#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 – @LeftHandBrewing, @BreweryOmmegang and @OrkneyBrewery

IMG_20140301_181925Left Hand Brewing CompanyMilk Stout Nitro – I reviewed this beer a little more than a year ago. I feel like the reviews have improved since then and since this was my first beer on my birthday way back in March, I had to review it again. I’m not sure the Guinness analogy works any more other than the fact that both are stouts. Milk stouts seem like enough of a division to do away with that in my book. I did forget to mention in the North High Brewing review that milk is used because it doesn’t ferment in the brewing process and it keeps it’s sweetness. They use brown sugar and vanilla cream to help sweeten up this beer. They have just enough bitterness from the hops (at 25 IBUs) to offset some of the sweetness. It also comes with an ABV of 6.0%. They distribute a whole lot of places, so even if you don’t like stouts, give the company a try because they have many fantastic beers.

IMG_20140228_211358Brewery OmmegangHennepin – This beer was from my lady in my birthday six pack. This beer is one of their year round offerings. It is a farmhouse saison Golden ale. They use Grains of Paradise in it, which much like Belgian yeast that has a very distinctive flavor that you can’t miss. They also use coriander, orange peel and ginger in smaller dose because you just get hints of them. Those sweet ingredients are offset by a low IBU of 24. The beer itself lives up to the golden name in color. It’s very smooth and crisp going down. For a beer of this style, it has a high ABV at 7.7%.  I’d have to say it’s a very good beer for this time of the year, even if it’s available all year. Find out where you can get beer from this Cooperstown NY brewery here.

IMG_20140228_225831Brewery OmmegangGlimmerglass – I bought the Glimmerglass for a spring beer that was to be an Irish beer substitute for St. Patrick’s Day according to the worker at Kenny Road Market. It wasn’t a substitute for an Irish beer, but that doesn’t mean that it was bad. It is a limited edition beer during that time of the year so technically she may have a point. If I called the Hennepin smooth and crisp, I’m not sure how to describe this beer. It comes off lighter and less full bodied, but just as crisp and tasty. Without the Grains of Paradise, the light flavors of pear, apple and citrus come through more. It was hard for me to notice the spice that is said to be in there. This beer doesn’t pack much punch at 5.2% ABV. I wish this beer were more of a summer selection instead of spring as it would work very well in warmer weather. It’s a good beer though so if it’s still on the shelves or in a bargain aisle like Kenny Road Market has, go and grab some.

IMG_20140227_232402The Orkney BrewerySkull Splitter – I haven’t had a lot of foreign beers. I didn’t actually chose this one as it was a birthday six pack that I had received from my lady. I’m quite happy to get this craft beer from England. The company has a viking motif for all of their products.  Dragonhead Stout, Dark Island Reserve Ale and photos of Stonehenge like rock formations are among their imagery. Skull Splitter is named after Thorfin Einarsson, the 7th Earl of Orkney. This beer is their heaviest of the lot at 8.5%  ABV. It’s not the highest but it will do the trick especially with how smooth this malty goodness was. Though I didn’t notice the flavor, they use figs and dates in this beer. They use East Kent Goldings hops to bring about a light bitter note. If this doesn’t make it to my top five beers tasted this year, I’ll be surprised. Considering it’s English, I’m pretty sure anyone can find this beer.

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BellsBrewery, @BrooklynBrewery, @NorthHighBrew and @GLBCinColumbus

IMG_20140131_182216Bell’s Brewery, Inc.Hopslam – This beverage is one of the more sought after beers in the area. Bell’s has a solid distribution area in twenty states. But this beer is one of their specialties and only comes out once a year. It’s so popular that a beer store in town was accused of buying cases from other stores for later re-sale.  Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch for that gem of a story. Is this beer worth getting in trouble for, yes. They use six varieties of hops and toss in Simcoe hops during the dry hopping process. Bell’s also throws in honey just for a touch of sweetness which is the only thing taming this beast of bitterness. They don’t list an IBU but it’s got to be around my 90 IBU threshold. It’s a double IPA so it packs a punch at 10.0% ABV. It’s only available from January until March so you’re out of luck for now but keep your eyes peeled next year.

IMG_20140125_191531Brooklyn BrewerySorachi Ace – I didn’t know the story behind this beer until reading their website. Here’s what they had to say:

A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony.

This beer is part of their Beer Master’s Reserve line because of the uniqueness of the hops. When I was tasting this beer though it was the Belgian yeast used that stood out to me. I do think that yeast has a flavor that pairs well with the lemon so it’s a good pairing. The hops aren’t overwhelming either with an IBU of 34. The hops certainly delivers a punch though because this beer is 7.6% ABV. Though I had this beer in January, it’s a perfect beer for the warm weather that is coming around now. If you can find it in your area, go give this special beverage a try.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @ColumbusBrewing, @MtCaramelBrewing, @NorthHighBrew & Southern Tier

IMG_20140124_144325Columbus Brewing Co.Cousin Eddie – The number of places you can get craft beer keeps growing. This one was on tap at The Pint Room, right around the corner from my office. They have 87 beers on tap according to their website. This very beer is from Cbus, though the Pint Room has many beers that aren’t from around here. It was interesting because the first time I had heard of an American Strong style of beer, it was Seventh Son from Seventh Son. This one is darker in hue and opaque than Seventh Son. The hue comes from the malt that is used as a base. They both had a very similar taste profile. The biggest similarity was the grapefruit flavored hops that is used to offset the bitter tones from the other styles of hops used in this beer. Also in the same vein, both beers are very good with easily remembered names. I’m sure even Clark would agree with Cousin Eddie’s choice of beer.

Mt Caramel StourterMt. Caramel BrewingStourter – We met some friends out before a Columbus Bluejackets game and went to Dewey’s Pizza where I found this one of a kind beverage that is made for their store. At least that’s what the waitress told me. Considering that I can’t find it on Mt. Caramel’s website, it could be true. If I had been smart, I would have tried their Stout out of a bottle soon there after to compare them. Alas, I didn’t. Porters generally have more head than most beers but this head is cranked up to stout levels as you can see in the picture (L) and compare it to the porter below. It certainly had more of stout thickness too. It was a great beer to sip while eating some tasty pre-game pizza. There wasn’t one taste that stood out to me though. It didn’t have a heavy coffee bitterness. There wasn’t a milk like sweetener. It was just a good solid stout in the mold of Guinness. No tricks, just straight ahead, ahem, stourter goodness. If you go by their stout specs, this beer is 38 IBUs and 6.7% IBUs. This company is out of Cincinnati but they don’t have a distribution map. Enjoy if you can find it.

North High Old FordNorth High Brewing Co.Old Ford Porter – Another prime stop before Bluejackets games this season was Zauber’s Brew Pub since it is no more than five minutes from Nationwide Arena and hosts a food truck every day of the week. North High isn’t much if any further from the arena but the parking isn’t as easy. Before this particular game though, I tried Old Ford at Zauber. The thickness is almost closer to a stout than most of the porters I have experienced recently which is a big positive. I want some viscosity in my porters and stouts. If we’re going by North High’s standard of judging by IBUs, this one is still pretty low at 37. I will say I don’t feel I tasted hops much. That was probably because of the sweetness in the molasses and the dark richness provided by the roasted malt. It comes with a 6.8% ABV so it packs a punch but it won’t double you over. If you come to Columbus, this is a good beer to chose.

Southern Tier Live Pale AleSouthern Tier Brewing Co.Live Pale Ale – I sucked in this beer at Dewey’s. Southern Tier has been a good brewery in my experience and this beer is no different. Though it doesn’t have an IBU listed, it has just the right amount of hops to give you a jab. They also do something a little different by adding a second round of yeast just prior to bottling so that they get a secondary fermentation. It adds carbonation, reduces oxygen and helps it’s shelf life. That would be good news if it weren’t a year round beer. Kenny Road Market sells beers on the cheap out of season but this one never will be. It has a 5.5% ABV so it is a good beer to drink for a long night. Which I endorse, so long as you can get your hands on it.

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Crescent City Brewhouse, @Jaxnola and @TinRoofBeer

Jackson Brewery Flight

I believe this will be the final Wrestlemania related post. I hoped to do this at my parent’s house this past weekend but to no avail. I did get to pick up some beers though that I hadn’t gotten a chance to try before when I visited thee Altoona PA so more research material is a positive.

Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar – After wondering around much of Saturday morning just taking in the sights in the French Quarter, we finally worked up an appetite for lunch and stopped in at Jackson for food and beer. To make life easy, Jeremy and myself ordered flights of beer. Since they had a light colored flight and a dark colored flight, we ordered one of each. They didn’t follow North High Brewing theory that IBUs should order how you taste the beers. The two flights had two beers, their IPA and Double IPA, in common though so we didn’t order that much differently. I just got an amber & a stout while Jeremy and his lady got two other beers that no one can remember. The three of us tried all of the beers. I discovered that Jeremy isn’t much of a DIPA drinker even though he prefers the hops much more than I do. I thought the DIPA had an interesting taste though it wasn’t close to the Seven Fists of Deth from Revolution & Seventh Son. The IPA wasn’t too hop heavy. The amber wasn’t too malty. The stout wasn’t too heavy on coffee. I think that’s part of their beer problem. All of their beers didn’t have anything that defined their taste. The beers weren’t terrible but they weren’t anything to rave over. Most beers that are good play up one or a couple of ingredients then down play others. These beers seemed to be made with a thought of balance but they did that too well so their beers came out middle of the road.

Crescent City Brewhouse Flight

Crescent City Brewhouse – Later that night, before meeting up with Shahid, Cameron Hawkins & their respective ladies, we stopped in at the Crescent City Brewhouse. We yet again ordered a flight of beers to figure out which beers were the best. Because of the larger sample size, we only ordered one flight here. They had five types to choose from: Pilsner (Btm L), Black Forest (Top L), Red Stallion (Btm. R), Weiss (Middle R) and an Alt (Top R). I tried their Pilsner first as I knew it wouldn’t really grab my interest. It was good for a pilsner but as usual there’s no real bite behind it. The Black Forest is a traditional Munich style Black Lager. It’s a malt heavy beer with small notes of hop in it. This one was good. The Red Stallion is their Vienna style lager which has a sister beer in Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing. This beer isn’t quite as malty which I don’t prefer but others may like this one better. The Weiss beer is their version of a hefeweizen. It was the beer I ended up ordering a pint of after our flight because I didn’t get to sample enough of it. After having a full beer, I’d say this beer was in the middle with the Black Forest and next beer taking the taste department. The Alt was their seasonal beer and was quite tasty. I had only ever had one other one and it’s the Myopic Red from Zauber Brewing. Crescent City wasn’t quite as good but it was Crescent City’s second best beer.

Tin Roof Perfect TinTin Roof Brewing Co.  – Perfect Tin Amber – Because the lady & I spent most of Friday traveling (and due to the fact that Jeremy & his woman had their flight delayed), we decided to pack it in early after eating at Emeril’s, which I highly suggest even if it’s on the expensive side. I decided I’d have some beer for the hotel room. While looking around one of the local corner stores, I found this beer from Tin Roof which is from Baton Rouge. It was interesting because it melded two similar beers, an Amber with a Red. It came out more hoppy than I expected from two malt beers. It was a solid beer with a 4.5% ABV and 28 IBU. I just wish I had remembered that I was allowed to walk outside with an open container or else I wouldn’t have left two of these bad boys in the fridge when we checked out Tuesday morning.

Have a good weekend and remember to have a #SippyTimeBeer! – Kevin

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