake from Sweet! Mobile Cupcakery and Zaftig Scottish Perle (R)

Millersburg Brewing Co.Lot 21 Blonde – This company is proud to be part of the Browns Backers. Yuck. They are based between here and Canton so that is too be expected. I needed to back off the heavy beers so this one came down to 5.5% ABV. Blondes are good for that kind of beer. It was a great cool off beer. It was light and crisp. As usual in blondes, it only has a 23 IBU so little bitterness to be found. Just what the doctor ordered. Now if I just would have swapped this beer and the Scottish Perle, my liver might have been happier.

Sideswipe Brewing Co.Coop Looter – This company is the third of the evening that I will be reviewing beer #2 prior to beer #1 that I have tried. I have shied away from buying their beers in part because they only come in 22 oz. I did try their Elegant Hoodlum Smoked Stout which is fantastic so I had to try another beer from them. I crept back up in ABV at 6.0% with this Saison. It was a perfect summer beer. It was light and crisp with just a hint of spice. I would have called it a Hefeweizen if I didn’t know any different. Another good beer from a company here in Cbus.

As usual, go out and enjoy your own local #SippyTimeBeer and let me know how it is. I may travel there to try it! – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @DeschutesBrewery, @FullPintBrewing, @RivertownBrew and @Seventh_Son_Brewing

IMG_20140221_234726Deschutes BreweryBlack Butte Porter – I tried this beer at the Columbus Winter Beerfest but it was during my “I made a rookie mistake” phase of the evening so I didn’t remember consuming it. I had been wanting to try their beer since Eric had listed Chainbreaker as one of his favorite beers for last year. Deschutes says that this beer is their flagship. I understand why. Though it isn’t as thick as most porters I like, it has a smoothness to it that is unlike a normal beer. The flavor is fantastic with a roasted nuttiness. It has just enough hops at 30 IBU to give this porter a kick on the back end. It doesn’t provide much kick in the ABV content at 5.2% which is a good thing because I’d be fine with drinking this beer all day long. They distribute over most of the western and central US, so grab this one if you can.

IMG_20140208_223243Full Pint BrewingNight of the Living Stout – This beer was a Christmas gift from the lady’s younger sister. Since she lives in Colorado, I was expecting something from out there but this one comes out of Pittsburgh. She had to get me it then because this beer is a seasonal beer. Maybe I should start posting the seasonal beers first. This beer though is interesting because most stouts aren’t heavy in the hops department. This beer comes in at a very high 110 IBU so it’s the hoppiest beer I have ever tried. Even Rivertown’s Hop Baron Double IPA was “only” 103 IBU. I was surprised that Full Pint used just Cascade hops to provide a citrus tone that was lost to me. It just tasted like hops. The blends of hops provide a better citrus punch in my opinion. With all of that hops in it, I would have expected a higher ABV than 7.0%. That is still a solid punch to pack. You can only find Full Pint in OH, PA and FL so if you feel like having the hoppiest stout ever, feel free to drink this one.

IMG_20140214_000514Rivertown Brewing Co.Hop Bomber – This beer is the little brother to the hoppier Baron. It is a rye pale ale which brings the IBU down to a reasonable 49. I’m not one for rye beers but this one hit the spot. It is probably because the other ryes I have had have been IPAs. It may be because of the malt used in this pale ale that made me like the rye. I’d love to know the types of hops they used but they aren’t letting you know other than the fact that they dry hop with two styles of American hops. Do they use the same types in the original brewing? Different? Who knows. I don’t care either. This beer is their second best beer. Only their Roebling Porter is better to me. This beer comes in at 5.5% ABV so it can be had over the long haul too. They distribute in OH, KY, TN and FL so grab this one up if you can.

IMG_20140215_142940Seventh Son Brewing Co.Stone Fort Oat Brown – I reviewed this beer in my top 10 beers in Columbus. I’m not sure if this beer will maintain it’s top five status at the end of this year but I do know that I will still find this beer to be fantastic. I bought a growler recently and took it down to my lady’s parent’s place. Unlike myself, he’s not going to convince his palate to like hops. Because of that fact, I find his tastes interesting since I’m surrounded by hop heads. I did know his limit was 40 IBU so when they labeled the growler 30 IBU I was confident he’d like it. Her father did end up approving it. This beer comes in at 5.25% ABV so it’s another beer that you can sip all day long.

I’d like to thank Cheryl Harrison and Drink Up Columbus for the invite to last night’s 3rd Anniversary party. I got to try an old beer with a new name, Smokehouse Brewing’s MacLenny’s Scottish Ale, and two new beers, Four String’s Mexican Blonde and Catawba Island’s Whitecap Wit. All good beers that will be reviewed in due time. Thanks for including myself and StuntGranny in your events! Now go have a #SippyTimeBeer over the weekend! – Kevin

 

#SippyTimeBeer Preview – @ZauberBrewing Maifest

maifestI have certainly moved coverage of beer from what anyone can acquire this beer, which is coming later today, but also to including the local brewers in the mix. The Maifest event is in town hosted by Zauber Brewing Company and will be featuring beers from themselves, Four String Brewing, Sideswipe Brewing and Smokehouse Brewing. (Which was renamed recently from Barley’s Smokehouse. See this article for the disambiguation from Drink Up Columbus.) There will be food at the event too supplied from Schmidt’s Sausage, ManBQue, Matt The Miller’s and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. Since I am familiar with German traditions, having gone to Bockfest last year, I had some questions for Geoff Towne, brewmaster at Zauber, about their Maifest celebration.

Question: Will you have a Maypole at the event? If so, will there be a procession before it is erected as they do in Germany? Will there be any traditional dances around the Maypole?

Answer: Yes there will be a May-Pole, dancing around it is optional. We are just trying out a lot of these ideas for the first time, as we do more in the future we hope to do as many German/European ideas for fun.

Question: During Bockfest, bock beers are celebrated. Is there a traditional beer connected to Maifest? Also during Bockfest, Germans started lagering beers for Oktoberfest. Is there a beer that starts being made during Maifest for later consumption?

Answer: MaiBock might make sense to celebrate with this event. Wish I’d thought about that myself. MaiBock is an interchangeable name for Octoberfest style. They are very similar.

Question: Will you start celebrating other traditional German festivals like Bockfest & Oktoberfest?

Answer: Yes our intention is to do some other German/European inspired festivals.  And make them our own. Americanize them, if you will.

Question: Which of your beers will be featured during this event? Will there be any new beers debuted? Do you know which beers Smokehouse Brew, Four String & Sideswipe will be supplying?

Answer: Buxom Blonde, Stodgy Brown, Berzerker Belgian IPA, Magnum Copper Ale. Not new for now. I don’t have the list of the other brewers, but I would suspect Smokehouse’s Scottish Ale, Blood Thirst Wheat,  Four String Brass Knuckle and Back Stage Blonde. Sideswipe not sure. (I haven’t reviewed it yet but their Elegant Hoodlum Smoked Stout is my favorite smoked beer.)

Question: When will your large tanks be ready to use?

Answer: Large brewery is about a month (3/4wks) out.  Beer by July 4th?

It’s a bummer to not be in town for this party as it sounds tasty in the food and more importantly beer department. I will be touring a brewery in Colorado Springs though so I will get a column out of this weekend. I’m glad I’ll be in town for July 4th. More Zauber beer equals a happy – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @NewBelgium Taste Testing

New Belgium SignI got invited to a tasting for New Belgium Brewery from Superior Beverage by way of Cheryl Harrison. New Belgium is from Fort Collins, CO and will start distributing in Ohio on the 16th of December. Since I blog about beer, I got an invite. It’s the first real present I’ve gotten out of this gig. Since my woman doesn’t like beer (cider only), I brought my buddy Ken since a guest was allowed to come. Quite a few people wondered what Stunt Granny was so hopefully we’ll get a couple of more clicks on the site. I had no idea what I was in store for since the invitation gave the location and time. No hint as to what beers would be there aside from beer and food that paired with it. When I got there, I found out that they had three year round beers, one seasonal beer and three beers from their line called Lips of Faith. I also found out that some of the food pairings were a no go for me since I cease breathing when I ingest shellfish. On to the beers and some of the food pairings.

After signing in and snagging our name tags, we ran into the most obvious of choices from New Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale which is their signature beer. I had already tried this beer when my younger brother Brian lived in Denver. Since it’s an amber, it’s another easy choice for me. I would also say that Fat Tire is my second favorite amber only to Great Lakes Eliot Ness. It was paired with biscuits that had bacon in it. The pairing did work quite well but it’s near impossible to go wrong with bacon inside of bread along with a very tasty beverage.

We then moseyed to the back venue and tried out their only seasonal beer, Accumulation, anIPA. This beer was lighter than I expected out of an IPA. The hops are definitely there but it’s cut by citrus, mostly lemon, to not completely light up your palette with hops. They created this beer this year in October and will only be available until the end of the month so if you like IPAs, I suggest finding this one. I’m not sure if the barbequed meatballs were supposed to be paired with this beer but that’s what I ate with it.

Ken and I then drank their Trippel, a Belgian Style Ale. This beer had the highest alcohol content of any of the main selection of beers at 7.8% alcohol. The hops and malt are balanced out quite nicely which leads to the coriander spice being a prominent taste. They claim that it’s just a trace but it’s definitely in there. I loved the smoothness of this beer and could see it being a trouble maker.

The fourth beer overall and the third year round beer was their Ranger, another IPA. With the Accumulation, the citrus cut the hops. In this one, they balanced it out by adding a dash more malt (pale and dark) to take the edge off. They used different style of hops than in Accumulation but they were supposed to have a citrus bite to it. The hops citrus notes weren’t as noticeable as it was in the other beer. A bottle of this beer accidentally fell in my back pocket as we left so you know it must be good as IPAs are still growing on me.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @DarkHorseBrewCo, @HofbraeuhausMUC, @ImperialCerveza and @PennBrewery

Dark Horse Amber Ale

Dark Horse Brewing CompanyAmber Ale – This beer is not one that I expected. I had never heard of this company. The restaurant that the lady and I went to isn’t exactly known as a haven for the beer drinker either. I always have high hopes when I suck down some malty goodness. This time around, I was not disappointed. In fact I was quite happy with it. Dark Horse says that what sets this amber apart from others isn’t the malt or small dose of hops but the yeast strain that they use. It’s similar to a Belgain strain of yeast. They also say that there’s clove & some fruit to accent the beer but I didn’t pick up on those hints. If that’s what they say, I agree because it is one of the best ambers I’ve had this year. Their beers are available in 11 states so you’ve got a one in five chance of being in a state that sells it. So go out and find it if you live in one of these lucky states.

HofbrauhausHefeweizen – Back when I was at Kent State, I had the good fortune to go over to Italy to study for a semester. During that time, I had the chance to go to Munich and go to thee Hofbrauhaus. It is one of the original beer halls of Munich and was established in 1589. I went up there with my friend Michelle. While touring the Dachau Concentration Camp, we ran into some of my friends from James Madison. We decided to meet up later that night at the Hofbrauhaus to enjoy some bier. It was the first time I’d tried this beer but I don’t have much of a memory of it. When I recently tried it at Wurst Und Bier, I got a nice reminder. It had the hazy yellow color and the freshness that hefeweizens do but it lacks the banana and clove punch that others do. It makes it a smoother beer and closer to a traditional pilsner. It’s always worth trying this one because if it’s longevity and good taste.

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