This Week in Beer: February 2 – 8, 2009

Thursday, February 5 – Firkin Tapping at Rock Bottom Brewery

Friday, February 6, 2009 from 6:00-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence
We’ll let you know what the featured brewery is as soon as we hear!

Friday, February 6, 2009 from 6:00-8:00 pm – Won’t You Beer My Valentine Tasting with Danny Gold at Party Source – Cost: $20.00
We’ll be at this! Anyone else?

February 6 & 7, 2009 – 2nd Annual Midwest Winter Beer Festival
We’ll be at the Saturday afternoon session for this and we’re staying at the Radisson for the weekend (just for convenience). If you’re attending the Friday or Saturday night session and would like to meet up, we could do a gathering at Kelly’s Public House (the bar at the Radisson). Just let us know!

Saturday, February 7, 2009 – 1st Annual Winter AleFest Dayton
Any Hoperatives going to this event? We would love a report on it!

Digging Out, Looking Ahead

So Carla and I picked a heck of a week to leave town.

There was a time when I used to secretly regret missing big winter storms (hey, I grew up in Texas.  They didn’t happen that often).  Then a weird thing started happening.  As I moved around the country, I’d live through the local version of the “Storm of the Century” the first winter I lived there.  It happened three times.  The biggest was 1996 in Philadelphia.  27.6 inches in a 24-hour period.  After that, I didn’t feel so cheated if I missed the big snow.

So while the Ohio Valley was getting pounded with snow and ice, Carla and I were in Nassau, the Bahamas.  I’ll admit to giggling a little when I thought it was just snow.  Then we heard about the ice and it wasn’t a laughing matter anymore.  For what it’s worth, we were thinking of you.  Hope you got through it all safely.

I expect no sympathy for the fact that it was too cool in Nassau to swim the first couple of days we were there.

One of the things we decided for this trip is to go off the grid.  No laptops.  No wi-fi. We left the blog on auto-pilot. If you sent something in, we weren’t ignoring you!

And  now we’re back.  It’s good to be home.  Of course, we have to dig out, but luckily it’s more metaphorical than actual (though we can’t thank the folks at CVG FastPark enough for helping us dig out our car last night!)

The blog will be busy this week.  Hoperative #14 Jared Whalen has contributed a review and has made a fine suggestion regarding our grading scale that should make it easier for everyone to contribute reviews that have some internal consistancy.  Hoperative #13 John Lavelle let us know what was on tap at Dilly Deli, which we’ll update (but is likely already out of date.  Which means we just need another report!).  Carla and I sampled Bahamian beers, and came across a local stout that was out of this world.  And, finally, the Midwinter Beer Festival is almost upon us!  We’ll preview it.

Oh, and have a beer.  You deserve it after the week you’ve had.

Review: Mt. Carmel Brewery Winter Ale

The term ‘craft brewing’ has a number of different meanings.  The Brewers Association has a nice writeup on the topic, summing it up as denoting an independent brewer who brews relatively small amounts of beer using traditional methods and ingredients.

Somewhere from in the mists of my formal education I remember video production (my chosen discipline) being called a craft because it requires the practitioner to constantly balance the demands of technology with the needs of art.  Given how large a part beer played in my undergraduate education, it’s not surprising that I think of this when I hear the term craft brewer, especially when considering Mt. Carmel Brewery.  There’s something special going on out on Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road.  A craft is being well-practiced.

Mt. Carmel’s Winter Ale is a deep amber brew that pours with a small, tight head and exhibits light lacing on the glass.  The aroma is fuity with overtones of spice.  The taste is smooth, light caramel with allspice and cinnamon topnotes.  It’s smooth and full-bodied.  It’s balanced from beginning to end.

This beer is a winner.  Get it before it’s gone.

Mt. Carmel Brewery Winter Ale: A+

A Season of Celebratory Doppelbocks

Since Tom is from Texas, we both have a special place in our hearts for Shiner beer. Based in the tiny town of Shiner, Texas, the Spoetzl Brewery is best known for Shiner Bock and up until a few years ago, you couldn’t really get it outside of Texas. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Spoetzl Brewery and they actually started celebrating five years ago. In 2005, they issued the first in a limited edition series of Anniversary Beers. 2005 was 96 Marzen-style ale, 2006 was 97 Bohemian Black Lager, 2007 was 98 Bavarian-style Amber and last year was 99 Munich-style Helles Lager. Now, even though it’s still not listed on the Shiner web site, the anniversary beer for 2009 is already available in limited markets (i.e. near Shiner, TX) and various online news sources like have announced it:


In 1909, German and Czech immigrants decided to start the Homebrewing Association in Shiner, Texas so they could make the kind of beers they’d left behind in their homelands.

With the arrival of Bavarian-born and classically trained brewmaster Kosmos Spoetzl in 1915, the brewery was on the way to becoming one of the country’s most respected craft brewers.


To mark this important milestone not just for the brewery but for American beer making, we have literally bottled our history and heritage in a new brew to celebrate the centennial of Shiner Beers and the Spoetzl Brewery.

Shiner 100 Commemorator is a rich and robust brew that is a fitting tribute to our legacy of 100 years of handcrafting stylish and flavorful beers. Commemorator is a bold style that would have been very familiar to Kosmos.

One of the highlights of the Bavarian brewing year is the rollout of strong beer or starkbier, developed by monks as “liquid bread” to sustain them through the Lenten season. Commemorator is brewed in that Old-World tradition and embodies the German-Czech heritage Shiner has proudly stood for since 1909.

This 17 % original extract dark lager is a blend of two row Munich and Caramel 60 malt mildly spiced with Bavarian Hallertau Tradition and Spalter Select hops to allow the toasted caramel flavor to predominate.

Shiner 100 Commemorator will be available in select markets on January 1. Like all Shiner beers, every drop of Commemorator is made by only 56 employees of the Spoetzl Brewery make, very near the site where it all started a century ago.

Alcohol by Vol.: 6.8 % Original Gravity: 17.0 % Bitterness: 17 IBU Color: 30 SRM
Real Degree of Fermentation: 60.7 %

The Spoetzl Brewery is in Shiner, Texas, population 2,070. In addition to Shiner 100 Commemorator, the brewery produces Shiner Bock, Shiner Blonde, Shiner Bohemian Black Lager, Shiner Light and Shiner Hefeweizen year round, as well as Holiday Cheer winter seasonal. Look for a new summer seasonal in May, 2009.

If you would like to try a doppelbock a little closer to home, don’t forget that Hofbrauhaus is tapping their “Adulterator” (Doppelbock) tonight at 7:00 pm (3rd & Saratoga at the Levee, Newport, KY 41071).

This Week in Beer: January 26 – February 1, 2009

Wednesday, January 28th at 7:00 pm: Hofbrauhaus Tapping – “Adulterator” (Doppelbock)
Don’t you just love that name?!?

Thursday, January 29th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Build Your Beer Cellar
From the Party Source web site, “Did you know beer can age like wine? Many styles of beer can improve with time in your cellar–sometimes as long as a quarter-century! Beer maven Danny Gold will give you the lowdown on building a better beer cellar.” Cost is $20.00 and reservations are highly suggested.

Thursday, January 29th at 6:00 pm: Rock Bottom Firkin Tapping

Friday, January 30th from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm: Party Town: Beer Tasting
Stop and see what Joe (and Eugene Champion) have in store for tasting this week!

Short Hops for 1/24/09

  • We just got confirmation this week that Mt. Carmel Brewery will no longer be bottling in the 1/2 gallon growlers, but will be in six packs like everyone else. If you want a growler as a souvenir, better grab one fast! The good news is that many places have the growlers on sale, some at cost.
  • Brewers Toast Big Hop Crop
    Good news for hop heads like us!
  • – Ludlow Wines: Artisan Wine and Beer in Clifton
    Really nice article on Ludlow Wines. We’ve been by it a million times, but never knew they also handled craft beer. It’s definitely on our list to check out soon!
  • MillerCoors gets Super creative, battles A-B with 1-second ad
    While the one second ads are interesting, the quote from the editor of beer newsletter Beer Marketer’s Insights is what I found interesting. Are you “trading down to below-premium-priced beer”?

Tastings for 1/23/09

  • Bigg’s in Delhi will be having a beer tasting tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 pm featuring Hook and Ladder Beer along with an assortment of snacks from their deli, fresh meat counter, Honey Baked Ham and Rothschild Farms. According to the email they sent out:

    Hook and Ladder is an idea that began brewing in the kitchen of volunteer firefighter Rich Fleischer and has evolved into one of the country’s fastest-growing craft beers. Hook & Ladder Brewing Company, a Washington, D.C.-area brewery founded by Rich and his business-minded brother, Matt, exemplifies the social entrepreneurship trend of giving back to the community. Hook & Ladder is succeeding through its founding commitment to provide an exceptional line of beer while giving back to burned firefighters and burn survivors in communities across America and keeping donations local. A quarter per case (or a penny per pint, watch for Hook and Ladder pub crawl soon on the Westside) sold in Cincinnati will be donated to the burn unit at University Hospital.

    They will be opening the variety pack which features Golden Ale, Backdraft Brown, Ember Amber and Pipe and Drum Irish Ale.

  • Tonight’s Friday Night Flights at Party Town (Florence) features Dogfish Head –

    The Dogfish Head Brewery was founded in 1995 by Sam Calagione and has since become one of the major inovators in the craft beer world. The brewery has produced many different beers, some of which to purposely push the limits of what we think of as beer. For this weeks Friday Night Flights we will open seven from Dogfish: 60 Minute I.P.A., 90 Minute I.P.A., Chicory Stout, Midas Touch Golden Elixir, Palo Santo Marron, Fort, and Raison D’Etre. To top off the evening we will tap a rare barrel of Fort. Please join us and Eugene Platinum tomorrow from 6pm to7pm. Thank you and good day.

Hoppy Birthday!

That’s right! Happy birthday to me! And, by what we have planned for today, it should be a very happy, hoppy birthday indeed!

If you’re like us, you have several chain restaurants that have frequent diner programs which send you something free for your birthday. Usually it’s dessert (and maybe just one specific dessert like chocolate cake) and, of course, the whole idea is that you will come in with your friends and family to eat so you get your free cake. One slice of cake is a cheap way to get a large group into a restaurant.

If you are a member of Rock Bottom’s Mug Club, it’s always been a bit better than that and it just got even better. Mug Club members get to choose between an appetizer or dessert (no, their huge appetizer sampler is not included). Better… And starting this year, they do this by adding $10 to your Mug Club card so you don’t have to carry around a postcard or a email printout. A green alternative that’s less hassle for you. I like it.

Now, here’s the extra special information on tonight’s firkin tapping at Rock Bottom. Because it’s my birthday, several weeks ago I asked brew master Mitch what he had in mind tonight’s cask. He asked me what I wanted it to be. I said, “Something really hoppy.” So, tonight’s firkin is Mitch’s regular pale ale with lots of dry hops thrown in to make it… “Hoppy Birthday Pale Ale!” Well, he may not call it that, but that’s what I’m calling it!

Maybe we’ll see you there tonight!