Sad day for Cincinnati beer

The Cincinnati beer community has lost one of its greatest boosters. Mike Cisneros, Sr. the founder, host, and heart of the Cincy Brewcast, passed away last night from a stroke.

Mike combined his passion for beer with his passion for making media. I only had a few chances to hang out with him, and I’m always going to kick myself for not finding more opportunities. You always assume there will be time.

Carla and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.

Annual April Fool’s Day Post

April 1 snuck up on me this year. In past years we’ve published a review of Cincinnati water, covered the announcement of a brewery sponsored by the Second Primitive Chuch of Satan (Reformed), and announced the secret collaboration between Dogfish Head and AB-InBev. This year?  I got nothing.

I called up my old friend Anton Spargewater a couple of days ago talk the situation over.

“Dude. You know I’m an imaginary character, right? ” he said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?”There's more to life than beer, but who cares?

“How do you know you’re not the real one and I’m the imaginary one, huh?” I countered, “Bet you didn’t think of that, did you?”

“I’m glad you called because otherwise I’d be backing away from you slowly right now,” he said. “By the way, why are you calling? And why go to the added step of imagining a phone call rather than, I dunno just having me talk to you in person?”

“I’m not currently wearing pants.”

“Oh. Thanks for that image,” he said, “even imaginary characters can have nightmares. Look, what do you want?”

“Can’t come up with an idea for April Fool’s Day this year.”

“And that’s my problem how?”

“You’re always in them.”

“Painfully aware of that. Still waiting.”

“So I was wondering if you had any ideas?”

“Imaginary char …” Pause.  “Oh, screw it.  You’re not going to drop this, are you?”


“OK, fine.” He’s clearly exasperated now. “The whole idea of April Fool’s is to come up with a ridiculous premise and try to sell it as real, right?”


“And you write about the beer world, right?”

“Yes,” I say, “When I can think of something.”

“Fine,” he says, “What have you got that’s nuttier than reality right now?”

“What did you mean?”

“The holier-than-thou owner of Lagunitas sells out to Heineken for a billion dollars and does it with a straight face. Stone is about to open a brewery in Germany because what the hell do those people know about making beer? There are more breweries in operation now than at any time in the history of the United States and all you read in the popular press is how craft brewing is under siege.”

“But AB-InBev…” I begin.

“…will probably be jerks because that’s their business model,” he says without missing a beat, “Somehow ‘big is always bad,’  but as best I can tell Starbucks is having trouble finding locations for new stores because Oskar Blues is already building a brewery there. And nobody says a word.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“I’m a fictional character,” he says, “and you asked for my opinion.  Bite me.”


“Yeah, whatever,” he says without drawing a breath,”and let’s not even talk about the stunt beers. I used to think the ultimate would have been Dogfish Head and BrewDog doing a collab called “Publicity Stunt.” But now you have a arms race to find the most disgusting place to culture yeast.”

“You’re talking about that Polish brewery, aren’t you?” I ask.

“If you link to them, I will end you.” he says flatly.

“No worries,” I say, ” ’tain’t gonna happen.”

“I hate you,” he says, “Keep that up and  I’ll come up with an actual corporeal existence so I can kick your ass.”

We were silent for a long time. It was really quiet. My imaginary cell phone service is really good. It only drops calls when I try to contact reality.

“We done?” he asks.

“Think so.” I say.

“Sorry you called?”

“Not as sorry as the people reading this.”

“Meh. Whadaya gonna do?”

“Hey, good talking to you,” I say, “give my best to the missus.”

“WHAT?” he screams, “I’m MARRIED? When were you planning to tell me that?”

“Gotta go,” I say quickly, “Toodles.”

And I hang up.

So that’s why there’s no April Fool’s Day post this year.

Maybe next year.

Traveling Tuesday: Carillon Brewing, Dayton, OH

When I was an undergraduate I went to a college in East Texas. We used to joke that it was three hours from Houston, three hours from Dallas, and fifty years from anywhere. Going to Carillon Brewing Company in Dayton is a little like that. It’s only an hour or so from Cincinnati, but the whole idea of the place is to take you back to the middle of the 19th-century so you can have a beer.

Carillon exterior
It rained the day we were there. This photo courtesy of Carillon Brewing Co.

Carillon Brewing  is a fully-licensed brewery and restarurant located on the grounds of the Carillon Historical Park. The park itself is an open-air living museum with 30 or so buildings. The idea is to give people a real sense of what it was like to live in Dayton in the 1850s rather than sticking artifacts behind glass in display cases. There’s a modest admission fee to the historical park area, but it’s free to visit the brewery and restarurant.

The brewing area. Everything is gravity-fed and heated by wood fires. Racking between brewing vessels is via open half-pipes.

The building looks old, but it was actually completed in 2014. Construction techniques from the 1850s were used everywhere modern building codes allowed.

It’s clear a lot of care was taken to blend education into the experience of being at the brewery. This is one of a series of diagrams on barrel heads that explains what you’re looking at as well as the brewing process itself.

One of the implications of both the building’s construction and open wooden brewing vessels is that wild yeasts and other bacteria have taken hold in the brewery. Think sour beers are a modern thing?  Think again. The day we were there we had a sour Porter that was really quite good — as long as you like sours. Not every beer there is a sour, but there are flavors you’re going to encounter that are quite different from today. There’s a Coriander ale with peppers, a beer containing beets and another containing squash.

Barrels are constructed in an on-site cooperage.

If you’ve had enough historical exploration for one day, the brewery also serves beers from other local breweries. The food features locally grown and processed ingredients. When we were leaving from our visit we saw a young lady churning butter on the back porch. You don’t see that at Applebee’s. Spent-grain bread is baked in the ovens and is delicious. The non-alcoholic root beer is really, really good.


All-in-all you owe it to yourself to make the trip to Dayton and spend a little time at Carillon. You’ll learn something and you’ll have a good beer. Pretty hard to go wrong with that.

Old meets new image
The employees are all in period dress, but there are modern conveniences. You don’t need to bring chickens to barter. They take credit cards.

Short’s Brewing Entering Ohio and Indiana Markets

Good news for people I know who go to Michigan frequently. After the second week in March I will no longer be asking you to bring me back Short’s Huma Lupa Licious. The Bellaire, MI-based brewery has announced that it has chosen Cavalier Distributing to distribute its beers in Ohio and Indiana on March 19. Events involving brewery representatives won’t start until the week of April 4 and have not yet been announced.

Short's Brewing Logo

I first encountered Short’s four years ago when I made a couple trips to Detroit on business. I stumbled on the Grand Trunk Pub and it’s all-Michigan beer lineup. I tried Huma Luma Licious IPA because … well … look at the name!  and I fell in love.  It’s a citrusy hop bomb. If you like hop bombs, you’ll like it.  If you don’t, well, they make other beers as well.

The initial lineup distributed in this area will be Huma Lupa Licious, Bellaire Brown (an American Brown Ale), Soft Parade (a rye ale infused with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries), Space Rock Ale (a reduced-gluten beer) and the seasonal ControversiALE (American IPA featuring Simcoe hops). Cavalier will also distribute three ciders from Starcut Ciders, also owned by Shorts. Pulsar is a semi-dry cider, Octorock a semi-sweet cider, and Squishy is a semi-sweet cider made from cherries.

February was the first month Short’s beer was distributed outside the state of Michigan. They announced out-of-state distribution on January 28, 2016 and began distributing in eastern Pennsylvania two weeks later. They are launching in Illinois this week and will add western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana the same mid-March week. Their announcement of the move notes that they increased their distribution in Michigan by nearly 25% in 2015 and made the decision to distribute regionally to “… allow for sustained growth amidst the increasingly crowded market.”

Specific events will be listed on This Week in Beer or Tastings and Tappings  as they are announced.


Sierra Nevada: Craft Beer Walt Disney World

The meaning of the word ‘craft’ in ‘craft beer’ is a never-ending discussion among beer folk. That’s partly due to the fact it’s most often discussed when people are drinking. No one knows when to shut up. It’s also because it’s something people are willing to believe is real without the parallel need to know exactly why one beer is “craft” and another isn’t. “I know it when I see it” is as much as anyone can really argue. Yes, there’s the Brewers Association (BA) definition, but that’s the outcome of a political process, not a statement of objective reality. And that’s not a criticism of BA. I don’t think they claim otherwise. If you’re going to form a club where you don’t want some folks joining, you’re going to have to have criteria. Otherwise, why have a group?

I had occasion to think about this during the 2015 Beer Bloggers & Writer’s Conference in Asheville, NC last month1. One of our activities was to go to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s brewery just south of town in Mills River. It’s gorgeous; there’s no other word to describe it. It’s difficult to avoid a comparison to an attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida as you drive in. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

It’s not a theme park attraction, of course, it’s a working factory. And yes, breweries are factories. It’s not the way we like to think of them, but it’s what they are. It’s a place where raw materials are processed using semi- or fully-mechanized means that result in a packaged product suitable for mass distribution. Any beer that’s sold is the outcome of an industrial process that’s been refined and perfected over generations. There’s not much romance in that, but there it is.

It’s pretty clear that Sierra Nevada made the decision to build a brewery that could also be a showcase. Everything is labeled. All the production areas are visible behind glass or accessible by large groups of people (or both). It’s a working brewery, but it’s also meant to be seen. I had the opportunity to have an informal conversation with an employee who was involved in the process of bringing the facility to life. The conversation was interesting, but it really was informal and I don’t feel right quoting her directly because we weren’t explicitly on the record. Two things stand out in my mind, though. First, the company was very excited to be able to build a new facility from scratch. The original brewery in Chico, CA grew in bits and pieces as demand required. You can always plan for the future, but it’s always harder to expand an existing facility than build one from the ground up. The second thing is that a tremendous amount of work went into the planning. I don’t know this for a fact, but I have a feeling that somewhere there are storyboards that mapped out how the building and grounds were to tell the story Sierra Nevada wants to tell. That story includes beer, the company itself and its commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of a large industrial operation. It tells that story well.

Carla and I spend a lot of time giving money to the Walt Disney Corporation, so when I say there’s a Disney quality to the Mills River brewery, I mean that as a compliment. When a Disney property is really clicking for me, you experience the outcome of an excessive obsession to detail in both facilities and customer service. That’s what I saw at Sierra Nevada. I know, however, that calling something “Disney-like” can be considered a pejorative for some people. “It’s fake,” goes the thinking, “it’s the imitation of a thing and not the thing itself. Shock Top or Blue Moon or any of the other ‘crafty’ beers are the real beer Disneys.” That’s a discussion that goes beyond what I’m trying to write about here, but sufficed to say I know the mansion isn’t really haunted and it’s all fake, but I love the Haunted Mansion anyway. That’s how I can use Disney-like as a compliment.

So we’re on the busses heading down to Mills River from Oskar Blues in Brevard and I happen to be in the front seat of the lead bus. We arrive in front of the brewery and I get off the bus. There are a dozen or so folks on either side of the door inside and they’re clearly a welcoming line. A guy in blue jeans walks up to me and sticks out his hand and says, ‘Hi, I’m Ken Grossman. Welcome to Sierra Nevada”

I never really understood what it meant to “nearly plotz” until that moment. The founder of Sierra Nevada. Brewing legend. KEN frickin’ GROSSMAN is introducing himself to me! So of course my only response was to gurgle incoherently. I have a way with words. A really, really bad way. After everyone else on our bus had a similar opportunity to be star-struck, he proceeded to take us on a tour of the brewery. Then we went down to the river for a pig roast and a little oompah music. Sierra Nevada collaborated with Germany’s Brauhaus Riegele to produce a memorable Oktoberfest beer and the brewing team from Germany was there. A camera crew was also there. Here’s one of the things they put together from the footage. A disturbing number of the people in this spot are beer bloggers. 15-seconds of fame, baby:

I recommend the Oktoberfest, by the way. Marzens aren’t my absolute favorite style, but I enjoy them when the season rolls around. Brauhaus Rieglele’s recipe relies heavily on Steffi Malt which gives the beer a slightly lighter, sweeter character while still having good body and mouth feel. Steffi has been used in German brewing for decades, but it’s not as popular as it once was. Grossman said that they bought as much as they could get their hands on in order to make the beer for the US market, and that meant buying some of the malt from Riegele’s stock.

I like the video in that it shows Grossman’s easy-going demeanor. The quip about taking off the coat is a good example. They don’t explain it in the piece, but the day we were there was warm for Asheville, reaching the the mid to upper 80’s. The jacket is a German jacket that he’d admired when visiting the brewers in Germany when the collaboration was in the planning stages. It turns out that the Riegele brewmaster’s wife makes them, so Grossman and his son both ordered one. They were wearing them when we showed up to the brewery, but these are definitely cold-weather jackets. I’m surprised they lasted in them as long as they did. For the record, the Riegele brewmaster didn’t stay in his the whole time either.

Ken Grossman fixes door

So the Friday trip was great, but that’s not where my meditation on what puts the craft in craft brewing started. That had to wait until Sunday. We decided to go back to the brewery before coming back to Cincinnati. We wanted to try out the taproom and it’s less than five hours from Asheville to home, so it was a no-brainer. We get there, park and get in line to get a table. Our name is put in, and I’m sitting on a bench in the waiting area. I’m messing with my phone and suddenly I realize there’s someone standing in front of me. “Hey,” says Ken Grossman, “Did you have a good conference?” I think I was a little more coherent this time, but I still think of it as “Meeting Ken Grossman II: The Re-Plotzing.” Luckily, Carla came over and saved me socially, as she tends to do pretty much all the time. We make small-talk for a minute, then he heads to the front door to do what I’m pretty sure he walked that way to do in the first place. The front door was sticking and he noticed that people were having trouble getting in and out. So he went over to work on it. That’s him leaning over and holding the door as they try to figure out what’s binding things up.

And that’s when the light bulb went on. I have no idea how much money Ken Grossman is worth.  Lots. Probably more than lots. But he owns a brewery and when he saw something wrong, his first thought was to go over and fix it. Because the brewery is something that matters to him. I’m not saying that it’s the complete and total definition of what makes a beer a craft beer, but a good part of it is that at the top there’s someone there for whom the brewery is the thing. Throw a rock at any of the breweries in Cincinnati — and I’m definitely including Sam Adams in this — and you’ll find a focus on making great beer that starts at the very top. I vaguely know who the AB-Inbev CEO is.  I’m sure he knows something about beer and I’m sure he’s nice to his family and pets. I have no idea how long it’s been since he’s been in a brew house on two consecutive days from more than an hour each. In my mind, cluttered as it is, that’s what makes craft beer to me.  Do I know something about who is responsible for it being here? Is there an actual person behind it all? That’s important to me. That’s the craft.

And when we left the brewery that Sunday, the door worked perfectly.

1DISCLAIMER: To receive a discounted rate to the 2015 Beer Blogger and Writer’s Conference in Asheville, NC, we agreed to write two posts about the conference. This is one of them.

Blank Slate to Focus Its Efforts to Meet Demand

Blank Slate Brewing has announced that they will begin to limit their distribution to Hamilton County starting this week. In a blog post on the brewery’s website, owner Scott LaFollette gave the reasoning behind the move:

As we have begun to grow and make a name for ourselves in the local beer world it has become increasingly difficult to support all of the bars and restaurants throughout this fairly large distribution area that are interested in carrying our product. Recently we have had to turn down numerous opportunities to attend events or otherwise be involved in happenings around town simply because we just don’t have enough beer to go around. Our goal from day 1 has been to stay as local as possible and to never “bite off more than we can chew” as they say. Over the last few months we have had a lot of difficulty keeping even our closest neighbors supplied with beer so we have decided to reduce our distribution territory for a while. This will allow us to adequately serve SOME people instead of inadequately serving a LOT of people.

So. Effective this week you will only be able to buy Blank Slate in Hamilton County Ohio. I apologize to those bar and restaurant owners outside of Hamilton County who have been supporters of us in the past. This decision wasn’t made lightly and I hope that you will still support us when we are ready to resume selling in your area. Again, thank you for the support.

Given that Carla and I live in Northern Kentucky, I can’t say I’m doing back flips over this, but it’s impossible to argue with the logic. And, to tell the truth, if I were to try to do a backflip it would go very, very badly. So Scott’s really probably done me a favor. Thanks, Scott. I owe you. In all seriousness, though, it’s always been remarkable to me that Blank Slate was able to distribute on both sides of the river from the very beginning and add on the taproom as well. This is a move of strength, not weakness.Blank Slate Brewing Company

When we talk to Scott about the brewery we’re always struck with how every move he makes is made with extreme care. Go read his whole post. That comes through in every word. I’m in the middle of writing a piece about what makes the ‘craft’ in craft beer. I have no idea when I’m going to be finished with it, but now I have a new thing to consider. Making a move like this is what a craftsperson does. A widget-maker would try to figure out how to cut corners and keep something — anything — out there. This is a good example of the craft in craft beer.

Happy AHA Big Brew Day!

The main reason Hoperatives exists is to celebrate beer culture, especially as it’s found in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. Today is a day we want to give a shout-out to a group of people who definitely put the “craft” in craft beer. Home brewers are people who take their love of beer to the next level. Today is the American Homebrewers Association National Homebrew Day, and, like every year since 1998, home brewers will gather together to brew beer at what’s known simply as The Big Brew. A quick examination of the AHA website lists four Big Brew events that have been registered in the immediate area, but I suspect there are other, informal ones, happening all over. That’s actually true of any Saturday, but I suspect there may be more going on today.

Because there would be no beer community without angst, there’s an ongoing (if not never-ending) discussion among people with nothing better to do about what the “craft” in “craft beer” means. My take actually comes from an old television production book I used when I was an undergrad. That was shortly after the Earth cooled. As I recall it, the author described a craft as something that required the ability to understand both the scientific and artistic requirements of doing some activity well. That’s stuck with me.

Being a good brewer is like being good at anything else: you have to know the fundamental principles involved. That’s only partly the ability to follow a recipe and have a sense of what’s going on under the hood. More than that, though, after a while you begin to see how you can balance one set of requirements against another to bend the fundamentals to an outcome you’re looking for. That’s true at whatever level you’re brewing. It’s not the equipment or the title or where you get your paycheck that makes you a brewer. It’s the dedication to learning the science and then manipulating that to make something you can call your own. Some might eventually be paid to do that. Most will not. Both sets of people can legitimately call themselves brewers.

Our area has several homebrewing clubs, many with nationwide reputations. (Good reputations, I hasten to add). I’m hesitant to name them because I don’t want to leave anyone out. The best way to hook up with a group is to visit a homebrew supply shop near you and ask the staff. And, I assure you, if you live anywhere in the Tri-State there is a homebrew shop near you.

One of the things you discover quickly when you’re brewing for a while is that there a fair bit of information you’ll want to track, both as you’re preparing to brew and then during the brew itself. Through a set of (happy) accidents, we’ve become acquainted with a brewer in Ottawa, Canada who has developed a free tool to help you do just that. It’s a recipe builder and style guide and general brewing utility built on top of Microsoft Excel. Here’s the link you can check out:

Take a look if you’re interested and leave us a comment to let your fellow Hoperatives know what you think. Also feel free to leave contact information for any homebrew club you are a member of.

So happy Big Brew Day, everyone!

You Heard It Here Last: Braxton Brewing Opens March 27th

So Braxton Brewing finally has an opening date: Friday, March 27th, 2015. Shauna Steigerwald over at the Enquirer has written a really nice piece about it.

It’s impossible to feel anything but happy for the brewing team of Evan Rouse, Richard Dubé, Conan Crofoot, Dave Dixon and Mike Roszkowski. We were down there yesterday and the vibe was equal parts excitement and sleep deprivation. My guess is that the first brew day will be before Monday. They were being pretty close-to-the-vest about specifics. It’s tempting to want a lot of hoopla over it, but the reality is that the only folks who really need to be there are the ones who’ve devoted so much to it over the last few months and years. It’s going to be a special moment for them. I truly hope they savor it. The brewing team that’s been assembled is genetically incapable of making a bad beer.

braxton_brewing_company-logoGreg and Tina Rouse once again spent their wedding anniversary yesterday cleaning up clutter and mess their kids (along with a bunch of contractors) were making. Jake Rouse and Marketing Director Jonathan Gandolf faced each other over the tops of their laptops with solemn looks on their faces.  They were probably doing Very Serious Work. But they could have just as easily been trying to figure out how to rewrite the Gettysburg Address to work in the phrases “we can’t wait,” “we’re excited” and “lift one to life.” It’s hard to say. I know they call it staying on message. I call it a new drinking game.

So we’re excited that we know when we’ll be able to grab a beer at Braxton and lift it to life. Maybe we’ll even figure out what that means. And we can’t wait for you to read this press release:

You will soon be able to “Lift One to Life” in Northern Kentucky and the greater Cincinnati area. After over a year of preparation, Braxton Brewing Company is thrilled to announce that they will open on Friday, March 27th, 2015. On this date, Northern Kentucky’s first free-standing microbrewery will host a grand opening party at their taproom and begin distribution with Stagnaro Distributing.

“Words can’t quite express how truly excited we are to open these doors and share our beer with the community that has lifted us up over the past year,” said Co-Founder and Braxton Brewing Company CEO, Jake Rouse. “It’s going to be a very special day.”

The doors will open at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 27th. Programming will begin at 7 p.m. The event highlights will include: four of Braxton’s beers on tap, Keith Neltner and the Neltner Small Batch team revealing his largest indoor installation, two local bands, and tours of the brewery. More event details can be found on Braxton Brewing Company’s Facebook page.

“We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with Braxton Brewing Company on creating and launching their brand. Our work on the foundation, naming, identity, writing, signage, and ultimately the large scale mural that adorns the concrete block bar in Covington is some of our most dramatic work to date,” said Keith Neltner of Neltner Small Batch. “So, let’s Lift One to Life.”

Two of the company’s flagship beers will be available on the 27th. Storm Golden Cream Ale, and Jumper Hoppy Wheat Ale will be available in the taproom and across the company’s distribution network.

“Storm and Jumper are both truly unique beers, and our team has been working for the better half of a year to perfect these recipes,” said Evan Rouse, Co-Founder and Head Brewer “We can’t wait for you to try them!”

Since announcing their plans on April 7th, 2014, the Braxton team has been working on renovating the 100-year old building located at 27 W 7th St in Covington. The taproom will feature a 20-tap draft system, a PEGAS growler filler, a state of the art Special Events Room, and more.

The taproom, which was introduced during a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, has been referenced to as “The Taproom of the Future.” Technologies such as gigabit internet, social media experiences, and the best-in-class mobile application will bring this vision to life.

“The taproom of the future is about experiencing beer in a whole new way. We’ve been hard at work with our development partner, New Coast Ventures, to bring this vision to life.” said Jake Rouse. “We want people to learn more about our beer, stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the beer drinking community, and easily find Braxton beer on tap.”

Braxton Brewing Adds Full-Time Brewer to Staff

Braxton Brewing has announced the addition of a full-time brewer to its staff in advance of its opening later this winter. Longtime home brewer Conan Crofoot will join the brewery this Monday, January 12, 2015.

Conan Crofoot, pictured here working at the Cincy Winter Beerfest, is the newest brewer at Braxton Brewing.

“Conan is truly a passionate brewer who has desired to expand his skills from home-brewing to commercial brewing for quite some time “says co-founder and head brewer Evan Rouse. “We’re beyond thrilled to have him join the Braxton family.”

Crofoot is a stalwart of the Cincinnati home brewing scene, active in both the Delhi Mashers and the Northern Kentucky Homebrewers Guild. He’s a regular competitor in competitions at all levels, medaling in events such as the Bloatarian Brewing League’s Beer & Sweat, the Cincinnati Malt Infusers OktobersBest and the American Homebrewers Association’s  National Homebrew Competition. He has also served as competition organizer of the OktobersBest event. He identifies his Black IPA as the beer he feels he makes best.

With his considerable home brewing experience, he says he spoke to Rouse at a brew out about making the jump to the professional ranks.  Rouse encouraged him to apply for the Braxton opening that was announced on November 4, 2014. Crofoot was chosen from a pool of more than 50 candidates.

He admits to being nervous about the step up. “Who wouldn’t be?” he says, “Luckily I will be learning from one of the best in [Brewmaster] Richard [Dubé]. The challenge is just going to be getting into a new groove. There’s a lot to do before we get to brewing. I’ve been hanging around the breweries for some time and I think I have a good handle on what to expect.”

We’ll be checking with him in about six months to see how that works out.

Crofoot is a first for Braxton in several ways.  He’s the first person hired full time since the brewery was announced. He’ll be the first brewer to regularly show up to work in a car since he lives on the West Side (Rouse lives close enough to walk and Dubé rides his bike in when weather allows). Most importantly, to any self-respecting craft brewery, Crofoot will be the first with a full beard.

Construction is still ongoing at the Braxton Brewery in Covington and no opening date has been announced beyond having a goal of this winter.



‘Hopnosis’ at The Comet begins at 4PM Friday, December 5.

hopnosisHopnosis, the annual gathering of the hopheads at The Comet in Northside begins this Friday, December 5, at 4pm and runs until 1am. Then everyone goes home for a few hours and comes back at 4pm on the 6th to start all over again until 1am. This seventh-edition of the mini-linear-beer festival will feature 30 kegs of small-batch hop bombs, rarities, and seasonal favorites. The catch? One keg is tapped an hour. When it’s gone, it’s gone. And no one knows when a particular beer will be tapped. Well, someone knows. They just aren’t telling you.

It’s almost as if they want you to come and stay a while. And then come back.

This is what’s on deck according to The Comet’s website:

  • Great Lakes Blackout Stout
  • Deschutes Pine Drops
  • Green Flash Jibe
  • Victory Hop Harvest
  • Lagunitas Extra Double Dry Hopped Pale
  • Epic Element 29
  • Brother’s Drake Apple Pie Mead
  • Brew Kettle EL Lupulo Libber
  • Brooklyn Quadraceratops
  • Affligem Noel
  • Southern Tier Gemini
  • Brew Kettle El Lupulo Libre
  • Green Flash Jibe
  • Troegs Blizzard of Hops
  • Smuttynose Smutlabs White IPA
  • Bell’s Kal-Haven
  • Christian Moerlein Tart Cherry Honey Almond Ale
  • Rhinegeist Asterix
  • Rhinegeist Ink
  • Mad Tree Axis Mundi
  • Mad Tree Funke Blue
  • …and more!

This is one of those times that “…and more” isn’t just hype. It’s one of those events where at the last minute a distributer will come in with a keg and say “We were looking around and we found …”

It’ll be crazy and crowded and hot and you should go anyway.

The Comet is located in Northside at 4579 Hamilton Avenue.