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Weekly Roundup – New Beerish Places Open In Columbus

It’s springtime here in Ohio and new bars, beer stores, and restaurants are popping up faster than, well, let’s just say faster than a family of rabbits! Columbus has seen major growth in “Beerish Places” over the past 6-12 months, and it seems as we progress through 2013 this trend is continuing.


Opening This Week:


The Crest Gastropub
Facebook Page

The Crest, a new gastropub in Columbus opens today, Friday, April the 26th, at 4pm – just in time for Happy Hour! The Crest is focused on craft beer, local spirits, and fresh quality food in a comfortable, relaxed environment. They have 60 taps that include both craft beer and even some draft wines, as well as a couple Brothers Drake Meads. They also have 40 of their own housemade infusions and signature cocktails.

Where is it?
2855 Indianola Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43202
614-268-6838


The Pint House Beer Garden
Website
Facebook Page

The Pint House is located in the Short North and just opened this week – Thursday, April 25th to be exact. Open 7 days a week starting at 3p Mon-Fri and 11a on Sat-Sun, early reviews sound promising. Geared towards the 30-ish crowd there will be a focus on an upscale bar menu and a wide beer selection, as well as 1,000 square foot beer garden area.

Where is it?
780 North High St. Columbus, Ohio 43201
614-429-3986


Opening Soon:


The Ohio Taproom
Visit Website
Facebook Page

Located at the corner of Northwest and Third, The Ohio Taproom focuses on selling goods made in Ohio, starting with craft beer. They have various growler sizes available that you can fill with any of the 20 Ohio beers they have on tap. According to their social media feeds they are due to open any time, probably in the next couple of weeks.

Where is it?
1291 West Third Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43212
614-585-2212


Recently Opened:


Savor Growl
Visit Website
Facebook Page

Near the corner of Weber and Indianola, Savor Growl places a focus on providing fresh, high-quality beer in growlers to-go. There are 60 beers on tap with a mix of local, craft, and imported beers. This location was previously Weber Market, and was recently renovated and transformed into a growler fill shop.

Where is it?
2991 Indianola Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43214
614-261-6112


Arch City Tavern
Visit Website
Facebook Page
Also recently opened in the Short North, the Arch City Tavern website touts that they serve “Crafted Beer, Crafted Food, Local Spirits.” Their online menu currently has 24 beers on draft (mostly craft) and around 30 bottles of additional craft beers available. They also serve upscale comfort foods, such as lobster mac and cheese and the Arch City Burger, made with four kinds of beef.

Where is it?
862 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
614-725-5620


The Pint Room
Visit Website
Facebook Page

Not to be confused with The Pint House (listed previously), The Pint Room is located in Dublin, Ohio, and can be considered the veteran of this list – and it’s only been open a few months! They boast 101 taps (which is quite impressive to look at when you approach the bar) and have large hanging menus hanging on the wall with the beers listed according to style. They also offer growler fills of various sizes, plus tasty food – including gourmet burgers.

Where is it?
4415 West Dublin Granville Rd. Dublin, Ohio 43017
614-889-6558

 

Are you a fellow Columbus-dweller? If so, have I missed any of the most recently opened Beerish Places on my list? If so, please leave a comment below!

 

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Beer of the Week: Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down AleAs seems to be the case with most beers from Lagunitas, Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale has a story behind it – and what beer with that kind of name wouldn’t!?

What Lagunitas has to say about it:
“We brewed this especially bitter ale in remembrance of the 2005 St Patrick’s Day Massacre and in commemoration of our 20-day suspension that followed. The ABC conducted an undercover investigation of our brewery, finding us guilty of operating a “Disorderly House.” We did the crime. We did the time. We got the bragging rights.”

Let me translate the above into layman’s terms for you. To me, this sounds like another example of an unfair crackdown from “The Man.” In this instance, “The Man” is otherwise known as the ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control).

Back in 2005, Lagunitas was in the habit of having weekly tasting parties that involved food, music, and of course, beer. Well for some reason the ABC decided Lagunitas was having too much fun, and undercover law enforcement started to attend these weekly parties in an attempt to rack up charges and shut Lagunitas down. Well, after 8 weeks they finally had enough “evidence” to temporarily shut Lagunitas down for 20 days.

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down - LimitedThis situation (not surprisingly) did not sit well with Lagunitas, so to get back at “The Man” they have since produced various releases of this brew, as a kind of a homage if you will, to this historical event. I’m personally more than happy to partake in this bottled portion of beer history, and I recommend you go out and get your own six-pack to do the same while this limited release version is still out on the shelves.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep amber with a nice foamy head, lots of lacing and good glass retention.

Smell: Hops, caramel, very faint floral notes.

Taste: Very pleasant and balanced hoppy bitterness. Definite caramel malty tones to this as well. I found it to be quite delicious.

Mouthfeel: Well-balanced carbonation, crispness and smooth, medium body.

Overall: This is a very drinkable beer. In fact I’m mildly drooling just writing this review and have already hoarded a couple six-packs in my basement. The amount of booze in this beer is sneaky – you can’t even tell that it it’s a high ABV until you’ve had enough sips that the telltale boozy warmth sets in. The flavor is well-balanced between hops, bitterness and sweetness and my best guess is this will drink well on both warm or cold days; it’s versatile. I’d also recommend this brew to any craft beer newbies out there because it’s full-flavored with a lot of balance – it’s a great example of a well-done brew.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.31 / 5

Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 9.70%
IBUs: 34
Original Gravity:1.085
Malts: Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Seasonal – April (packaging states it is a Limited Release)
Food Pairings: Cheese (nutty; Colby, Parmesan)
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter or Mug
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it:
I’ve seen this in multiple beer stores locally and it’s not difficult to find at the moment. However, it’s listed as a Limited Release so I’d recommend scooping up your six-pack soon while the getting’s good!

 

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Drinking at The Daily Growler

The Daily Growler - FrontToday I would like to fondly introduce you to one of my favorite local establishments, The Daily Growler. Situated in an unassuming center of stores at the corner of Fishinger and Riverside in Upper Arlington, it may be easy to overlook at first, but The Daily Growler is a local gem that should not be missed.

A relatively new bar/growler-filling mecca here in Columbus, Ohio, the Growler opened on December 17th last year, about a week before Christmas. Opening when most folks are off work, thirsty, and in need of reprieve from the shopping malls is definitely not a venture for the faint of heart, but the Growler valiantly succeeded. In fact it has earned a great reputation from newbies and regular customers alike. After all, who wouldn’t love a place that offers 60 fresh craft beers on draft, as well as Happy Hour 7 days a week!

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the co-owner, and self-proclaimed Growler Czar, John Blakely during my most recent visit. He graciously shared his thoughts on how business was going and how the experience has been to date.

The Daily Growler is a family business, but John is the go-to guy and the face you’ll most likely see when you get your growlers filled or sit down to drink a pint. And when I say “pint” I mean a full pint! John emphasized that they don’t skimp on their pours at the Growler – their pint glasses are true to size – and half off during Happy Hour!

John is cool, laid-back guy originally from Ohio but who spent time out west after college, which is when he started to develop his own love of craft beer. He also spent some time in Portland, where he said the mindset isn’t what six-pack to pick up, but rather the question is “What craft beer should fill up my growler?”. Surprisingly enough, the term “growler” is still a relatively a new concept to many people, so if you’re unfamiliar with the term, this article on Beer Advocate explains it pretty well.

The Daily Growler - TapsThe Daily Growler fills a somewhat niche market. As you walk through the front door, the first thing that catches your eye is the row of 60 taps spanning the back wall and the family-style seating at large tables. The atmosphere is much more like a coffee shop than a typical bar, where you can buy a drink, hang out with friends, or shop-and-go.

The Growler is also a good destination if you’re having a casual event or a private party – they have a large back room that can be rented for a nominal fee, plus a refundable deposit to reserve the room (and prevent no-shows).

The primary criticism you’ll read about the Growler on review sites is the rather spartan approach they’ve taken with their decorating style. What most of you may not know, however, is that this is a prime example of designing with purpose – and being a designer myself by trade – trust me – I know what I’m talking about! Plus, the Growler is still evolving and they’ve been adding cool little touches over time. For example, between my last two visits they added large flat-screen TVs to the back room, display shelves with growler kits and board games, and a few other touches here and there.

John explained they carefully considered their design choices for the Growler, and went with the minimalist approach for one primary reason – to encourage interaction between mingling customers, and to encourage customers to ask questions about the beer when selecting their choices at the counter. Think about it this way, if all the taps look the same, you won’t be influenced to go with just what you know, but perhaps to ask some questions and try something new (and you just may like it!).

The Daily Growler - SignThe Growler strongly emphasizes one thing about their beer – they strive to serve the freshest craft beer possible. Kegs are frequently rotated, and if you come in for a growler refill, they swap out your old growler for sanitized, chilled one. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have a special growler dishwasher at my house! This is why they will only fill their own growlers, but when you first purchase one it’s only $4, and if you pair that with their Daily Growler special of the day, you can’t go wrong with price.

Also worth a mention, they make their own root beer as well, and as a self-proclaimed root beer aficionado, I will flat-out state that their root beer is damn good. In fact I almost wanted to fill a growler of just that alone!

One last thing to note, they don’t serve food at the Growler, and as stated on their website, “We are beer experts, we leave food to the food experts.” However, you’re definitely encouraged to bring your own food in to eat while you drink, and you can also ask to look at the menus for the 3 restaurants located in the same shopping center – they’ll gladly deliver your order right to the door.

The Daily Growler - InsideSumming things up, I highly recommend The Daily Growler for all of your growler-filling needs, or just somewhere to stop by for a well-deserved break and a couple of pints. You never know, you may end up liking one of the beers so much that you head home with a full growler for your friends or family to share!

Want to tell John how the Growler is a job well done? Just keep your eyes open for the guy behind the counter wearing flip flops – yes even on a cold, snowy Ohio day! I’d personally call this his trademark; he says he simply feels more comfortable that way, and his feet do too!

Want more of The Daily Growler?

Thirsty for more? Check out The Daily Growler’s website, and if you’re interested in The Daily Growler special of the day, I recommend that you “like” their Facebook page to get regular updates. If you’re an Instagram fan, you can also find them by searching for @thedailygrowler.

Have you been to The Daily Growler? If so, what did you think? Post your feedback or comments below.

 

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Beer of the Week: Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Beer of the Week - KBS - In Glass

Pour of KBS at Old Bag of Nails Beer-Fest Party

Every year the annual release of Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is highly anticipated by craft beer lovers everywhere. KBS is a limited release, generally appearing in spring (this year at the beginning of April) and often sells out within minutes at the selected retailers that receive distribution. This year KBS shipped to 23 states, and because of the limited quantities (some stores only receive one case) customers are often limited to a single bottle, so you can imagine the race that ensues to acquire this coveted beer.

In 2012, Founders underestimated the demand for KBS and released a very limited amount, which definitely didn’t sit well with loyal fans. And while they never disclose how many barrels of KBS are produced, Founders did admit that for this year’s release they brewed “significantly more” KBS than they did last year

KBS – What’s the Big Deal?

Any limited-release or hard-to-acquire brew is often in high demand by craft beer fans, especially if it follows through on taste factor. Sometimes a brew is limited due to the amount of time or method involved in aging, ingredients, location, or other factors. I’ve personally had several of the more highly-esteemed beers in the craft beer community, and I do admit that KBS ranks up there in the top 10 for me.

Beer of the Week - KBS - brewtus614

Artfully arranged KBS bottles – compliments of Instagram friend @brewtus614

More About This Popular Brew

KBS “makes your taste buds squeal with delight” according to the Founders website, and I can vouch for this – it’s true. It is an imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolate before being cave-aged for a full year in oak bourbon barrels under the city.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a thick black, with a minimal dark-tan head with some retention around the edge of the glass; lots of lacing as you drink.
Smell: Nose is sweet and roasted with coffee, chocolate and a hint of vanilla and oak.
Taste: Lives up to the hype; roasted, chocolate, vanilla (which typically comes from being aged in bourbon barrels) with a little hint of sweet bitterness; can also pick up on the oak and bourbon.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a real creamy smoothness; coats the tongue and lingers.  
Overall:
This was my first encounter with the esteemed KBS, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. I was drinking several very good beers in a flight while waiting for KBS to be poured at a local establishment’s Beer-Fest KBS party, and when compared side-by-side to KBS, the other beers definitely fell a bit into its shadow. In a special class, KBS is well worth the effort of hunting it down. I’m sure I’ll be doing the same when it releases again next year!

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.76 / 5

Additional Information

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.2
IBUs: 70
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts:
Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Availability: Limited Release (released in April in 2013)
Food Pairings: Cheese (buttery; Brie, Gouda, Havarti); Chocolate; Smoked or grilled meat
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it?
If you haven’t acquired a bottle or happened upon one of the select bars that had it on draft (for probably less than a day), then you’re probably out of luck until next year. Serious craft beer enthusiasts often hunt for the beer on the exact release date, or have connections within the community in order to acquire a bottle or two.

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KBS Party at Old Bag of Nails

Old Bag of Nails - KBS SignAs many of you may know, Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) recently hit the shelves across the United States. If you haven’t acquired any by now, it may be too late – at least until next year! I personally had the good fortune to discover that Old Bag of Nails in Upper Arlington, Ohio was hosting a Beer-Fest, or in other words, a KBS pouring party, because they acquired a keg. This was great news to hear as a KBS newbie since I wasn’t able to find any bottles of KBS myself.

I arrived with two friends on a rather chilly Saturday morning to wait outside of the restaurant until they opened at 11am. As this was my first “limited release” beer event, my veteran beer-drinking companion suggested we arrive early and wait so we could snag bar seats and experience the party first-hand, so we joined a small group that was already waiting outside.

Places - Old Bag of Nails - KBS MenuOnce the doors opened and we were settled on our stools, we were presented with a menu listing an awesome selection of beers, most of them high quality brews I hadn’t yet sampled. The star on the menu, of course, was Founders KBS. Each person that paid the price got a token to reserve their pour of KBS once the keg was tapped at noon. In the meantime, we had a plethora of tasty choices to sample while waiting. I’ve listed some of the more notable ones below with the descriptions provided on the menu. If you don’t have a Beer Bucket List, or a list of all the beers you should try before the zombie apocalypse wipes out mankind, then all the beers below should be considered as contenders for your list.

 

The selections included:

  • Founders KBS (11.2% ABV and obviously the guest of honor)
    A hint of coffee, a hint of vanilla aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.
    Read my full review of KBS
  • Bell’s Hopslam (10% ABV)
    Brewed with honey; hoppy as hell
  • CBS Bodhi (8% ABV)
    Tons of citrus hops and good floral notes
  • Great Lake’s Alchemy Hour Double IPA (9.4% ABV)
    Hop-forward with balanced blends of mosaic and nugget hops
  • Troegs Nugget Nectar Ale (7.5% ABV)
    Intensified malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience
  • Founders All Day IPA (4.7% ABV)
    A complex array of malts, grains and hops balanced for optimal aromas and a clean finish
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA (12% ABV)
    Big hops balanced with tons of malts; double all the ingredients of the original Crooked Tree IPA (except the water)
  • Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout (11% ABV)
    Roasted malts and balanced with heavy hops
  • Great Lakes Christmas Ale (7.5% ABV)
    Brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon
  • Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Ale (7.7% ABV)
    Roasted notes of coffee and dark chocolate together with the fruity and clove-like aroma (Belgian abbey-style yeasts in a recipe of roasty stout)
  • Weyerbacher Insanity Ale(11.10% ABV)
    A bourbon barrel-aged English style barley wine

 

Old Bag of Nails - Flight 1As you can probably guess by the alcohol content of most of these beers, the combination handed out quite the alcoholic wallop! But in my opinion, there’s no better way to experience day-drinking on a weekend.

I started out with a 4-beer flight of: Bell’s Hopslam, Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout, Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Ale, and Troegs Nugget Nectar.

It was all delicious, and my favorite of the four was the Plead the 5th, with a full-bodied rich and roasted malty taste. Interestingly enough, when comparing Plead the 5th to KBS a little while later, it really changed the taste profile when trying them side-by-side. Basically, while Plead the 5th is excellent, KBS is just a bit more excellent.

KBS Pour

KBS

By the time my first flight was finished, it was time for the pours of KBS. All the lucky ones around the bar cashed in their tokens for their share. As I’d been eagerly anticipating this moment, it was very exciting when the KBS really did live up to all the hype. It was full of boozy, vanilla, oaky, and chocolatey goodness. Read my full review of KBS.

Places - Old Bag of Nails - Flight 2We were in luck that day, as there was enough KBS to go around for a second round and I didn’t hesitate to partake. Then, as my final course, I had one more 4-beer flight (there were just too many good beers to try) which consisted of: Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA, Columbus Brewing Company Bodhi (one of my favorite locally-brewed IPAs), Weyerbacher Insanity, and Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA.

How would I sum up my experience at the second annual Old Bag of Nails Beer-Fest? Well, the bartenders were great hosts, we were supplied with complimentary buffet filled with pulled pork and other goodies, the beer was poured plentifully and we met several new friends. So overall I would definitely declare the Old Bag of Nails 2013 Beer-Fest a great success!

 

Old Bag of Nails - Enjoying Some Beers

Enjoying our beers at Old Bag of Nails

 

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Beer of the Week: Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute Ale

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute

A great companion during March Madness

This beer originates from a popular brew usually available from Lagunitas called Brown Shugga. Brown Shugga itself was actually a happy mistake – it started as a failed attempt to brew a batch of beer that Lagunitas then attempted to save by adding large amounts of brown sugar. Low and behold it became a case of serendipity indeed!

There is a sad part to this story, however. Due to limited brewery resources and an unfinished brewery upgrade, Lagunitas was unable to brew their normal batch of Brown Shugga in 2011 for their 2012 release, which wasn’t news that settled well. To take responsibility for their actions, they took the self-depreciating approach by releasing “Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute Ale” in the hopes of receiving forgiveness from the public. Regular Brown Shugga has a more involved brewing process while the “substitute” brews more like their regular beers, which is what allowed them to come up with the alternate.

I’ve personally not been able to try the original Brown Shugga, so I’m hoping Lagunitas will get back to their normal rhythm allowing me to sample the “non-substitute” version in the future. I personally found the Brown Shugga Substitute Ale that hit the shelves to be a fine alternate for the taste buds in the meantime!

Tasty Mug Review

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute

A regular shot for the purists out there

Appearance: Pours a clear, medium orange/amber with a nice head and lots of  lacing.
Smell: First thought here is that it smells awesome! Hoppy, sweet and citrusy.
Taste: Very complex yet balanced taste that is full of flavor. Sweet, sharp and citrus upfront with some bitter following after. It finishes warm and fruity (like tropical fruits) and the flavor lingers on the tongue.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with the perfect amount of carbonation.
Overall:
A super tasty beer that I would definitely indulge in again. It’s very well-rounded and drinkable. Lagunitas generally produces quality brews so no surprise here!

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.63 / 5

Additional Information

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 7.85%
IBUs: 63
Original Gravity: 1.085
Malts:
Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Availability: Limited Release (released late Dec 2012/early Jan 2013) for this Winter release
Food Pairings: Cheese (peppery; Monterey/Pepper Jack, sharp; Blue, Cheddar, pungent; Gorgonzola); Grilled meat, barbeque, salmon
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

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Beer of the Week: Founders Curmudgeon

Beer of the Week - Founders CurmudgeonAn “oldie but goodie,” this week’s guest is one of my favorite brews, Founders Curmudgeon. Curmudgeon is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged in oak. It packs a punch at 9.8% ABV, but is so well balanced it’s easily drinkable, and potentially dangerous. I know I could personally down more than one in a sitting – but that’s the good kind of dangerous, right?? Only available in March and April, you better pick yours up before the getting’s gone!

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep amber with a nice, frothy finger head. A small amount retains to the edges of the glass along with lacing.
Smell: Sweet, toffee, caramel or butterscotch with some subtle oakiness and can definitely pick up on the molasses.
Taste: Dark fruits, caramel, butterscotch or toffee, with very subtle oak notes. Definitely a warm, boozy sensation that emerges after a few sips. As the beer warms up the malts supersede the sweet notes.
Mouthfeel: Really creamy and smooth, but with a nice, medium body that’s not too syrupy in consistency, which to me makes it very drinkable. Lots of carbonation on the tongue upfront that very quickly smooths out.
Overall:
This is overall an excellent, well-rounded beer. While it has a boozy kick, it would be a good beer for someone to try that wants to step up their beer game and round out their palette. It’s not overly malty, overly sweet, or overly boozy … it lives in that happy place between all three worlds.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.5 / 5

Additional Information

Style: Old Ale
ABV: 9.8%
IBUs: 50
Original Gravity: Not listed
Malts:
Unknown
Hops: Unknown
Availability: March – April
Food Pairings: Cheese (buttery; Brie, Gouda, Havarti, Swiss)
Glassware: Pint glass, snifter, oversized wine glass
Aging: Not recommended