#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 – @21stAmendment, @Lagunitasbruwhs, @OtterCreekBeer and @ThirstyDogBeer

21stAmendment Sneak Attack Saison21st Amendment BrewerySneak Attack Saison – My lady and I went back to Altoona PA to go see Kent State play at Penn State back in September. We stayed at my parent’s place Friday & Saturday nights. After being rained on for the entire game and watching Kent State be miserable, I was ready for a beverage after a rainy forty five minute trip from State College to Altoona. Luckily my younger brother Brian had left this beer in the fridge. It must have been in there for a while since this beer is only available from January to March. Not only did I need a beer, I really loved this one. The spiciness provided by the cardamom is quite a surprise and very pleasing. The beer goes down smooth and has a nice crispness to it. I would suggest finding this beer in the upcoming months, so go to this part of their site to find out if you can Sneak Attack your taste buds.

Lagunitas Brewing CompanyLittle Sumptin’ WildJeremy tried this beer back at Oktoberfest in Charlotte so when I saw it on the menu at a bar, I decided to give it a whirl even though it is an IPA. It may have been the beer that started my long, hop heavy road to at least figuring out IPAs. Lagunitas advertises that they also put in boatloads of wheat and pale malt which might cut the edge off of the hops for me. So just like other IPAs that I have enjoyed, this one is more balanced than most that I have tried. This beer from Petaluma CA made it all of the way to the taps of a small bar in Columbus so you should be able to find it in your area, so long as it’s July-ish. Or October which is when I had it.

Continue reading

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @Gordon_Biersch, @MoerleinBeers & @Weyerbacher

G Biersch Festbier

Since we’re finally out of October, it’s time to review the Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers. I feel like I had more than Oktoberfest beers but this is the entire list. Mind you, I have plenty of beers drank on my Instagram (@difrango11) but these four are the only ones that are on my list. I’m bummed that I didn’t snag more pumpkin beers because I do love pumpkin.

Gordon BierschFestbier – Because my lady & I have half season tickets to the Columbus Bluejackets, we go out to eat before most games because the beer and food inside are expensive and terrible. For the season opener, we decided to stop in at Gordon Biersch to satisfy our thirst and hunger. I take advantage of their seasonal beers when I go there and this visit was no different. I had their Festbier which is lighter than your normal Marzen beer associated with Oktoberfest. It is malty like those beers but doesn’t have the red hue. There is just enough hops in it to make it have a little bitterness. They only serve it from August to October so you can’t get it now. I feel like I recommend a lot of beers but this one was just okay. I say go with the real traditional Oktoberfest when you hit Gordon Biersch and grab a Marzen, which they have on tap year round.

Great Lakes Brewing CompanyNosferatu – This beer certainly has the best name of the lot. It also has a different flavor profile than most beers around this time of the year. It is an Imperial Red Ale so it keeps the red hue that most Marzen beers have but it has much more hops in it than those same beers. The hops aren’t as potent as that in an IPA but it’s still there. This beer is easier to find than the other ones since Great Lakes is getting to be a medium sized brewery so take a peek here and find out if it’s in your area.

I had an interesting conversation this past week with Geoff Towne, the brew master Zauber Brewing here in Columbus, who worked for Great Lakes. While trying about their Portergeist, we were talked about how porters and stouts aren’t as popular as most other types of beer. I would have gotten a growler of Portergeist but it was for a Halloween party that my lady and I threw so I shied away from it. He told me that his favorite beer of theirs was the Edmund Fitzgerald which is a porter. I mentioned that my favorite beer was Eliot Ness, which has won 9 Gold Medals at the World Beer Championships, and his response was that he felt it was too malty for a Vienna style beer. Towne also told me that he had to do so much tasting, that he was tired of drinking them.

Christian MoerleinFifth & Vine Oktoberfest – I learned of this company when I went to Bockfest back in March, which is when they start lagering the Marzen or Oktoberfest beers. Though they are based in Cincinnati, they have just started to distribute their beers here in Columbus. When I saw this at my favorite store, I had to give it a try. It was worth the purchase. It has a nice coppery tone which is perfect for this style of beer. This beer also had a solid malt taste to it with just enough sweetness at the end of your sip. When this time rolls around next year, keep your eyes peeled for it.

Weyerbacher Pumpkin Ale

WeyerbacherImperial Pumpkin Ale – This beer won a Bronze Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the “Field Beer” category. I can certainly understand why it won. It is heavy on the common spices that come along with pumpkin, namely cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. The pumpkin flavor comes through even with the spicing. Considering it’s the only pumpkin beer I had this year, it was a wise choice especially since it’s an 8.0% beer. This beer from Easton, PA made it from the east side of the neighboring state so you may be able to find it in your neck of the woods. Unfortunately they don’t provide a distribution map but the good news is that it is distributed through the end of November so go out and look for this one.

Time to gear up for the Christmas beer season. Remember to enjoy your #SippyTimeBeer responsibly. – Kevin

Jeremy’s Blog: 15th Annual Charlotte Oktoberfest 2013

This is usually Kevin’s bag so I stay away from posting anything beer related but after he assured me it was cool if more than one person talks about beer on this site I figure why not. (Kevin’s Edit: Everyone knows you drink more than me so why shouldn’t you post about beer? In other news, look forward to a year end round table which will include Jeremy and a variety of guest contributors.) This past weekend was the fifteenth annual Charlotte Oktoberfest which just so happens to be a craft beer festival as well. Seeing how I just moved to Charlotte it was a no-brainer decision to attend. Actually, I had the tickets well before I moved here but whatever.  The girl and I arrived for our special VIP entrance and we were off. Oh, VIP meant we got in an hour and half earlier than what we continually called, the commoners.

Commoners

Commoners

As we waked through security were handed our complimentary 5 ounce Fifteenth Annual Charlotte Oktoberfest shot glasses and were left to figure things out on our own. What we found was the equivalent of a Catholic Church festival minus the gambling, rides and children. It cannot be over stated how nice it was to walk around and not hear one infant or some brat whining and crying. No protective mothers using their kid filled strollers as battering rams. Just a calm and festive environment.

It would be dishonest to give full account of all the beers we, my girl attended as well, tried through the day. We were so excited by the idea of free beer we immediately went to the first brewery that we recognized and tossed back a few. Before it became a forgone conclusion I did make the conscious decision not to write any beers down unless they stood out. No matter how much we may have consumed, if the beer stood out it was going on the list. It just so happens that I only took note of five. The perfect list number. Hmm, go figure. So here they are for your perusal. Oh and if you are interested, the Charlotte Oktoberfest and Craft Beer Festival is back for a sixteenth year on September 27, 2014.

Green Flash Bullett

Green Flash Bullet

Green Flash Bullet from Green Flash Brewing was the first standout beer of the festival. It is a 10% Triple IPA. IPA is my usual choice of beer but I am not a fan of double IPA’s. They feel too much like a simple syrup and lack the crispness of your standard IPA. So it was with a great reluctance I tried it but seeing how this was the first Triple IPA I had heard of it had to be sampled. Boy was it a surprise. It had three distinct flavor changes with the final bite taking a few seconds to hit the taste buds. When it did it was impossible to miss. The brew was much crisper and cleaner than a double IPA and retained the smoothness and bitterness without going overboard like a true IPA. At 10% it is not a mass consumption beer but it warranted a few trips back to the tent.

After the Green Flash Bullet we grabbed a sausage or two and decided to try something other than our comfort ones. She gave up the stouts and browns and I went away from the IPA’s. Part of our plan to maintain ourselves and not overindulge was to try a brew or two on one side of the festival grounds and then crisscross our way around. This way in between different length of walking and waiting in lines we would naturally pace ourselves. Let it be known, that idea is bullshit. It doesn’t help.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild

Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild

Anyway, this brought us to one of my favorite breweries, LagunitasLagunitas has become the default IPA of choice whenever Terrapin Rye Ale is not available. So it as with great excitement that I noticed a new brew from them. It was a variation of their Lil Sumpin Sumpin Ale, this one was called Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild. It is an 8.8% flavorfest with a smooth body. I was assured there is no fruit involve in the brew so it must have been the hops that provided a heavy aroma with a sweet aftertaste. It was a shock to find a better beer produced by Lagunitas that tasted better and was more enjoyable than their flagship brew. Little Sumpin Wild Ale is a limited release apparently so if you can find it snatch it up.

Weeping Willow Wit

Weeping Willow Wit

As per the process we waked back across the festival and we came across The Mother Earth Brewery booth. Mother Earth Brewery is not a company I am familiar with and cannot recall ever trying one of their beers. After we perused their selections I denied myself an IPA and went with my secondary beer of choice; a good wheat or wit beer. This turned out to be yet another good decision on my part. What I chose was the Weeping Willow Wit. It is a relatively low alcohol content beer, clocking in at a mere 5% was a late, definite refreshment. Wit beers are usually light and sweet and lack a proper body; this did not. It was a cloudy brew with a load of flavor and finished with a mystery flavor. I still have not figured out what it is and their website is no help. Even after dulling the taste buds with countless IPAs and a scorching hot spicy brat the flavor from The Weeping Willow Wit was plentiful.

Red Oak Helles. I think. I couldn't find an image.

Red Oak Hummin’Bird. I think. I couldn’t find an image.

The next beer on the list and the most surprising came from Red Oak Brewing just down 85 south here in North Carolina. Red Oak is a fairly popular beer and it has a presence at just about every pub or beer garden in the Charlotte area. So, we weren’t all that excited to stop by but once we saw they had three taps we investigated a little closer. It turns out they had their standard choices but one stood out. The Red Oak Hummin’Bird, as it was described to me by their rep, is the Red Oak version of a light lager. Apparently my enthusiasm showed as I was reassured it was not a Miller Light or Bud Light and to give it a shot. I was handed a half full shot glass and with an open mind enjoyed their “light” beer. There was no loss of flavor and it had a strong body while not being heavy at all. There was no sinister aftertaste as the flavor was even throughout. From lips to stomach this was a total surprise.

Frog Level Brewing Catcher In The Rye...fantastic.

Frog Level Brewing Catcher In The Rye…fantastic.

Hands down the best beer I consumed at the entire festival. So much so in fact that I now have in my possession their booth sign. Why? I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea at the time but after five straight power hours of beer sampling drinking an actual frog may have been negotiable. So taking a generic red and white sign with generic Frog Level Brewing, block #12 and Waynesvile, NC was the least damaging idea I had as the day wore on. Anyway, as for the beer itself Frog Level Catcher in the Rye was the best beer I had during the day and it may e in the top five beers I have ever tried.

If you couldn’t tell it is a The Catcher in the Rye is a Rye Ale but without the bitterness and strong bite of most Rye or Pale Ales.  It also only clocks in at a reasonable 5.3% alcohol content. Normally Rye Ales clock in a bit higher but even with the smaller alcohol content there is no loss of flavor or potency. I blame this brew, along with the Green Flash even though they were consumed hours apart, for pushing us over the edge. No one forced me to go back over and over but it was such a refreshing Rye Ale no that is not a mistake I did mean refreshing. It is perfect for nursing or consuming while binge drinking. This should be regarded as high praise no matter how terrible that sounds. This single beer also motivated me to finally throw down some hard earned money, well, the girls’ money, on my very first beer shirt. A nice yellow t-shirt with the company logo on the front and frog foot on the back. Pretty sweet I thought and it wasn’t black so that was also refreshing.

So hopefully some of these brews are available in your area. If not check out their web sites and see just where you can find it or order from them direct. You may not agree with what you read here but it will broaden your taste just a bit. At least that s the goal. The craft beer market is so large now it is impossible to sample them all but then there is still plenty of time to try. -Jeremy

Stunt Granny Audio #202

This episode of the Stunt Granny Audio is brought to you by Des Moines, Iowa by way of Eric Nelson’s wedding. Jeremy & Kevin tell the tales of their Thursday and Friday night in Des Moines. They actually got in some exercise at Gray’s Lake but spent much more time doing twelve to sixteen ounce curls. The biggest portion of Friday were spent at Fong’s Pizza where they dined on some Chinese inspired pizzas and more fruity drinks than either of hosts can really handle. They visited Pappajohn Sculpture Park where Eric proposed to his lovely wife. After that sobering up period, your intrepid hosts continue their drinking at Hessen Haus‘s Oktoberfest party. Eric ended up meeting them at El Bait Shop for a beer. What was Kevin’s Sippy Time Beer choice out of 105 taps? What happened after that is mostly conjecture. Jeremy & Kevin end up talking some wrestling after starting in the new format. Kevin has to explain Aces & Eights is Now Queens & Twos on his Facebook post. They then try to get to the bottom of what is wrong with the group. Do they know who is involved in the match up for them at Bound For Glory? Jeremy moves the show along to the WWE. Who are the new faces that got air time this week? Are they as dysfunctional as Aces & Eights? Who are the mostly new faces that got buried this week? Jeremy & Kevin wrap it up with the most predictable angle on Raw. Did the quality of the segment make up for it’s predictability? Find out that and more when you click on the link.

Stunt Granny Audio Show #202

%d bloggers like this: