Sunday, April 5, 2015

Back in the saddle at Braxton Brewing!

It occurred to me this weekend that it has been far too long since I spit a bunch of words about beer at the unsuspecting Internet. So, with the prodding of a friend and fellow beer geek I decided it's high time for a new taproom review! 

Braxton Brewing in Covington, KY were kind enough to open their doors this week giving me a great excuse to put together a poorly thought out post about their fine establishment! Thus, without further ado and a brilliant break in my epic quest for perpetual procrastination. Here are my thoughts on Braxton brewing!

Located at 27 W. 7th Street in Covington, KY Braxton Brewing Company, the brain child of Evan Rouse formerly of HofbrÀuhaus opened its doors officially on March 27th. Last night, I finally made the trek across the river to check the place out and I must say they didn't disappoint!  Well, maybe a little but it's not their fault...

We arrived with 2 goals: enjoy some beers from a start up brewery and to cheer on the University of Kentucky Wildcats in their quest for perfection. Sadly, only one of those goals were achieved... Mostly... 

They were out of beer!! Not all the beer but, I was unable to try their "Storm" cream ale or "Crankshaft" IPA. Both of which I'm told are fantastic and according to the staff will both be back on tap early next week. 

The taproom is awesome! A huge open area featuring T.V.'s on practically every wall. The bar is positioned to the right side of the room and the actual brewing operation in the rear. Large couches in the center of the room and plenty of seating throughout. I did a quick lap around the room and there isn't a place you can't see a T.V. I suspect I will be watching many Bengals and Reds games at Braxton.

Just beyond the open area of the room is what I would call "The Braxton Garage" a seating area with picnic table seating and a huge projection screen!

Along the hallway walls towards the restrooms, Braxton has displayed the names of the "Braxton Builders". The builders are those who contributed to Braxton's kickstarter campaign to help fund the brewing operation. Also displayed are the kind words by Cincy beer bloggers who are far more skilled and respected than yours truly such as BeerMumbo and the Brew Professor. check those guys out, their work is better written and much more thought out than mine (as I write this I'm drinking a Gose and watching Buffy Summers fight a giant praying mantis... I'm awesome).

Just above the tap handles is Braxton's awesome "Hop Eagle" logo placed by Neltner Small Batch.

Who's  work can also be spotted in OTR at Halfcut, and other spots around Cincy.

Anyway, on to the beer!! I was able to try "Sparky" a hoppy wheat ale and "Blown Gasket" a robust porter. Sparky, was top notch. Very balanced and the wheat character was not overpowered by the hops which is somewhat common of the style. Don't get me wrong, I love me some hops but this beer really displays a great balance in recipe. I really enjoyed it, and at 5.5 ABV I found this beer to be VERY drinkable. Not necessarily a session beer but you could probably drink a few pretty quickly... 

Blown Gasket is a swell offering as well. This beer also really puts recipe on display. At 7.5 ABV, it doesn't leave you with a boozey burn or a heavey mouthfeel. A little bit of sweet with a nice roasted character and no coffee. Unusual for a big(ish) beer. These cats really know how to build a recipe!

After sampling these two, I'm very much looking forward to trying the other inaugural beers as well as what is on the horizon!

Braxton has a great space and is leading the charge in the revitalization of Covington. I really like what these guys are doing! I just wish they had been there when I lived only a block away! Oh well...



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Got a little Surly over the weekend...

Don't worry, all is well.

Recently, my parents took a trip to Minneapolis, MN. For their high school reunion (I won't say how many years as my mom reads this and she would never forgive me if I divulged such sensitive information). And upon my request they stopped by Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center. They had a lovely time in Minnesota blah blah blah. The important thing is a few days later I received some beer mail!

I received a four pack each of Surly "Furious" and "Over Rated". Both of which were outstanding! 

I'll start with Furious

Brewery: Surly Brewing Co.

Beer: Furious

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.2

Furious pours a lovely copper color with about an inch of creamy colored head (head not pictured as my wife poured the glass in the photo). With a nice lace as I drank.

The aroma in this beer is stellar! I picked up big pine notes as well as some nice citrus and a little maltiness. Delightful. Absolutely how an IPA should smell, in my opinion of course..

Flavor was similar to aroma but a bit fruitier than I expected! Lots of dank oine but even more fruit. Citrus, apple, pear really good stuff!! All blended perfectly with a great maltines, this is a very balanced beer. Great stuff!!

Onto Over Rated, which is anything but!

Beer: Over Rated

Brewery: Surly Brewing Co.

Style: West coast IPA

ABV: 7.3

Over Rated poured a beautiful golden color into the glass with about an inch of nice head. The beer laced all the way down the glass as I went.

Aroma is a piny citrus, pineapple maybe some lemon with a little bit if biscuit/malt character. Just delightful! Taste is the same as the aroma piny and citrusy, not too bitter. Another nearly perfectly balanced beer. Many "West Coast" style ipa's are so packed with hops that the ibu's are almost over powering. Not the case with Over Rated, Surly really nailed this one!

Tasting these two really leaves me wanting more. Not just more if these but, I'd love to sample the rest of the Surly lineup! Alas, I live outside Surly's distribution area... Any Minnesota friends want to become beer pen pals?

If these two are any indication, Surly brews some fine beers. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up! 


Suds Anonymous

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beer Mail!

In a recent visit to the in laws in Eastern Kentucky, I discovered the complete lack of better beer options in the area. I got to thinking "How do craft beer drinkers wet their whistles around these parts?". The obvious answer is simple... There aren't any craft drinkers around here. Well, that just wont do. So I did some research on "Beer of the Month Clubs". Something that I have been considering for a while. Simply because one of my favorite things as a beer nerd is trying things I normally can't. The following four "clubs" were the four best options I came across... Granted, my research wasn't extensive by any means...

The first club I checked out was .This club has three membership options. The first option, the "U.S. Microbrewed Club"contains a monthly delivery of twelve 12 oz. bottles. Four different styles (three of each) and contains a newsletter featuring tasting notes, brewery info and suggested food parings (each membership option will include the newsletter). This option will set you back $23.85 + $15.00 shipping in handeling per month.

The second option, the "U.S. and International Variety Beer Club" is similar. Twelve 12 oz. beers, and 4 different styles (I'm assuming 2 U.S. beers and 2 international beers. It didn't specify). This club will cost @29.85 + the $15 shipping and handling.

The third option, the "International Beer Club" is all beers from around the globe. Again you'll get twelve beers a month but, no U.S. beers are featured. This option only features two breweries so, you'll be receiving two six packs. $33.95 with the $15 shipping and handling fee.

This club has the most membership options. I myself would probably go with option 2. Had you asked me a couple of months ago I would have gone with option one. Recently however I have been enjoying more belgian beers so, I would hope they would include a few of those in the samplers... But I digress.

The second club has two membership options each of which comes with free shipping. So, what you're losing in options you're making up avoiding the shipping costs.

The first option features twelve 12 oz. beers, four styles for $37.95.  You can pay monthly or pay for a few months in advance. I didn't see specific information regarding origin of the beer.

The second option is twenty four 12 oz. with 4 styles of beer. This will set you back $71.73 a month with free shipping. I also discovered that it might be possible to find promo codes online. So, if this club  tickles your fancy, do a quick search. You might get lucky!

The next club I came across is . This club gives you two simple options four monthly bombers or a monthly twelve pack. Both options are $39.00 and free shipping. Either way, you're getting 4 different beers. Pretty simple.

Finally I investigated if i'm not mistaken (and its possible that I am), beerboxer is part owned by the folks at . Here you have the "Premier Box" that contains six bombers featuring 3 different styles for $69.95. Or the "Discovery Box" a twelve pack with 4 different styles for $49.95. Each option comes with free shipping.

So there you have it, four reasonable options. If you're interested in receiving beer mail, I recommend visiting each site before signing up. Most options are more expensive than driving to your local better beer store and picking up a six pack or two.. Or maybe not, it depends on how far you have to drive. If none of this sounds good, you could research trading options. I think has a post about that. Either way...



Monday, August 12, 2013

King of the Cincinnati IPA

After a few weeks of hinting about the crowning of Cincinnati's best IPA, the results are in!

On Saturday August 10, Cincinnati's beer experts/nerds met on the west side of Cincinnati at the home of The BrewProfessor for a blind taste test. The goal was to determine who among Cincinnati's craft brewers has the finest IPA.

The distinguished judges/tasters were Danny Spears of,  Ian Hoopes of, the BrewProf Mike Stuart, Tom Aguero of, and Chris Stevens of All of whom are beer experts and have much better websites than mine! Go check them out if you haven't..

The blind tasting was administered by myself and Mr. Matt Rowe. You can find Matt's thoughts on beer, brewing and smoking meat on twitter @LooseScrewBeers.

The breweries who graciously donated their versions of the wonderful and incredibly diverse India Pale Ale style were: Blank Slate, Cellar Dweller, Christian Moerlein, Double Barrel, Fifty West, Listerman, MadTree, Mt. Carmel, Rhinegeist, and Rivertown.

Each beer was assigned a letter, and delivered randomly two at a time to the judges. After blindly tasting each beer, they were each scored on appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste, and drinkability. Based in a total possible score of 100, each beer's scores were tallied and averaged. In an exciting turn of events, we found ourselves with a tie! The tasters were sent back out to Mike's deck, Matt and myself poured one final taste if each beer and the tasters were instructed to choose their favorite of the two. 

Finally, the smoke cleared and the victor was revealed as Blank Slate's The Lesser Path!! Another congratulations to Scott Lafolette at Blank Slate! Scott puts tons of effort into brewing original beers and up until recently all daily operations at the brewery he handled alone! A well deserved highest of fives to you Scott!
Check all of our respective blogs for similar postings about the judging. 

Talks in the form of a constant email beep on my iPhone are already in progress on the next king of Cincinnati contest. Until then, drink local!



Friday, August 9, 2013

You just never know

So, my wife and daughter went to visit the in-laws tonight. I finished my chores and had nothing to do.... In swoops my parents. "We're going to the pool for drinks and snacks!" I obliged... Hesitantly as what that means is seeing all of your old neighbors, making them feel old and you feel young... Which is fine....I grew up in an awesome neighborhood and have great memories of that pool.

My dad is pretty good at buying beer these days, he has a lot to learn but, so far I've taught him well (he had a 6 pack of Dogfish 60 minute and Mt. Carmel IPA.. respectable). I brought 1 Jackie O's amber and 1 Revolution Anti Hero IPA (I highly recommend both). Anyway, I drank, my mom showed off pictures of my beautiful daughter, and  a good time was had by all.

In comes the home brew, a nice gentleman placed a bottle of pale ale on the table. I wasn't going to chime in "I'm a brewer too man" at first but, my mom kept saying. "You're a brewer tell him about sudsybeersNstuff!"... Actual quote... Anyway I asked for a sample which was top notch. I mentioned that I am a home brewer as well, and his lights turned on... You know the look home brewers...

He is a member of a home brewer collective". They meet each month to brew a batch and collect their fermented/finished or "carbed" bottles from previous brews. I'm told that at the house they brew, there is a gravity fed fermentation (sorry for the jargon) system that feeds wort into conical fermenters. That's epic cool in my book and dammit I'd love to see a home brew rig like that..

We chatted beer for the next hour and a half. My mom continued to brag about my daughter which works perfectly because she can brag about me as well. My dad ate chicken wings and bullshitted with his buddies. And Made a great new home brew connection!

My point is; you never know when you'll meet a brewer. And realized that I should always carry a growler of Crooked House beer with me!




Monday, July 29, 2013

Cincinnati's newest brewery!

The following is my very belated post regarding Cincinnati's most recent addition to our ever blossoming craft beer scene... Welcome Rhinegeist!!

Located at 1910 Elm in OTR, Rhinegeist officially opened their doors on June 29. I wasn't able to make the opening day festivities as I was returning from vacation that day but, I'm told it was a grand old time!

Located on the 3rd floor of the old Chrisitan Moerlien bottling facility, you wouldn't know they were there if you weren't looking for it (if you're heading there for your first visit, keep your eyes peeled for a parking lot featuring the Rhinegeist logo directly across the street). Up 3 flights of stairs, you'll enter the absolutely gigantic space. 250,000 square feet I'm told. However, don't quote me on that!

The expansive space features picnic table style seating, corn hole, and ping pong. Tucked against the north wall is the brewery itself.
And in the back corner, the bar/taproom. The bar is very nicely done, looks to be made of nice reclaimed wood. Behind the bar, are the many taps against some very pretty black subway tile. The walls feature one flat screen tv that usually has the Reds game on and across from that for some reason, a giant buffalo head! Above the taproom area there's a great hand painted mural featuring a hop with a fish emerging from it, spitting out a ferocious Bengal tiger? I'm not sure either but, it's awesome either way!

On to the beer!!

Rhinegeist has 4 regular year round beers on tap everyday. 

Couger: a 4.82% ABV Golden ale with 25 IBU
Uncle: a 3.82% English Mild ale at 18 IBU

Spikelet: a 5.3 % ABV at 40 IBU

Truth: a 7.2% ABV at 75 IBU 

I recommend ordering a flight first, then pick your favorite. Or do what I did and go down the list... Twice. All four beers are really solid and very tasty! Pints are $6, you can also fill your growler for $10. In addition to standard growler fills, Rhinegeist also offers sweet 32 oz. growlers for $6! 

Rhinegeist will also be brewing seasonal or, "rarities" with the first of which available August 3rd. The first rarity batch is an imperial IPA called Saber Tooth Tiger. Tickets for the release day are available here

I've been told, that this fall there are also plans for an Oktoberfest type celebration as well as another rarity release. 

I understand there are also plans in the works to can their beers for market. In the meantime, the beer can be found at the brewery and all over OTR!

Rhinegeist is another great addition to the growing Cincinnati beer scene!