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Craft Connections expands tours to Dayton market

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 12:54pm

Craft Connection Brewery Tours is expanding into the Dayton market. The company announced the expansion this week, saying its 14-passenger shuttle now departs from Ollie's Place and hits three or four local breweries.

Craft Connection was started by brothers-in-law Ben Beachler and Bryan Moritz, and his wife Emily Moritz. The company held its inaugural tour in May 2014 in Cincinnati. Craft Connection now features tours of more than 20 breweries in the Dayton and Cincinnati markets.

"The growth of Craft Connection has proven the craft beer boom is here to stay," the company said in a news release. "People are genuinely interested in the delicious, craftily made local beers in Southwest Ohio."

Craft Connection is one of many brewery shuttles operating in Ohio, including the Cleveland Brew Bus, Dayton Most Metro Brew Tours, Columbus Brew Adventures and Cincy Brew Bus.

For more details on Craft Connection tours, which cost $50 to $65 a person, click here.

Categories: Beer News

MadCap Brew Co. expanding, relocating

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 7:41am

MadCap Brew Co. is ready to put on its big boy brewing pants.

The nanobrewery, which opened in 2013 in Stow, is undergoing a big expansion and relocation.

MadCap is transitioning to a 10-barrel brew-house — it’s using a three-barrel system now — and moving to Kent.

The brewery, best known for Bullet IPA and Bad LeRoy Brown, also is opening a tasting room for the first time.

MadCap co-founder Ryan Holmes said he’s excited about the growth, which will allow the brewery to have more interaction with its fans at the taproom, produce more styles and distribute more in the Akron-Cleveland-Canton area.

He’s also happy to be in Kent.

“The water is phenomenal for brewing in Kent,” he said last week during a tour of the new building.

The brewery will occupy the former Consolidated Mold & Manufacturing Inc. building on Mogadore Road. Bent Tree Coffee Roasters also will have a shop in the 17,000-square-foot structure.

MadCap will continue to focus on draft beer, with perhaps some small-scale bottling. The ultimate goal is to can, Holmes said. He hopes to be open in a few months.

Holmes hasn’t finalized the specific hours or days when the tasting room will be open, but he’s thinking five or six days a week. He also is interested in becoming part of the community, including Kent State University.

This is the second expansion for MadCap, which started out on a tiny system in a tiny garage in Stow. It then graduated to its current three-barrel system.

The brewery has flown under the beer radar in the Akron area. It appears sometimes at local festivals but its system is so small that it has had limited distribution.

If you’re looking for a taste, Ray’s Place in Kent and Fairlawn always have MadCap on tap.

Categories: Beer News

Scenic Brewing close to debuting first bottle

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 9:46am

Scenic Brewing Co. is getting ready to release its first bottled beer.

Gambit’s Peak Blonde Ale will hit bars and restaurants in the Canton area in five or six weeks, owner and brewer Dan Mueller said.

“We’ve had a lot of customers who like it and they really wanted to have it at certain venues,” he said about why that was the first beer chosen to be bottled.

The beer, which is 5 percent alcohol by volume, won’t be sold in bottles at the Jackson Township brewery or in six-packs, he added. It is available on draft at the brewery.

Mueller also expects Unchartered IPA will be released in a bottle around late January.

Categories: Beer News

Platform uses Count Chocula to create Cerealism

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 8:33am

Platform Beer Co. brewer Reed Jaskula always counted Count Chocula among his favorite cereals while growing up.

So it made sense when he was looking to do an experiment with a cereal-infused beer that he would choose the chocolate bomb. Well, it was either that or Golden Grahams.

Platform mixed 48 boxes of Count Chocula into a breakfast stout to create its newest brew: Cerealism.

“You get a real chocolatey cereal taste,” Jaskula said when asked to describe the flavor. “I thought it’d be fermented out.”

The Cleveland brewery will debut the special beer at 10 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 28) during its Cerealism Brunch. The event will feature $8 stuffed French toast and an endless buffet of Count Chocula, Froot Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Raisin Bran for $5.

Count Chocula, made by General Mills, debuted in 1971. It was available year-round for 35 years but now re-appears only for Halloween, according to the company website.

Cerealism, which is 8.5 percent alcohol by volume, will be available on draft after the brunch as well. The brewery made 15 barrels so it should be around for a little while.

Jaskula admitted that Cerealism was an experiment. But it turned out well enough that he joked about creating a cereal series.

Think about it. There’s always Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the aforementioned Golden Grahams, among others.

Platform isn’t the first brewery to use Count Chocula in a beer. Last year, Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo., caused a stink when it bought up all the Count Chocula in the community for its brew.

Categories: Beer News

Chickow! wins silver medal at FoBAB

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 4:57pm

Maybe Listermann Brewing Co./Triple Digit Brewing Co. should change the name of Chickow! to Chick-wow!

Barrel Aged Chickow! took home a silver medal in the specialty/experimental category at the Festival of Barrel and Wood-Aged Beers (FoBAB) last weekend in Chicago. The event, organized by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, featured more than 350 beers.

Chickow! is a brown ale infused with hazelnuts.

“People really go crazy for Chickow!," sales manager Jason Brewer said in a prepared statement. "We usually run out of it before the next batch is ready.

“This is the festival we want to win at,” he added. "The categories are broader and fit the unique styles of beer we make. I love barrel-aged beers and seeing and tasting the beers that we beat makes me a proud papa.”

Listermann/Triple Digit is taking its silver medal winner on a victory tour. It will be on tap at the following bars:

-- Listermann/Triple Digit taproom in Cincinnati during the Black Friday (Nov. 27) bottle release event at 8 a.m.

-- The Brass Tap-Clifton: Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.

-- Firehouse Grill: Dec 9 at 6 p.m.

-- Cappy’s Warehouse Wine and Spirits: Dec. 14 at 4 p.m.

-- Lucky Dog: Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.

Listermann/Triple Digit also offers a special club called the League of Extraordinary Chickow!s. For more details, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Trailhead Brewery closing

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 11:36am

Trailhead Brewery is closing.

Owner and brewer Eli Smart said his wife got a big promotion and his family is relocating to California. The nanobrewery’s last day is Saturday. (Nov. 28)

Trailhead, located in retail plaza in Akron’s Merriman Valley and a few feet away from the new R. Shea Brewing Co., opened in 2013.

“I’ve had a lot of fun down there,” Smart said. “The valley has been great. I’ve enjoyed being a part of Akron’s beer scene.”

There’s nothing special planned to mark the occasion.

“Just the usual: Selling beer and hanging out,” Smart said.

Trailhead sits at the edge of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, thus its name. The small production brewery and tasting room features draft beer, a small custom-made cedar bar and wooden picnic tables for seating.

If you want a final taste, the brewery will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; and 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Smart said there’s a chance he might open early on Friday.

With the explosion in the craft beer industry nowadays, it's rare to see a brewery close. But it does happen. Indigo Imp Brewery in Cleveland also closed this year.

Categories: Beer News

Hoppin' Frog to host five-course beer dinner

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 10:40am

Hoppin' Frog Brewery in Akron will host a five-course, six-beer pairing dinner at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

The dinner will feature King Gose Home paired with French ratatouille, Hopped-Up Goose Juice with Mahi Mahi crepe, D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer with braised short rib ragu meat sauce over pasta, Barrel-Aged Frosted Frog Christmas Ale with roasted pork medallions, and Infusion A Peanut Butter and Chocolate Coffee Porter with doughnuts.

The cost is $55, plus tax and tip. Reservations can be made by emailing TheTastingRoom@HoppinFrog.com.

Categories: Beer News

Five questions with ... Sean White

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 3:15pm

Sean White is the co-founder and brewer at Little Fish Brewing Co. in Athens. White previously served as the pub brewer for Jackie O's before opening Little Fish with friend Jimmy Stockwell over the summer during Ohio Brew Week.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: I think I was looking for a cool hobby at a time when I didn't have a lot of direction, other than going to cooking school. Eventually, brewing got the better of me and I decided I would rather be doing that than cooking in restaurants.

Q: Athens isn't exactly a big metropolis, yet it has three craft breweries and is home to Ohio Beer Week. How do you explain the popularity of craft beer in the community?

A: I think it has to do partially with the culture of Athens. We support locally made foods and artisanal products, and although we are rooted in the Midwest, we also have a progressive vibe that accepts new ideas. I also think Jackie O's did a huge amount to introduce Athens to craft beer. Personally I'm surprised it took us this long to build the brewing scene to what it is now, but I'm really happy we are where we are now.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of launching your brewery and how did you overcome it?

A: I think it was really hard to get things going while also having a full-time job and a newborn baby, who is now almost two! I'm certain I couldn't have done it without a hard working partner, so I'm very glad to have done this with Jimmy.

Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?

A: We have three beers that have been neck and neck. Saison du Poisson, House IPA, and Woodthrush. We are not trying to get a reputation as IPA brewers though, so I'll stick to the Saison and Woodthrush. Our saison is just really drinkable, which I love about it. I think in general, saisons are very accessible beers that would get more of an audience if they were offered at the same price and serving size as your typical craft ale (that's how we do it here). Woodthrush is also a farmhouse ale, but it's a bit sweeter and the spicing adds complexity. It's not very bitter so I think it's a great choice for people who may prefer wine or other beverages.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?

A: If only one, I'd say Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze. It's a blended lambic that is not the sourest, but the wild complexities are just amazing. When I think about the artistry that goes into brewing wild-fermented beer, part of me thinks I could just spend the rest of my life trying to perfect that and forego other brewing. Other contenders would be Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen, Ayinger Oktoberfest, Victory Prima Pils, New Belgium La Folie and any saison made by Hill Farmstead.

Editor's note: The Five questions with ... feature appears every Friday on the Ohio Beer Blog. If you are an Ohio brewer and want to participate -- or you want to recommend someone to participate -- email me at rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.

Categories: Beer News

Royal Docks launches B-Side Medley series

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 2:09pm

Royal Docks Brewing Co. has launched a 10-beer, year-long series called B-Side Medley -- an effort inspired by the Beatles' Abbey Road album.

The first beer, Because Belgian Golden Ale, is available now on draft at the Jackson Township brewpub. The beer is 5.1 percent alcohol by volume.

"It's a real smooth, easy-drinking Belgian ale," brewmaster Dave Sutula said. "It’s one of the beers I’m most proud of in my entire carrier. I was shooting for something Duvel-like."

All the beers in the series, except for the first and last one, will be released in 750-milliliter bottles with corks and cages, the brewery said.

The second beer, One Sweet Dream Strong Ale, is expected to debut in early January and other beers in the series will be released every five weeks or so. Other styles will include a bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale, barleywine and sour, Sutula said.

“We were working in the brewery one day this autumn and listening to the Abbey Road album and we got to talking about this beer I did like 16 or 17 years ago that was inspired by the album in general,” Sutula said. “Then we got to talking about doing something similar and as the B-side medley started, we started pairing styles with each of the tracks. It kind of grew organically from there.”

Royal Docks carries a British theme.

“Obviously, the Beatles are as British as apple pie is American, so there is a natural affinity there for our brewery,” founder John Bikis said. “We make it a point to celebrate the things that make Britain a special place for all of us here at Royal Docks."

Sutula added that there's a chance that one of the beers ends up in a can or becomes a collaboration with another brewery. "You never know – especially a year or more out," he said.

Categories: Beer News

Beer story sampler

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 7:52am

Here are a few interesting Ohio beer stories:

-- Pat's Pints reports on the mania surrounding Hoof Hearted Brewing Co. "To what lengths would you go to get your hands on some über fresh, Hoof Hearted beer?" Patrick Woodward writes. "Would you be willing to drive out to the farmlands of Morrow County and spend a good chunk of your Sunday afternoon standing in line? The answer for hundreds of Central Ohio beer lovers is a resounding yes." To read the full story, click here.

-- Queen City Drinks continues its Q&A with Blank Slate Brewing Co. owner/brewer Scott Lafollette. He notes that he's happy that Streetside Brewing is opening nearby. "Anything that helps to revitalize this neighborhood and bring more people here, I’m totally for it," Lafollette says. To read the full Q&A, click here.

-- WCPO reports that Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. is tripling its production capacity. "With the new expansion that is coming on, we'll have enough production capacity to make about 55,000 barrels at this facility," VP of Brewing Operations Eric Baumann says. To read the full story, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Land-Grant releases Beard Crumbs in cans

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 4:23pm

Beard Crumbs now comes in a can.

Land-Grant Brewing Co. is releasing its seasonal oatmeal raisin stout in cans for the first time starting at 3:30 p.m. today (Nov. 18) at the Columbus taproom. The cans will hit retail markets in the Columbus market today and Thursday.

The holiday brew, which is 7.3 percent alcohol by volume, debuted last year on draft and is available on draft now around Central Ohio.

Land-Grant Creative Director Walt Keys said the brewery is excited to release cans because the beer proved so popular last year.

"Initially it was one of those beers that you weren't quite sure of, but it ended up being very well received, and we knew that going into this holiday season we really wanted step up the production," he said. "We also definitely wanted to get it in a package so folks can enjoy it at home, bring it to Thanksgiving dinner, or bring it to a tailgate."

Beard Crumbs will be sold in six-packs and retail for $11.99.

The brewery described the beer as: "a smooth dark stout teeming with notes of chocolate and coffee with a punch of sweetness brought through from caramelized raisins. A delicious holiday treat reminiscent of an oatmeal raisin cookie, a beer Santa himself would love."

Beard Crumbs is Land-Grant's second limited-release can this year. Earlier, the brewery teamed up with the Columbus Crew soccer team to produce Glory American Wheat Ale.

Categories: Beer News

Here come holiday chocolate beers

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 8:15am

Step aside, spiced Christmas ales.

There seems to be a new trend brewing when it comes to holiday beers: Many breweries are offering chocolate beers this season.

Thirsty Dog Old Choco, a mint chocolate milk stout made with cocoa nibs and fresh spearmint, will be released Saturday on draft at the Akron tasting room and at specialty accounts.

“It gives you a taste of an Andes candy,” Thirsty Dog co-owner John Najeway said.

He got the idea several years ago after a meal at a Rockne’s restaurant, where they give you an Andes with the check. Najeway popped the mint into his mouth and finished the remainder of his stout.

“I said, ‘Ooh, this would be a nice beer,’ ” he recalled.

Old Choco has been around now for three years.

Meanwhile, Platform Beer Co. in Cleveland will tap Cerealism, a breakfast stout made with Count Chocula cereal on Nov. 28. Fifth Street Brewpub in Dayton has Thin Mint Stout, Warped Wing Brewing Co. in Dayton is offering Esther’s Li’l Secret, and Taft’s Ale House in Cincinnati has Liquid Advent Chocolate Brown Porter.

National brewers such as New Belgium and Genesee also have gotten into the act, with Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale and Salted Caramel Chocolate Porter, respectively. The New Belgium beer features a Holstein cow wearing a yellow winter hat, scarf and ski goggles.

Despite an increase of holiday chocolate brews in the market, Najeway doesn’t think they’ll replace the popular Christmas beers anytime soon.

“No, not at all,” he said.

With the chocolate offerings, Najeway said, brewers are just looking for a style to take hold from the end of Octoberfest to when the spiced Christmas ales start selling well — that’s after Thanksgiving when the weather turns colder.

Categories: Beer News

Warped Wing brings back Whiskey Rebellion

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 7:44am

Warped Wing Brewing Co. is bringing back the Whiskey Rebellion. The Dayton brewery will release the bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout in both cans and on draft at noon Saturday. (Nov. 21)

The beer, available in two-packs of 16-ounce cans and retailing for $22, is a collaboration with The Century Bar. Whiskey Rebellion is a nod to the -- what else -- rebellion in the 1700s when the government imposed a whiskey tax.

In addition to Whiskey Rebellion, the brewery will tap six other barrel-aged beers throughout the day.

Categories: Beer News

Fifth Street set to release new holiday beer

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 1:21pm

The Fifth Street Brewpub will release its new holiday beer Thin Mint Stout and tap a firkin of Double Mint Stout on Saturday. (Nov. 21)

The Dayton brewery also has partnered with the Dorothy Lane Market to create a Peppermint Killer Brownie topped with a Thin Mint Stout glaze.

The Thin Mint beer will be released at 2 p.m., with the firkin tapping set for 4 p.m.

For more details, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Smokehouse to release sour bottled beer

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 12:31pm

Smokehouse Brewing Co. is ready to release its second-ever bottled beer -- a brew that took two years to create. ess, a sour ale, will go on sale at 5 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Columbus brewpub.

The beer started in August 2013 as KA Amunet, an ale inspired by ancient Egypt and made for the Ohio Historical Society. The brewery put some of it into a Woodford Reserve barrel and added brettanomyces and lactobacillus. Then in January, Smokehouse put some Death Trapp Dubbel into a separate barrel and added brett, lacto and saccharomyces.

The brewery then blended the two beers and put them into champagne bottles with a cork and cage.

The bottle-conditioned ess will sell for $18.99. Smokehouse says that there are only about 300 available.

In addition to releasing ess that day, the brewery will debut a new spiced winter warmer called Imagine and release a small amount of its Fussy Sipper Pumpkin Peach Ale, a beer made in response to Budweiser's Super Bowl ad that poked fun at craft brewers.

For more details, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Elevator to host release party for Bar-Bar

Sat, 11/14/2015 - 10:11am

Elevator Brewing Co. will host a release party today (Nov. 14) for its Bar-Bar barrel-aged barleywine ale. The event runs from noon to 8 p.m. at the Columbus production brewery.

The beer, which clocks in at 12 percent alcohol by volume, was aged for a year in Woodford Reserve barrels.

"Bar-Bar is an especially massive version of our Big Bad Barleywine Ale," the brewery says. "It is a colossal and complex beer bursting with malt, the sweetness is balanced by hops, the higher gravity warms the soul. When aged in bourbon barrels for over a year, it picks up aromas and flavors of toffee, caramel, vanilla, toasty oak and the nose of bourbon."

For more details, click here.

Categories: Beer News

Five questions with ... Leslie Basalla-McCafferty

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 1:20pm

Leslie Basalla-McCafferty is the co-author of the new book Cleveland Beer: History & Revival in the Rust Belt. She also is the co-operator, along with her husband, of the Cleveland Brew Bus.

Question: What did you learn while writing about Cleveland breweries?

Answer: I don't even know where to start in replying to this question. My co-author Peter Chakerian and I split the writing and research behind the book into chronological segments. I covered the founding of the city through the beginnings of Prohibition; he covered Prohibition through the end of old-school local brewing in 1988, as well as a chapter on the breweries that didn't survive the early 1990s microbrewerry boom, and I picked the story back up with the founding of Great Lakes through the present.

I found the the older brewing history of the city, and particularly the biographies of some of the beer barons, to be really interesting. Isaac Leisy, founder of Leisy Brewing Company, and his brothers August and Henry, for example, were Mennonites -- an affiliation that you would think would be contradictory to a career in beer -- and in fact, both brothers sold out their shares within a few years, probably because of religious guilt -- leaving Isaac and his heirs in sole control of one of the city's largest brewing fortunes. Andrew Oppman, founder of the Oppman (later Phoenix) Brewing Company was another guy with an interesting life story -- one that included emigrating from Germany as a teen, being attacked by bandits in Kansas, sailing from California to Panama in a trading ship, and surviving the Great Chicago fire before settling here in Cleveland! It's fascinating stuff.

Q: Why did you invest in the Cleveland Brew Bus?

A: The short answer would be because talking about beer is the coolest possible way to make a living, short of making and drinking beer! The long answer is a little more involved.

My husband Brian and I started working for the original owners of the Brew Bus, Bob and Shelle Campbell, in March 2014, after I left my post as manager of Market Garden Brewery. I had gotten to know Bob and Shelle through running the brewhouse tour program there. The company, which they had started as a hobby business, had grown much more quickly than they expected, and they were overwhelmed. Once we proved that we were worthy of their trust and taking good care of their "baby," they pretty much relinquished control of most day-to-day operations to us -- within two months I was handling all the booking and administrative duties as well as guiding the tours. It was pretty much a logical progression of events for us to take over ownership.

For me, it's a dream job -- I've worked very hard to cultivate my craft beer knowledge, and I love sharing it with people. More than that, I love Cleveland -- I've always been a champion of this city, and I love to show off all the great things happening here, and all the ways beer and brewing has become a driver of development and investment in the city. Breweries are literally changing the faces of our neighborhoods, and I think that's great!

Q: You’ve operated the Cleveland Brew Bus for several years now. What’s been the funniest or craziest experience so far?

A: We really like to emphasize to our guests that the Brew Bus is more about tasting and learning to appreciate different styles of beer and understanding the brewing process than it is about consuming mass quantities of alcohol. We actively discourage people from treating the experience like a party bus, and will turn away bookings from people who we suspect are just trying to get drunk.

That said, the potential always does exist for people to get a little silly, or out of hand -- especially when a single group, like a bachelor party, has the bus to themselves and doesn't feel the pressure to behave that comes with being among strangers. I prefer to not recount the unpleasant incidents, so one of may favorites (and it's quite tame, really) was the busload of guys who randomly struck up a sing-along of popular, cheesy hip-hop hits of the late 1980s/early '90s. I think it started with "Ice, Ice Baby," then rolled into the theme from "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air." I then kicked in my own contribution -- I think Brian was slightly horrified to discover that I know all the words to "The Humpty Dance."

Q: There’s a concern that the craft beer industry – thanks to the phenomenal growth over the last few years – is reaching a saturation point, particularly in some areas of Ohio. Are there too many breweries here? If yes, why? If no, why not?

A: I'm going to give you more answer than you want on this one. I don't think there are too many breweries in Ohio, but I do think we may be reaching a tipping point in terms of breweries with regional/national aspirations moving into widespread distribution or expanding their distributed offerings. Anymore, there are SO many breweries with SO many beers available here -- both our locals and the big national players like Oskar Blues, Stone, New Belgium, et al -- that competition for cooler space in retail stores and tap space in bars is getting fierce. At some point, the store and bar managers are simply going to run out of room, and get very selective about what they choose to carry.

NOW, on the other hand, I think there's still a ton of room for small, truly local breweries that focus their efforts on serving their neighborhoods and hometowns. There are huge stretches of Greater Cleveland that do not currently have a brewery, but could easily support one. The whole south-southeast quadrant of the county -- Independence, Broadview Heights, Brecksville, and spreading into northern Summit County - Macedonia, Richfield, Hudson -- has absolutely nothing. Other than The BottleHouse and The Cleveland Brewery (which is only open in Fridays) the east side is pretty bare until you get out into Lake County, and my neighborhood, Kamm's Corners, is seriously dying for a brewery.

You also have to note that people, especially young people, are changing their patterns of consumption -- instead of shopping at the mega-mart or a humonguous supermarket for their daily essentials, they're opting to buy bread at the bakery up the street, visit the local butcher shop, and get their produce at the neighborhood farmer's market or greengrocer. As people gravitate towards this more localized model of consumption (and city planners and mayors place more and more emphasis on revitalizing downtowns and creating dense, walkable communities), I see no reason why small breweries shouldn't become a standard amenity of any town or neighborhood -- much like the local coffee shop or diner -- nor why they wouldn't thrive. AND, if those little places brew really good beer that wins awards and gains cult cache, they won't need to expand -- people will come to them.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented and why?

A: I'm going to go with Saison DuPont. I am a Saison fanatic -- it is a unique style of beer with such a distinctive flavor. And while DuPont isn't nearly my favorite example of the style, it is, commercially-speaking, the granddaddy, benchmark example, from which almost all the other variants derive inspiration. I like that stateside brewers are really starting to embrace saisons and use them as a bit of a blank canvas, to which they are adding all kinds of interesting ingredients and unexpected flavors. Saison may never capture popular imagination the way that IPA has, or sours are now doing, but it's a style where there is always room for a new twists and innovation, as well as one that, when brewed to the classic style specs, is nearly always fantastic.

Editor's note: The Five questions with ... feature appears every Friday on the Ohio Beer Blog. If you are an Ohio brewer and want to participate -- or you want to recommend someone to participate -- email me at rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.

Categories: Beer News

Weasel Boy produces "pink" beer for breast cancer research fundraiser

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 1:01pm

Weasel Boy Brewing Co. will release its first-ever "pink" beer Satursday (Nov. 14) as part of the annual Beer for Boobs event, which raises money for breast cancer research.

The pink beer -- brewed by Weasel Boy assistant brewer Lori Wince and Jennifer Hermann, who has brewed at Market Garden and Rockmill -- is a French saison called La Belette Rose (the pink weasel).

The beer has a pink hue thanks to the use of hibiscus, Wince told the Zanesville Times Recorder. “I think it turned out amazingly, almost exactly as I had hoped,” she said. “I think we really achieved our goal, and I’m super excited for the public to try it."

Beers for Boobs also will include a homebrew competition organized by the Socioto, Oltentangy, Darby Zymurgists.

To read a full news release about the event, see below:


Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser in Zanesville Nov. 14


Nov. 11, 2016

ZANESVILLE -- Weasel Boy Brewing Co. of Zanesville and the Columbus homebrewer’s club SODZ (Scioto, Olentangy, Darby Zymurgists) will hold a joint fundraiser for breast cancer research called Beer for Boobs on Saturday, Nov. 14.

To date, the fundraiser has donated more than $10,000 to the cause.

SODZ will host a homebrew competition starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at Weasel Boy Brewing Co., with more than 500 entries submitted by homebrewers across the United States that will be judged by 60 beer judges and professional brewers from four states.

This year’s competition features a special talk by Sara Hagerty, Midwest Territory Manager for White Labs Pure Yeast and Fermentation of California.

Lisa White, Vice President of White Labs, started the Beer for Boobs fundraiser by asking White Labs employees to participate in a walk to raise money for breast cancer research more than ten years ago. The fundraiser grew with breweries all over the United States holding individual fundraisers.

Winners of the SODZ Beer for Boobs competition will be announced at 6 p.m. Nov. 14, with the top three medal winners in each category earning a medal containing the pink breast cancer ribbon.

Weasel Boy Brewing Co. on Saturday evening will raffle off several items and hold a silent auction to raise money for the cause.

The silent auction features a Raku pottery female torso, crafted and donated to the auction by local potter Dan Towning.

The brewery also will be selling its first ‘pink’ beer, La Belette Rose (the pink weasel), a French Saison, in honor of the occasion.

The beer was brewed by Weasel Boy Assistant Brewer Lori Wince and Jennifer Hermann, who has brewed at Nano Brewery and Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland and Rock Mill Brewery in Lancaster.

A portion of the proceeds of La Belette Rose also will be donated to Beer for Boobs.


Categories: Beer News

Cameron's moves into Ohio

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 3:36pm

Cameron’s Brewing Co., a small Canadian brewery from Oakville, Ontario, is moving into the U.S., including expanding distribution throughout Ohio. Brewer Curtis Jeffrey sat down with me and Cleveland.com beer writer Marc Bona on Thursday afternoon at Ray’s Place of Fairlawn to talk about the operation and its beers.

With apologies to Jason Lloyd, the newspaper’s Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer, for stealing his post-game story format, here are my 17 final thoughts from the discussion. Why 17? It's 4:30 a.m. while I'm writing this so I'm too tired to figure out a reason:

1. Cameron’s – which carries the slogan “Brewed by a Connoisseur, Not an Accountant” -- has been around for awhile and is one of Canada’s oldest craft brewers. It was founded in 1997 by Cameron Howe in Oakville, which is on Lake Ontario about 40 minutes west of Toronto.

2. The brewery produces about 5,000 barrels a year. In other words, it’s not big.

3. Cameron’s will be selling its RPA, a 6.6 percent rye pale ale; Obsidian, a 9.2 percent rum barrel-aged porter; and Deviator, an 8.7 percent bourbon barrel-aged doppelbock, in the U.S.

4. The RPA and Obsidian will be sold in four-packs and retail for $9.99 and $12.99, respectively. Deviator comes in a 22-ounce bottle and sells for $8.99.

5. Cameron’s embraces “Camerfication.” What the heck is that? Apparently it's being a little bit off with each style.

6. “What we’re trying to do is add the Camerfication to each of our brands,” Jeffrey says. “We do the RPA instead of a regular IPA. We’re adding that little bit extra to give it something that’s not quite the same as every other beer.”

7. The 27-year-old has been with Cameron’s for about two years. He attended the Niagara College Teaching Brewery after getting into brewing as a homebrewer.

8. Obsidian is Jeffrey’s post-dinner beer. He says he enjoys kicking back with a cigar and the imperial porter.

9. The RPA is 90 IBUs. It doesn’t taste like it.

10. “An IPA has to be balanced and not aggressive in any way. Well, I won’t say that,” Jeffrey says, quickly catching himself. “It can be aggressive but it needs balance behind it. If you’re too overly hoppy or too overly malty, you’re missing the point of an IPA.”

11. Cameron’s is exporting the two barrel-aged beers because it believes that the American market has a good grasp and appreciation of barrel-aged products. “They pass over the border quite easily,” Jeffrey says.

12. During the discussion, I got a call from Dennis Dirkmaat, a famous forensic anthropologist from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. He was in Akron to help recover bodies from a plane crash that killed nine people. I ducked out of the beer interview to do a quick phone interview with him on the recovery process. What? You think all I do is write about beer? I wish.

13. Jeffrey hopes Americans will start learning more about Canadian craft beer and realize the market isn’t all Labatt and Molson. “We can make great beer,” Jeffrey says. “Why not try a beer from Canada?”

14. Canton-based Esber Beverage Co. is importing the beer, as part of its effort to bring more Canadian craft beer into the country. The distributor/importer also sells Flying Monkeys from Canada.

15. Dave Esber, the head of Esber Beverage, is fond of saying that Ontario is just like another state. I could see how Canadians might dislike that statement. But he just means that it's so close and beer travels well and is fresh when it arrives here.

16. What to meet and chat with Jeffrey? He’ll be at Ray’s from 6 to 8 p.m. today (Nov. 12) chatting with beer drinkers. He’ll also appear at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland this weekend.

17. Want more details on Cameron's? Click here.

Categories: Beer News

Listermann planning special Black Friday beers

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 2:52pm

Listermann Brewing Co. is looking forward to Black Friday. The Cincinnati brewery, which usually releases a special brew on that busy shopping day (Nov. 27), is set to unveil three barrel-aged versions of Batch 300, an 8.3 percent American stout.

The beer has been aged in Corsair Triple Smoke, Smooth Ambler and Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

The stout allows the different barrels to shine through in the flavor, Listermann/Triple Digit brewer Patrick Gilroy said.

“That’s the fun part of it,” he said.

It’s the first time that the brewery has experimented with the same beer in different barrels, said Jason Brewer, the brewery’s social media guru.

The three beers will be sold in 22-ounce bottles and on draft starting at 8 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving at the tasting room. The non-barrel-aged version also will be available on draft only.

The bottles will retail for $15, including taxes.

The brewery also will release a Chai tea version of Chickow! that day.

In other Listermann/Triple Digit news, the brewery is bringing back the League of Extraordinary Chickow!s for another year.

The beer club, which costs $110, provides perks for Chickow! lovers, including four exclusive bottle releases throughout the year.  You also get swag, including a 32-ounce insulated growler, and access to bottle releases before the general public does.

Chickow! is an imperial brown ale that the brewery constantly plays with.

This year’s special Chickow!s were an Irish crème, bourbon barrel-aged, maple and chocolate-cherry-raspberry version.

The four next year will be a coconut chocolate, peanut butter, barrel-aged and to-be-determined version voted on by the members.

The League of Extraordinary Chickow!s is limited this year to 300 members. There are already 140 people signed up.

For more details about the League or to sign up, click here.

Categories: Beer News