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Brew Review 2014

Brew Review Logo 2014

Great Brews for a Great Cause
Enjoy a night of great beer featuring local and national breweries as well as select imports. If you live in Columbus, Ohio, enjoy craft beer, and want to support a great cause check out the Brew Review event happening THIS Friday – October 17th starting at 7pm!

Brew Review is a casual evening tasting craft beers. Come for the beer and stay for the hors d’oeuvres, music, and mingling. 100% of net proceeds will support Creative Living’s Resident Assistance Program. Creative Living is a non-profit organization encouraging independent living for adults with severe physical disabilities by providing wheelchair accessible housing and assistance and by creating a supportive environment for people to learn, work, live and contribute to the community.

What’s On Tap
Want to know the brews on the menu? Check out this year’s list:

  • Actual Photon
  • Actual Oktoberfest
  • Anchor Steam Beer
  • Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
  • Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
  • Barley’s Blood Thirst Wheat
  • Barley’s Centennial IPA
  • Barley’s Russian Imperial Stout
  • Barley’s Scottish Ale
  • Brooklyn Lager
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
  • Estrella Damm Daura (Gluten Free Beer)
  • Ithaca Flower Power IPA
  • Lager Heads Bed Head Red Ale
  • Lost Coast Tangerine
  • Mt. Carmel Harvest Ale
  • Rockmill Petite Saison
  • Rockmill Tripel
  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  • Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
  • Uinta Hop Nosh IPA
  • Victory Prima Pils Wheat
  • Wolf’s Ridge Beta Belgian Dubbel
  • Wolf’s Ridge Clear Sky Cream Ale
  • Wolf’s Ridge Driftwood Session IPA
  • Wolf’s Ridge Trail American Amber


Event Information:

Brew Review – A night of great craft beers with Creative Living

Date and Time:
Friday, October 17, 2014
7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Location:
Grange Insurance Audubon Center
505 W. Whittier
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Grange Insurance Audubon Center is located on the Scioto River just south of downtown Columbus.

Tickets:
$35 for tickets purchased before October 10th, $40 after and at the door.
You’ll receive 15 tasting tickets and a custom tasting glass that’s yours to keep.
Purchase your tickets
today!

Want to invite a friend or follow the event on Facebook? Check out the Brew Review Facebook event page.

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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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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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Columbus AleFest (2013)

AleFest - Crowd

The lively crowd at AleFest.

Yesterday I attended the 8th year of AleFest at Aladdin Shrine Center in Columbus. Similar to the previously reviewed Beerfest, AleFest is also a craft beer festival. This year they boasted more than 100 breweries and over 250 craft beers including rare draught lagers and ales, as well as cask ales. There were approximately 15 new breweries and 25 to 30 beers that weren’t available last year, including 4 to 6 gluten-free beers. The gluten-free beers were all in the same area so I did a run-by to see what was available, however I didn’t notice any that I haven’t previously sampled.

Within our first handful of samples, my friend and I targeted the three cask ales we could find at the event, Citra Dog from Thirsty Dog, Columbus IPA from Columbus Brewing Company, and Brown Stoat Stout from Weasel Boy. The Citra Dog was by far our favorite of the three, it was very smooth, hoppy, and pleasantly oaky. A few other notable beers that we ran across were the Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale, Ten FIDY, and Hoppin’ Frog / Amager (Bryghus).

My AleFest “Sampled Beers” List

AleFest Sampler

AleFest Sampler

A little about my rating system below.  I log all the “new” beers (anything I haven’t had previously or have not recorded previously) on my Beer Advocate profile, then rate them according to their rating scale of 1-5, while evaluating appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel, and overall impressions. For each beer below I’ve also listed its style, ABV, and my rating and any notes.

  • My Antonia – Dogfish Head Brewery
    American Double / Imperial Pilsner (7.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Founders Imperial Stout – Founders Brewing Company
    Russian Imperial Stout (10.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75
  • Citra Dog – Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
    American IPA (7.70% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.85  
  • Columbus IPA – Double Dry Hopped – Columbus Brewing Company
    American IPA (6.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Brown Stoat Stout – Weasel Boy Brewing Company
    American Stout (6.20% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Great Lakes Loch Erie Scotch Ale – Great Lakes Brewing Company
    Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy (8.30% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.5
  • Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale – Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
    Flanders Oud Bruin (5.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4.5 – This was a surprise favorite of the evening for me, especially because I don’t typically go for Sour Ales.
    Monk's Cafe - Flemish Sour Ale
      
  • AleSmith Nut Brown Ale – AleSmith Brewing Company
    English Brown Ale (5.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Hop Stoopid – Lagunitas Brewing Company
    American Double / Imperial IPA (8.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • There Will Be Black (Brewmaster’s Reserve Winter 2012) – Brooklyn Brewery
    American Black Ale (7.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru – Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
    Flanders Red Ale (6.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Resin – Sixpoint
    American Double / Imperial IPA (9.10% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Ten FIDY – Oskar Blues Brewing Company
    Russian Imperial Stout (10.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4.5 – The Ten FIDY definitely lives up to the hype – I haven’t had it since they started distributing to Ohio but I definitely thought it was tasty and will be drinking it again!
  • 3 Monts Amber Ale On Lees – Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
    Bière de Garde (9.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Hoppin’ Frog / Amager (Bryghus) Frog Hops From Amager – Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
    American Double / Imperial Stout (7.80% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4
  • Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout – Dark Horse Brewing Company
    American Stout (7.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Baba Black Lager – Uinta Brewing Company
    Schwarzbier (4.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Last Chance IPA – Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
    American IPA (5.90% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Stodgy Brown – Zauber Brewing Company
    Altbier (5.20% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Four C’s American Pale Ale – The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
    American Pale Ale (6.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • St. Peter’s Cream Stout – St. Peter’s Brewery Co Ltd
    Milk / Sweet Stout (6.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Matilda – Goose Island Beer Co.
    Belgian Strong Pale Ale (7.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4
  • Irish Red Ale – Buckeye Lake Brewery
    Irish Red Ale (ABV Unknown)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Milk Stout – Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
    Milk / Sweet Stout (7.60% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
Writing Beer Notes

Diligently writing my beer notes.

Summed Up

I’d definitely call this year’s AleFest a success. Despite the undesirable cold, snowy weather outside, the vibe inside was lively and festive, with many folks participating in the “tropical attire” theme, sporting coconut tops, leis and Hawaiian shirts. There was a variety of beer choices, definitely something for everyone, and the live entertainment by Nick Mitchell was very good as well – he was great at performing cover songs (I especially enjoyed his renditions from Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond).

Overall, I would say that AleFest wins the award for ambiance and vibe from the crowd, but Beerfest wins for their brewery and beer selection.

So what’s the bottom line? The best solution is to go to BOTH of course!

Until next year!

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Upcoming Event: AleFest Columbus (2013)

Upcoming Event - AleFest Columbus 2013For the 8th year in a row, AleFest is coming to Columbus! It takes place this Saturday, February 2, 2013 from 2:00 to 6:00 PM. It will be held at Aladdin Shrine Center, 3850 Stelzer Road, which is right across the street from Easton Shopping Center. It just so happens it’s conveniently located very close to many Easton restaurants, making it easy to grab a bite to eat after you’re done drinking all that beer!

If you aren’t familiar with this event, AleFest is a craft beer festival. This year they will have more than 100 breweries and over 250 craft beers including rare draught lagers and ales, as well as cask ales.

According to ThisWeek Community News there will be about 15 new breweries and 25 to 30 beers that weren’t available last year, including 4 to 6 gluten-free beers.

As you may be aware, Columbus Winter Beerfest just took place a few weeks ago, on January 11th and 12th. They had quite a selection of beers available, so AleFest has some steep competition! However, I’ve been to this event in the past and it never disappoints. Last year they had around 1,500 attendees, and expect more this year. This is a much smaller number than the crowd that showed up to Beerfest, which in my personal opinion is why this event has a much more “refined” feel to it than the melee that Beerfest seems to be trending towards.

This year, AleFest organizers are also encouraging “tropical attire,” so if you need a break from your cold winter gear, break out your favorite Hawaiian shirt. Or if you’re really brave, maybe some coconuts and a grass skirt. 😉

What To Expect:

  • Over 250 craft beers from more than 100 world-class breweries
  • Expanded draught ales and lagers & cask ales
  • Commemorative AleFest sampling glass
  • Raffle for beer collectibles
  • Retail sales of wearables and glassware
  • Silent auction featuring beer memorabilia
  • Live entertainment by Nick Mitchell
  • Food concession available

Tickets are available for advance purchase on the AleFest website for $35.00 or you may purchase tickets at the door for $40.00. Buying a ticket will get you 20 samples of craft beer, a commemorative tasting glass and a tasting guide. You must, of course, be 21 to attend, and designated driver discounts are available.

A portion of the proceeds benefits SODZ Columbus Area Homebrew Club.

If you have questions or comments regarding the upcoming AleFest, you can email AleFest@earthlink.net, or visit the website www.AleFest.com.

Post a comment if you plan to attend!

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Upcoming Event: Brew Review

2nd Annual Brew Review

2nd Annual Brew Review

Calling All Beer Lovers
Come one come all! If you live in Columbus, like beer, and want to support a good cause check out the Brew Review event happening THIS Friday – November 16th at 6pm!

Brew Review is a casual evening tasting craft beers, enjoying hors d’oeuvres and listening to music. The tickets you buy for the event provide fundraising for Creative Living. Creative Living is a non-profit organization encouraging independent living for adults with severe physical disabilities by providing wheelchair accessible housing and assistance and by creating a supportive environment for people to learn, work, live and contribute to the community.


Brews for a Good Cause

Want to know the brews on the menu? An almost-complete list of the tasty beers available for sampling are listed below:

  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Samuel Adams Winter Lager
  • Samuel Adams Whitewater IPA
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Lager
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
  • Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA
  • Xingu Black Beer
  • St. Peter’s Organic English Ale
  • St. Peter’s Winter Ale
  • St. Peter’s Old Style Porter
  • 3 Monts Golden Ale
  • 3 Monts Amber Ale
  • Marston’s Oyster Stout
  • Scrumpy Cider
  • Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
  • Mount Carmel Nut Brown Ale
  • Finch Brewing Threadless IPA
  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  • Lagerheads Bed Head Red
  • Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale
  • Hofbrau Original Helles Lager
  • Full Sail Amber Ale
  • Penn Brewing Kaiser Pils
  • Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat
  • Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
  • Brewery Ommegang Ommegang Witte
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • Paulaner Hefe-Weizen


Event Information:

Brew Review
A night of craft beers with Creative Living

Date and Time:
Friday, November 16, 2012
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Location:
Grange Insurance Audubon Center
505 W. Whittier
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Grange Insurance Audubon Center is located on the Scioto River just south of downtown Columbus.

Tickets:
$35 per person
Purchase your tickets
today!

Want to invite a friend or follow the event on Facebook? Check out the Brew Review Facebook event page.