#SippyTimeBeer Review – @ActualBrewing, Chimay, @ColumbusBrewing and Southern Tier

Actual Elektron PGThis list of beers comes from an evening of drinking at Zauber’s Brew Pub. Because they are still dealing with small tanks, so their beers are only on tap Thursday and part of Friday. Even when they don’t have their own beers, they have plenty of good and local choices. Even if they’re not local choices, they’re good choices. Here’s what I drank the first time I went there.

Actual Brewing Co.Elektron – I started off local with this beer. They are from the east side of Cbus. I have only had one of their beers previously and it was their Winter IPA from a Firkin. I was hoping for a better result with their Amber Ale. One thing that makes it unique is that they use malted rye instead of barley malt. It certainly gives the beer a different taste which I’m not that big of a fan of. The malt doesn’t come through as strongly to me which I enjoy quite a bit. I know it wasn’t the normal problem child of an amber which to me is too much hops. This beer only clocks in at 27 IBUs. The beer wasn’t overly alcoholic either which will throw off the taste from time to time. It’s at a reasonable 6.2% ABV. They still have three beers that I haven’t tried so I will hope I enjoy them more.

Chimay TrippelChimayTrippel – Chimay developed their line of beer from Trappist monks in Belgium. We all know what that means now, right? We’ve got Belgian yeast in play for this beer. We have double fermentation in play too. The first happens in the vat while the second takes place in a fermentation cellar for at least 21 days. Chimay even crafted a glass specifically for this beer which Zauber uses. (You do see the giant Chimay on the glass, right?) They use muscat & dried raisins so you get some sweetness which is balanced out by bitterness on the back end. Because it is double fermented, the ABV is at 8.0% which will do the trick for just about anyone. You can find this beer all around the world, so no excuses for not trying this tasty beer.

Columbus Pale AleColumbus Brewing Co.Pale Ale – I have had this beer more than any other craft beer in town because it has been sold at various bars for as long as I have lived in Columbus. I had always liked Rolling Rock which is also a pale ale so it made it easy to try this one since I wasn’t into beer the way I am now. Drinking large quantities of beer for the cheapest price was the order of the day then. I’d throw in a fancy beer every now and again to try something new. Because of my history with this beer, I do feel it’s old hat but I shouldn’t because this is a quality beer. It has 28 IBUs which is barely above the Elektron but the base is so different you can’t compare them. Low malt makes the hops more prominent especially the splash of citrus hops that they dry hop. It makes it a really great beer. It comes in at 5.5% ABV. It can be found throughout the state of Ohio so if you’re passing through, be sure it give it a whirl.

Southern Tier 2xStoutSouthern Tier Brewing Co.2x Stout – I forgot to mention during my tour of North High Brewing that milk is used to sweeten stouts because it is not ferment-able by beer yeast. They told us that during the tour and the write up for the 2xStout jogged my memory. Both companies use the milk to sweeten up a bitter drink. Or at least that’s the goal of using the milk. I don’t feel like Southern Tier brought the sweetness, which is never overwhelming but just enough to make it more than a one note drink. It has a good roasted malt & coffee flavor though. I don’t think the coffee is too much but it’d helped if it were more sweetened. The drink is the right level of thickness for a stout. It can also be a doozy if you drink too much of it because it comes in at 7.5% ABV. This beer is one of their year round beers and is available in these areas so give it a try and see if you think it has enough sweet to bitter. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BreckBrew, @GreatDivideBrew, @GreenFlashBeer and @SeventhSonBrew

Breckenridge Christmas AleBreckenridge BreweryChristmas Ale – Breckenridge brews some seriously good beers. This beer is no exception. It didn’t have the usual nutmeg or cinnamon in it which was a nice change of pace. They went for caramel and chocolate in their beverage so it made it more like a porter than any Christmas beer I have tasted. The hops are pretty much absent with a 22 IBU but the alcohol isn’t at 7.4%. That will give you some Christmas cheer. Since this company emanates from the fine city of Breckenridge, CO and gets the whole way here to Columbus, I’m going to guess you might be able to find some in your area. Probably in the clearance aisle now that we’re almost a full two months removed from Christmas.

Great Divide Hibernation

Great Divide Brewing Co.Hibernation Ale – This one wraps up my Christmas beer selection, which has been quite extensive. I’m more than ready to leave nutmeg and cinnamon for the next ten months. Interesting enough though, this beer didn’t have either of those ingredients. Which might have been one of the reasons I didn’t like this very much. It’s an English style old ale which doesn’t taste all that good to my palate despite having plenty of malt in it. It clocks in at a nice 8.7% ABV so it does have it virtues but I wouldn’t recommend this one come late 2014. If you want to try it though, they distribute here.

Seventh Son Seventh SonSeventh Son Brewing Co.Seventh Son – I had no idea what an American Strong Ale was until having this beverage. It is a beer that uses a lot of the grapefruit and stone fruit hops meets a meets the malty goodness of an Amber Ale. They blend seven types of hops during the dry hopping process to make sure the name fits. The earlier hops cut through the dry hopped part perfectly with their fruitiness. The malt still comes through even with plenty of hops in this beverage. To continue the Seventh Son theme, the ABV comes in at 7.7%. Unfortunately for some, it’s only available here in Columbus. When you come to visit, we’ll definitely grab several pints at their brew pub. It doesn’t hurt that they almost always have a food truck there and most of them make tasty food. The picture also reminded me that I love their half growlers. I’m starting to see them at all of the local brewers now but they were the first spot I saw them at.

Green Flash TrippelGreen Flash BreweryTrippel – This beverage was the first new beer of 2014. Time to start a new picture folder and a new count down for the end of the year on my computer. It’s always good to take monks old recipes and updating them. Belgian yeast has been a noticeable taste that keeps popping up in my beers and when the formula comes from monks, it’ll definitely be there. Green Flash pops in pale malt and a pair of hops flavors to come up with this bad boy. The hops aren’t overwhelming or even that noticeable since Trippel only comes in at 24 IBUs. I talked about a Double White last week. This one is triple brewed so guess where the ABV is at? 9.7% is what this beer delivers. It was a perfect beer on New Year’s Eve since I was hosting the party and I bought this beverage in 22 ounce form. This company is out of San Diego, CA so if I can find it you should be able to also. I recommend this one if you like the Belgian style beers. It’s right up your palate’s alley.

Another fun part of Seventh Son Brewing is that they have teamed with other small brewers to produce some unique joint beers. I recently got a mini-growler of Seven Fists of Deth which is a collaboration Revolution Brewing out of Chicago. It’s a double IPA which I will be reviewing in November at this rate. They are also doing a collaboration with Rockmill Brewery out of Lancaster, Ohio. Here’s a little video they put together during the brewing process of Urban Cowboy Stout they are collaborating on. Have a good weekend and enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer! – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @NewBelgium Taste Testing

New Belgium SignI got invited to a tasting for New Belgium Brewery from Superior Beverage by way of Cheryl Harrison. New Belgium is from Fort Collins, CO and will start distributing in Ohio on the 16th of December. Since I blog about beer, I got an invite. It’s the first real present I’ve gotten out of this gig. Since my woman doesn’t like beer (cider only), I brought my buddy Ken since a guest was allowed to come. Quite a few people wondered what Stunt Granny was so hopefully we’ll get a couple of more clicks on the site. I had no idea what I was in store for since the invitation gave the location and time. No hint as to what beers would be there aside from beer and food that paired with it. When I got there, I found out that they had three year round beers, one seasonal beer and three beers from their line called Lips of Faith. I also found out that some of the food pairings were a no go for me since I cease breathing when I ingest shellfish. On to the beers and some of the food pairings.

After signing in and snagging our name tags, we ran into the most obvious of choices from New Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale which is their signature beer. I had already tried this beer when my younger brother Brian lived in Denver. Since it’s an amber, it’s another easy choice for me. I would also say that Fat Tire is my second favorite amber only to Great Lakes Eliot Ness. It was paired with biscuits that had bacon in it. The pairing did work quite well but it’s near impossible to go wrong with bacon inside of bread along with a very tasty beverage.

We then moseyed to the back venue and tried out their only seasonal beer, Accumulation, anIPA. This beer was lighter than I expected out of an IPA. The hops are definitely there but it’s cut by citrus, mostly lemon, to not completely light up your palette with hops. They created this beer this year in October and will only be available until the end of the month so if you like IPAs, I suggest finding this one. I’m not sure if the barbequed meatballs were supposed to be paired with this beer but that’s what I ate with it.

Ken and I then drank their Trippel, a Belgian Style Ale. This beer had the highest alcohol content of any of the main selection of beers at 7.8% alcohol. The hops and malt are balanced out quite nicely which leads to the coriander spice being a prominent taste. They claim that it’s just a trace but it’s definitely in there. I loved the smoothness of this beer and could see it being a trouble maker.

The fourth beer overall and the third year round beer was their Ranger, another IPA. With the Accumulation, the citrus cut the hops. In this one, they balanced it out by adding a dash more malt (pale and dark) to take the edge off. They used different style of hops than in Accumulation but they were supposed to have a citrus bite to it. The hops citrus notes weren’t as noticeable as it was in the other beer. A bottle of this beer accidentally fell in my back pocket as we left so you know it must be good as IPAs are still growing on me.

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