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.
Although the temperature in Cincinnati has been all over the place, the first official day of winter is Thursday. If you haven’t already been partaking in seasonal brews, the time is now.
Fox News published a Best Holiday Brews article this week and it reminded me that these seasonal selections won’t be around forever. Although I don’t usually drink darker, heavier beers, they are great for warming you up on cold winter nights.
I have had – and do like – the top beer on this list: Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale, a holiday beer brewed with honey and spiced with ginger and cinnamon. It’s medium-bodied, not too heavy, and a repeat World Beer Championship Gold Medal winner. My sister-in-law was nice enough to share her stash over Thanksgiving (Thanks, Laurie).
Not on this list, but a popular choice - Sierra Nevada Celebration. While Celebration tastes good for a change, I can’t drink many as it’s a very robust, rich ale. But it’s great for bringing along to your holiday parties and for toasting friends and family.
Do you have a favorite winter beer? Leave a comment here and let me know what you like and what I should try before they all disappear.
Last night I went on the Queen City Under Ground Tour from American Legacy Tours and I was amazed. I’ve been on at least three of their tours and every time I go I learn something new about the greater Cincinnati area. This tour was focused on the Over the Rhine area where there were over 163 saloons, beer gardens, theatres, and breweries were on Vine St. in the late 1800s. The breweries would store and make their beer underground the buildings in these huge tunnels/rooms (the rooms are the sub and sub-sub basements). Some of the tunnels/rooms I was standing in were at least 20 feet high, it was amazing. They had tunnels that were underneath the streets that go in between the barreling and bottling buildings and onto other buildings.
Did you know that Cincinnati drank over two and a half times more beer than the national limit in the late 1800s? That’s a lot of beer! Besides seeing the underground breweries and historical buildings we saw where the new Christian Moerlein brewery will be located. There was a tunnel that was boarded up from the one building that led into the Christian Moerlein brewery but we didn’t get to see that tunnel. The future home of the Christian Moerlein Brewery was once the Malt and Lager house of the Kaufman Brewery that was one of the breweries during the late 1800s. Christian Moerlein Brewery was the only Cincinnati beer from that time that was exported internationally.
The tour was a great history lesson and shows how much Over the Rhine have developed in the last decade. Please note that the tour is a walking tour and to get to the tunnels you will have to go down a few flights of steps. The tour runs till the end of November every Saturday and Sunday. Please check their website for more information.
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.
Hope you all don’t mind me writing about beer…
It’s been a fun, busy summer for me. Seems like I’ve had a lot of social events to attend, which is always exciting. In the midst of all of these events, I became re-acquainted with one of my favorite beers…and now there’s no turning back.
I’ve always been a “light” beer drinker, but tasting Hoegaarden changed that. I first tried Hoegaarden about a year ago at The Pub in Crestview Hills Town Center. And I fell in love with it. Lately I’ve been buying it to enjoy at home.
Hoegaarden is a wheat beer from Belgium. I think this beer has a very different taste. With a touch of coriander and a hint of orange peel, the flavor is sweet and spicy at the same time. It is an unfiltered beer and therefore a bit cloudy in appearance. If you get it out on tap, Hoegaarden is served in its traditional hexagonal glass with an orange slice.
Hoegaarden is very refreshing so it’s one of those beers that’s perfect for a warm summer day. Wonder if we’ll have any more of those.
When I first started buying Hoegaarden, it was not widely available. But I’ve noticed it more in area liquor stores and even in some grocery stores. The downside is I’ve never seen this beer on sale. It’s typically $9.99 a six-pack.
This is not really a review, but I’m gonna give it a big HAPPY face anyway!
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