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 www.beermonthclub.com .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 www.craftbeerclub.com 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 www.microbeerclub.com . 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 www.beerboxer.com if i'm not mistaken (and its possible that I am), beerboxer is part owned by the folks at www.letspour.com . 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 www.brewprofessor.com 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  www.brewprof.com 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 www.beermumbo.com,  Ian Hoopes of www.beerquestabv.com, the BrewProf Mike Stuart, Tom Aguero of www.queencitydrinks.com, and Chris Stevens of www.queencityfresh.com. 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! 



Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy birthday Queen City Drinks!

Last night, Queen City Drinks had a birthday party (for their 1 year anniversary) at Fifty West. It was a great night. I finally got to put some faces with names, and drink some excellent beer!

Among the guests were @brewprof, (www.brewprof.com) @beerquestABV, (www.beerquestabv.com) @tom_aguero of Queen City Drinks, (www.queencitydrinks.com)
@loosescrebeers,  and a few others. If you don't already follow these folks on twitter or you haven't visited their sites, you should. These guys have much better things to say than I do.

At the heart of it, last night's event was a bottle share, my first one... I was psyched to try some beers I've never had. In chatting with some folks on twitter etc. I know that there are some pretty decent beer cellars out there. So expected some good stuff, I was not disappointed!

On to the beer!

First pour was The Bruery's Black Tuesday (2012). This was my first beer from The Bruery and holy crap this thing is a beast, 19.2%!! @beerquestABV said it best "how do you even get a beer to do that!?" If I'm being honest, it was a little hard to drink. If you run across a bottle share generously with friends. And be careful. Thanks @tom_aguero for graciously donating this gem!

Up next was Cigar City's Hunaphu's Imperial Stout. Another first for me I'd heard nothing but great things about Cigar City and I was more than excited for a taste of this one. I must say it was delicious. I daresay one of the best stouts I've had. I'll be on the lookout for this one again! Thanks @brewprof for sharing!

Next was a pour of Three Floyds' Dark Lord (2010). I've made no effort to keep secret the fact that I'm a FFF fan. I truly love their beers so, I was ecstatic to see this bottle show up. Kenny from Cincinnati's own Madtree Brewing Company brought the bottle, thanks Kenny! This is a solid russian imperial stout, very drinkable. At 15%, this is another behemoth (get it?). Now if I could only get my hands on some of the barrel aged versions...

Up next was Odell Brewing Co. Saboteur  kindly provided by @beerquestABV. A Brett brown ale, this one was interesting the Brett yeast adds something of a mild sourness and the flavor was very bready. Admittedly  I'm a novice when it comes to brett beers so I didn't really know what to make of it... Interesting.

Finally, I poured Three Floyds' In The Name Of Suffering. A 7% black IPA brewed with Cascade hops. I believe I've mentioned this beer before so I'll move on...

I also had a quick taste of Triple Digit's barrel aged Chicow! Awesome! Get to Listerman's and get a bottle if you can. 

There were plenty of other beers being poured, these are the few that I was able to get my glass under. 

After the crowd thinned out, we were allowed a tour the brewery. Where we got to nerd out and chat beer with a pro. We also had a taste of a new DIPA poured directly from the brite tank! Delicious! Keep an eye out for that one soon at Fifty West, definitely a hop bomb.

So, I want to thank Josh from Queen City Drinks for putting together an awesome night. And the folks at Fifty west for allowing us to use their place  to geek
out on beer. It was a great night guys, thanks a lot! 


Oh, and I made a huge mess dropping all those names... Lemme just get those picked up. BOOM!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Founder's KBS. Worth the hype?

So, I missed the KBS train last year... Ill admit it was due to a little bit of ignorance on my part. I just wasn't aware of the excitement the release of this beer generates. Don't get me wrong, I knew it existed but I just wasn't "hip to the hype". So, now that I have finally tasted the beer itself , I'll do a review and tell you whether or not you should go on the hunt for any remaining bottles this year, OR advise whether or not you should prepare yourself for the onslaught of panic that Founder's generates with this yearly release.

Brewery: Founder's

Beer: KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Style: flavored stout brewed with chocolate and coffee aged in bourbon 

ABV: 11.2%

This thing pours jet black with about a half inch of khaki head that quickly dissipated. Minimal lacing down the glass, and I was drinking it slow.

On the nose, the bourbon aroma was not overpowering at all (Which, if im being honest I was a bit worried about as im not a HUGE fan of bourbon barrel aged ales... Im sorry, JEEZ!). The coffee stands out first, then I got the chocolate and finally the bourbon to really round it off. In that order. Seriously the aromas don't blend they just kind of manifest themselves from the inky depths (nice, right?) of deliciousness that is this beer.

I was surprised at first taste because again, I expected the bourbon to really outshine the coffee and the chocolate. I am such a huge fun of Founders' Breakfast Stout that, I didn't want the bourbon to take away from that beer too much. Not the case with KBS, the bourbon really enhances it. As with the aromas, I noticed the coffee flavor first. Then, the chocolate really "melts" across the palate (I'm a nerd but that was a nice chocolatey description right?). And, finally the bourbon sneaks in and adds a nice sweetness to the overall beer. Very nice, not overpowering at all it really ties everything together ("That rug really tied the room together Dude.") Over all, this is perfectly blended. I really liked this beer.

So, is it worth the hype?

In my opinion? Yes. Yes it is... Now do you need to bend over backwards trying to find it when its released? Thats a tough call, I think that if you've never had it then yes do what you can to find it. You most likely wont be disappointed. I got lucky, and contacted my local bottle shop (DEP'S in Fort Thomas) via email a couple weeks before the release date and made sure I got my name on a 4 pack. I was contacted when it was available. This is most likely your best bet, do the legwork first, don't go hunting from shop to shop. Call, tweet, email, Facebook... Contact the places you shop at regularly, and find out if they are getting any. If they are, find out if you can reserve some. Even if its only a bottle or 2... You'll be happy you did. People really go crazy for this beer, I get it. It's super good ("super good"being a technical term). I promise you'll have difficulty finding it otherwise. Unless you know where to look and what you're looking for I guess... I haven't seen any more KBS around so, it might be gone until 2014. My point is: Plan, research, and attack.

On the other hand, if you're a serious beer nerd perhaps the hunt is part of the game. In that case, this is the beer to hunt for. Don't waste your time and energy on Hopslam at the beginning of the year. You wont have any trouble finding that... And, honestly there are better beers to get excited about. Don't get me wrong Hopslam is a FINE beer. I really like it. But don't stress about it.... The amount of hype and panic that beer generates should seriously be reserved for beers like KBS... I'm stepping down off my soapbox now.

Anyway, I've got 2 bottles left that are screaming at me from the fridge. It's going to take a lot of effort not to open them. My goal is to have one next year to compare the aged version to the 2014 release... Fingers crossed...


Suds Anonymous

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

That one time I achieved beer nerd nirvana...

Two weeks ago, the wife surprised me with an early birthday/anniversary present. A mini "beercation" to my favorite brewery, Three floyds!

Before making the trek which I was extremely excited about, I did some research (which was basically just reading reviews of the brewpub on Yelp) and I got a bit nervous. I found that most of the reviewers experienced a terribly long wait at the brewpub and awful service... 

Here is how our experience went:
We arrived in Munster, IN at 10:30 Cincinnati time and quickly realized it was only 9:30 in Munster. Great! An extree hour of drankin! I was still nervous however because I was fully expecting a 2 hour wait. So we grabbed a taxi and headed to Three Floyds. To my great surprise we walked in and were seated immediately! To say I was pleasantly surprised is the ultimate understatement. There are T.V.'s in the brewpub but they arent showing sports (which, to be honest i was a little disappointed about as it was March Madness...) instead, they show old movies. Sometimes its cult classics, sometimes its Kung Fu. When we got there it was Ghostbusters... Right, count me in lets do this. The music is loud. Not too loud, but loud. I was okay with it as they were playing "Stranger Than Fiction" by Bad Religion in its entirety...

The service was great. I suppose its possible the level of service differs greatly between an extremely busy visit and a laid back visit such as ours. We had no complaints, both beer and food arrived timely and our server was both polite (which, my wife and i were both nervous about as those "hipster" types can be a little condescending at times.. You say you haven't noticed that? Just me? Thats weird.. anyway) and nice. Great service. Zero stress... ONWARD!
I had already checked to see what was on draft at the brewpub as it was my goal to try the beers I know I can't have anywhere else. I ordered the "Toxic Revolution" a hoppy stout brewed with the creative help of the band Municipal Waste. FANTASTIC! (I'm not reviewing these beers with this post perhaps another time?) This is about our trip/experience.

From there I had "In The Name Of Suffering" a black IPA brewed with the gents from The band Eyehategod. This beer takes its name from the band's record of the same name. Again, an awesome brew.

Among the other fine beers I tasted was a pale ale called "Space Station Middle Finger". My wife liked this one more than I did I found it to be a little "plain Jane". Great name though... We also tried a brown ale called "Sand Pebbles", a saison called "Tonnere Neige". If i'm not mistaken we also tried the "Permanent Funeral" which i'm sure i enjoyed but things were a bit hazy at point.

We each ordered the burger, which we both enjoyed. The fries were good but we weren't there for the food. We finished our drinks, grabbed a 6 pack of Alpha King to go and took a cab to the hotel feeling very satisfied. 

The next morning we took our time with breakfast (which may have been a mistake) and arrived at the brewery around noon. The plan was to stock up on beer and take a tour of the brewery. Our time would have been better served skipping these missions all together for a trip into nearby Chicago. But, we were there for Three floyds...

We waited in line for the to go window for about 90 mins. While in line I snuck to the front of the line for the brew pub which was equally as long if not longer than ours. And put or name on the list for the 2pm brewery tour. Which worked out nicely I guess because just as we finished loading the 4 cases we were bringing home, it was time for the tour to start... 

The tour was short and sweet, I enjoyed it because I'm a huge nerd but, if I'm being honest it can be skipped... Overall in my opinion daytime visits to the brewery are ill advised.

And here's why...

We returned to the brewpub that night AFTER dinner, waited 30 minutes and got seated again. No wait at the to go window either..

In short, Three Floyds brewery and brewpub is definitely worth a visit. Go after the dinner rush for a shorter wait and avoid at all costs during the day on weekends. Get the burger...

Three Floyds Brewpub
9750 Indiana Pkwy
Munster, IN 46321