#SippyTimeBeer Review – #Cbus Winter Beerfest – @OhioBeerfest

Me at Winter Beerfest '14A picture is worth a thousand words, right? I’m going to test that theory because this picture will be accompanied by a few words. I went to the Columbus BeerFest and I made a rookie mistake. Saturday started like a normal day. I got up, walked the dogs, my lady & I had breakfast then we planned out the day knowing that the VIP entrance for the Beerfest at 6:30 PM. We normally eat lunch at 2 and dinner around 7:30. To make up for that, we decided to eat lunch at 1 PM so we could eat around 6 before we headed down. We got lunch early but then ended up trying to fit too much in after that and neglected to eat before heading out. It’s a rookie mistake to not eat before going to any beer drinking activity especially a festival in which I would be drinking for four hours. My lady didn’t have a problem because she was the designated driver. Unless you count the two drunks she had to corral. I am trying to talk her into recording a podcast about the night but haven’t do so yet. On the upside, I did record comments about some of the beers before getting to the point of no return. I will review those beers now.

When I took a glance at the useless map, I didn’t see too many breweries I hadn’t tried. Because I can get the local beers, I took them off the list. So a lot of the night was spent drinking offerings from companies. When I first attended the Great American Beer Festival I had a 4 ounce tasting glass. I thought it was too small but it worked out because I got to try a boatload of beers. The mug you see above was 8 ounces, which was also part of my undoing.

21st Amendment BreweryBrew Free Or Die IPA – So the smartest thing to do after not eating before going to a beer festival is to get a tasty beverage that is 7.7% alcohol with a 70 IBUs (bittness unit).  I bring up the later because the Rivertown Hop Barron clocked in at 103 which was too much for me. Now, I know that I can tolerate at least 70 before my “too hoppy” stage hits. I’ll fine tune that over this year. It’s their top selling beer. Although it isn’t my favorite, it’s a good beer.

Founder’s Brewing CompanyImperial Stout – The second smartest thing I did after not eating was get an Imperial (aka Double) stout that clocked in at a mere 10.5% ABV with a 90 IBU. I’m not surprised by the bitter limit as this taste was very heavy in the coffee department. Though I’m getting used to that taste and enjoy it in small dose, this one was too much for me. It drank pretty smooth though.

Green Flash Brewing CompanyDouble Stout – Continuing a trend of heavy ABV beers, I got this one which was “only” 8.8%. It had a low 45 IBU which made it better than the previous stout in my eyes. It drank just a bit smoother.

Triton Brewing CompanySin Bin Belgian Pale – When I read about this one on my Untappd app (difrango11) I saw that it was a sour beer. I didn’t need that heads up though after the first sip of this beer. I’ve had some other Belgian Pale Ale’s recently and they weren’t anything like this one. The Belgian yeast taste was not all that present. The sour tasted was toned down compared to the other sours I’ve had. At the present time though, I don’t think I’m going to fully get into sours like I have IPAs. I did finally drop down to closer to a regular ABV at 6.2% with an IBU of 19. This beer was also the first one from a company I had never drank from before. They’re out of Indianapolis so it’s not far away from me.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @HalandAls Winter and Christmas Beer Tasting 2013

Bells Winter White

Bell’s Winter White with the commemorative Hal & Al’s glass

I went to Hal & Al’s last night for their Winter and Christmas Beer Tasting. It was just what the doctor called for since the lady & I have been a bit grumpy getting prepared for Christmas. Our friends Chris & Lacey got there ahead of us. You got a punch card for the 12 beers of Christmas. At the end of the tasting, you got a special pint. Let’s delve into these four ounces of beer.

Bell’s BreweryWinter White Ale – Last year, I tried Bell’s Christmas Ale in my second Sippy Time Beer post. I also had the Winter White Ale in the fourth post. Unlike Christmas ales, Winter ales tend not to have cinnamon, nutmeg or clove. Christmas ales also don’t tend to be whites either. I’ll get more into that topic later. This beer doesn’t use any of those spices but the mixture of yeast, barley & malt do make it taste like it has a hint of clove in it. That line is a correction from the original review. This beer has a hefeweizen like quality without the wheat flavor. Availability here. Solid start.

Smuttynose Brewing CompanyWinter Ale – This beer was interesting because it was an amber ale, which isn’t used much for these style of beers. It did seem to have the normal spices in it which had a different tone to them since it was playing off the malt instead of hops. I enjoyed this beer out of New Hampshire. Availability here. Two for two.

Buckeye Lake BrewingChristmas Ale – This beer is obviously a local one that most read won’t get to try. This beer was more of a red ale with the usual spices but there was an interesting note on the beer list. This beer had graham crackers in it. I didn’t taste it unfortunately and it didn’t seem to make the beer any thicker. They also said it finished with a sweetness and it did. A little too much in my opinion.

Smuttynose Winter Ale, Buckeye Lake Christmas Ale and Southern Tier Old Man Winter (L to R)

Smuttynose Winter Ale, Buckeye Lake Christmas Ale and Southern Tier Old Man Winter (L to R)

Southern Tier Brewing CompanyOld Man Winter Ale – My third review covered Southern Tier’s other winter offering, 2xmas. This beer was more traditional than that one. The barley and hops stand out. You were supposed to sip this because of it’s high alcohol content, 7.0% which isn’t that high. I took this one down with a quickness. Availability here. Seriously, try it.

Full Pint BrewingFestivus – This beer comes out of Pittsburgh, PA. The verbiage of this beer gets the Seinfeld treatment so you don’t get much of a description and their site doesn’t even list. I think it was another amber ale though because of the heavy malt with a little more hops than normal. It was very tasty also. The distribution area is pretty limited but if you’re in this area, try it.

The Brew KettleWinter Warmer – This beer is another local offering that many people won’t be able to wrangle. From the northern city of Strongsville, OH this beer brings the usual Christmas spices of cinnamon, ginger (not as common) and honey. They also toss in some orange (not tasted much) and lemon (very much tasted). It actually helped to cut through the sweetness of the honey with the acidic taste of the lemon. I still don’t think it cut the sweetness enough. I sense a general trend of holidays beers that I don’t like.

Full Pint Festivus, Brew Kettle Winter Warmer, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas and Oskar Blues Yule Chub (L to R, T to B)

Full Pint Festivus, Brew Kettle Winter Warmer, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas and Oskar Blues Yule Chub (L to R, T to B)

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company12 Dogs of Christmas – The sweetest of the lot as noted a few weeks ago.

Oskar Blues BreweryYule Chub – This beer was a strange one because of it’s dark color. It looked like a porter or stout. Neither the description nor their website say exactly what style of beer it is. The website doesn’t even acknowledge that this beverage exists. That is probably why we were supposed to thank someone at the bar for procuring this limited edition keg. The description used orange peels and spruce tips in it and I tasted the pine flavor but not the orange. I am not a fan of of drinking spruce but the darker beer held up to it much better than a lighter style of beer. Availability here although you probably won’t be able to snag this beer in particular.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – 3rd Annual #Cbus Winter Beerfest

I went to the 3rd Annual Columbus Winter Beerfest on Saturday. It was the first time I’ve attended the event. I went with my girl and my neighbors. We paid for the VIP entrance an hour early at 6:30 PM and it lasted until 11:00 PM. We got a set of twenty five tickets, one for each beer that you could taste. Many of the vendors didn’t care if you gave them one or not. The samples were supposed to be 5 ounces but most of the vendors topped you off to about 8 ounces. In no way am I capable any more of drinking that much. I got around to twelve samples. Here’s the list.

Weasel Boy BrewingBarrel Aged Brown Stoat Cherry Stout – I started off the night with a local beer from Zanesville, OH. It was a wise choice as it was quite good. It had nice head and was as thick as expected out of a stout. The cherry kicked in as an aftertaste. I think it matches well with a stout. It was one of my favorites of the night.

Victory Brewing CompanyRed Thunder – This beer was served to VIPs only. It became a mission to try as many VIP only beers as possible in our hour head start. It wasn’t as much of a help though because a majority of the crowd pitched in the extra $10 for the the extra hour. This beer was served out of a double deuce bottle that was chilled on ice. They don’t have this beer on their website so it was an exclusive. It tasted like a red amber. A big bounce back from the Prima Pils.

Six Point BrewingResin – I’m not much of an India Pale Ale fan. The heavy dose of hops is not my favorite taste. This IPA is very tasty. The hops was kept to the minimum considering the type of beer. They’re out of Brooklyn, New York.

Kona Brewing CompanyBig Wave Golden Ale – This beer was very crisp and refreshing. This one would be my other favorite beer of the night. Outstandingly smooth. They’re out of Kona, Hawaii so I won’t be able to get this one too often. That’s too bad.

Green Flash BrewingSaison Diego – I was told this was “some type of Belgian Blonde” by the woman working the counter. On the beer map, it was called Grand Cru but it is definitely not that. I’m guessing that it is the Saison Deigo because of the slight fruit note at the end with a summer ale feel. As can be implied by the name, they’re out of San Diego, CA.

North Peak Brewing CompanySiren Amber Ale – This beer got the thirty two second video review above. It was very tasty with some spice kick at the end. I did this review just in time because things started to get ugly soon there after. My presentation could have been better. As I do more of them, hopefully they’ll get better. I hope not to tell my camera woman when to cut next time. They’re out of Traverse City, MI.

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