The fourth annual All About Stout Fest -- a beer tasting dedicated to, what else, stouts -- is set for noon to 4 p.m. March 14 at Molly Malone's Irish Pub in Covington, Ky., right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
“When we started this 3 1/2 years ago, it was a different craft beer world," festival director Craig Johnson, who also organizes the Cincy, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Beerfests, said in a prepared statement. "Heck, we had 25 stouts that year but only two were from local breweries. This year, there are 13 incredible stouts from Tri-State breweries (Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky) and that’s pretty cool. This is just a really fun event. It’s fun for us to do small intimate event compared to our large fests across the state. The stouts are some of the harder to find and include the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout that isn’t legal to sell in Ohio."
VIP tickets are $30 and get you a reserved sampling of four sought-after beers: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Founders KBS, Three Floyds Blot Out the Sun Stout and 2013 Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Stout.
General admission tickets are $20 and include six 5-ounce samples and a full pint in a souvenir pint glass. Additional 5-ounce pours will be available for $2.
Here's a rundown of the beer list, which includes plenty of Ohio brews:
-- Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.
-- Bells Harry Magill's Spiced Stout.
-- BrewDog Coco Psycho.
-- Brooklyn Chocolate Stout.
-- Deschutes The Abyss.
-- Deschutes Obsidian Stout.
-- Founders Big Lushious.
-- Left Hand Wake Up Dead.
-- Sierra Nevada Narwhal.
-- Southern Tier Creme Brulee.
-- Sweetwater Happy Ending.
-- Victory Storm King.
-- Bad Tom Smith Black Kettle Stout.
-- Blank Slate Opera Creme Stout.
-- The Brew Kettle Kitka Stout.
-- Country Boy Nates Coffee Stout.
-- Flat 12 Bierworks Pinko.
-- Great Lakes Blackout Stout.
-- MadTree Axis Mundi with Vanilla & Coffee Beans.
-- Moerlien Friend Of An Irishman Stout.
-- Rhinegeist Cafe Ink.
-- Rivertown Death.
-- Quaff Brothers S'mores
-- Upland Teddy Bear Kisses.
-- West 6th Snakes In A Barrel.
Proceeds benefit the Fenian’s of Northern Kentucky and also the Emerald Society Bagpipers Band. The event will include Irish dancers, Irish bands and bagpipes.
There is a limit of 300 tickets. For more details or tickets, click here.
The second annual event will feature 20 to 30 Ohio craft breweries, live music and other activities.
For more details, click here.
Wolf's Ridge Brewing Co. will host a special tapping Wednesday featuring three dry-hopped variations of its Howling Moon Imperial IPA.
The Columbus brewery dry-hopped the 8.2 percent beer with Galaxy, Citra and Mosaic hops. A flight of all three and the original Howling Moon will go for $7.
The beers will be tapped when the Tap Room opens at 4 p.m.
Hoppin' Frog Brewery has been named the best Ohio Brewery/Brewpub by readers of the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper announced the results of its 2014 Beacon's Best competition today. (Feb. 28)
In the best Ohio Craft Beer/Microbrew category, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas came out on top. Great Lakes Christmas Ale and Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher were second and third, respectively.
Overall, there were 163,971 votes cast this year over a variety of categories.
To view all the results, including the honorable mentions, click here.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports that The Brew Kettle is looking to open a bar in Amherst. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Toledo Free Press prewiews the ninth annual Glass City Beer Fest. “The growth the Glass City Beer Festival has experienced since its inception has been amazing,” Black Cloister Breiwng CEO Tom Schaeffer says. “It’s really a sizable festival at this point. It just shows that there is a growing craft beer culture in this area and that makes it very exciting for us to be a part of that and being a new brewery in the area. We have a starving public out there right now.” To read the full story, click here.
-- Drink Up Columbus reports on Columbus Brewing simultaneously tapping its Creeper at about 20 bars and restaurants on March 5. “Instead of hosting a release party at one bar, we thought it’d be great to do a ‘Simultap’ at locations spread all over Columbus and its suburbs,” Columbus Brewing Co.'s Tony Corder says. “This way, no matter where you live in Central Ohio, you wouldn’t have to travel far to be among the first to taste this batch.” To read the full story, click here.
-- The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Fat Head Brewery donated $11,464 to the Cleveland Metroparks Trails Fund. To read the full story, click here.
-- Thrillist ranks the "27 Essential Coffee Beers." The list includes Schlafly Coffee Stout and Founders Breakfast Stout. No. 1 is Goose Island Bourbon Country Brand Coffee Stout. To read the full list, click here.
Doc's Scotch Ale and Lady Justice Lager return today (Feb. 27) to Millerburg Brewing Co.
Doc's, the second beer in the Millersburg brewery's imperial series, is 9 percent alcohol by volume. Lady Justice, a Munich helles-style lager, is 5.5 percent.
The brewery also announced it has canned another batch of its Lot 21 Blonde Ale, which will be available at the brewery and retail markets.
Rhinegeist Brewery will celebrate the return of Saber Tooth Tiger, its imperial IPA, with a launch party at noon March 7. In addition to being available on draft, the beer will be released in 22-ounce bombers.
The Cincinnati brewery said there will be a limit of two bottles per person. There also will be no growlers or howlers of Saber Tooth sold.
For more details, click here.
Three Ohio breweries -- Thirsty Dog, Christian Moerlein and Fifty West -- took home awards at the fourth annual New York International Beer Competition in New York City.
Thirsty Dog was named USA Brewery of the Year at the competition last year.
The competition was judged by beer buyers, retail store owners, restaurant/bar proprietors, beer distributors and importers. Organizer Adam Levy wasn’t immediately available for comment, but last year he said there were nearly 400 beers and ciders entered from around the world. Less than 50 percent of the beer entered earn medals, according to the website.
Here's a rundown of the Ohio medals:
Gold: Fifty West Punch You In The EyePA.
Silver: Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Aged in Bourbon Barrels, Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus, Thirsty Dog Bernese Barley Wine Ale, and Fifty West Death Valley Shootout Stout.
Bronze: Fifty West 10&2 Barleywine, Fifty West Paycheck’s Porter, Christian Moerlein Red Hop Mess Red IPA, Thirsty Dog Cerberus and Thirsty Dog Raspberry.
To see the full results, click here.
Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. is releasing Red Hop Mess Red IPA in cans. The beer, originally released in bottles and on draft in November, will be available starting Feb. 27 throughout Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton in 12-ounce cans, the Cincinnati brewery announced today. (Feb. 26)
“The craft beer drinkers feedback on Red Hop Mess has been fantastic," Vice President of Sales and Marketing Steve McGlone said in a prepared statement. "From Lexington up to Cleveland, craft beer drinkers are loving this beer."
To read the full news release, see below:
CHRISTIAN MOERLEIN BREWING COMPANY EXPANDS CRAFT BEER CAN LINEUP
Red Hop Mess Red IPA to be canned due to overwhelmingly positive consumer feedback
CINCINNATI, OH – February 26, 2015 --The Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. announces the expansion of their popular craft beer can lineup with one of their most successful new brands, Red Hop Mess Red IPA. Red Hop Mess was originally launched in November 2014 in six-pack bottles and draft and quickly gained popularity after being listed as one of the top craft beers in the State of Ohio. The beer will be available beginning February 27th throughout greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lexington and Louisville in 12 ounce cans featuring artwork from Cincinnati artist, Jim Effler.
Moerlein Red Hop Mess Red IPA fits into the India Pale Ale category and is a well-balanced hop forward beer with a citrusy aroma and a sweet malt grain bill. The recipe for Red Hop Mess came from a collaboration of the Christian Moerlein brewing team, striving for a unique and innovation IPA. Vital Stats include: OG: 15.9, ABV 7.2%, SRM 11 and IBUs of 83. Christian Moerlein Head Brewer, Tom Hull, explains that flavor and aroma as, “Sweet lightly toasted malt with a blast of citrus hops that has a hint of pine in the finish.”
The Jim Effler artwork featured on the can depicts a team of mad scientists working in the lab of the brewery, reveling in the glory of the hoppy wonder they have created. The Cans description states:
Just like the creations of a mad scientist, brewing an exceptional beer requires the dynamic blend of art, science, and a touch of crazy innovation. Our team of craft brewers collaborated on this unique red IPA with a recipe bearing the perfect fusion of malt and a mad dose of Amarillo hops. The result, Red Hop Mess – a stroke of pure genius with just the right amount of madness.
Christian Moerlein’s Red Hop Mess has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from the market in the first three months of the brand’s existence. “The craft beer drinkers feedback on Red Hop Mess has been fantastic. From Lexington up to Cleveland, craft beer drinkers are loving this beer.” Stated Steve McGlone, Christian Moerlein’s VP of Sales and Marketing.
Staas Brewing Co. is adding two beer engines. The Delaware brewery and tasting room, which specializes in English and Belgian-style beers, will unveil them at 4 p.m. today. (Feb. 26)
The Runner Up extra special bitter and its new House English Ale will be the first two tapped.
“We want it to be a regular thing,” co-owner Liz Staas said. “We want to have casks on tap at all times. English beers are what we do and we want to take it beyond the novelty and put it into the regular rotation of things we offer.”
The brewery imported the beer engines from the United Kingdom. In case you’re not familiar, a beer engine is a hand pump that siphons real ale from a cask into a glass.
“With English beer especially, the flavor difference on cask vs. Co2 is kind of incredible,” Staas added. “It really highlights the malt profile. The beers also will be served at 50 or 55 degrees. We have a temperature-controlled cooler. That will be neat and help highlight the flavors — a real silky, creamy mouthfeel.”
The plan is to tap new casks each week. The brewery is open Thursday through Saturday. Staas warned that while they hope to have two cask ales available all the time, she couldn’t guarantee the beers would still be around on Saturday each week.
The brewery also uploaded a video on its Facebook page of the beer engine in action. To watch the video, click here.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- The Toledo Blade is launching a monthly beer column written by Bob Cunningham. His first piece focuses on the new Black Cloister Brewing Co., which says it will open March 20. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Great Lakes Brewing Co. made a special beer to celebrate the opening of the Heinen's grocery store downtown. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Columbus Dispatch profiles the new tasting room at Wolf's Ridge Brewing Co., which allows head brewer Chris Davison plenty of opportunity to experiment. “I wanted to have that freedom to brew more recipes and more varied styles,” he says. To read the full story, click here.
-- Soapbox Cincinnati is partnering with the University of Cincinnati to host a forum on neighborhood beer entrepreneurs. The event, called "Tastes Great, Boosts the Economy," is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the Niehoff Urban Studio. To read the full story, click here.
Rockmill Brewery is already a beautiful escape, with a farmhouse tasting room, brewery in a former horse stable and small picturesque white chapel — not to mention the headwaters of the Hocking River running through the 11-acre property, which once served as a horse farm.
But owner Matthew Barbee wants to turn rural Rockmill, located outside Lancaster, into even more of a tourist destination for craft beer drinkers.
He has plans to add a restaurant, expanded brewery that can house weddings and live music events, and a boutique hotel where people can crash after eating and sampling his Belgian-style beers. The restaurant is integral to Barbee’s vision because he is a huge fan of pairing beer with food.
The goal is to create a destination similar to wineries in Napa Valley.
“We’re very much into recreating that experience,” Barbee said. “We hear a lot that this reminds me of Napa Valley or a winery tour in California, especially when the weather is warmer. I take it as a huge compliment. People are getting that kind of intimate type of experience while they are visiting. And as we expand, we want to really invest in that and create more of a destination. More to experience, taste and do while you’re down here.”
He hopes to break ground on the restaurant this year, with the larger brewery and inn coming later. The cost of the expansion hasn’t been determined yet, Barbee said.
Fresh off opening its tasting room last month, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Co. isn’t standing pat. The Columbus brewery-restaurant is expanding so it can distribute its beer more throughout Central Ohio and start bottling.
“We have been getting out there in a limited manner, but we’re really going to start focusing on distribution here,” co-owner Alan Szuter said during a visit last week.
Wolf’s Ridge — which has gotten rave reviews and awards for its food from the Columbus media — is adding three 45-barrel fermenters and a brite tank to boost its capacity this summer. That will allow the brewery, one of several in Ohio that houses its brewing system in the basement, to push its beer more in the Central Ohio market. Wolf’s Ridge can be found now at about 35 accounts.
The brewery also will purchase a bottling line in the future, Szuter said, with Ridge Trail Amber Ale, Clear Sky Cream Ale and Driftwood Session IPA slated for release in 12-ounce bottles. There also are plans for limited releases in 22-ounce bottles featuring beers like Dire Wolf, a Russian imperial stout.
Wolf’s Ridge is committed to self-distribution and will focus on the Columbus area for now.
“As we move into other markets, we’ll do that in a controlled manner,” Szuter said.
The Lancaster brewery, which focuses on Belgian-style beers, and the Cleveland brewpub have plans to release a "hopped up saison" around Easter. The beer will be brewed collaboratively at each location, with each brewery releasing its version of the same recipe, Rockmill owner Matthew Barbee said.
Rockmill will package it in bottles, while the Butcher and the Brewer will release it on draft.
Barbee said he's excited to work with Butcher and the Brewer brewer Eric Anderson, whom he called "really skilled." Anderson was expected to be at Rockmill today. (Feb. 25)
"With collaborations, you always learn so much -- and you get to hang out," Barbee said.
The annual Ohio City Ice Carving Festival returns Sunday (March 1) to Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland.
The event, which begins at noon, will feature the University of Akron Ice Carving Club carving, what else, ice. Market Garden also will release its Ice Breaker Ale, a Belgian IPA.
The event is free to attend.
Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- Columbus Business First reports on North High Brewing Co. signing up with Premium Beverage Supply for distribution. "To be in the same book as Bells, Founders, Troegs, Ballast Point – they know how to sell premium brands," co-owner Gavin Meyers says. "This is going to help get us into a lot of new places." To read the full story, click here.
-- Fox 8 in Cleveland profiles Platform Beer Co. To watch the video, click here.
-- Columbus Business First reports on the upcoming Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen, a partnership between Hoof Hearted and A&R Creative Group. "People who know them really love them," A&R's Ali Alshahal says. "We're excited to be able to introduce them to more people around Columbus." To read the full story, click here.
-- Bob Lesher at the Artfulpint.com pens an essay that questions whether he's really a craft beer geek. He didn't get upset over the Budweiser ad. He doesn't dig bourbon barrel-aged beers. And he's not into brewery tours. "Maybe craft beer geek is just too much for me," he writes. "Maybe 'enthusiast' or 'appreciator' are more suited to my personality type." To read the full essay, click here.
-- Paste compiled a list of the 35 best porters around. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald comes in at No. 1. Founders Porter was chosen as the best. To see the full list, click here.
The beer will be available in 12-ounce bottles with the label featuring the team's wine and gold colors. The name of the beer comes from the Cavaliers’ slogan “All For One, One For All.”
“It’s really exciting,” head brewer Jack Kephart said about the new partnership.
He said he hopes the limited edition brew will be popular during the Cavaliers playoff run this year.
The beer — the brewery’s first low-alcohol IPA at 4.75 percent — should be available in about a month, although the Cavaliers are holding a sweepstakes for fans to get an early taste. It will be sold at Quicken Loans Arena, Heinen’s grocery stores and the brewery.
Quicken Loans and the brewery will offer the beer on draft, while Heinen's will have the bottles in six-packs. The six-packs will retail for $10.99.
The Cavaliers approached the brewery about making the beer, Kephart said, and came up with the idea for a session IPA, a style that has been gaining popularity among craft beer drinkers. The NBA said the Cavs aren't the first team with such a partnership. The Portland Trail Blazers did something similar with Pyramid in the past, the league said.
"We’re thrilled for the incredible opportunity to align the Cavaliers brand with The Brew Kettle’s 20 years of experience in the craft beer market,” Kerry Bubolz, president of business operations for the Cavaliers Operating Companies, said in a prepared statement. “They’re an established family business in the Cleveland community who we’re happy to team up with to provide our fans with a personalized local Session IPA to enjoy!”
The Brew Kettle is well-known for its IPAs. Critics consider White Rajah IPA one of the best in the state. And its El Lupulo Libre, an imperial IPA, won last year’s National Imperial IPA Championship sponsored by The Brewing News.
For more details on the beer, click here.
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery will release its first Teeny Tiny Test Batch I.P.A. on Tuesday. (Feb. 24)
If you recall, the Akron brewery announced late last year that it planned to experiment with different hop variations and brew special five-gallon batches for release exclusively at its tasting room.
The first beer — featuring Chinook — will be tapped at 3 p.m. The beer is 7 percent alcohol by volume.
“We are really excited about this hop, because it is known for being one of the long-standing, great American flavor and aroma hops,” owner/brewer Fred Karm said. “Chinook has not been in our IPAs before, so this batch tests the brand-new flavors and aromas to Hoppin’ Frog of the Chinook hops.”
Karm flew out to Washington state this year to hand-select Hoppin’ Frog’s hops.
“I really wanted to up our game on the IPAs,” he said.
Again, there's only five gallons of the brew so don't expect it to last long. The second Teeny Tiny version will be released March 5.
The Cooperstown, N.Y., brewery is releasing Three Eyed Raven, a dark saison and the fifth beer beer in the Game of Thrones series. Ommegang chose Cleveland as one of 13 launch cities.
"A dark saison is a style that we’ve been intrigued with for a while now and one that’s open to a broader stylistic interpretation," Mike McManus, Ommegang’s innovation manager, said in a news release. "When we zeroed in on Bran’s storyline with HBO, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to brew something with many different characteristics and attributes – a beer that’s not truly one thing or another. It is definitely the most unique beer in the series to date, which is very exciting."
The Winking Lizard Party Center in Bedford Heights will host the event from 6 to 10 p.m. March 21. The party will include a two-piece band, sword chair and medieval magician. There also will be a medieval costume contest.
"Last year, this event was so fun and brought so many laughs," Winking Lizard co-owner John Lane said. "We are excited to be able to host another Game of Thrones-inspired series release. The beer brings the people together but the entertainment pieces make this such a unique event."
Tickets are $35, plus tax and tip. The tickets include a "medieval feast," two beer drink tickets and a bottle of the beer to take home. For more details or tickets, click here.
Previous beers in the series are Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale, Fire and Blood Red Ale, Take the Black Stout and Iron Throne Blonde Ale.
Here are a few interesting beer stories:
-- The Cincinnati Enquirer is running a poll seeking the community's favorite brewery. "For the next two weeks we will be collecting the data to find out Cincinnati's favorite brew and brewery," reporter Shauna Steigerwald writes. To participate in the poll, click here.
-- WDTN reports on Warp Wing Brewing's black coffee tripel called Pirogue. To watch the video, click here.
-- Columbus Business First reports on the opening of Pigskin Brewing Co. The brewery isn't serving its own brands yet, but it is open. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Lehigh Valley Express-Times reports on a man who has collected more than 2,700 beer bottles. "I liked to see the different types of labels," Richard Fontana said about why he started. To read the full story, click here.
-- Men's Journal chats with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione about the state of the beer industry and Anheuser-Busch buying up craft breweries. "We've had our run-ins with the world's largest two breweries, A-B InBev and MillerCoors, so there's zero chance Dogfish would ever sit down to talk to them about opportunities to work together," he says. To read the full story, click here.
-- The group Americans for Tax Reform wrote a column for Reuters that talks about the most expensive ingredient in beer being taxes. "With federal, state and local levies, taxes make up, on average, more than 40 percent of the cost of beer purchased in the United States," Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason write. To read the full column, click here.
-- CNBC reports on the IPA craze. "Everyone expects it to slow down, but it's shown incredible growth," Bart Watson, staff economist at the Brewers Association, says. To read the full story, click here.