#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 Review – Great Lakes, Left Hand & Samuel Adams

Left Hand Good Juju Great Lakes Lake ErieGreat Lakes Brewing CompanyLake Erie Monster – I have covered this beer before for the Memorial Day weekend beers. I heeded my own advice and grabbed one for that weekend in a pick a six pack. This Imperial India Pale Ale is quite tasty and has just the right amount of hops. Great Lakes says that there’s lot of hops in this beer but the extra heaping of malt mellows it out. It’s hard to go wrong when you buy from this company. Be glad they discontinued Grass Roots Ale though. Yikes.

Left Hand Brewing CompanyGood Juju – This beer is a pale ale that hides any hops flavor by loading up on ginger. It has the spicy bite that ginger provides in food. I’m not a fan of it in beer. Even though Left Hand is a great company, this beer gets a boo from me.

Samuel AdamsSummer Ale – This company is probably the first microbrew that I had. Their standard Boston Lager was an early go to. I’ll have to review that at some point. Anyway, after helping my girl’s parents clean up their back yard, they provided me with a tasty beverage. This beer is typical of what I thought of when summer beers were given to me. It’s an ale that puts lemon in it so that it feels more refreshing. The problem with that is the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of lemon. At least in beer. I’d take a tasty lemonade over most summer beers. Luckily, Sam Adams know how to dial back the lemon to not make it overwhelming. I’m still not the biggest fan of this beer but it’s better than most.

Doesn't the neighbor's yard look nice?

Doesn’t the neighbor’s yard look nice?

I follow Chef Michael Symon of Iron Chef America & The Chew fame because he’s from Cleveland. He sent out a tweet earlier this week about how he enjoys sour beer then linked to an article in The New Yorker. I’ve had a couple of sour beers recently from Russian River so I will give my opinion on the article when I get around to reviewing those beers.

From the Brewer’s Association, craft beer in America has grown 15% in sales and 13% in volume. Good news, better quality beer for every one! Enjoy a Sippy Time Beer or two this weekend! -Kevin

#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 – 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 Suggestions For Memorial Day

Grilling_With_Victory

I figured I’d try something a little bit different for this coming weekend. I have probably drank these beers at some point or another but I’m not going to do a full review of any of these beers. Just suggestions for what to do with your extra long weekend.

Columbus Brewing CompanySummer Teeth – I feel like CBC has more beers but after looking through their website they only have five beers. Their year round beers are a pale ale, which I drink frequently, and IPA, which is solid. Summer Teeth is only available April through August so I make sure I get my fair share. It is considered a kellerbier which is a Bavarian style. It reminds me of a hefeweizen without the bananas or spices. It’s a crisp cool beer perfect on a summer day.

Great Lakes Brewing CompanyLake Erie Monster – Let’s say that you’ve had a bad start to the year. It’s your first long weekend of the year and you really want to get shit canned to start the summer because you have plenty of time to recover for work. Lake Erie Monster is just the beer for you then. It has a 9.1% ABV and only comes in a four pack because it is so potent. It’s an Imperial India Pale Ale and I really like it. Monster isn’t as hoppy as Commodore Perry, which is their year round IPA. The upside to this selection is that GBLC just expanded their coverage in Pennsylvania.

Victory Brewing CompanySummer Love Ale – How could I not select one of their beers when I used one of their posters? This company out of Philadelphia has made several tasty beers that I’ve reviewed already. This beer is the only one on my list that I haven’t tried. It looks like another crisp, clean ale.

What I’m Going To Drink This Weekend

Zauber GrowlersI picked up a couple of growlers from my favorite Cbus brewer, Zauber Brewing Company. I reviewed their Vertigo about a month ago. My favorite beverage from them though is their Buxom Blonde which is on the far side of the picture. It’s a Belgian Abby style of beer. It’s really clean with just a hint of fruit. It has a little less fruit than a hefeweizen and it also doesn’t have the spice but they are similar styles. The near growler contains Stodgy Brown, a German Alt beer. It’s an old style that is not made much now and predates even lagers, at least according to Zauber. I haven’t had this one as recently but I thought it was a bigger change of pace than grabbing their Magnum. The mouth feel is more like a thin porter because it has hints of that and stout but it drinks more like a lager. I may not mention what I think of their taste during tonight’s Penguins game but check in on my Twitter & Instagram (@difrango11) for more insight into the tastes of these beers.

Go out to your local brewer, even if it’s not fifteen minutes from your house, grab a great beer and enjoy your grilling this Memorial Day weekend. -Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer – Learning On The Job

english pub

So I wondered why 21st Amendment was excited to tout their beer as a session beer since it had low alcohol volume. The beer world wanted me to find out because Zauber tweeted a link not long after I posted my review that linked to a story called Session Beer Revolution on AllAboutBeer.com. To summarize the idea behind a session beer, you have to brew a beer that is between 4-5% according to most experts. The low alcohol content allows one to continue drinking for hours on end without getting too hammered. It was a push back because most craft beers which had a high level of alcohol. To me, it was no coincidence that the article made the reference to IPAs which have a tendency to be the highest in alcohol content of any type of beer. To give a quick example from Great Lakes Brewing Company, my favorite beverage from them is Eliot Ness Amber Lager which has an alcohol content of 6.2%. Their seasonal IPAs are Lake Erie Monster (9.1%), Rye of the Tiger (7.5%), Alchemy Hour Double IPA (9.4%) and their standard IPA Commodore Perry (7.5%) are all higher Eliot Ness. The article continues to talk about beers being closer 9-12% area because of the cost of craft beers and the fact that people are looking for more bang for their buck when they buy a more expensive beer.

The article goes on to say that most beers produced are between 5-6% and they don’t know how much this push back will work. I don’t care about the alcohol content. I want a tasty beer no matter what the alcohol content is. I think more people that seek out beers like myself don’t care about the alcohol content either. Let’s find out what you think below. At least I know what a session beer is now. -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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