#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 – @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 – @4StringBrewing, Barley’s Brewing, Barley’s Smokehouse and @JackieOsBrewery,

Four String Red Skeleton IPAFour String Brewing CompanySkeleton Red IPA – Four String opened up a small tap room back in November and I have been there a couple of times. It has helped that it has given me more chances to grab a growler from them. Above is a picture of their chalk board beer list, the front of the bar and the beer is seating on a rough concrete poured bar top. It has a cool look to it. You can also inspect the brewing kettles while you’re in there. Enough about the tap room, this beer was on tap because it was a Halloween special that they still had some left. It is an India Pale Ale that is made with malted rye instead of barley malt. It makes for a hoppy, bitter flavor that has a twist to it. I like a lot of their beers, but this one is not going to be a favorite. If you like that hop flavor though, this one is for you.

Barleys BC Blood Thirst WheatBarley’s Brewing CompanyBlood Thirst Wheat – I may have made an error on what to call a local beer last week. I saw both Barley’s on a local ballot for best beer. After inspecting both websites more, I’ll have to include them on my choices next year. I mention that because this beer in particular could make the list. Or should have made the list? The name and color comes from using blood oranges which I became familiar with when living in Italy. The type of blood oranges that I ate originated from Sicily. The other two types are from Spain and Morocco. Barley’s uses the Sicilian version to create this tasty beer. This beer had just a hint of tartness, sweetness and you could still taste the wheat. It was a very delectable beverage that went down like orange juice at breakfast. It has an ABV of 5.0% so it’s in the session territory but with the way I drank it, I’d still get hammered on it.

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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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