#SippyTimeBeer Review – @HomesteadBeerCo, @ElevatorBrewing, @ZauberBrewing and @RivertownBrew

IMG_20140311_200026Homestead Beer Co. –  Claim Jumper IPA – This company sure does like to make IPAs. They talked me into trying their BOAT Series IPA last year at the Cbus Microbrew Festival last year. After going to their website, they have it listed as “Out of Rotation.” They have two other IPAs Station Master Session IPA and The Galactic Heroes IPA. They all have varying degrees of IBU and ABV that does separate them. This one was their second good one that I have gotten to taste. They use a blend of Columbus, Nugget and Galena so that is always a good start for me. It didn’t have anything to cut the hops like roasted malt or a heavy dose of citrusy hops but stopped right near my edge of IBU pleasure. This one is at 81 IBU. I would expect a higher ABV than 5.8% because of the high hops count but that’s what it is. Though they boxed it into a pleasure area for me, it’s closer to a straight IPA so I liked the BOAT Series better which did have the citrus notes. This one is worth drinking if you’re an IPA fan.

IMG_20140311_210607Elevator Brewing Co.Big Vic Imperial IPA – One of the standard bearers for Columbus craft beers makes this one. It is a wheat IPA so that cuts some of the bitterness out of the drink. They don’t divulge much on their website for what particular styles of hops they use but they do note that they dry hop the beer to make it go from regular to Imperial IPA. The dry hopping gave it something that Claim Jumper didn’t have, the citrus note to cut out some of the bitterness. They are easy to compare because of their similar IBUs. Big Vic stands at 80 IBU so there’s a single difference. My hunch may have been wrong about Claim Jumper’s ABV, but it was correct with this one sitting at 8.6% ABV. I liked this one more than the first. Good beer to have around in the summer since the wheat does provide a lightness that other IPAs don’t have.

Zauber Brewing Co.Vertigo – I have taken a look at this beer previously but much like the Nitro Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing, I didn’t take a full look at this one. Unfortunately, their full capacity brewery isn’t quite ready yet. I am very much looking forward to that day since this fine beverage was consumed back in March. It is a hefeweizen so it was a little early in the year to be digging into the lighter side of beers but we had a Bluejackets game this particular Thursday when they did have their own beer. I was very happy they had this one on tap though. It is very light, crisp, a hint of spice and just a little hazy in it’s golden tone. It only has a 5.4% ABV and 12 IBU so this beer can be session-able. It went down really well with a wrap from the Paddy Wagon Food Truck. When I was doing my Year In Review list for Cbus beers, this one wasn’t in my top 10. It’s still a fantastic beer whether it’s there or not.

Rivertown BreweryBlueberry Lager – I have had much luck with this fine company out of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, this beer is not among them. It is a light lager so it has a similar body to a light beer which isn’t a good start. They use artificial flavor for the blueberry taste. I’m assuming that even though it’s not completely clear in the description. The blueberry flavor isn’t overwhelming so it does match better with the light lager. It all adds up to a very weak tasting beer. Even good companies make bad beer. – Kevin

 

 

#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 – @Dogfishbeer, @Seventh_Son_Brewing, @ShockTop and @ZauberBrewing

Dogfish Head India Brown Ale

Not my favorite beer picture but it’ll do.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc.India Brown Ale – I could have named this column the mutt beer column since three of these four beers are hybrid beers. This one is the most complex since it’s a mix of a Scotch Ale, IPA and an American Brown Ale. I probably could have used the Scotch Ale to be cut out of this equation since I’m not a fan of scotch. It’s similar to a beer being barrel aged because it tends to overwhelm the other flavors. It does come with a nice 7.2% ABV and is not that bitter with a 50 IBU. You can use their Fish Finder to figure out if you like this blend of beers.

Seventh Son Black Sparrow IPASeventh Son Brewing CompanyBlack Sparrow IPA – Seventh Son had the brilliant plan to open on Thanksgiving Day but from 9-12, I believe. The closing time is what I forget. It allowed my lady and I to pick up a couple of growlers before heading to her parent’s place to enjoy some turkey and football. I knew her father wouldn’t drink Black Sparrow because he is definitely not a hops man. I had assumed, for some reason, that my older brother’s taste in beer was similar to my younger brother’s taste. If you read the Round Table of Dunks Part 1, you’ll know that my older brother’s taste is nothing like my younger brother’s. I had bought the IPA for him to drink during the Miami Hurricanes at Pitt Panthers tail gate party the day after Turkey Day. I ended up doing the drinking at the tail gate though when I found out he didn’t like IPAs. This beverage continues my path down the hops rabbit hole. The roasted malt again makes a difference that takes the edge off the giant dose of hops. Another fantastic beer from this company in the heart of Cbus.

Shock Top Belgian WhiteShock Top Brewing CompanyBelgian White – The main reason I told the tail gating story is because of this beer. It is quite the shock (seriously, no pun intended) to the taste buds to go from a black IPA to a Belgian wheat beer. Just a brutal turn around in flavor profiles. I will not be doing that again. I would be fine drinking this beverage again though. It has orange in it for sure and was highlighted more by the lemon peel and not as much of the line peel. It has a nice cloudy orange look. Shock Top drank smooth after the initial swig. This beverage comes in at a tail gate friendly 5.2% ABV. I’m sure I don’t need to list the availability of this beer considering it’s made by Anheuser Busch.

Zauber PortergeistZauber Brewing CompanyPortergeist – Zauber sent out a tweet to see what this beer should be called. I knew it’d be a dark porter so I figured Schwarzwald, Black Forest, with all of the Germanic references in their lingo would be a good fit. They didn’t think so. Boo. Another reason that seems like a good name is because it is a mix of a porter and a Schwarzbier. Double boo. Because of the mix, the beer is thinner than I like my porters but that’s okay since I don’t know the usual mouth feel of a Schwarzbier. Like most porters, I can taste the coffee coming through but the chocolate doesn’t quite touch my palate. There’s just enough vanilla in it to be a nice highlight. The ABV comes in at 5.0% and has a low 31 IBU so if you like dark beers without too much bitter, this one is for you. Too bad this in a Columbus only choice.

#SippyTimeBeer Review – The Best of #Cbus #CraftBeer

columbusFor the most part, I have steered clear of posting about the local beers unless I’ve had an idea in mind (Local beer article) since I know most of the people who read the site aren’t living in the 614 area code or anywhere close. To close out the year though when news is slow and everyone is doing end of the year lists, you’re getting an article about the best ten beers I have had around Columbus. I am making three exceptions to this list – Buckeye Lake Brewing, Homestead Brewing Company and Hoof Hearted Brewing – which are within a stone’s throw of 270. No Jackie O’s, Ohio Brewing Company or anything delicious I’ve had from Cincinnati. Just the Best of the ‘Bus.

What I’ve Tried

Actual Brewing CompanyWinter IPA (From a firkin)

Buckeye Lake BreweryChristmas Ale, Octoberfest, Oatmeal Stout

Columbus Brewing CompanySummer Teeth, IPA

Elevator Brewing CompanyBear Ass Pale AleBelgian Xtra BlondeDirty Dick’s Nut Brown Ale, Heiferweizen, Horny Goat, Wicked Goat, Procrastinator Doppelbock

Four String Brewing CompanyBackstage Blonde, Big Star White IPA, Brass Knuckles Pale Ale, Cherry Blonde, Skeleton Red IPASun Caster Summer Wheat, Vanilla Porter

North High Porter

Delicious Sandwich by the Paddy Wagon. Delicious Porter by North High Brewing.

Homestead Beer CompanyPine Table Pale Ale, Boat India Pale Ale

Hoof Hearted Brewing Voltan Russian Imperial Stout

North High BrewingHefeweizen, Porter

Seventh Son Brewing CompanyBlack Sheep, Glad Tidings, Oubliette, Saison Noir, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Stone Fort Oat Brown Ale, Wilderman

Zauber Brewing CompanyBuxom Blonde, Myopic Red, Portergeist, Stodgy Brown, Vertigo

What I Haven’t Tried

A lot. The Granville Brewing, L. Hoster Brewing, Neil House Brewery, Rockmill Brewing, Sideswipe Brewing and Wolf’s Ridge Brewing are companies that I haven’t even tried this year. If I stick with my exception, Staas Brewing in Delaware (a shade closer than Homestead and Hoof Hearted) would also be on the list. I haven’t tried all of the offerings from the companies I have listed above either. Trying thirty-six different is a decent start though and pairing it down to ten will be tough.

My Top Ten In Cbus

10. Hoof Hearted BrewingVoltan Russian Imperial Stout The best stout from a local company had to make the list and this one was it. Oubliette was in consideration but this one edged it out. Both are Imperial Stouts that made the comparison easy in that they were from the same branch of stouts. This beer ended up being amongst the best during the Cbus Microbrew Festival in the Short North out of a dozen beers that I tried. This Imperial clocks in at 9.5% alcohol content which will help you feel good quickly. They use espresso (which I tasted) dried figs (I don’t remember any sweetness) and licorice (still not remembering sweetness). No matter, even if I didn’t pick those flavors out, this beer is worth a try.

9. North High BrewingPorter – I definitely haven’t gotten to try as much from this company as I would have liked. I had them at the above mentioned Festival and at a food truck rally for Zauber before the Pittsburgh Penguins first game here in town. I certainly dig that you can go to their brewery and schedule one of their kettles and make your own brew. It costs between $190-240 and yields 15 gallons of beer which equates to 147 12 ounce bottles. Just over a dollar a beer isn’t a bad price for a craft beer of your own making. To the beer though, it’s got a great thick consistency and has just a touch of molasses which also helps to make this beverage a dark brown.

8. Homestead Beer CompanyBoat India Pale Ale – Because of their location outside of the 270 confines, I haven’t had much from this brewer either except at the aforementioned Festival. After reading their site more, I have found out that this beer is seasonal so I got lucky to try it. They tell me that they put passion fruit and citrus in it so even though I didn’t notice those flavors in particular, it was a noticeably more balanced IPA between sweet and bitter. Homestead notes that it’s a Pacific Northwest IPA, which I had to look up. The best description I came up with was from the Seattle Times which said

Most fulfill the traditional characteristics of the colonial style: strong hop bitterness, pronounced aroma and high alcoholic content.

Which means to me, it’s an IPA with some extra adjectives attached. Whatever name they put on it though is irrelevant. It’s a tasty beer with a 6.3% ABV that any good beer drinker would imbibe.

7. Zauber Brewing CompanyMyopic Red – I had a hard time picking my second favorite beer from Zauber. Their Vertigo hefeweizen was probably the beer I drank the most this past year. I really enjoy their Stodgy Brown too. I went with the German Red Alt won out though. It’s a top fermented beer, unlike a lager which ferments from the bottom. It is matured at a cooler temperature which gives it a fantastic crispness which goes down very easily. It has a red hue to it and carries a 5.0% ABV so it’s a session-able beer for those people who are tailgating.

6. Four String BrewingBig Star White IPA – This beer may have started my turn towards IPAs or at least towards being receptive to tasting more of them. According to my Google search, White IPAs were only created in 2010 when Deschutes Brewery in Oregon and  Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City got together to make an IPA that was mixed with a Belgian Wheat Beer. I do love wheat beers so it explains my taste buds opening up to this version of the style. Coming in at 7.0%, this beer will make you happy along with your taste buds at this cross roads of beers in your mouth.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – #Cbus Microbrew Festival

Cbus Microbrew Festival '13

I got to taste a lot of local beer when I went down to the Columbus Microbrew Festival. I had a chance to taste some of my favorites but as usual, I decided to try beers that I didn’t have. Zauber Brewing is still working on a larger facility. Four Strings had a couple of offerings there and I passed on them along with Barley’s, Barley’s Smokehouse & Pub, Columbus, Elevator, Gordon Biersch, Great Lakes, Ohio & Thirsty Dog because I have had and reviewed a number of all of their products. I’ll list in alphabetical order what I did have since I’m not completely sure of the order I drank them in. They were supposed to serve 4 ounce portions but almost everyone was very generous with their pours so I got a good idea of how they all taste.

Buckeye Lake BreweryOctoberfest – It’s that time of year, Oktoberfest & Pumpkin beers are everywhere. I’ll get around to a whole column on pumpkin beers later. This brewery just east of Columbus in, you guessed it, Buckeye Lake has gotten good reviews from my friends in the area. It was finally time to try some for myself though. I’m not sure if it was fair to try a seasonal beer though. If it is indeed seasonal since they don’t even have a beer list on their website. The beer had the red hue that most “Marzen” (March in German because of when they brewed them) beers have. This one has a nice balance of hops and malt to make it taste really good. Thumbs up for my first taste of Buckeye Lake.

Great Black Swamp BrewingWetlands Wheat – This company is based in Toledo, OH so it’s not the most local beer there but it was a new one to me. No one wants to go to Toledo so I’m glad they came to us. I love wheat beers so it was an easy first choice from the company and it delivered. Nice and crisp on a night that was reminiscent of Fall than the Summer.

Great Black Swamp BrewingBull Frog Stout – Because there weren’t any cider beers on tap, my girl friend ended up giving me her tickets. Since they had a hard closing time of 10 PM on Friday, we had to venture back Saturday afternoon to finish using the tickets. You don’t need to twist my arm. Since I had a second crack at this brewery, I went with their Bull Frog Stout which was quite good. Double thumbs up from this company.

Homestead Beer CompanyPine Table Pale Ale – This beer is from Licking County which, like Buckeye Lake, is just east of Cbus. Unfortunately, my memory of this beer is hazy at best. I didn’t take notes and I didn’t Instagram each beer, just their label. No, it wasn’t from drinking too much, this time. It just means I’ll have to try it again.

Homestead Beer CompanyBoat India Pale Ale – On Saturday, I couldn’t remember how many choices Homestead had. When I got to their station, I was talked into trying this beer. “It’s the right balance of hops & malt” said the worker who must have been part of the brewery because he was dead on.I could get into more IPAs if they were like this one.

Hoof Hearted BrewingVoltan – Russian Imperial Stout – Aside from the over played but somewhat amusing name, they do have a goofy centaur as a mascot so these guys know how to market. Of course, it helps when you have a fantastic beer. One of the best beers of the weekend.

Jackie O’s BreweryMatriarch Tri-Pa – I have reviewed two of their beers with another one on my “To Get To” list. I hadn’t seen their Tri-Pa probably because it contains six different kinds of hops and a total of five pounds of it per barrel. It’s no wonder this beer cost me not the normal one ticket for four ounces but three tickets. Another reason the cost was so high was because of it’s 11% alcohol content. If you want to get drunk in style and quickly, have this beer if you can get a hold of it.

Lagerheads BreweryWhite Water Witte – When we arrived Saturday, I grabbed this beer first because the vendors let us in without getting our 21 and over wrist bands. No one cared that we didn’t have them on. Yep, starting to get old. Any way, since it was good and sunny, mid 0s I went with a Belgian wheat beer. Perfect plan to soak up some of the last rays of summer. Come Fall and Winter, that whole sun thing is going to be scarce around these parts. Glad I could enjoy a smooth crisp and citrusy beer. They are located up in the Abbeyville OH which is just south of Cleveland.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @4StringBrewing, @JackieOsBrewery and @LostCoastBrewer

Four Strings Sun Caster Wheat

Four Strings Brewing CompanySun Caster Summer Wheat – As I look through my catalog of consumed summer beers, I came upon this one. It’s a local beer which is on tap at any number of restaurants in Columbus along with being able to pick up growlers at their brewery. This beer was an interesting one. I’m not a lemon fan but this beer had just a hint of it to give it the summer feel. It’s a wheat beer but I detected a little bit of hops to give it a little extra punch. It’s listed on their website so I think it’s a year round beer but it’d be great for the waning warm weather days while you’re tailgating. The poster for this beer looks pretty cool, so click on this link.

Jackie O’s Pub & BreweryRazz Wheat – Another local beer but this time from the hell hole known as Athens, OH (Boo Ohio University, boo I said) but it’s sticking with the fall cleaning I’m doing on summer beers. Jackie O’s has really been invading Cbus recently as I got to try this beer when we went out for dinner at Woodlands Tavern. Razz Wheat was also unique in that it brought the pucker that comes along with eating a raspberry but didn’t overwhelm the palate with direct raspberry taste. It was nice and crisp like other wheat beers. I’ve tried three of their beers now (one has not been reviewed) and two of them have been quite tasty. Looks like they’re getting something right in Athens aside from Halloween parties.

The Rzz Wheat was in the other glass. Long Coast Tangerine Wheat is full.

The Razz Wheat was in the other glass. Long Coast Tangerine Wheat is full.

Lost Coast BreweryTangerine Wheat Beer – Considering that they’re out of Eureka, CA, one couldn’t get much further from Cbus while still being in the US. The fruit difference is pretty obvious and leads to obvious flavor differences. Gone is the sour pucker, in is the sweetness of tangerines. Both are a wheat base though so the crispness is evident in both. Luckily, for anyone reading this column you can probably get your beer needing hands on it. Check out their distribution area which is obviously larger than these two local brewers.

I enjoyed this little video “How To Make Beer, The Animation” so I thought I’d pass it along. Zauber Brewing tweeted it this morning. I’m headed to the North Market Microwbrew Festival with designated driver in tow. Go out and enjoy a couple of #SippyTimeBeers yourself. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Flying Dog, Fortune Teller & Green Flash

Flying Dog Pale AleFlying Dog BreweryClassic Pale Ale – I’ve mentioned more than once that I’m not always the biggest fan of India Pale Ales (IPAs) but they are starting to grow on me. This beer dials back the hops and delivers quite a good balance of hops and malt. Their site says that there are grassy and citrus notes but I didn’t get those. I remember a failed beer from Great Lakes Brewing that was called Grassroots Ale. I felt like I was tasting a thinned out version of dirt. I got nothing of the sort from this beer. This beer out of Frederick MD is worth drinking.

Barley’s Smokehouse & BrewpubFortune Teller East India Porter – There is a Barley’s chain around that are serving house brews but as far as I understand this spot is unrelated to the chain. According to their website, IPAs were made for the officers on the ships sailing from England to India since hops are a natural preservative. The crew got a similarly hopped porter. Even with all of the hops, it isn’t heavy handed. It has a dark color but is thinner than most porters. It was another tasty beverage that I’d recommend. It helps that the food is good to boot.

Green Flash Saison Diego

Saison Diego with Sir Perry Berry in the background

Green Flash Brewing CompanySaison Diego – Saisons are quick becoming a favorite. They remind me of hefeweizens because they’re light, have just a hint of fruit and a noticeable spice note. For this beer, the citrus is orange (banana for most hefeweizens) and the spice is ginger (usually clove or cinnamon for the other) which makes for a light, crisp refreshing beer. This beer seems suited for summer so since it’s upon us, give it a try.

Here are a couple of links that I got to read today. Thanks to extra local brewers like Zauber, Hoof Hearted and Four Strings along with Cbus staples Columbus Brewing Company and Elevator Brewing, Ohio has become the #4 state for craft beer production. My liver is not happy with this news. The other link is about how one rates a local beer on the Untappd app, which I have but don’t use. Do I overrate local beers? I don’t think so but it could be a factor. Enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer this weekend! -Kevin

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