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Archive for the ‘Beer of the Week’ Category

So as any Athenian would know, last weekend was Halloween weekend. What might be so special about Halloween weekend, you ask? Well, it’s only the best excuse to wear things that would freak out your mother, wear practically nothing (I’m talking about you, Mr. Elmo-mask-in-a-thong) and drink till petting a police horse sounds like a good idea. Ohio University’s Halloween block party sees the city’s population nearly double, and is a great excuse to try new beer.

In the grand tradition of OU Halloween, I had my friend Jordan (affectionately known as Jord) come down to visit. He would have last year, but he was too busy campaigning for some dude. But little did I know, Tyler (Tyty), who had been hitch hiking around the country, had also come to visit for the weekend.

trinity

I swear that isn't my Rolling Rock.

Jord went as a “Clint Eastwood inspired cowboy,” Tyty was…well, Tyty (a bum. JK Tyty) and I went as Dexter Morgan, from the hit Showtime TV series, Dexter. I had to shave for my costume, and my chin has never felt so cold…

But from the nether reaches of our state’s capital, Jord and Tyty brought me Columbus Brewing Co.’s 90 Shilling Ale, on the condition I reviewed it for my blog. Not being one to turn down free beer (unless it’s Coor’s. Fuck that), I gladly accepted.

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Comrade Beer.

Now, though I have a brother at Ohio State, because everyone who DOESN’T GO TO THAT SCHOOL shits their pants over the football team, I have an unnatural aversion to anything out of Columbus. That being said, I promised to give the beer a fair taste.

We had the beer with a Little Caesar’s Hot ‘N Ready, which wasn’t a bad pairing. Scottish Ales are known for being less hoppy and having a malty, sweet finish. It poured a very nice amber color with an off-white head. Jord, having seen my video on how to pour a beer, made fun of my inability to get “two fingers of head,” but nonetheless, the beer poured a nice head, and smelled of roasted malt, and faintly of coffee and caramel. It tasted malty, but the dominant flavors were toffee and caramel. It was sweet, but not off-putting; not nearly as sweet as a chocolate stout. It’s a good beer with food, especially pork dishes, but there are better one’s out there for sipping on.

Overall Grade: a solid B.

What did you go as for Halloween? And did you get to try any new beers?

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I love Cincinnati. I love our chili, our zoo, the way the fall air smells in my neighborhood, our wacky ineffectual city council and the endless debates over street cars. I can even pretend to love our sports teams if the need arises. I spent this weekend in my home city, so it’s only fitting that the beer of the week be a Cincinnati beer.

Christian Moerlein was a Bavarian immigrant who moved to the dominantly German Cincinnati in 1841. He made some horse shoes, brewed some beers, but the brewery was shut down by prohibition. Sixty years later, his brand was revived again when the craft beer movement hit America. Christian Moerlein became the first American beer to certifiably pass the strict Reinheitsgebot Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Now, Christian Moerlein’s Fifth and Vine Oktoberfest is my beer of the week.

Modeled after the "Genius of Water" fountain in downtown Cincinnati. Except instead of water there's beer and cute little pigs in lederhosen.

Modeled after the "Genius of Water" fountain in downtown Cincinnati. Except instead of water there's beer and cute little pigs in lederhosen.

CM’s Oktoberfest is a Marzen-style beer, which were traditionally brewed in March and kept in storage to ferment slowly until late summer. Bottles were kept to be served at Oktoberfest, an annual festival celebrating getting drunk in the month of October. This is appropriately Cincinnatian, because a) Cincinnatians love drinking, and 2) Cincinnati has one of the largest Oktoberfests west of Munich.

12 oz. of Cincinnati goodness.

12 oz. of Cincinnati goodness.

This beer has a nice light copper and amber color in the glass. It’s a little thin on the head side, but it smells like toasted sweet caramel with a small hint of grassy hops. I’ve had other Oktoberfests that are very sweet, but this one is a bit more subdued. It tastes nutty and of caramel and the hops come out a bit stronger in the flavor than the smell. There’s a very faint hint of fruitiness too that complements the floral hops. It goes down smooth, drinks easily and finishes a bit dry. It isn’t a very adventurous Oktoberfest, but it’s very accessible, and I would highly recommend it to someone interested in trying out a good Oktoberfest that won’t overwhelm you. I’d recommend eating it with spicy German food, or really any kind of pork dish. At 5.4 percent ABV, it isn’t too heavy and is good for casual drinking or for before going out.

Overall Grade: B+

Do you have a favorite hometown beers or a favorite Oktoberfest?

Don’t forget to submit names for my homebrew to win yourself a six pack!

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I have a man-crush. And a new favorite bar.

On Wednesday, a friend came over, already piss drunk, wanting to go to the bars. I had just been sipping on bourbon and watching a movie, so I thought, hell, it’s a Wednesday night, what else do I have to do?

So we headed out to Broney’s, mostly out of convenience’s sake, as it’s just down the street from me. I’ve never been too hot on Broney’s, as I always thought it was kind of a snooty and pretentious classy place. It’s just a lot, well, cleaner than one would expect a college bar to be. Certainly more so than any other bar on campus. But I digress.

We walk up to the bar and the bartender asks “what kind of stout will you have?”

Be still my heart.

A) you never get immediate service at a bar in Athens. Unless you have boobs. I usually have to sit at the bar for 11 minutes with rolled up $20s in my nose just to get service (come to think of it, that might be why I have to wait so long for service…). And 2) I love stouts!

I tried to play it coy.

“I don’t know, what would you recommend?”

Shout out to my boy, Obeezy

Shout out to my boy, Obeezy

He poured me a Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout. And how appropriate, considering my choice of libation earlier in the night. After a few of those, I didn’t remember too much else about that night (it was 8.5 percent ABV!) so I ended up buying a four pack from the dreaded Lucky Dog.

What makes this stout special is that it’s aged in Jefferson’s Reserve bourbon barrels for 60 days before bottling, giving it a distinct bourbon flavor.

Too much head can be a bad thing

Too much head can be a bad thing

When poured into a glass from a bottle the beer practically exploded, leaving 11 fingers of head. I’ve had some pretty poor pours before (see what I did there), but I’m more inclined to blame it on the beer here, as it happened bottle after bottle. I just let it sit, though, and after a while it settled, and the rest of the bottle went in fine.

alrightThe beer actually smelled like bourbon, with hints of caramel. It tastes much like it smells, bourbony with hints of caramel and chocolate. The bourbon is the most prevalent flavor, but it isn’t overpowering. The beer is sweet, but not to a fault. It’s a thick beer, but that’s how I like them. It would go well with Cincinnati chili, steak, or just for sipping by itself. Because of its price ($10.99 for a four pack) and high ABV, I wouldn’t recommend it for drinking before going out, but if you want a beer to enjoy with dinner or on a Sunday afternoon while watching the game, this is for you.

Overall Grade: B+

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Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

I was reading Blog About Beer‘s review of Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (not a typo, they’re just trying to be clever), calling it “one of [his] favorite and probably the most well-balanced seasonal specialty beers I’ve ever had the privilege of drinking.”  Now I love fall.  Especially when the heat of summer gives way to crisp, cool temperatures, there’s nothing better than enjoying a seasonal brew outdoors.  Unfortunately, that’s illegal in most of Athens (as is smoking indoors, public nudity and pretty much anything fun).

Not knowing too much about seasonal ales, I decided to take Blog About Beer’s advice and try the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.  I don’t have too much experience with DFH, except for with their 60 Minute IPA, which is a fantastic beer.  So I decided to try out the Punkin Ale.  And where else to go to get it than Athens’ Mecca of beer, Lucky Dog?  So my roommate and I pile into our borrowed car at 9:45 p.m. and make tracks down to the liquor store.

Now, for those unfamiliar with Athens, or who just haven’t been, Lucky Dog is THE place to go for liquor or beer.  It isn’t too close to campus, but remember walking into Toys ‘R Us as a kid and just wanting being in shock of the sheer variety of everything and just wanting it all?  That’s how it is walking into this place.

Now one can’t help but stare in awe at the sheer variety of beer at Lucky Dog.  They have dozens of more varieties than any other gas station or convenience store in Athens.  Unfortunately, that period of awe-staring cost us the brew.  I had picked up the case (a 4 pack, $12.99) when an attendant came up and told us, “blargh, hey we’re closed rarwl.”

Are you FUCKING KIDDING?  The only liquor store in ATHENS FUCKING OHIO, consistently ranked in the top 10 of American party schools, closes at 10 o’clock?!?  Shit is beyond weak.

So, destitute, and heart still stuck on getting a pumpkin ale, we made the trek to Kroger where I was able to pick up a 6 pack of Saranack Pumpkin Ale ($7.99).Saranack Pumpkin Ale

As opposed to the 7 percent DFH, the Saranac Pumpkin Ale was only 5.4 percent ABV.  I was determined not to let this get me down.  The beer actually smells like pumpkin (more like pumpkin pie than a jack-o-lantern) and nutmeg with a hint of cinnamon.  The beer tastes strongly like pumpkin too, which I didn’t expect it to. I had read that many cheaper pumpkin ales have a very subtle flavor. It tastes sweet and the spices dominate, leaving a bitter aftertaste.  The beer was a bit thinner and fizzier than I would have liked.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable beer.  It’s a good weekend brew, enjoyed best with chicken or turkey while watching the OU game (though who am I kidding, you’re probably paying more attention to OSU).  It’s sweetness and low ABV make it less than idea for getting drunk off of, but it’s a good seasonal and worth a try for the price.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

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