Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band beer pairings

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50 years ago, at the beginning of June, one of the most iconic rock albums was released. Some could say it changed the course of music and whether you're a fan or not of the Beatles, you have to give mad respect for the audio engineering that went into this at a time where there were only 4 tracks. Now, in this digital age, you can have endless tracks and splice them together (I'm currently working on a 21 ½ minute song, sitting at 13 tracks for the first 9 minutes, still needing to add some).

Regardless, we figured what better way to celebrate an iconic album than to pair beers with it. We know that music and beer go hand in hand, which is why in our past reviews we always suggested a music pairing. We've attending some themed bottle shares where the beer was made for music, so pairing made it easy (Dogfish Head's “Bitches Brew” while cranking out the Miles Davis' album of the same name and Bell's Planetary Series while listening to Gustav Holst's The Planets to name a couple). This album, with its twists and turns throughout various music styles and themes, would be difficult to pick a single beer, so we went track by track to bring you this list.

1) Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

This starts with the sound of an audience chattering and some strings warming up, like a classical music concerto is about to begin. This kicks in with a steady beat of drums and bass before some distorted guitar sets the tone of the song. A very enthusiastic Paul McCartney belts out “It was 20 years ago today” for the iconic opening line. Some horns in the breakdown add another bit of depth to the song. The song ends in a segue to track 2.

Pair this with Bell's Oberon. An iconic wheat beer that's not your typical wheat. Citrus notes and spice change the game on this, much like the varying parts of the song. With this being 5.8% ABV, it won't wreck you before you make it to your next beer.

2) With a Little Help From My Friends
Yes, this is the theme song for the Wonder Years (when it was covered by Joe Cocker). Yes, Ringo's singing on this one (typically, Ringo songs would be hung on the fridge, so everyone can see it, much like a child's artwork). Piano and bass driven for the better part of the song. The call and response changes between the 2nd and 3rd verse- 2nd verse Ringo starts followed by a response by the other 3, 3rd verse it's the trio then Ringo. Musically, it's not that complex, letting the vocals and message shine through.

Yep, you guessed it. Pair this with a collaboration beer. Most collaboration beers are one off, so trying to pick one would be a pain in the ass. Here are some collaboration beers we've enjoyed in the past (to give suggestions)
Dogfish Head Saison du Buff (not sure if Victory and Stone are still doing versions of it; but DFH has continued to brew it more recently).

3) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Vivid imagery on the vocals throughout the entire song with organ and drone sounds leading the verses, the pre-chorus being jazz-like drums and slide guitar, the chorus being upbeat and happy. This song is written about a drawing that Julian Lennon (John's boy) did. It was higher up on the fridge than most of Ringo's songs. Yes, we know the 'no, it's about LSD'... I'm pretty sure it's 50/50. So what do we have here, a song that's complex with many different layers, each one adding and improving.

Pair this with Pannepot Reserva, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale that is as complex as this song. Dark fruit, oak, chocolate, wine-like at times, caramel, the list goes on and on and on- much like the recording of this song (several takes, then combining the vocal tracks of take 18 with the drums from take 2 and the guitar from take 34 at half speed). We have not reviewed this for our blog, but have enjoyed it on several occasions, loving each sip, every time.

4) Getting Better
Harmonies throughout the song that's kind of upbeat. The song has a piano riff that rides throughout. A positive chorus reminds people who may be down “It's getting better all the time.” What else gets better all the time? Aging beers.

Pair this with a Speedway Stout from Alesmith, Big Bad Baptist from Epic, Dragon's Milk from New Holland. Put these in your cellar and let them age. We know, it's hard with such delicious brews, but trust us, aging these stouts will bring out different flavors and characters that will blow your god damn mind. Holy shit, I just realized, with how much we love these beers, we've never reviewed any of them. Fuck me.

5) Fixing a Hole
Baroque-style harpsichord starts off the song as the song progressively gets back to a more modern sound of a Fender Stratocaster and cymbals. The chorus starts off:
“And it doesn't really matter if I'm wrong I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong.”
Paul McCartney with some deep stuff, making it hard to pick a beer. This song is kind of about the freedom to do whatever you want.

Pair this one with Rosa from Revolution Brewing. Revolution is a brewery that does their own thing (and makes fantastic beers in the process). Rosa is a hibiscus ale with a color that could beckon the line 'I'm painting the room in a colorful way.' This fantastic beer is a Summer seasonal, so you'll want to grab some now.

6) She's Leaving Home
A traditional-based song (as apposed to the modern based off the minor/major keys) with a small orchestra and the boys not on instruments (one of 2 Beatles songs to do so). The song was inspired by a newspaper article of a 17-year-old girl who ran away from home, going into several perspectives (Narrator, parents).

Pair this with a Trappist beer, our preference is St. Bernardus Abt 12. Traditional sounding song gets a traditional style that's still mind blowing and can bring a tear to your eye if you get deep into thinking about it.

7) Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
The circus sound to this song goes without saying, as they lyrics are taken straight off of a vintage poster for a circus. If memory serves, John found it in an antique shop and it called out to him.

Clown Shoes needs to be consumed with this. Any of their beers would work, as they are are solid. Some of our personal preferences are the Unidragon series, Flight of the Angry Beast, Rexx... Ah hell, just pick up their beer.

8) Within You and Without You
George Harrison once again delving into blending Western and Eastern music, once again nailing it out of the park. Deep lyrics, a kick ass breakdown with a tamboura and a sitar trading off in a solo before being joined with violins and cellos. Not your typical hippie shit.

It would be easy to pair this with a beer from India, too easy. Good Juju by Left Hand Brewing is our pick for this. A 4.5% ale with ginger both fits an ingredient used in Indian food, but we also think the name pairs well with the theme of the lyrics.

9) When I'm Sixty-four
A classic sounding song about growing old together. Plans as a couple developing over top of clarinet sounds joining in with the Beatles in a 1940's sounding pop song. Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greeting, bottle of wine? No instead we'll be doing barleywine.

For this, pair it with Horn Dog by Flying Dog. It will age with you, and the name describes how I'll still be at the age of 64. (Note, our tastes have changed since the original Horn Dog review to where we love barleywines). Sucaba from Firestone Walker is another one that we haven't heard being pulled from the lineup yet, and it is as fantastic fresh as it is aged.

10) Lovely Rita
A love song to a Meter Maid with tongue-in-cheek humor. Everyone was writing protest and anti-authority songs, so Paul had a laugh about this. One of few songs I can think of that uses comb and wax paper as an instrument. I can type while staring at Jennie.

Now, we could have led you down a terrible path of a favor-rita by some mass produced shit, but no, we couldn't do it to ourselves, so we'll be damned if we suggest it to anyone. Westbrook's Key Lime Gose would be a pairing to have a 'margarita'-esque beer. If it's not readily available in your area, it is easily traded for (it's not a 'whale').

11) Good Morning, Good Morning
A song inspired by a Corn Flakes ad, this song talks about the troubles of being bored with life, kicking into jazzy breakdown that gets stuck in my head at least once a week (and has since 1996). What's not boring about life is this time that we live in and the great selection of beer.

Pair this with a breakfast stout- Founder's Breakfast is a solid one that's more widely available. It'll get you going for you mundane 9-5 that you despise, but the only reason you're doing it is for the financial commitment of keeping a roof over your girlfriend/wife's head. If not for her, you'd be gallivanting around town with your boys, but instead you wake up daily, slightly hung over, and go to your cubicle prison, dealing with shit head customers on the phone day in and day out, until it becomes a nuisance and you say “Mother Fucker!” each time the phone rings.... maybe it's time I change jobs... Regardless, breakfast stout for this one, it doesn't need to have oats in the mash, but the oats will give a thicker body. It will require the coffee and chocolate, you'll thank me in the morning. Flying Dog's Kujo gets an honorable mention here as well.

12) Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise
A faster, more grooving version of the opening track. Possibly the first remix in rock history. Instead of leading into a Ringo song, this leads into one of the most epic songs ever released.

We said Oberon for the opening track of Sgt Pepper's, as it's a nice segue. This is building up to a climax and is a reprise/remix. Stone's Ruination 2.0 is our pick for this. An 8% DIPA that will melt your face and call you a wussy (taking inspiration from their bottles), this fits right here (that's.... what.... she said?).

13) A Day in the Life
An iconic track with musical twists and turns that combine 2 different songs. The lyrics are taken straight from the newspaper (notice a theme on this album?)., but are laid out in a haunting manner by John. There is a part toward the middle where you hear George Martin counting with an entire orchestra playing their favorite notes while progressively getting louder. This leads into a key and tempo change into Paul's section of the song, a segment about getting ready for the day. Some epic strings, then back to John's haunting vocals, George Martin counting, strings..... the 'forever' piano note (which watching a recent documentary was like 7-8 pianos with the damper pedal pressed, then some studio magic).....

For this, we could do a number of beers. Jennie is thinking “Identity Crisis” by Mad Tree as it switches up flavor profiles between dark roasty notes of a porter/stout and big citrus hops like an IPA. My pick for this would be Barley's Point of Origin, as it has an ever evolving, changing taste.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DysfunctionAle (Columbus Craft Beer Week Collaboration Beer) Review

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If you're not familiar with it, this is Columbus Craft Beer Week (CCBW), a celebration of all things having to do with Columbus Craft Beer with events happening nightly, all ending with a beer festival called Six One Pour. The Six One Pour festival has breweries from all over this great state and is put on by the Ohio Craft Brewer's Association (visit www.ohiocraftbeer.org and www.columbusbeerweek.com/ for more information).  

CCBW has been fun for the last 3 years. It's a time for breweries to collaborate, celebrate, and enjoy/give back to the community that supports them. The first year (2015), breweries were paired up with a 'name out of a hat' type drawing, there ended up being 7 different collaboration beers made for it (find a listing at Pat's Pint's blog) with the Six One Pour event happening at the old Brewer's Gate building. That was like a greenhouse where it was 90+ degrees in there, you had to drink beer to stay cool and quasi hydrated. There was also the tallest tap handle contest (see below picture). 2016 had a single collaboration beer, Saison 994, brewed with 16 breweries at North High's facility. The Six One Pour event was moved to Huntington Park (home of the Columbus Clippers). 

(2015 Six One Pour's tallest tap handle competition/winner)

2017 sees the Six One Pour event returning to Huntington Park, but a different take on the collaboration beer. 20 different breweries gathered at Columbus Brewing Company in early April to brew 60 barrels (31.5 gallons per barrel, barrel being a unit of measure in this instance, not the oaken vessels used to age wine/spirits) of a hoppy pale ale (www.columbusbeerweek.com/collaboration/ for a list of breweries, or see below). This beer is the first collaboration for CCBW to be packaged. Half of this beer was canned, while the other half was kegged off for your enjoyment at bars/growler fill locations/festivals. We had to snag a few of these cans for ourselves

Enough dicking around. It's the end of Columbus Beer Week and we'd be doing an injustice to this great industry if we didn't do something for it. We bring you our review of this collaboration beer. It's weird, I can't find any reviews on it other than Untappd and even there, there aren't that many reviews. People have written about the brew day (see Pat's Pints). This historic brew needs recognition.

This pours a very clear orange-brown color (see picture). It's been 2 hours since I poured it and snapped the picture at the top (had to research the 2015 collaborations as I couldn't remember how many were done, then my best friend/neighbor popped by for beer/talk/bourbon). The head on this is still remaining, almost like it was just poured.
Yes, I let this warm up for a while. Maybe longer than I should have, but interruptions happen, just like life. As I get back into the groove of writing, I put on some thinking music and finish my bourbon, followed by a palate cleanser of cheap American lager.

As I mentioned, this is clear. This is a picture of this blog post so far, looking through the beer glass.  

The aroma on this is stellar; citrus fruit heavy, hints of pine and sweetness. The initial sip is a whirlwind of flavors starting with a lighter bitterness that instantly goes into a wave of malty sweetness; two row graininess with lighter hints of honey. Then the malty rush dissipates as the hops start to come toward the front. Citrus, candy, lighter notes of pine (like the aroma). These drop out and leave a grassy-like flavor while light bitterness slowly builds, leaving a slight numbing sensation on the tongue. Smooth drinking, lighter body at only 5.9%, this would not suck to have in the summer months as a 'doing yard work in the sun' beer. It's a solid pale ale with a great balance of flavors. 

While you're enjoying the last little bit of Columbus Craft Beer Week, seek this out.  Go taste and enjoy the fruits of a collaboration beer that went right. Go thank a brewer/rep for this.

As a final thought before I turn this over to my partner-in-life/crime/drunken-shenanigans, here is a list of the breweries that partook in the collaboration (listed alphabetically):
The Actual Brewing Company
Barley's Brewing Company
The Brew Brothers
Buckeye Lake Brewery
Columbus Brewing Company
Combustion Brewery and Taproom
Elevator Brewery
Four String Brewery
Grove City Brewing Company 
Ill Mannered Brewing Company 
Kindred Beer
Lineage Brewing
Land Grant Brewing Company
North High Brewing
Pigskin Brewing
Platform Brewing (Columbus Branch)
The RAM Restaurant and Brewery
Seventh Son Brewing Company
Wolf's Ridge Brewing Company

If you aren't from Columbus, be sure to check these places out as they all have stellar brews. If you are from Columbus, complete your Ale Trail booklet and drink local tasty beers.



OK, so I may or may not be biased on this beer. I most definitely was not at brew day for this beer. Yet I have strong opinions about this beer. 

I fucking love it. This is one of the best collaboration beers I have had, and it's just NORMAL enough to kill your mindset on collab beers. Often they are rough. They can be really weird. Many times, they are just not that good. I am partial to a few: Dayman, which was the 2013-ish Stone Brewing homebrew competition winner and set the bar for coffee IPAs; Oak Skyhopper from the inaugural CCBW, a collaboration between Smokehouse and Zaftig, a pale ale featuring lemongrass and lemon zest and oak spirals; and Tropicalia, a delicious non-hazy IPA from Creature Comforts and Cigar City. 

I realize, as I sit here in my pajamas on a Saturday afternoon, that I have yet to have this beer in a glass. Unless I am reviewing it or it's my first time having it or I'm sharing a bottle, I tend to drink beers straight from the vessel. All you glassware nerds can mock me all you want. I have a cabinet full of proper-as-fuck glassware, but I'm also day drinking and not wearing pants, so I have that going for me. It's perfectly fine to be jealous.

I agree with Nathan's assessment of DysfunctionAle, so I won't dissect it much further. I will urge you to seek it out, if you can still find it around town. Many better bottle shops are running low on it, although it's still available if you search hard enough. If you can't find it in cans, you should be able to find it on tap. It will definitely be featured at Columbus Brewing Company's booth tonight at Six One Pour, so make sure you grab some tickets and go. Not only does Mary put on a fantastic, efficiently run beer festival, but the beer list for tonight is insanely good. And unlike Rock on the Range, there is a rain plan so that you don't have to get drenched or find something to do when they evacuate the festival. 

I will add this to Nathan's review of DysfunctionAle: I was fascinated with the aroma. Hell, I still am. There is a lovely peach/stone fruit note that I haven't found in many other beers. It's lemony, too, probably from the use of El Dorado hops or the hop formerly known as Equinox. This is an insanely good pale. It's fruity, and delightfully hoppy, and one thing that impresses me is that it's completely different from any other hoppy offering from Columbus Brewing. (And they know their way around some hops.) Tony is some sort of hop wizard. 

I am super sad that this is my last can of this delicious treat. Guess I should put on some pants and go seek out some more, because I'm not quite done loving on this beer.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Behind the Brew Day: Big Boots Brew 2017

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Every year, Pink Boots Society members come together to brew a beer to promote the education and furthering of women in the brewing industry. Last year, I was honored to be invited to help with the brew. Lineage Brewing hosted the 2016 brew day, and we brewed Mother of Summer, a delicious wheat beer with lemon peel, coriander, and black peppercorns. The brew day was a blast, and I learned a lot, both brewing in a brewery that I was not familiar with as well as learning from several local kickass women who are leading the craft beer revolution in central Ohio. Imagine my surprise when, back in early February, the emails started flying and I was once again invited to participate despite my then-unemployment. This year, Weasel Boy was hosting the brew day, and several other breweries and industry professionals were also invited to participate.

Pink Boots Society, as I mentioned above, is an organization dedicated to the education and empowerment of women who work in the brewing industry. The organization is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary in June, a pretty amazing accomplishment, if you ask me. Teri Fahrendorf founded Pink Boots Society and has engaged several other women who I admire to help their fellow brewsters. Every year, around March 8, International Women's Day, those of us who are local to one another get together to collaborate on a beer whose proceeds goes back to Pink Boots Society. This brew day is called Big Boots Brew, and Pink Boots will suggest a style as a base guideline, although it is by no means a requirement to brew that particular beer. This year, the style suggestion was Historic Ales (a broad category, for certain). We women in central Ohio decided to brew a grisette with local pawpaw fruit and spicebush berries. I'll delve more into what we brewed below.

This year March 8 happened to fall on a Wednesday. I awoke that morning extra early in order to drop off my child to school and head out to Zanesville, not quite an hour east of Columbus. If you aren't familiar with how collaboration brews work, the hosting brewery not only hosts brew day, but they also decide the beer to be brewed (while everyone contributes a bit to the recipe) and accommodate the fellow brewers and have to fit it into their brew and fermentation schedule amid the other beers they produce, as well as organize a release party. It is not a small feat. This year, in addition to the women of Weasel Boy and Lineage, women from Seventh Son and the head of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association agreed to participate. We had a stellar all-star cast to brew this year's beer. Have I mentioned how fortunate I am to be included in this? Oh, and by "women of Weasel Boy" I mean the incomparable Lori Wince. I'm a fangirl with no shame. Lori started Weasel Boy with her husband Jay nearly 10 years ago (their decade anniversary party is coming up in July, so make plans now to get your ass out there), effectively making her the grand dame of central Ohio breweries. She knows her shit, and she's one of the nicest people you will ever meet (although she's also tough as nails, so I wouldn't want to disappoint her. It would feel worse than disappointing your parents). 
Lori Wince of Weasel Boy and Mary MacDonald of Ohio Craft Brewers Association tending to the wort grant.
Brew day had started at 8:00am. I was unable to make it out there until much later that morning. When I got there, we were in the middle of the mash. Lori came right up to me and told me, "I have a job for you," and set me to helping monitor mash temp. Little did she realize that there is my weakness. I screw it up on pretty much every all-grain brew I do, somehow. Figure in that I'm on an unfamiliar system, and disaster seems certain. As the temperature crept toward 170, I got nervous. She had quickly shown me the hot and cold water valves, and I set into a staring match with the thermometer on the wall. We were hanging around a healthy range of 165-170. She ducked off to conduct some interviews, as there were a few media crews on hand. I stared at the thermometer. It stared back. Watching paint dry or grass grow seemed to be an interesting alternative. And then the temperature started to drop. I panicked, and Lori was talking to media people. I tossed a frantic look to Jess Byrne (of Lineage), who was monitoring the wort grant, a modified keg that recirculates the mash. Jess was also unfamiliar with the controls. "What the hell do I do?" I thought to myself as the temperature nose-dived. OK, it can't be that hard. Turn on the hot water to bring the temperature up, right? So I did just that. But then the temperature over-corrected and skyrocketed above the 170 ceiling we had discussed. So I turned on the cold water and the temperature nose-dived. This was a finicky system! Lori noticed the erratic temps a couple of times and came over to save me and the precious wort we were making. Thank goodness. 
 Mary MacDonald (OCBA) shoveling spent grain out of the mash tun
Once the mash was done (typically about an hour), we transferred it to the boil kettle. I also got to monitor that process. The fact that I was still allowed anywhere near the brew deck surprised the crap out of me, so I took this very seriously. Once the wort had been moved from the mash tun to the boil kettle, we broke for lunch. Pizzas and salads were offered. If you haven't had Weasel Boy's pizza, do yourself a favor and drive out to Zanesville for a couple of pints and a delicious pie. You won't be disappointed.
Liz Stout and Caitlin Davis, both of Seventh Son, cleaning out the mash tun.
After lunch, the wort approached a boil, and Nichole Endicott (then with Lineage, she announced her departure for BrewDog a week or so later) and Lori added the hops to the wort. A typical brew day fully within my comfort zone filled the rest of the afternoon: we hopped, we transferred, we cleaned, we loaded spent grain into a farmer's truck, we shot the breeze about everything under the sun. 

Nichole Endicott (Lineage) and Lori Wince (Weasel Boy) add the hops.

So, what was the beer that we produced, despite my apparent intentions to completely screw up this beer? Lori wanted to brew a grisette with locally sourced ingredients. Pawpaw and spicebush berries were added later to the beer, after fermentation was complete. A wheat malt from Haus Malts in Cleveland was procured. If you aren't familiar with a grisette, it's basically a table saison. Table meaning that it's rather sessionable, around 5% ABV or less. Saisons are a popular style currently. Most are rather light in color, and they can run the gamut from having all sorts of clove/banana/bubblegum flavors to being very neutral and almost champagne-like. They typically finish quite dry, and my favorites are rather refreshing on a hot summer day with subtle and restrained Belgian esters and phenols. Pawpaw and spicebush are Ohio native plants. None of us in the group were really familiar with spicebush, although a bit of research before brew day indicated that it is very similar to allspice. Lori had taken some of her blonde ale (a rather neutral beer) and had dosed it with a spicebush berry tincture so that we could all get an idea of the flavor. My palate detected that it was, indeed, very reminiscent of allspice berries. 
 Jess Byrne (Lineage), Jessica Page (Lineage), and Mary MacDonald (OCBA) share a laugh toward the end of brew day.

We also made plans that day for release parties, although without knowing precisely when the beer would be finished, final plans could not be made on brew day. Everyone departed as the taproom opened. Lori kept us all apprised as to the progress of fermentation throughout the process. She pureed and added the pawpaw once primary fermentation was complete, and added the spicebush berries to the brite tank, right before kegging the beer. 

      Nichole Endicott (then of Lineage, now with BrewDog) cleans the boil kettle at the end of brew day. 

One reason that I always really enjoy this brew day is because it's challenging to me. Thus far we have brewed beers that are outside my typical repertoire. I've only brewed one other wheat beer, and one saison. In fact, before this year's beer was released, I had only had a grisette one other time. And that grisette was completely different from the one that we brewed. I admire every woman in this brew crew, and every one of us brings a different skill set to the table. The camaraderie is also evident whenever we gather. 

 Nevertheless Persist, enjoyed on Weasel Boy's patio overlooking the Muskingum River

In mid-April, the beer was released. Mary MacDonald had suggested that we name it Nevertheless Persist and we all fell in love with the name. Lineage held their party first, and the following night several of us went out to Weasel Boy for the release party there. The final party was held at Seventh Son the following week, although Liz was busy working in the brewhouse throughout the party. 

Jess Byrne (Lineage) and Lori Wince (Weasel Boy) look on during the Nevertheless Resist release party at Lineage.

So, how was the beer, you ask? In a word, delicious. It ended up at 5.6% ABV. Hmm, maybe my messing up the mash temp worked in my favor, although Lori wanted it to end up below 5%. As you can see in the picture above, it was a lovely golden color with a fair amount of haze and cloudiness. There were plenty of esters and phenols, both from the yeast as well as from the pawpaw and spicebush berries. The pawpaw softened the beer a bit and lent its own unique flavor to the beer. The spicebush added so much interest, it was a really thoughtful addition, and I want to use it in another beer. This style and these ingredients are so outside my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed the finished product. Another thing that we all noted was how much the beer changed as it warmed. I preferred it, as I do most of my beers, a little warmer. The banana, bubblegum, and clove notes that were there became less harsh and mellowed out as the beer warmed up. The pawpaw and spicebush berries came to the forefront. Great mouthfeel and moderate carbonation made it tickle the tongue.

Jessica Page (Lineage) gets ready to transfer the beer to the fermenter. 

If you are worried that you may have missed out on this beer, it is still on tap at a few places around central Ohio. There is a little bit left in the taproom at Weasel Boy, and the following places still have a keg of it: 
  • Barrel and Bottle in the North Market
  • Prost in Reynoldsburg
  • Westend Ciderhouse in Athens
  • World of Beer at Easton  
So go get yourself a glass of it while you still can, before it is gone! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Welcome Back

Welcome back, you strange weirdos. We took a little leave of absence, but we haven't forgotten about you. I'm sure you've been wondering what happened to us; if we died, if we stopped drinking, if we lost our passion for beer. I assure you, none of this is true. We're still alive and still loving beer more than life. Beer is life.

So, what have we been up to?

We both started helping out at a local brewery and that consumed a lot of our time. We also moved from a shit-hole apartment into a house down the street from my best friend.

So, let's give you a little more in-depth of what we did on our little break from this.

We worked beer festivals. Legit, a ton of beer festivals. We attended one more recently as general public, and it felt weird.

The first Winter Beer Fest we worked was the first big festival the brewery was at. We were the newcomers and were received with hesitation by the general public. We won them over with our beer and shenanigans. There was one point of the night where I started making people sing for their beer.  Jennie had shorter hair and gave a guy 'you're pissing me off' face.

We developed a beer.
 A 5% session IPA with lemongrass and chamomile. We had taken 2nd place in a local home brew competition the year before with it. Seeing our little baby brewed professionally is something else. Our recipe was tweaked a little, to give it more body, but still true to the original. It's funny, because the brewery is known for it's big, pushing Ohio legal limits at the times beer, then we had this 5% at the Grandview Summer Session festival. It ended up being 4.1/5 on Beer Advocate and 3.9/5 on Untappd, which I'm good with for something experimental.

 (Picture is from an article on the Pat's Pints blog)

We were part of history.
The first Six One Pour event (showcasing Columbus, Ohio breweries during Columbus Beer Week) has 2 different surprises. Collaboration brews with different breweries in town and a "largest tap handle" competition. We won the competition, but Guinness records failed to recognize the category, those bastards. It was a son of a bitch to pour from and the section you're looking at was only a third of the completed tap handle (roughly 30 feet tall, but for safety of the packed venue, we only poured with the one section). It's not a dick, it's a tap handle.

 (photos from Twitter)

Jennie Brewed a Beer!
As part of International Women's Day, last year the amazing ladies from Lineage, Weasel Boy and Jennie brewed a wheat beer with spices and lemon peel. Here is a poster from it:

We met a brewing icon
Our adventures took us to a beer festival in Cleveland, the first time the brewery had been out of Central Ohio. While we were working it, I was involved in a conversation with a young home brewer who wants to make full flavored, lower ABV beers. I told him that Pete Slosberg, founder of the iconic Pete's Wicked Ale, was doing something similar. No less than 15 minutes later, Jennie was having a conversation with a gentleman about meeting brewing icons and not realizing it. He said he had met Ken Grossman and it didn't click with him at the moment. He had a sampling of the beer and went about his way. Right afterward is when it clicked, that was fucking Pete Slosberg. He was up in the area doing a collaboration beer with Hoppin' Frog, a 10% version of his original Pete's Wicked Brown Ale. There will be a beer review on the Wicked Re-Pete as well as an interview with Pete Slosberg upcoming.

I met another brewing icon
Greg Koch, some dude from a tiny brewery (maybe you've heard of them- Stone Brewing? Something like that at least) was in Columbus to release the Pataskala Red IPA, a beer where the proceeds went to help save the music program at the high school he went to years before. He was pretty cool. Jennie unfortunately wasn't able to make it, as she was working the tap room.

We were part of the brewery's expansion
This work is no joke. When you're already pulling 60+ hours a week and you keep looking at how much work is left to do, it seems like an never ending uphill battle. You persist, you power through.

We met Frank Turner.
You remember that music guy we interviewed a couple years ago? Yeah? He remembered that too. That's right, our musical favorite happened to be playing a small gig here in Columbus (the CD102.5 Big Room), Jennie happened to be lucky enough to win tickets. We happened to get an awesome picture with him afterward.

 (Photo from CD102.5's website)

Jennie Brewed Another Beer!
Once again, Jennie teamed with awesome ladies; this time from Lineage, Weasel Boy and Seventh Son. This year was a grissette, a style we're not too familiar with. There will be an upcoming post about this. Here is the poster from that release:

So that's what we've we've been up to. What the fuck have you been up to? We'd like to hear from you. Reach out to us on TwitterFacebookYoutube, and Instagram. You can also follow us on Untappd with our names of @jenniek and @guitaristshad.

We have big plans upcoming, so stay tuned.

As always,
-Nathan and Jennie-