#SippyTimeBeer Review – @HomesteadBeerCo, @ElevatorBrewing, @ZauberBrewing and @RivertownBrew

IMG_20140311_200026Homestead Beer Co. –  Claim Jumper IPA – This company sure does like to make IPAs. They talked me into trying their BOAT Series IPA last year at the Cbus Microbrew Festival last year. After going to their website, they have it listed as “Out of Rotation.” They have two other IPAs Station Master Session IPA and The Galactic Heroes IPA. They all have varying degrees of IBU and ABV that does separate them. This one was their second good one that I have gotten to taste. They use a blend of Columbus, Nugget and Galena so that is always a good start for me. It didn’t have anything to cut the hops like roasted malt or a heavy dose of citrusy hops but stopped right near my edge of IBU pleasure. This one is at 81 IBU. I would expect a higher ABV than 5.8% because of the high hops count but that’s what it is. Though they boxed it into a pleasure area for me, it’s closer to a straight IPA so I liked the BOAT Series better which did have the citrus notes. This one is worth drinking if you’re an IPA fan.

IMG_20140311_210607Elevator Brewing Co.Big Vic Imperial IPA – One of the standard bearers for Columbus craft beers makes this one. It is a wheat IPA so that cuts some of the bitterness out of the drink. They don’t divulge much on their website for what particular styles of hops they use but they do note that they dry hop the beer to make it go from regular to Imperial IPA. The dry hopping gave it something that Claim Jumper didn’t have, the citrus note to cut out some of the bitterness. They are easy to compare because of their similar IBUs. Big Vic stands at 80 IBU so there’s a single difference. My hunch may have been wrong about Claim Jumper’s ABV, but it was correct with this one sitting at 8.6% ABV. I liked this one more than the first. Good beer to have around in the summer since the wheat does provide a lightness that other IPAs don’t have.

Zauber Brewing Co.Vertigo – I have taken a look at this beer previously but much like the Nitro Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing, I didn’t take a full look at this one. Unfortunately, their full capacity brewery isn’t quite ready yet. I am very much looking forward to that day since this fine beverage was consumed back in March. It is a hefeweizen so it was a little early in the year to be digging into the lighter side of beers but we had a Bluejackets game this particular Thursday when they did have their own beer. I was very happy they had this one on tap though. It is very light, crisp, a hint of spice and just a little hazy in it’s golden tone. It only has a 5.4% ABV and 12 IBU so this beer can be session-able. It went down really well with a wrap from the Paddy Wagon Food Truck. When I was doing my Year In Review list for Cbus beers, this one wasn’t in my top 10. It’s still a fantastic beer whether it’s there or not.

Rivertown BreweryBlueberry Lager – I have had much luck with this fine company out of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, this beer is not among them. It is a light lager so it has a similar body to a light beer which isn’t a good start. They use artificial flavor for the blueberry taste. I’m assuming that even though it’s not completely clear in the description. The blueberry flavor isn’t overwhelming so it does match better with the light lager. It all adds up to a very weak tasting beer. Even good companies make bad beer. – Kevin

 

 

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#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 – @3Floyds, @ElevatorBrewing, @LeftHandBrewing and @OhioBrewing

3 Floyds Robert the Bruce

In order to play some form of catch up, I’m going to start reviewing four beers a week. When I was talking to Jeremy last week, I realized I was at least 27 beers behind. I may add a second posting per week. I definitely have a bad beers article in mind for the future.

3 FloydsRobert The Bruce Scottish Ale – My neighbor Fred loves to talk about 3 Floyd’s. He’s been to the brewery in Muenster Indiana and has introduced me to any number of their flavors. This one I found on my own though but got it because of good previous experiences. I’m glad I took the chance because this is easily one of the best beers I’ve had this year. It’s already on the short list for Best Beers of 2014 that I’ve tried, which will be posted in about a month. Don’t worry, I’ve got a round table of drunks who have treated their liver as poorly as I have so it won’t be just my perspective for a change. Back to Robert the Bruce which has two different types of malt in it with a dash of hops to offset it. It’s official that I’ve got a soft spot for beers with plenty of malt. It’s got a punch at 7.0% alcohol too. They only distribute in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin. If you live nearby one of these states, it’s worth the trip to drink this beer.

Elevator Brewing CompanyHeiferweizen – Elevator was the first microbrewery I went to in town. Since they have a cow on the label to this beer, so they call it Heiferweizen. That’s the only thing that makes this beer different from a regular hefeweizen. It has the familiar banana and clove flavors that comes from the yeast. I’m not cool with their suggestion that you add a lemon to the beer. It’s plenty good to drink by itself.

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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 – Elevator Horny Goat & Links Galore

Elevator Horny Goat

Elevator Brewing CompanyHorny Goat – This company is one of the larger micro-brews in Columbus. They have a series of Goat beers that take a regular beer style, in this case their Porter, and age it in whiskey barrels. (This is the only bottle that misspells whiskey). I have tried a whiskey bar before in town, Barrel 44, and though I didn’t go to the level of hating it, I’m not going to do that on a regular basis. Or on a semi-regular basis. So when a porter, which I normally like quite a bit, gets aged in whiskey barrels, it starts to take on a flavor I don’t like. Porters generally have a more assertive taste though than a lighter beer like the numerous hefeweizen’s I’ve been drinking over the summer. So the flavor stands up to the whiskey better than most but I still wasn’t a huge fan.

Do you like beer? Do you like ice cream? Well then why not make yourself a beer float without the root. The smoked porter and stout ideas sound fantastic. Thanks to Draft Magazine for the link.

Yeah for me and the rest of the state of Ohio and evidently Florida earlier this year. New Belgium, best know for its’ Fat Tire Amber Ale which is fantastic, will be gracing our fine state by the end of the year. Thanks to The Beer Blog for the link.

So do you think I’m just talking up Columbus beers because I live here? eTurboNews, which covers Global Travel Industry News, agrees with me and does a fantastic job of running down the old and new brewers in this fine city. I still have yet to get to a couple of these places there are so many in town. Another brewer just opened but in Delaware (about 30 minutes north) just this past week too, Staas Brewing.

I’m gone for the next week so have fun putting up with Dusty, Eric & Jeremy. They will make you want to drink a #SippyTimeBeer. -Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Flying Dog, Fortune Teller & Green Flash

Flying Dog Pale AleFlying Dog BreweryClassic Pale Ale – I’ve mentioned more than once that I’m not always the biggest fan of India Pale Ales (IPAs) but they are starting to grow on me. This beer dials back the hops and delivers quite a good balance of hops and malt. Their site says that there are grassy and citrus notes but I didn’t get those. I remember a failed beer from Great Lakes Brewing that was called Grassroots Ale. I felt like I was tasting a thinned out version of dirt. I got nothing of the sort from this beer. This beer out of Frederick MD is worth drinking.

Barley’s Smokehouse & BrewpubFortune Teller East India Porter – There is a Barley’s chain around that are serving house brews but as far as I understand this spot is unrelated to the chain. According to their website, IPAs were made for the officers on the ships sailing from England to India since hops are a natural preservative. The crew got a similarly hopped porter. Even with all of the hops, it isn’t heavy handed. It has a dark color but is thinner than most porters. It was another tasty beverage that I’d recommend. It helps that the food is good to boot.

Green Flash Saison Diego

Saison Diego with Sir Perry Berry in the background

Green Flash Brewing CompanySaison Diego – Saisons are quick becoming a favorite. They remind me of hefeweizens because they’re light, have just a hint of fruit and a noticeable spice note. For this beer, the citrus is orange (banana for most hefeweizens) and the spice is ginger (usually clove or cinnamon for the other) which makes for a light, crisp refreshing beer. This beer seems suited for summer so since it’s upon us, give it a try.

Here are a couple of links that I got to read today. Thanks to extra local brewers like Zauber, Hoof Hearted and Four Strings along with Cbus staples Columbus Brewing Company and Elevator Brewing, Ohio has become the #4 state for craft beer production. My liver is not happy with this news. The other link is about how one rates a local beer on the Untappd app, which I have but don’t use. Do I overrate local beers? I don’t think so but it could be a factor. Enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer this weekend! -Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – What I Drank During The Super Bowl

Elevator Thirsty Dog Tommyknocker

Elevator Brewing CompanyWicked Goat Barrel Aged I.P.A. – This beer is a departure from the normal I.P.A. because of the barrel aging. It dulls the taste of the hops or they don’t put in as much as normal. It tastes like they’re using an oak barrel because it definitely has a hint of it in the flavor. This beer is out of Columbus. They have a fabulous brew pub that was the earliest I had heard of aside from the Columbus Brewing Company. I have a vague story about my bachelor party from Elevator but I’ll save that for another time.

Thirsty Dog Brewing CompanyWhippet Wheat – This is my favorite beer from Thirsty Dog. As you can imagine names all of their names have a dog reference in them. The alliteration should not dissuade you from trying this beer. It is extremely smooth German Weizen beer. You can definitely taste the banana in there with something else surrounding it which ends up being clove and vanilla. You can check to see if it’s in your area here. I suggest finding it if you’re in one of those states. It may be out of Akron, but it has solid distribution.

TommyKnocker BreweryButt Head Doppelbock Lager – I’ve got to admit, I didn’t actually drink this one during the game. I like keeping a trio of reviews at a time though. I had this one for my dad’s 70th birthday party. As far as I know, this beer has been sitting in my parent’s fridge for two years. I’m not sure if that changed the taste at all. Although it was a lager, it was thicker than normal and the tasty were more like a porter. It does use caramel malt like the Founder’s Porter. It was tasty for a possibly skunked out beer. I’ll give it another taste from a fresh bottle just to be sure. This beer is the only one on this list not from Ohio. It’s out of Colorado. Here’s their distribution so taste one and make sure it isn’t skunky too. -Kevin

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