#SippyTimeBeer Review – @TheAbitaBeer and @SaintArnold

St Arnold Weedwacker

Naturally when I went to New Orleans for Wrestlemania, I drank beers made in Louisiana or in one case Texas since I don’t live there. I have had Abita before since it’s distributed in 46 states. I haven’t seen much of their beer outside of Purple Haze, which I avoided drinking while down there since it is the only Abita I have drunk before. I’ll cover Abita & Saint Arnold (Texas beer) today with the flights of beer at the New Orleans breweries coming next week. I did miss the NOLA Brewery but we only had so much time. Let’s get to the reviews.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. –  Weedwacker – My lady and I went to Emeril’s for our first meal after getting into New Orleans. I told the staff I wanted a refreshing beer and asked for a hefeweizen. The beverage ended up being from Houston, Texas. I can’t get my hands on stuff from Texas all the time (I’m looking your way Shahid.) so I was fine with drinking it. Saint Arnold has a similar beer called Lawnmower, which is a kolsch, but because they swapped out kolsch yeast for hefeweizen yeast, this beer is a hefeweizen. It did taste a little more hoppy than a normal hefeweizen. In my opinion, kolschs tend to have just a bit more hops even though both styles are low in it. I liked this beer but it didn’t blow me out of the water because of the odd hops tinge which only gets it to 15 IBUs which usually isn’t noticeable but is because of the lightness of the wheat beer. It has a 4.9% ABV so one can drink it for a while. If you want to try it yourself, they are only available in Texas, Louisiana, Colorado & Florida.

Abita StrawberryAbita Brewing Co.Strawberry – This beverage was my follow up beer. I had to start drinking Louisiana beers and what better than drinking the most popular kind. I went with one I had never heard of because it’s their Seasonal Harvest beer. It was a nice and refreshing beer. It is very thin which isn’t too much of a surprise from a lager. Not surprisingly, it has a prominent strawberry flavor. I think Abita does a fantastic job with fruit beers. This beverage has a 4.2% ABV and an IBU of 13. If you like fruity beers, give this one a try as long as it’s available.

Abita Brewing Co.Amber – As anyone who has read the site, they know I love my ambers. I remember my buddy Geoff Towne, brewmaster at Zauber Brewing, that one beer that I love, Eliot Ness, had more malt than a normal Vienna lager. After drinking this Vienna lager, I understand exactly what he means. Eliot Ness has 27 IBU while the Abita has 17 IBU but I swear that the hops is more prominent in the Amber than in Eliot Ness. It is probably because the malt is so much heavier than what is in the Amber. It is still a good beer but to me it isn’t as good as Eliot Ness. More malt is better in Kevin’s mouth. This beer is a year round offering so pick it up unless you’re one of the 4 states that don’t get Abita.

Abita Jockamo IPAAbita Brewing Co.Jockamo IPA – Jeremy, his lady & myself had a crazy drinking night on Saturday while my woman slept off her sickness. Because of a Hand Grenade, one plus Resurrections and a 190 proof shot from Dave the Fireman, who supposedly was in the front row at Wrestlemania, and several beers prior to that, I had a bit of a hang over on Sunday. My headache was still persisting when we went to grab food before going into the now infamous Silver aka Super Dome. At Daisy Duke’s, Jockamo IPA was my beer of choice. When I initially tasted it, I thought there was too much hops in it. As I drank it though, it settled in and started going down much smoother. I think that my hang over was still causing problems for my palate because the IBU was 52 which is quite low for an IPA. This beer is another year round beer so if you’re an IPA fan, drink one of these bad boys.

Abita Andygator

Abita Brewing Co.Andygator – This beer was the last Abita I had. On their site, it’s listed as a big beer but I got a 12 oz. It’s an interesting beer because it’s a Helles Doppelbock. Helles beers are normally lighter, pilsner like beers. Doppelbocks tend to be darker and thicker beers, similar to porters. So it was surprising to see the two words put together. Abita used pale malt, German lager yeast and German Perle hops to come up with this concoction. It provided for an interesting taste that I enjoyed. I’m quite sure I haven’t tasted a Doppelbock like it before. Because it is that style, it comes in at 8.0% ABV and an IBU of 25. This beer is my favorite non-fruit Abita Beer. I believe it is now available everywhere since a friend in Cleveland said she had it in her refrigerator. I saved the best for last, by chance.

Here’s a cool link from Wired.com about a new glass to enjoy your stouts more properly. If you’re a serious stout drink, I think you owe it to #SippyTimeBeer to spend $9 on this excellent item. I will also be going to North High Brewing this weekend with my lady’s father so there’s another article in store on top of more New Orleans beers. Have a good weekend! – Kevin

 

#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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#SippyTimeReview – @HeavySeasBeer, Hoegaarden, @RodenbachBeer and Steenbrugge

Steenbrugge Tripel

Steenbrugge Tripel

Heavy Seas BeerCutlass Amber Lager – This beer ended my night of drinking as I had all four of these beers in one evening. Because I do these reviews in alphabetical order though, it’s first. This beer got downed while waiting for some chick pea curry at Explorer’s Club, which is fantastic. It wasn’t overwhelming in taste. It was a lighter amber that didn’t go heavy handed on the malt despite the name. It was right in line with a Vienna style lager. This beer has won a number of awards at the Great American Beer Festival and is their second highest selling beer. Heavy Seas is out of Halethorpe MD. They are kind enough to provide a beer finder so figure out if you can drink this one, you scurvey dawgs. I had to make one pirate reference.

HoegaardenHoegaarden – We went out with some friends one evening and because of the draft menu at Hal & Al’s, I decided to make it a Belgian beer night. First up on the list was this beer which I first drank when I moved down here to Columbus. I haven’t had it much between then and now because I drank too much then to pay for expensive beer but with so many choices now, I hadn’t tried it until that night. This beer is a white ale which is a brother to hefeweizens. This beer has all of the hallmarks of a hefeweizen which is orange peel, coriander and herbs along with a murky look to the light yellow color. I’m not sure what the herbs are because the orange and coriander are far more prominent. I remember being surprised by the difference in flavor profile then but now it’s expected. Because of a difference in expectations, this “500 years of hard work” for this beer seemed just okay amongst it’s brothers in the hefeweizen family.

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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 Review – @ZauberBrewing and Local Beer

Zauber Kolsch

I love local beer. Whether it’s just from the same city or state. Local doesn’t always mean better especially when you go to Tennessee. In the case of my Friday adventure though, it was definitely great. Zauber Brew Master Geoff Towne decided to do a little experiment. He took the same ingredients for their new Kolsch style beer and only changed out the yeast used to create four distinct beers. As a primer, he gave me samples of their Myopic Red, a German Red Alt, and Vertigo, a hefeweizen. Then he poured out the four different styles of Kolsch. We talked about, go figure, beer while I drank the different styles. I haven’t had too many Kolsch style beers so I was concerned. As far as I know, the total has been one (which I haven’t review yet) but since it is German, there’s a solid possibility that I had one while I was in Germany. After tasting all four, I gave him my reviews as had anyone who wondered in to get a growler. Geoff wrote down what I had liked and since they were almost finished with the test batches, he gave me my favorite taste in one of the two growlers I brought, which is pictured above. You’re not going to get much of a choice if you go to some gigantic brewer like Budweiser to sample anything like this. Sure, I didn’t like two of the four. One was tasted like yeast a little too much. But I’d rather test beers out and figure out what I do like which requires some failures. Support your local brewers, whether they’re in town or a few miles around. They’ll get you a libation you love.

I met the owner of Drink Up Columbus, Cheryl Harrison, a couple of years ago at a Twitter meet up for a group called Cbusr. They have some good drinking content that is very local. While I do prefer to expand the scope of my beer intake so that it is more accessible to a larger audience, DUC does that too. I liked their article on the possibility of nutritional information on beer, wine and alcohol. -Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review & Links – Ohio Brewing Company

Ohio Brewing Buckeye Blond

Ohio Brewing CompanyBuckeye Blonde – As I put in my Instagram (@difrango11) post …”so tasty, I almost took a picture of an empty glass.” Since it’s American Craft Beer Week, I went to Kenny Road Market and grabbed a pick a six pack. This company is out of Akron OH is one that I don’t think I have heard of prior to looking into their cooler. It tasted a bit like a hefeweizen because it has a spicy kick or nutmeg or cinnamon. Buckeye Blonde is made like a Belgian ale instead of it’s German sister. It is a seasonal beer and the distribution probably isn’t in your area unless you live in the Buckeye state or just south of the border in Kentucky. Feel free to call the distributors from this link if you want to find it. It’s worth seeking it out. Very tasty and crisp.

A couple of links for you to peruse: Zauber Brewing in Cbus tweeted this link earlier in the week that is worth checking out. “How to Decipher the Beer List at Your Local Craft Beer Bar” is the name of the article. If you have any time following what types I’m beer I’m drinking, go there.

In a Sippy Time Beer Review back in April, I pimped a local food truck called Ajumama which is run by fellow Kent Stater Laura Lee. She’s got a shoot at cooking on Live with Kelly & Michael. Voting started early this morning and runs thru 8 PM Saturday May 18th. Their food is extremely tasty so go vote for them, -Kevin

 

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Atwater, Breckenridge And Otto’s

American_craft_beer_week

From washingtonbeerblog.com

I went back to Pennsylvania back to back weekends to close out April so my weekend writing time was severely limited. My time to drink was not hindered though. Because this week is American Craft Beer week, I will list in chronological order the beers I had and milk this trip for all it’s worth with two different posts.

Atwater BreweryVanilla Java Porter – I went to go see my friends Steve & Mittan revive one of their bands at the fine establishment known as Aldo’s. Steve was drinking one of these Vanilla Java Porters. Since I hadn’t tried one before, I went for it. This beer out of Detroit was good but I thought it was a little thin for a porter, which tend to be closer in thickness to a stout. The vanilla and java tastes weren’t over bearing which is good for me since I don’t like coffee.

Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

Breckenridge BreweryAvalanche Amber Ale – Mittan runs the bar at Aldo’s. He has done a very good job of stocking the bar with a variety of beers. After not being entirely satisfied with the porter, I decided to switch up my beer. Because I’ve had a good track record with Breckenridge, I went with their Avalanche Amber Ale. I was not disappointed. A very tasty beer that I ended the evening with since their band finished playing by the time I finished beer number two.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – 21st Amendment, Magic Hat & Zauber

Magic Hat Elderberry

I had a couple of tasty beverages during Wrestlemania. I actually had a fantastic food and beer day. I’ll concentrate on the beer side of things though. We had dinner at their place so I had:

Magic Hat Brewing CompanyElder Betty – I’m not the biggest Magic Hat fan so I wasn’t sure if I should try this beer but it’s always worth trying especially when your neighbors are the ones who’d have to finish the rest of the six pack. It’s an Elderberry Weiss beer.  Considering that it was a busy and warm day, it was a perfect beer to start off with. I am really getting into the wheat beers. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what an Elderberry is or how it tastes. This beer though had just enough fruit in it to not be overwhelming. It’s definitely worth a try and you’ll need to do that soon because it’s a seasonal beer.

When we came back to my place to watch Wrestlemania, I had two more types of beers.

21st Amendentment

21st Amendent Brewing CompanyBitter American – I couldn’t resist the packaging when shopping earlier in the day. All of their art work was in this style. I love it. It reminds me of companies that use the same art style for all of their products. The first product I thought of was KMFDM’s album cover art. It’s an Extra Pale Ale and also called a Session Ale. On their site, they are very happy because of it’s low alcohol content. It doesn’t really bother me what the alcohol level is but I don’t think it’s something you trumpet. It is a tasty beer though. I think it has more hops than a normal pale ale. I like pale ales because of the lighter hops but it is balanced more than an India pale ale because of the malts that are used. This beer is one of their year round beers so it’s not a rush to grab it but if you like pales & IPAs, this beer is for you.

Zauber Brewing CompanyVertigo – There are a number of breweries that I like in Cbus. Two of them are well established, Columbus Brewing Company and Elevator Brewing Company. The other two are recently established, Four Strings and Zauber. I have steered away from the later two because their distribution is pretty limited. They are both in the same area but I go to Zauber more. They sell growlers Thursday-Saturday in the evening. They also have food trucks there on a regular basis along with rallies when the weather is really nice. I got to taste their new flavor Portergeist & Berzerker (IPA) but I decided to buy the Vertigo growler. After drinking a pale ale, it was another good switch. It is refreshing and has just some hints of clove & vanilla. I don’t get any of the banana flavor. It is extremely tasty although it isn’t my favorite beer from them. If anyone comes to Cbus, I will be sure to take them down there. Jeremy missed their opening by a month or two last year. If you’re lucky, the Ajumama Food Truck which is run by a fellow Kent Stater, will be there selling their Korean street food. It’s extremely tasty even when you try something new like pork belly. -Kevin

Ajumama Pork Belly

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Calfkiller, Turtle Anarchy & Yazoo

Calfkiller Turtle Anarchy Yazoo

After we had gone to the Belle Meade Plantation and Hog Heaven, we hit a nice beer refuge called the Flying Saucer. They have quite a few locations around the country, most of which are in the south. If you get the chance to check one out, do it. The soft pretzels were fantastic. If one is really close, you can get into the U.F.O. Club which gets you a fancy gold plate on the ceiling and or walls for drinking 200 beers and dropping $18. I would gladly take that deal if the closest location weren’t Nashville.

Calfkiller Brewing CompanyBrown Recluse – I used to walk into record stores and purchase random CDs because of their names. I do the same thing now, except with beers. I was looking for a new beer company to try and even though Calfkiller’s tap said seasonal, I was all in. The flavor ended up being named after a spider which is native to the area. They are based out of Sparta KY which was another change. All of these changes paid off in taste. It was a tasty brown ale that reminded me of something like Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale. There was hope for beer from Tennessee after all.

Turtle Anarchy Brewing CompanyPortly Stout – Most stouts will make you feel portly after you drink them and this one is no different. It had a heavy coffee taste to it which doesn’t bother me even though I don’t drink coffee. It had a good rich taste though and went well with the pretzel as seen in the picture. It cooled off the spicy mustard dip. This company is out of Franklin TN so…

Yazoo Brewing CompanyHefeweizen – …I went back to beers brewed in Nashville. As I said in the first part, you need to try a company’s whole body before you can judge it. This beer had no fancy name to attached to it after a couple of creative names. Just like the name, there didn’t seem to be anything fancy about this beer which was great. It was a good crisp and just spiced enough hefeweizen that went down very quickly after two thicker beers.

I didn’t get a chance to sample more varieties from Yazoo but I will try to the next time I’m down a little further south. Two beers is far too small a sample size from a company that has eight beers amongst which is another amber ale. I’d be more than happy to try more beers from the other companies too. I like to drink local so remember, when you buy a growler from a local beer company, everyone wins. -Kevin

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