#SippyTimeBeer Review – @DeschutesBrewery, @FullPintBrewing, @RivertownBrew and @Seventh_Son_Brewing

IMG_20140221_234726Deschutes BreweryBlack Butte Porter – I tried this beer at the Columbus Winter Beerfest but it was during my “I made a rookie mistake” phase of the evening so I didn’t remember consuming it. I had been wanting to try their beer since Eric had listed Chainbreaker as one of his favorite beers for last year. Deschutes says that this beer is their flagship. I understand why. Though it isn’t as thick as most porters I like, it has a smoothness to it that is unlike a normal beer. The flavor is fantastic with a roasted nuttiness. It has just enough hops at 30 IBU to give this porter a kick on the back end. It doesn’t provide much kick in the ABV content at 5.2% which is a good thing because I’d be fine with drinking this beer all day long. They distribute over most of the western and central US, so grab this one if you can.

IMG_20140208_223243Full Pint BrewingNight of the Living Stout – This beer was a Christmas gift from the lady’s younger sister. Since she lives in Colorado, I was expecting something from out there but this one comes out of Pittsburgh. She had to get me it then because this beer is a seasonal beer. Maybe I should start posting the seasonal beers first. This beer though is interesting because most stouts aren’t heavy in the hops department. This beer comes in at a very high 110 IBU so it’s the hoppiest beer I have ever tried. Even Rivertown’s Hop Baron Double IPA was “only” 103 IBU. I was surprised that Full Pint used just Cascade hops to provide a citrus tone that was lost to me. It just tasted like hops. The blends of hops provide a better citrus punch in my opinion. With all of that hops in it, I would have expected a higher ABV than 7.0%. That is still a solid punch to pack. You can only find Full Pint in OH, PA and FL so if you feel like having the hoppiest stout ever, feel free to drink this one.

IMG_20140214_000514Rivertown Brewing Co.Hop Bomber – This beer is the little brother to the hoppier Baron. It is a rye pale ale which brings the IBU down to a reasonable 49. I’m not one for rye beers but this one hit the spot. It is probably because the other ryes I have had have been IPAs. It may be because of the malt used in this pale ale that made me like the rye. I’d love to know the types of hops they used but they aren’t letting you know other than the fact that they dry hop with two styles of American hops. Do they use the same types in the original brewing? Different? Who knows. I don’t care either. This beer is their second best beer. Only their Roebling Porter is better to me. This beer comes in at 5.5% ABV so it can be had over the long haul too. They distribute in OH, KY, TN and FL so grab this one up if you can.

IMG_20140215_142940Seventh Son Brewing Co.Stone Fort Oat Brown – I reviewed this beer in my top 10 beers in Columbus. I’m not sure if this beer will maintain it’s top five status at the end of this year but I do know that I will still find this beer to be fantastic. I bought a growler recently and took it down to my lady’s parent’s place. Unlike myself, he’s not going to convince his palate to like hops. Because of that fact, I find his tastes interesting since I’m surrounded by hop heads. I did know his limit was 40 IBU so when they labeled the growler 30 IBU I was confident he’d like it. Her father did end up approving it. This beer comes in at 5.25% ABV so it’s another beer that you can sip all day long.

I’d like to thank Cheryl Harrison and Drink Up Columbus for the invite to last night’s 3rd Anniversary party. I got to try an old beer with a new name, Smokehouse Brewing’s MacLenny’s Scottish Ale, and two new beers, Four String’s Mexican Blonde and Catawba Island’s Whitecap Wit. All good beers that will be reviewed in due time. Thanks for including myself and StuntGranny in your events! Now go have a #SippyTimeBeer over the weekend! – Kevin

 

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @ClownShoesBeer, @IthacaBeer and @RivertownBrew

The_High_School_Reunion

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia High School Reunion

I need to start clearing out some of my inventory. I’ve already had 14 different beers to star the New Year. Two were home brews and another came from my home town of Altoona, PA. Time to rewind though. One night in early November, I had to go to my lady’s high school reunion since it’s only in Dayton. To try and make my night better, I drank these three beers.

Rivertown Hop BarronRivertown Brewing CompanyHop Barron – When you’re in Dayton, you are not very far from Cincinnati so seeing Rivertown on the beer menu was no surprise. What was a surprise was that the draft menu for a craft beer resulted in me having to drink a beer I had already reviewed or an IPA. This Double India Pale Ale didn’t start me off on the right foot though. I haven’t paid much attention to IBUs, International Bitterness Units, but this one is listed at 103 which is why I didn’t like it. It was a little to bitter for me. They use four types of hops to create this beverage that clocks in at 8.5% ABV. I like Rivertown as a brewing company but this is not a beer for me. If you’d enjoy that bitterness, you can find their beers in these locations.

Clown Shoes Hoppy FeetClown Shoes BeerHoppy Feet – This beverage was different than the other two because it was a black IPA which got cover twice recently with 21st Amendment’s Back In Black. Clown Shoes uses roasted malt and dark chocolate to help bring out a completely different. They use grapefruit and pine to help balance out the double dose of hops that they use. I didn’t taste the grapefruit or pine, which is a good thing on the later count since pine isn’t tasty at all. The grapefruit sourness and touch of sweetness help to lighten this beer up in the bitterness department. Clown Shoes doesn’t list IBUs so it’s hard to compare these beers because of it but I’ll trust my taste buds and assume it’s below 103. These Shoes will help fill your liver with alcohol by giving you a 7.0% ABV. This beer out of Ipswitch, MA (I think. Hard to read the label and it doesn’t clearly say on the site.) has an interesting distribution area. If you fit into this clown car of a distribution area, give it a try to see if it’ll make you hoppy.

Ithaca Flower PowerIthaca Beer CompanyFlower Power IPA – My first impression of this beer was that it was smoother than the other two IPAs I had. After looking at their website, they tell you to enjoy the clover honey and tropical nose that comes from pineapple and grapefruit. I can’t say I tasted the honey, pineapple or grapefruit directly but I’m quite sure that it helped to balance out the bitterness that comes from hopping the beer five different times in the brewing and fermentation process. They wet hop with five types and dry hop with three other types of hops. All of this hopping ends up leading to a 7.5% ABV, which I thought was low for the pile of hops they toss in there. Ohio is the furthest south Ithaca distributes but if you live in the northeast, give this beer some peace, love and happiness. – Kevin

#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 – Barley’s, @DundeeBeer and @RivertownBrew

Rivertown Roebling PorterRivertown Brewing CompanyRoebling Porter – This beer helped me drown my sorrows when Kevin Smith missed his flight from LA to my fine city of Columbus. We still had Jason Mewes and “Comic Book Men” co-host Ming Chen for the “Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie!” which if you can read the ticket was back on June 7th. Cleaning out the summer beer catalog pushed this one back even further than it should have. To the beer, it was mighty fine. Like most porters, it has a combination of vanilla, coffee and chocolate in it. As usual, I had a hard time detecting the chocolate. The vanilla was more in the background than some of the porters like the one from Atwater but it was still there. Unlike Atwater, it was pretty thick. I’d call it as close to a stout as you can get. This company is out of Cincinnati so if you live in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana, you’re in luck if you follow this link.

Barley’s Brewing CompanyBeyond Darkness Stout – I know this beer comes from Barley’s Smokehouse & Brewpub but they aren’t claiming that it’s theirs. They also don’t have it on the menu for Studio 35 where we saw the event. That’s a little strange since I liked this one even more than the porter above. It had that thickness, the “I just finished a milkshake thickness to it” which is always fantastic. Unlike other stouts recently that I’ve had like New Holland Dragon’s Milk or Left Hand Brewing’s Nitro Milk Stout, there’s no sweetener in this stout. Straight up Guinness like blackness which is another kind of fantastic from those other two excellent stouts.

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