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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.

By

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!

By

Columbus Winter Beerfest (2013)

Columbus Winter Beerfest 2013 - Tasting Glass

Columbus Winter Beerfest 2013

This past weekend was the 3rd Annual Columbus Winter Beerfest, held at the Columbus Convention Center. Beerfest goers had the option to buy tickets for either Friday or Saturday. Both nights gave the option of paying $10 extra to get VIP entry – basically you show up at 6:30p instead of 7:30p, get a few special beers and get a real 8oz tasting glass (instead of a 5oz plastic one). All Beerfest attendees were given 25 tasting tickets at the door (although I handed out very few of mine as most booths didn’t seem all that interested in collecting them).

What caught my attention this year was the 310+ craft beers they promised, and when I reviewed the list and saw newcomers to the event such as Kona Brewing, Hinterland and Ballast Point, I was in!

Friday Fun
My friend and I went Friday, which turned out to be a very good idea, as Saturday sold out and according to Amanda Forbes in her article on examiner.com it became “a hot, sweaty orgy of beer tasting.” She wrote “Attendees trying to get from line to line were like worms, weaving through or making their own tunnels through the sea of people.” Approximately 7000 folks showed up on Saturday and the event sold out.

Friday on the other hand, had a nice, leisurely tone about it with only 2,500 or so attendees showed up that night. My friend and I purchased our VIP tickets in December, scoring  them for regular entry price, so we arrived with the early group.

The Experience

Columbus Winter Beerfest 2013 - Crowd

3rd Annual Winter Beerfest

The first thing I noticed was the event was relocated to a larger space within the convention center this year, which was fine by me. The only thing I didn’t care for was the florescent lights blaring down the whole time (it didn’t set a very nice ambience). Although after a handful of samplers, I don’t think I noticed it anymore.

Drinking beer is hard work, and the 4.5 hours we were in the convention center flew by quickly as we scurried to sample as many beers as we could. We hit 16 stations total in that time, but there was no way I was able to drink all those generously poured glasses so I focused on getting my evaluative sips, sampled my friend’s as well, then we both poured the rest.

Columbus Winter Beerfest 2013 - Homework

Diligently tracking our samplers.

My primary goal of the evening was to try as many beers as I could that I’ve never had before, which meant I didn’t really sample the Ohio beers this time around.

I do have to say that in the past year my knowledge of breweries has steeply increased, so looking at the floor map of the booths made me feel  like I was welcoming old friends. I was a little disappointed to find most of the folks at the beer stations were volunteer pourers, however, and not actually from the real breweries. Hey, you can’t blame a girl for wanting be a beer geek with brewmasters when the chance may arise!

So, all that said, here is my official list of all the beers I tried that Friday at Beerfest. I’ve noted favorites as well as beers that I would consider very unique for the taste buds, and other beers I would steer clear from in the future.

My Beerfest “Sampled Beers” List

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.

  • Frosted Frog Christmas Ale – Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
    Winter Warmer (8.60% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75 – Very interesting flavor in both of the Hoppin’ Frog beers, a very strong sense of cinnamon in the Winter Warmer especially.
  • Hopped-Up Goose Juice – Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
    American IPA (7.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Harpoon IPA – Harpoon Brewery
    American IPA (5.90% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Harpoon Leviathan – Czernobog – Harpoon Brewery
    Russian Imperial Stout (10.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75
  • Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale – Stone Brewing Co.
    Belgian Strong Pale Ale (9.40% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale – Stone Brewing Co.
    Belgian Strong Dark Ale (9.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4 – I really liked this brew (I wasn’t such a fan of the 11.11.11 although I know it’s highly favored by others). The 12.12.12 was an intriguing mix of dark and spicy with sweetness; a very complex and flavorful brew.
  • Big Wave Golden Ale – Kona Brewing Co.
    American Blonde Ale (4.40% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Koko Brown – Kona Brewing Co.
    American Brown Ale (5.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75 – I rank this one high in the unique flavor category because it is heavy on the coconut aroma and taste (something I haven’t run across in the beers I’ve tried to date). If you’re a coconut fan this one is definitely worth keeping an eye out for.
  • Grass – 5 Rabbit Cerveceria
    American Pale Ale (6.40% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3 – This one gets a special mention because of its unique flavor as well. It is named adequately – it does smell and taste like, well, grass. I wouldn’t particularly care to drink a full pint but it’s now the second “grassy” beer I’ve come across in the past few weeks, and an interesting brew to sample.
  • 5 Vulture – 5 Rabbit Cerveceria
    Chile Beer (6.40% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3 – I’m wondering if the other beers (besides the two I sampled) from 5 Rabbit are just as unique – this beer was also on the odd side, but an interesting beer to try. This one is brewed with roasted ancho chile – which definitely gives it a spicy kick, but it’s more of a subtle “back of your throat” kind of burn than something that burns the taste buds.
  • Luna Coffee Stout – Hinterland Brewery Restaurant
    American Stout (5.60% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Saison – Hinterland Brewery Restaurant
    Saison / Farmhouse Ale (6.30% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2
  • Batch 19 – Coors Brewing Company
    American Adjunct Lager (5.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.25 – I recommend avoiding this one – I wasn’t aware (until later) that it is brewed by Coors, which basically explains why I thought it was very lackluster in flavor, smell, and pretty much all else. I had an issue with this primarily because it seemed they made a point to not indicate it was from Coors anywhere on the booth.
  • Krampus (Imperial Helles Lager) – Southern Tier Brewing Company
    American Double / Imperial Pilsner (9.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.5
  • 2XIPA – Southern Tier Brewing Company
    American Double / Imperial IPA (8.20% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4
  • Le Merle – North Coast Brewing Co.
    Saison / Farmhouse Ale (7.90% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale – North Coast Brewing Co.
    American Amber / Red Ale (5.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Mogul Madness Ale – Rogue Ales
    Winter Warmer (6.60% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Yellow Snow IPA – Rogue Ales
    American IPA (6.50% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4.25 – There were several solid IPAs at Beerfest this year, this and the 2XIPA get a spot on the list, as well as the Sculpin from Ballast Point.
  • Old Chub – Scottish Style Ale – Oskar Blues Brewing Company
    Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy (8.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Chaka – Oskar Blues Brewing Company
    Belgian Pale Ale (8.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Sculpin India Pale Ale – Ballast Point Brewing Company
    American IPA (7.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4
  • Calico Copper Amber Ale – Ballast Point Brewing Company
    American Amber / Red Ale (5.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.5
  • Smooth Hoperator – Stoudts Brewing Co.
    Doppelbock (7.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4
  • Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady ESB – Stoudts Brewing Co.
    Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) (5.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 4
  • Green Flash Imperial India Pale Ale – Green Flash Brewing Co.
    American Double / Imperial IPA (9.40% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Omission Lager (Gluten-Free) – Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
    Light Lager (4.60% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75
  • Omission Pale Ale (Gluten-Free) – Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
    American Pale Ale (5.80% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25 – One of the best “gluten-free” beers I’ve had to date. It’s strongest competitor being Estrella Daura Damm (from Spain). Both start out with real barley and use an enzyme to strip the gluten away – which is also why both taste like “real” beer.
  • Nelson Imperial IPA – Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
    American Double / Imperial IPA (8.60% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Eugene – Revolution Brewing Company
    American Porter (6.80% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25
  • Double Fist – Revolution Brewing Company
    American Double / Imperial IPA (8.30% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75
  • Railbender Ale – Erie Brewing Co.
    Scottish Ale (6.80% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 3
  • Derailed Black Cherry Ale – Erie Brewing Co.
    Cream Ale (5.00% ABV)
    Tasty Mug Rating: 2.75

Overall, I would say Winter Beerfest this year was a big success and is only growing with each new year. I personally found it provided great exposure to more new brews. They did a great job getting in some new participating breweries as well. Friday is definitely the night to go to avoid the masses. And even in that case, towards the end of the night the less-seasoned craft enthusiasts were dropping their glasses left and right. Thankfully, most of them had plastic tasting glasses. 😉