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!
For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time, you know that I’m a huge fan of Goose Island. Whenever we go to Chicago, we make a special point of heading out to the brewery for seasonals and dinner. I even co-hosted an event last year with the Dilly Cafe, the Hoperatives, and Goose Island. They make my favorite beers.
It was announced today that Anheuser-Busch has purchased Goose Island. Now remember, Anheuser-Busch itself is owned by global conglomerate InBev, so in essence, InBev now owns Goose Island.
I know this is probably a good thing for Goose Island, and the deal was worth a lot of beer: $38.8 million. According to WBEZ Chicago, not much will change:
In a statement, the head of Goose Island, John Hall, said the Chicago company has grown so rapidly in the last five years that demand for Goose Island beers has outgrown the capacity of its brewery. Hall said the company has had to limit production of some of the beers. Hall said the deal with Anheuser-Busch will help Goose Island continue to grow.
“This agreement helps us achieve our goals with an ideal partner who helped fuel our growth, appreciates our products and supports their success,” Hall said in a statement.
In announcing the acquisition, Goose Island said Hall will continue to be responsible for the Chicago brewery, which the company says will remain in operation.
So I have my fingers crossed I won’t see a Matilda Select or Fleur Lime anytime in the near future.
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