February is shaping up to be a great time to be a beer drinker in the Cincinnati area. The weather’s cold and the nights are long, but there are an amazing number of events coming in the next few weeks. Here’s a quick rundown:
In a few weeks, it will be the inaugural celebration of Cincinnati Beer Week. An official site has popped up to try and track the various events around the city, but I recommend hopping over to the Hoperatives blog for their take on the latest information. Here are a few of the events about which I’m excited:
Thursday February 2
Party Town Local Breweries Backroom Brawl from 6:00 – 8:00pm
Party Town kicks off Cincinnati’s Inaugural Beer Week with a “Backroom Brawl” of only local craft brews featuring the “Cincinnati Beer Week Barleywine,” a collaboration between local brewers, and our 18 tap growler program voted “Best of 2011″ by Cincinnati Magazine! Cost $2.00
Friday February 3
Arnold’s Bourbon Barrel 1861 Porter Happy Hour Tapping at 5pm
In honor of beer week Christian Moerlein has remixed a batch of the Arnold’s 1861 Porter. Arnold’s is already the only place that you could get the Porter, but for this special release, Christian Moerlein will be aging the same beer in a bourbon barrel.
Saturday February 4:
Cincinnati Brew Ha-Ha! from 07:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Cincy Brew Ha-Ha Winter Edition will bring all that has been enjoyed over the past 5 years indoors to the Cintas Center on Xavier University’s campus for its Winter Edition. This one-of-a-kind local event features top beers and top comedians creating the perfect recipe for a great time. From ales to lagers and pilsners to stouts, there is something for every type of beer aficionado – including 6 firkins! Cincy Brew Ha-Ha Winter Edition will feature over 80 selections of beer to sample and multiple comedians on 2 stages.
Additionally, there are a bunch of other events, including a 3 Floyds beer dinner at Tellers (2/8) and a selection of Left Hand beers on tap at the Hyde Park Cock and Bull (2/9) . This all leads up to the Cincinnati Winter Beer Festival on the 10th and 11th. Last year, this event was a great time and apparently it’s going to be even bigger this year. Click over to their site for more information and tickets.
On Feb 25, the Moerlein Lager house will be opening as part of the Banks, adding the first alternative to the Holy Grail, which opened last March. Tickets are $150 and the doors open at 6:30. More information can be found over on the Lager House official website.
I’m off to drink a Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere. That should help keep me sated until next month.
Saturday, November 12th from 7:30 – 11:00, is the eighth Taste of the World Wine and Beer Festival at the Newport Aquarium. Michelle and I have volunteered to pour in the past and I can recommend the event. This year, in addition to the regular admission ticket, a new “Top Shelf” area has been added with food and cocktail pairings from Laine Steelman and Molly Wellmann. Laine is the new head chef at the Party Source and Molly is the mixologist behind Japp’s in Over-the-Rhine.
I have enjoyed wandering through the different rooms and finding new and different drinks and cocktails. I’m not sure exactly what beverages will be available this year, but the selection of spirits (usually a couple of Party Source private barrels, tequila, and cocktails) along with the beer and wine has made it easy for everyone to find something to enjoy.
General Admission Tickets are $85 ($95 at the door)
Top Shelf Tickets are $125
All proceeds go to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 513.698.2457.
On the drive across Kansas, a state that seems to be roughly 12,000 miles across, Michelle and I noticed a billboard for the Oz Museum. With her love of the Wizard of Oz and my desire to not be in the car for a few minutes, we decided to make a small detour to Wamego, KS. Wamego was a very nice little town and in addition to having coffee at The Daily Grind, next door was the Oz Winery.
The winery offers free samples while they are open and this gave us a chance to try what they had to offer. The dry whites were tasty, especially the Poppy Fields, a balanced Pinot Gris. The wine was well made and we ended up with a few bottles.
Oz Winery is worth a stop for anyone on their way through the Sunflower State.
And if you want to know more about our cross-country road trip, from Cincinnati to San Francisco, you can follow along over on the Posterous Blog.
A quick post on one of our almost local breweries: Schlafly of St. Louis. Michelle and I had the chance to stop in here on our way through Missouri and enjoyed the visit. On tap were two cask conditioned alternate versions of the 80/- (80 Schilling) and the Golden Ale.
I sat down with the cask conditioned 80 schilling. Cask conditioning allows a secondary fermentation to occur within the storage container. In this case it added an extra layer of smokiness that I usually don’t find in the normal Schlafly offering. AbV was in line at 4.7 to create a very enjoyable drink.
I also tried a small sample of the Pumpkin Ale from draft and found a pumpkin-pie flavor along with a very noticeable sweetness. This was pumpkin pie filling with a touch of whipped cream. The 8% alcohol was not apparent.
The food was also impressive. I had a pulled pork sandwich along with a side of the Beer Cheese soup. Michelle had a ham and egg sandwich. We could have easily split either entree between the two of us. The portions were generous and the food itself was well prepared and matched the beer.
Overall, I would give a to the Schlafly brewery experience. We did not have time to take the tour at the Bottleworks location, but if any readers have been on that tour, let us know in the comments. For anyone visiting the St. Louis area, I recommend a quick stop by the brewery to split a meal and try something from their large selection.
You can always follow me on Untappd to see what I am enjoying.
I was recently lucky enough to attend a tasting of a few new types of whiskey at Party Source. One of the nice features of the Party Source tasting classes is that in addition to educational aspect, there is the opportunity to try something new and this was a great varied tasting:
Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey (70.95) – Dry fly is a Washington distillery that is using 100% wheat aged for 2 years in a new charred barrel. This has a nice baked bread nose with straw finishing with a hint of mint and sweet. A whiskey that is 100% wheat is rare, and this long finishing whiskey is a great example of what can be done slightly differently using local ingredients.
Maker’s Mark 46 (33.99) – The “second great idea” from Maker’s Mark has an addition of toasted French oak into the final aging process. This makes a spicier version of the traditional Maker’s Mark that gives it a flavor that is closer to a Rye whiskey using wood instead of the grain to give the new flavors. A nice way to show what effect different types of wood or aging can have on a whiskey.
Party Source Buffalo Trace “Wheat on Rye” (59.99) – A collaboration between Party Source and the Buffalo Trace experimental team taking a traditional bourbon and performing a secondary aging in a used Rye barrel. This adds a spicy flavor while not overpowering the traditional softness of the wheat bourbon. The base was a barrel similar to Old Weller before the Rye aging and it did a really nice job of connecting the two different flavors into a single whiskey.
Rick Wasmund’s Kegs o’ Bourbon (Not Available) – The first of two different types of smoked bourbons. Rick smoked the grain over a nice soft wood combination (apple, cherry). This adds another level of flavor and was brought straight from the barrel to the tasting. I think this one needs a little more time to settle down and presented slightly confused on the flavors. I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to try a sweeter, fruitier whiskey.
MB Rowland Black Dog Corn Whiskey (31.99) and MB Rowland Black Dog Bourbon (Not Available) – The Black Dog is made using a “dark fire” the corn in our miniature tobacco barn, giving the product a smoky, sweet flavor. The bourbon version is then aged in the charred oak. this produces a bourbon that has distinct characteristics that are usually found in scotch. I thought this was a really interesting change and has potential for a lot of really nice applications.
Four Roses Small Batch Barrel Strength (74.99) – This is the new product replacing the Marriage line. The Marriage was limited to a combination of two of the Four Roses recipes and this allows for more options in the creation of the yearly release. This one was a nice traditional bourbon that was a great end to the tasting. A combination of 3 different recipes aged between 10 and 15 years makes this a very nice spicy bourbon. I will miss the story behind the Marriage, but this is a worthy successor.
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