This Week in Beer (and Beverages): May 28, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on May 28, 2024 at 3:24 PM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Monday, May 27th to Sunday, June 2nd - First Anniversary Party at Fabled Brew Works
Tuesday, May 28th from 4:00-9:00 pm: Cellar Sale
Wednesday, May 29th: Guest Taps from Arkane Aleworks, Butchertown Brewing, Hidden Springs Ale Works, RAR Brewing, More Brewing Co., 450 North Brewing Company, Phase Three Brewing Company, Corporate Ladder Brewing Company, Xul Beer Company, Modern Times Beer. (Taproom only, no crowlers)
Thursday, May 30th: Guest Taps and Trivia Night (starts at 7:00 pm)
Friday, May 31st: Re-releases of some of their first year's "greatest hits," plus variants
like Barrel-aged Blood of an Englishman, Fee, Fi, Fo, and Fum - Batch 2, Friar Tuck and more
(Taproom-only, no crowlers).
Saturday, June 1st at 10:30 pm: Bottle release - Barrel-aged Marshmallow Humbaba: Imperial Stout with Coconut, Coffee, Marshmallow, and Vanilla, aged in bourbon barrels and Barrel-aged Ol' Blue Eyes: Mead with Blueberry and Vanilla, aged in maple barrels.
Sunday, June 2nd: Leftovers Day - see whatever they have left of their guest taps, re-releases, and variants.

Wednesday, May 28th at 6:30 pm - 17th Birthday Beer Dinner at Taste of Belgium Fields-Ertel
Join the celebration of ToB's 17th anniversary with an evening of rare beers, exquisite dining, and special guests from Belgium: Pierre Mottet of Abbey du Val-Dieu and Amaury Kervin of Brewery Verhaeghe (maker of the famous Duchesse de Bourgogne).
The four-course meal includes Belgian mini meatballs, mussels, salad, and a choice of a traditional Belgian Jambonneau (Pork Shank) or Steak au Poivre (cream peppercorn sauce), paired with Val-Dieu and Duchesse brews. Also includes Val-Dieu 800 which is only available at Taste of Belgium in the US paired with Taste of Belgium's Birthday Waffle. The cost is $75 per person, tax and gratuity included. Reserve your spot at Open Table.

Thursday, May 30th from 4:00-7:00 pm - Brewing Heritage Trail Fundraiser at Urban Artifact
$1 from every full pour is donated back to the Brewing Heritage Trail. They'll raffle off some Brewing Heritage Trail door prizes for those in attendance including t-shirts, a 2024 Brewing Heritage Trail Membership, and tour tickets.

Saturday, June 1st from Noon to 9:30 pm - Missing Linck Festival at Humble Monk Brewing
The fourth annual Missing Linck Festival, hosted by Humble Monk Brewing Co. and Urban Artifact Brewery, features 15 breweries from three different states to celebrate the rich history of a 168-year-old yeast.
Noon: Food trucks start (Barbecue, chili, turkey legs, grouper, tots, and veggie options)
12:30 pm: Missing Linck Yeast Homebrew winner announced
1:00 pm: Beer and Cheese Tasting
1:30-4:30 pm: Live Music from Vehicle Rock Band
3:00 pm: Beer Tasting & Brew Tours
5:00 PM: Brewers Panel & Book Release
5:30-8:30 pm: Live Music from Closers Rock Band
6:00 pm: Stein Holding Contest
8:00 pm: Sasquatch Calling Contest

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): May 7, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on May 07, 2024 at 1:43 PM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 9th from 3:00-6:00 pm - Thirsty Thursday Happy Hour at Wiedemann Brewing
$3 pints and $8 beer & shot combo

Saturday, May 11th from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm - 513 Day Celebration at Sam Adams Cincy Tap Room
From Facebook: "With 27 years of brewing in this city, our love of Cincy runs deep! We’re going big for 513 Day by partnering up with Everything Cincy for an all-day celebration. Join us for the can and draft release of Queen City Crown Ale and 513, food sampling from local businesses, live entertainment, and special giveaways."

513 Day

Sunday, May 12th at 10:00 am - Getting Bent Yoga and a Pint at Darkness Brewing
"A creative vinyasa yoga practice that includes a drink. Come enjoy a group class lead by certified yoga instructors. We enjoy having fun, sharing movement and breathe.
$16 for class"

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): April 29, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Apr 30, 2024 at 11:42 AM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Friday, May 3rd - Cheers! to Saving Lives at Swine City Brewing
The Donor Bus will be at Swine City from noon to 6:00 pm. All donors will receive a 40 oz Hoxworth tumbler plus a $10 Swine City gift card. Make your appointment at hoxworth.org/content/hoxworth/groups/scb

Saturday, May 4th at 11:00 am - 150th Kentucky Derby Party at Braxton Brewing (Covington)
· Call to Post - Ceremonial bugle player
· Mint Julep Station - with a surprise guest bartender
· Best Dressed, Best Couple, Best Hat Competitions at 4:00 pm
· Printable Photo Booth by DJ Jay Kay
· Dewey's Pizza
· Rooftop DJ from 7-11
· Cornhole on the Rooftop

Braxton Brewing

Sunday, May 5th - Cinco de Mayo
No, it's not Mexican Independence Day.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): April 25, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Apr 25, 2024 at 11:41 AM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

The Boozy Book Fair featuring Roebling Books at Wooden Cask (York St)
"It's pretty simple... just like the book fairs you remember as a kid, only with booze!"

Saturday, April 27th at 5:00 pm - Wine Mixer on the Roof at Cincinnati Distilling
Five wine selections and live music for $26 per person. Sommelier Sam Long will be pouring. For tickets, go to cincinnatidistilling.com/wine-tasting

Saturday, April 27th at 8:00 pm - Spring Prom / Faerie Ball at Urban Artifact Brewing
Urban Artifact is celebrating their 9th birthday with a Faerie Ball. They say that the "Reliquary shall be transformed into a fantasy land for all. An abundance of light fare and professional photography will be offered throughout the evening.
*Guests who dress to impress the Queen of Fruit may receive an official title of nobility or glorious treasure fit to be hoarded by a dragon.
21+ Cash bar
$30 - entry
$40 - premium (includes two drink tickets)"

Urban Artifact

Sunday, April 28th from 2:00-6:00 pm - Cigar Night at Dead Low Brewing
BYOC (bring your own cigars). $5 pints (excludes premiums) and $6 bourbon Specials (that rotate each week).

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): April 15, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Apr 15, 2024 at 1:48 PM

Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Saturday, April 20th at 10:30 am - Bottle Release at Fabled Brew Works
Two bottles being released:
-- Ultralisk - Imperial Stout with coconut, coffee, and vanilla. Collaboration with Modern Times Beer $18
-- Marshmallow Cherry Bounce - Balaton and Montmorency cherry mead with marshmallow $30

Limit 1 bottle per style per person (each person can purchase 2 bottles total - 1 stout and 1 mead) while supplies last. The line forms around the back of the building - just look for the big door that says FABLED BREW WORKS (if the weather is cold we’ll move into the brewing area to keep everyone warm). Taproom will be open immediately following the release. Both the stout and the mead will be on tap. Breakfast provided for those in line (as supplies last), and Gobblin’ Goblin Food Truck will be there from 11:00 am - 9:00 pm.

Saturday, April 20th - Napoleon Dynamite Happy Hour and Pub Crawl hosted by Darkness Brewing and Three Spirits Tavern
From the Darkness Brewing Facebook page: "To celebrate the 20th year anniversary of this wonderful movie, they are hosting a screening and event at MegaCorp pavilion starting at 7pm.
We wanted to honor them with a special Happy Hour and Pub Crawl to pregame for those going to the event. (like several of us are!)
So stop by Darkness, Three Spirits, and other fun spots in Bellevue from 4 to 7pm to enjoy wonderful drink specials, food specials, special beer release and more!!"

Darkness Brewing

[This event is next week, but you need to RSVP by this Saturday.]

Thursday, April 25th from 7:00-9:00 pm - Wine Tasting Party at MPH Brewing
A fine wine consultant will be present to talk to so you can learn about the different types of wine and the regions they come from. The cost is $50 per person for an evening of wine paired with charcuterie boards. RSVP for the event by April 20th. Payment is accepted online through their online ordering system on MPHBrew.com or at the bar.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): April 8, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Apr 08, 2024 at 10:45 AM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Monday, April 8th - Eclipse Party at Swine City Brewing
They are promising 99.67% coverage on their newly renovated beer garden (as well as food, beer, glasses, and games).

Wednesday, April 10th from 6:00-8:00 pm - Wine Tasting at Party Town
Taste five Pinot Noir wines and then enjoy a pour of your favorite for $20.

Saturday, April 13th - Speak of the Devil Day at Streetside Brewery
From their Facebook event:
• The taproom opens at 10:00 am. The line starts at the back garage door (next to the T-Rex Batman).
• Breakfast available from Craft Burger Bros. starting at 8:00 am.
• Employees will start filling out order forms at 9:00 am.
• Vintage variants will be available on draft while supplies last.

Streetside Brewery

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): April 2, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Apr 01, 2024 at 3:44 PM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 2nd - Paint and Sip Night at Big Ash Brewing
Ticket includes professional instruction, your canvas, all supplies needed, and a $5 food and beverage credit. This is a family-friendly event for all ages and skill levels. Tickets are required to participate.

Friday, April 5th - Boards & Brews Home Brew Competition Registration Closes

From their web page: The PWC Emerging Leaders Board and the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom invite homebrewers of Greater Cincinnati to brew their best for a good cause!
Registration for the competition will close on April 5th. Team entries are due June 2nd. Refer to the official rules and regulations document for full instructions on entry submissions.
The top 3 homebrew teams will be announced at the Boards & Brews event on June 23rd, prior to the cornhole tournament. The winning team will help brew their recipe with Head Brewer Chris Siegman on site at the Cincinnati Taproom Brewery, and tap the brew with friends and family at a taproom event in August!
Teams are allowed to submit more than one entry, but must pay the registration fee for each. All proceeds from this event benefit the programs and mission of People Working Cooperatively.

This week in Beer (and Beverages): March 24, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 25, 2024 at 3:51 PM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!
Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 26th - Beer and Cheese Pairing at Taft's Brewing
With your ticket, you'll get a flight of four different beers, each paired with cheese and crackers. Each ticket is good for a one-hour time slot. Feel free to come early or stay late. This is a self-guided pairing. Upon entering, you'll be handed your pairing worksheet, brews, and cheeses. Tickets are $17 each and are available at: eventbrite.com/e/beer-and-cheese-pairing-tickets-853705394817

Taft's Brewing Co

Wednesday, March 27th - Wine Tasting at Party Town
Sample 5 wines for $12.00 and then enjoy a 5oz pour of your favorite!

Thursday, March 28th - Thursday Special at March First Brewing
$8 flights

Saturday, March 30th from Noon to 4:00 pm - Adult Easter Egg Hunt at Third Eye Sharonville
Hunt for Easter eggs filled with goodies, including a few with FREE pint tokens! Find the golden egg and win a Third Eye swag basket. Special Easter cocktail all day (while supplies last).

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): March 18, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 18, 2024 at 3:07 PM

It's the typical slower week after a busy one. As usual, more events will be added as they pop up.

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Mondays-Fridays from 3:00-6:00 pm - Happy Hour at Moerlein Lager House
$5 Moerlein drafts, house wine, or well drinks

Tuesday, March 19th from 4:00-8:00 pm - Tuesdays with Molly at Arnold's Grill & Bar
Molly Wellman is back behind a bar! Specifically, the bar at the Cincinnati treasure that is Arnold's. Every Tuesday, Molly will be featuring a different cocktail and telling how it ties into Cincinnati's history. Happy Hour runs 4:00-6:00 pm.

Wednesday, March 20th - The Cure Starts Now fundraiser at Braxton Barrel House
Buy a Surfside Wheat and a portion of the proceeds will go to The Cure Starts Now to help in the fight against pediatric brain cancer.

Braxton Barrel House

Thursday, March 21st - Thursday Special at Cincinnati Distilling
$8 Signature Cocktails

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): March 13, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 13, 2024 at 12:32 PM

Twas the week before Saint Paddy's Day... and not all of the beer is green!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Thursday, March 14th - Kölsch Night at Rhinegeist
Here’s how it works:
-Order Kölsch service at the bar on Kölsch Night from 3-9pm. They’ll bring you a Kranz (Kölsch wheel) with your Stange (glass) of Kölsch.
-If you need another, they’ll come to you! If we see an empty Stange at your table, they’ll bring you a full one and put a hash mark on the coaster under your glass to keep count. Each Stange is $3.
-When you’re done, just place the coaster on top of your empty Stange. They’ll charge you according to the number of hash marks on your coaster.
-Don’t lose your coaster! (“Lost" coasters will result in a $50 charge.)

Friday, March 15th - Annual Irish Stout Release at Common Beer Co
Also, "Irishy" cocktails, the Barking Burger food truck, a Girl Scout cookies booth, and live music on Friday and Saturday.

The Common Beer Co

Friday, March 15th-Sunday, March 17th - St. Patrick’s Weekend at Grainworks
Kegs and Eggs menu Saturday morning. McGinnis Irish Stout and green beer all weekend long.

Friday, March 15th - 16 Lots Southern Outpost Grand Re-Opening
Check out their new website at 16lotssouth.com for more information.

Saturday, March 16th - Scarlett P.O'tato Tapping at Darkness Brewing
Scarlett P.O'tato is an Irish Red and just a part of the St. Patrick's Day celebrations at Darkness.

Sunday, March 17th - Kegs and Eggs
The following breweries and restaurants will be serving kegs and eggs Sunday: Darkness Brewing, March First Blue Ash, Arnold’s

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): March 4, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 04, 2024 at 3:11 PM

All recovered from Bockfest? Time for another week of events!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 5th from 4:00-8:00 pm - Tuesdays with Molly at Arnold's Grill & Bar
Molly Wellman is back behind a bar! Specifically, the bar at the Cincinnati treasure that is Arnold's. Every Tuesday, Molly will be featuring a different cocktail and telling how it ties into Cincinnati's history. Happy Hour runs 4:00-6:00 pm.

Arnold's Bar & Grill

Tuesday, March 5th at 6:30 pm - Singo Benefit
New Belgium Brewing and Bell's Brewing prizes plus $2 draft beers (only high ABV beers excluded). Raffles too. Proceeds to help Addi's Army.

Saturday, March 9th at 10:00 am - Sips and Salutations at Lebanon Brewing
Registration is $20 per person, which includes a yoga class and a draft beverage after class. Registration begins at 9:30 am.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): February 29, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Feb 29, 2024 at 1:46 PM

Happy Bockfest Eve, Hoperatives!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Friday, March 1st-Sunday, March 3rd -- 32nd Annual Bockfest
-Friday at 6:00 pm - Parade steps off from Arnold's Bar & Grill
-Saturday and Sunday - Check out all three Bockfest Halls: Moerlein Lager House, Northern Row, and Rhinegeist
For more information, check out the Bockfest website.

Saturday, March 2nd at 11:00 am - Lemonpalooza Release Party at Braxton Brewing (Covington)
When Life Gives You Lemons is the latest beer collaboration between Braxton and Graeter's Ice Cream. Besides the new beer, enjoy a Graeter’s Ice Cream Sundae Bar from noon-5:00 pm and other events all day long.

Bockfest 2024 positer

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): February 19, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Feb 19, 2024 at 3:53 PM

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Monday, February 20th-Sunday, February 25th - Four Years of Standard Beer
Celebrating their fourth anniversary with lots of better beer offerings on draft and in bottle. Special hours for the week too: T-Th: 1-10, Fri : 1-11, Sat : 1-11, Sun: 12-7 (FC home opener).

Tuesday, February 21st at 3:00 pm - Pints for a Purpose at Figleaf Brewing
$1 from each draft pint sold goes to the American Cancer Society

Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:30 pm - Rodenbach Dinner at Taste of Belgium Crestview Hills
Over the years, we've done many beer dinners and several of our top five beer dinners have been at Taste of Belgium. If this one is anywhere as good as the Chimay dinner they had, this one will be a great experience too. (And yes, we've already made our reservations.) Ivan Rodriguez from Rodenbach brewery will be also in attendance.
Cost is $85 per person prepaid. Reservations can be made on OpenTable at opentable.com/booking/experiences-availability

Beer Hour: Rodenback Classic
1st Course - Rodenbach 200th Anniversary Tripel paired with Mussel pot for the table
2nd Course - Rodenbach Grand Cru paired with Salad
3rd Course - Rodenbach Vintage paired with guest choice of Shrimp & Grits Waffle or Birria Waffle
4th Course - Rodenbach Alexander paired with a chocolate dome tort and cherry reduction sauce

Saturday, February 24th at 11:00 am - Third Eye Brewing and Krampuslauf Zinzinnati Bockfest

  • Release of their Total Debockery doppelbock. A portion of the proceeds from this beer will go to The Live Like Maya Foundation benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Barrel Aged Release Series featuring 2024 barrel-aged Total Debockery (10.8% abv). Aged one year in a W.L. Weller Bourbon barrel.
  • Stein Hoisting Competition from 1:00-5:00 PM. Men's and Women's sign-ups will be available throughout the afternoon. Winners will be based on the longest individual time.
  • Beerionette challenge
  • Crowler Pull For Charity with a chance to win a bottle of bourbon
  • Bockfest food specials including goetta and sauerkraut balls.
  • 2024 Total Debockery T-shirts for sale in the taproom while supplies last

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): February 12, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Feb 12, 2024 at 3:51 PM

Happy Lincoln's Birthday/Fat Tuesday/Galentine's Day/Valentine's Day and more!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 13th at 6:00 pm - Mardi Gras Tapping Party at Barleycorn's Brewhouse
Barleycorn's tapping their Three Mile Milk Stout with chocolate, toffee, and coffee notes. The first 100 people who order this get a free Three Mile pint glass. There will be free beads for everyone and chances to win exclusive swag and gift cards.

Tuesday, February 13th at 6:00 pm - Galentine's Day at Wandering Monsters Brewing
Half off bottles of wine, Fat Tuesday Hurricane beer, taco Tuesday, and permanent jewelry from Link'd Cincy.

Wednesday, February 14th at 3:00 pm - A Very Swine City Valentine's Day at Swine City Brewing
Includes special limited edition brews, Valentine's Day merch, romance, candles, and slow jams.

Friday, February 16th-Sunday, February 18th - Seventh Anniversary Weekend at Brink Brewing
This weekend-long party centers around the release of their Anniversary Blend, a barrel-aged beer blending beers from all seven years we've been open. The blend will be available in bottles and on draft, along with a steady list of variants and barrel-aged goodies from their secret stash hitting the taps all weekend.

Sunday, February 18th at 11:30 am - Winter Seltzer Smash at March First
This event will feature eight new Astra Hard Seltzer variants including: Pineapple Mule, Cosmic Brownie, Root Beer Float, Wild Berry, Green Apple, Painkiller, Strawberry Banana, and Raspberry Lemonade. Tasting tickets can be purchased the day of the event for $30 which includes a souvenir cup and 10 samples. Tickets are only for trying the seltzers on tap. For more information, check out their event page on Facebook.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): February 6, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Feb 06, 2024 at 2:57 PM

More events this week! Huzzah!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 6th - Streetside Brewery Pint Night
Streetside has extended their weekly Pint Nights through February. All new limited edition glassware, cutesy stickers, and $1 off refills for $10.

Wednesday, February 7th at 5:30 pm - Wine Dinner and Artist Showcase at Cincinnati Distilling's Millcroft Gallery
Featuring the art of Hope Nowak
Four Courses and Paired Wines
​Canapés - Los Voscos Chardonay
Smoked salmon with cucumber and dill
Beet and goat cheese tart with pickled Fresno peppers
Pig in a blanket with pepper jelly
1st Course - Scallop - La Petite Perriere
Ancient grains, whipped feta, crispy ham, 55 minute egg
2nd Course - Pork - Soul of Mendocino
Charred baby carrots, butternut squash puree, wild mushrooms, melted leeks
3rd Course - Beef - Heritance Cabernet Sauvignon
White bean cassoulet, spiced broccolini, pickled tomatoes, bread crumbs
Sweet Course
Cincinnati Distilling Bourbon Peanut Butter Bites

Cost is $82 per person. To make your reservation, go to Tours and Experience | Cincinnati Distilling
Click "Our Experiences," scroll over to February and click the event in the calendar to get your tickets.

Thursday, February 8th at 6:00 pm - Bockfest Beefsteak Dinner at Arnold's Bar and Grill
Four-course chefs' collaboration dinner featuring sausages and short ribs from Avril Bleh plus pretzels from Bockfest's title sponsor Servatii's. Courses from former Arnold's chef Kayla Robinson and current chef Randi Roberts will be paired with bock beers from Christian Moerlein, Braxton, Fifty West, and Wandering Monsters. Jim Effler will be unveiling the official artwork for Bockfest live on stage and all attendees will receive a super limited giclee print of the work signed by Jim at the event. Live music will be provided by Kryst Kruer. Tickets to the event are $100 and are available at bit.ly/bockfestbeefsteak. There are only 70 seats available. (We already bought two of them! Hope to see many of you there!)

Saturday, February 10th at 2:00 pm - Girl Scout Cookies Beer Pairing at Braxton Barrel House
For $15, receive a flight of four taster beers, four cookies, and a tasting sheet. The pairing menu includes Adventurefuls paired with Opera Cream Stout, Trefoils paired with Scooter, Lemonades paired with Lemon Berliner Weisse, and Caramel deLites paired with Shakedown Brown.

Saturday, February 10th at 5:00 pm - Galentine's Ladies Night at The Loft at Braxton Brewing
Braxton has added a second seating to their previously sold-out event. The evening begins with charcuterie, salad, and a pizza bar by Dewey’s Pizza and then continues with bottomless select cocktails, Braxton beer, wine, a build-your-own-bouquet activity, and a candy station until 8 pm. The cost is $85 per person and you can make your reservations at Braxton's web site.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): January 30, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 30, 2024 at 1:50 PM

Sorry for missing last week's TWiBB post. As a dear friend used to say, life was too much with me.

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Friday, February 2nd - Funky Beer Friday at MPH Brewing

February 2nd and 3rd - Cincy Winter Beerfest at the Duke Energy Center
The granddaddy of beer festivals returns with sessions on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night. For the beer list and to buy tickets, check out their website at cincybeerfest.com. (If you can swing the Connoisseur Reception tickets, we HIGHLY recommend it!)

Saturday, February 3rd at noon - 5th Birthday Bash at Humble Monk Brewing
The celebration includes a new beer release, food truck, hourly drawings, and live music.

Saturday, February 3rd at 5:30 and 8:00 pm - Molly Wellmann's Mardi Gras Dinner Party at Christian Moerlein Lager House
Menu includes Muffuletta, Crawfish Etouffee, Dirty Rice Stuffed Chicken Breast, and Beignets. There will be fire performers and ice sculptures plus festive cocktails created by Molly.

Tickets are $79 each and include gratuity. You can purchase them at moerleinlagerhouse.info/event/testing-only-molly-wellman-mardi-gras-dinner-party.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): January 15, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 15, 2024 at 6:22 PM

Stay warm all you Hoperatives out there with better beer and beverages!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 16th from 4:00-8:00 pm - Tuesdays with Molly at Arnold's Grill & Bar
Molly Wellman is back behind a bar! Specifically, the bar at the Cincinnati treasure that is Arnold's. Every Tuesday, Molly will be featuring a different cocktail and telling how it ties into Cincinnati's history starting on Tuesday, January 16th. Happy Hour runs 4:00-6:00 pm.

Tuesday, January 16th at 5:30 pm - Kolsch Night at Northern Row Brewing and Distilling
From their Facebook page: "Order a beer in any bar or brauhause in Cologne, Germany and you'll be served just one type of beer... KOLSCH!
Not only is the beer in Cologne unique, but it's also served in a unique way.
Kolsch is served in a 7oz cylindrical glass called a Stange, and there's no need to ask for refills. As you're nearing the bottom of your glass, your server will quickly deliver a new one to you.
Stay tuned folks because we'll be hosting Kolsch Night every third Tuesday of each month!"

Wednesday, January 17th - Pint Night and Diaper Drive at Wooden Cask (York Street)
$1 from every pint of beer and every order of nachos will benefit Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank

Friday, January 19th from 5:00-7:00 pm - Shakedown Brown Tapping at Braxton Brewing
From Greg Allen, Braxton sales rep for almost 3 years, Shakedown Brown is an oatmeal brown ale featuring a “harmonious blend of rich malt flavors, smooth velvety textures, and a perfectly tuned hop balance.”

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): January 8, 2024

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 08, 2024 at 9:03 AM

As the Robert Burns poem goes, the "best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men" often go astray. In this case, when I published the November 27th edition of This Week in Beer (and Beverages), I fully planned on publishing more of them for the next few weeks. Alas, I came down with the chest cold from hell and spent much of December coughing like a 5-pack a day smoker.

To be honest, I looked into publishing one for this past week, but I couldn't find any events in time to publish. January is always a lean month for alcohol-related events, especially with the recent popularity of Dry January.

By the way, we have made a slight change to what beer and beverage events we will add to our TWiBB listing. We still won't list weekly events every week, but we will list them once a month (usually the first time the event occurs in a month).

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 9th - Streetside Brewery's First Pint Night of 2024
All new limited edition glassware, cutesy stickers, and $1 off refills, all for $10.

Thursday, January 11th at noon - Grand Opening of the Listermann Brewing Kitchen
Menu includes shareables, salads, sandwiches, white cheddar mac and cheese, and flatbreads. For more information, check out the full press release: listermannbrewing.com/press-releases

Saturday, January 13th at 10:00 am - Sips and Salutations at Lebanon Brewing Company
A 45-minute yoga session instructed by The Green Lotus plus a draft beverage after class for $20.

Sunday, January 14th - All Day Happy Hour at Cincinnati Distilling
$5 drafts, $9 Old Fashioneds

Happy 2024! What now?

Posted by Tom on Jan 01, 2024 at 5:25 PM

A year ago today we brought Hoperatives back. This is the first post I’ve written since then. That tells a story all by itself, and that’s pretty much the story I’m going to try to tell. I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to write, but I’m having one of those days where thinking isn’t my strong suit. “A bad day to take up bomb disposal” is what I usually say on days like this. Not that I really want to know what a day good for taking up bomb disposal is like. So I’m just going to write and see where this goes. Buckle up.

We’d formally shut Hoperatives down in the summer of 2021, but it had largely been a zombie site since even before the pandemic started in 2020. The pandemic didn’t help, but I’m a little hesitent to throw too much blame on COVID. It did what it does. There were a ton of stories to write during those days about, oh I don’t know, how breweries were scrambling to handle something no one was prepared for, and I managed to not write any of them. That was a choice. Lord knows I had the time. By the time I put the site in “permanent” maintenance mode, Carla was writing (conservatively) 99.9% of everything that got posted. She told the whole story very well a year ago today, so there’s really no real reason to retell it.

In the 52 weeks we’ve been back there have been 19 posts. I wrote exactly none of them. Kudos to the writers who wrote. The problem isn’t that there were so few. The miracle is that there were any at all. I haven’t exactly done much to make writing here easy. I’ll explain.

The original Hoperatives website was a Wordpress site, just like some ridiculously high percentage of websites all around the Internet. The thing is, I don’t like Wordpress. It’s a preference thing, just like some folks don’t like IPAs or kombucha or whatever. I’d come across a content management system called Kirby and decided I’d build out the new Hoperatives off that code. Good idea. Terrible execution.

I very quickly got in over my head. I knew I could do it, but the time pressure to get the site up by 1/1/2023 meant I was cutting corners and saying “Whelp, it works. But don’t ask me why” far more than anyone should say. Writers would hit a bug in my code and my fixing it would break something else, but it usually wasn’t something that was being used right then so no biggie! Things that were supposed to be there just aren’t there. There’s no way to schedule a post to go up in the future. No commenting system or any smooth way to get feedback from readers. No real way to know if anyone is actually reading an article, in fact. Posting images is an adventure and any task that’s intuituve is entirely an accident. Sometime in late January last year I got it minimally functional and other obligations took me to other projects and Hoperatives has limped along ever since.

I think part of the reason I haven’t written anything is because sitting down and writing here also means staring my shortcomings in the face. The problem is that I don’t really have anywhere else to write, so it’s either give up writing or get this place fixed. I can’t give up writing. There’s so much to write about! But I’ve got to get some of the underlying stuff fixed, and I’m happy to say that the process is well underway. The writers will see improvements first, but other stuff is coming. Promise.

There are issues bigger than just our technical issues that have made the relaunch a bit aimless. We started with writing about beer, but even breweries have realized that beer is necessary, but not sufficient, to focus on exclusively. We made the decision to expand to beverages in general when we relaunched. A year on I’m still liking the idea. Am I likely to write about beer more than anything else? Probably, but that’s because beer means a lot to me personally, and I find it fascinating. It scratches my love of history, technology, and observing people. But that’s me. We have a group of interesting people who are passionate about any number of topics related to things you can drink. Who knows what direction that might go? That’s the fun of it.

When we started Hoperatives back in 2009 we didn’t know what we were doing, but we did know that we wanted to help people discover beer in a way they hadn’t experienced before. So much was new and unfamiliar. Now? Not so much. I think this craft beer thing is going to stick around. What do you do once you get to where you were hoping to go? The beer community is collectively trying to figure that out. Throw in the implosion of Twitter, the enshitification of most other social platforms and it makes you kind of wonder what the purpose of a site like Hoperatives actually is.

Guess what? We don’t know either, but that’s a feature, not a bug. We’ll figure it out. We’ll put out what people who want to read it will read. We’ve done a soft (if not downright squishy) relaunch and expansion of This Week in Beer as This Week in Beer and Beverages (TWIBB). The day Carla posted up the first one she came down with a non-COVID hacking cough from hell that’s finally let up after a solid month. That’s why there hasn’t been another one, but there will be.

Hang in there with us. We’re figuring it out as we go along. Just like we always have.

This Week in Beer (and Beverages): November 27, 2023

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Nov 27, 2023 at 9:01 AM

As the old saying goes, “Everything old is new again.” The return of This Week in Beer is thanks to a Chimay beer dinner at Taste of Belgium and a long post-dinner talk we had with the Gnarly Gnome. We discussed so many beer-related topics, but the final result was my agreeing to bring back TWiB with some assistance from the Gnome.

Given the change in Hoperatives’ focus, the new version (as you can see) is This Week in Beer (and Beverages) or TWiBB. Because of our history and connections, the main emphasis will be on beer events, but we will add wine, spirit, etc.-focused events as we come across them.

Like the previous version of TWiB, only beer or beverage-focused events will be included—no face painting or meetings that happen to be at a location that serves alcohol. And the focus will also be on events happening just that week. Weekly events will only be added if there is a unique version of the event that week.

This is an experiment by the way. We will give it three months or so to see how it goes. If all goes well, it’s back from now on. If there doesn’t seem to be any interest, we’ll just let it slip away.


Know about a beer or beverage event this week that we missed? Just drop us a line on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 29th - Winter Jam Tapping at Municipal Brew Works (Hamilton)
This winter lager is a collaboration with Fretboard Brewing.

Wednesday, November 29th - Weihnachtsbier (Christmas Lager) Keg Tapping at Hofbrauhaus Newport

Thursday, November 30th at 4:00, 5:15, and 6:30 pm - Millcroft Reserve Port Cask Tasting and Release at Cincinnati Distilling (Milford)
$20 for the tasting or $84.99 for the tasting and a bottle to take home. Tasting bottles include Milford Bourbon, High Rye Bourbon, Clermont Bourbon, Corn Whiskey, and Port Cask Edition Bourbon. More information is available on their website.

Saturday, December 2nd from 11:00 am to 11:30 pm - 2023 Dark Charge Winter Block Party at Braxton Brewing (Covington)
This year's variants include Barrel-aged Dark Charge, Barrel-aged Dark Charge Mole, Peanut Butter Dark Charge, Barrel-aged Dark Charge Barrel Barleywine, Dark Charge Vino - Beer Vine Hybrid, Dark Charge Donut Box, and more.

Saturday, December 2nd from 12:00 to 6:00 pm - Dad Day 2023 at Rhinegeist
Dad Day is the annual tapping of Rhinegeist's hoppy holiday ale. Holiday-themed cocktails will also be available.

Saturday, December 2nd from 2:00 to 3:30 pm - Chocolate and Beer Tasting at Humble Monk Brewing (Northside)
This tasting includes five of Ilan’s Raw Peruvian Cacao Chocolates paired with five selected 4 oz tasters of their beers plus an 8 oz pour of your favorite brew. Cost is $30 plus tax and includes a quick brewery tour.

Squirt Soda: The Perfect Summer Mixer

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jul 10, 2023 at 3:13 PM

When it comes to creating delicious summer cocktails, finding the right mixer is essential. One beverage that stands out as the perfect companion for crafting refreshing and vibrant summer drinks is Squirt soda. With its unique blend of citrus flavors and effervescent bubbles, Squirt soda adds a delightful twist to classic cocktails, elevating the experience to new heights. Join us as we delve into the reasons why Squirt soda is the ultimate summer mixer and explore its fascinating history.

The History of Squirt Soda:
To truly appreciate the allure of Squirt soda as a summer mixer, let's dive into its intriguing history. Squirt soda was first introduced in 1938 by Herb Bishop, a Phoenix-based citrus farmer and entrepreneur. Inspired by the growing popularity of grapefruit-flavored sodas, Bishop set out to create a beverage that captured the zesty essence of citrus. With its unique combination of grapefruit and citrus flavors, Squirt soda quickly became a hit among consumers.

Nostalgic Squirt sign "Yippee! Here's Squirt, the drink with the happy taste"

In its early years, Squirt soda was primarily distributed in the southwestern United States, where grapefruit production thrived. However, its popularity grew steadily, leading to broader distribution nationwide and eventually gaining a loyal following worldwide. Over the years, Squirt soda has remained true to its original recipe, maintaining its signature blend of grapefruit and citrus flavors, making it a standout mixer for summer cocktails.

In my family history, gin and Squirt was always the summer drink of choice for my parents. Easy to make, it was perfect at home or on one of our annual summer camping trips.

A Burst of Citrus Paradise:
At the heart of Squirt soda's appeal lies its distinctive citrus profile. This refreshing beverage boasts a delightful blend of grapefruit and citrus flavors, providing a tangy and invigorating taste that perfectly complements summer cocktails. The zesty notes of Squirt soda bring a burst of freshness to mixed drinks, awakening the palate and offering a tropical escape with every sip.
Versatility for Creativity:
One of the key advantages of Squirt soda as a summer mixer is its incredible versatility. Whether you're concocting classic cocktails or experimenting with your own creations, Squirt soda pairs well with a wide range of spirits, allowing you to unleash your creativity behind the bar. From tequila-based Palomas to vodka-infused Citrus Fizz, the vibrant flavors of Squirt soda effortlessly blend with various liquors, opening up a world of possibilities for refreshing summer libations.
A Cooling Sensation:
Summer cocktails are not just about taste; they also provide a much-needed respite from the scorching heat. Squirt soda, with its effervescent bubbles, adds a delightful fizziness to cocktails, creating a refreshing and cooling sensation on the palate. The carbonation of Squirt soda uplifts the overall drinking experience, making it the ideal beverage for those hot summer days and balmy evenings.
A Tropical Escape:
One of the great joys of summer is the feeling of being transported to a tropical paradise. Squirt soda's unique citrus flavors capture the essence of a sun-soaked getaway, infusing your cocktails with a vacation-like vibe. Close your eyes, take a sip, and let the vibrant taste of Squirt soda transport you to a sandy beach, complete with swaying palm trees and turquoise waters.
Perfect for Signature Cocktails:
Squirt soda's distinct flavor profile also makes it an excellent choice for creating signature cocktails that will impress your friends and family. Whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue or enjoying a cozy evening on the patio, Squirt soda can be the star ingredient that sets your drinks apart. Mix it with your favorite spirits, add a splash of fresh citrus juice, and garnish with colorful fruits for a visually stunning and delicious beverage embodying summer's spirit.
Wide Availability and Accessibility:
When it comes to selecting mixers for your summer cocktails, accessibility plays a crucial role. Fortunately, Squirt soda can be found in most supermarkets and convenience stores, ensuring it is readily available for cocktail adventures. Its widespread availability allows you to experiment with Squirt soda in the comfort of your home without needing specialized ingredients or trips to specialty stores.

Squirt in two glasses with ice and a cut grapefruit

Squirt soda's rich history and refreshing flavor profile make it the ultimate summer cocktail mixer. From its humble beginnings in the citrus orchards of Phoenix to its widespread popularity today, Squirt soda has continued to captivate taste buds with its unique blend of grapefruit and citrus flavors. Whether you're looking to craft classic summer cocktails or create your own signature libations, Squirt soda's versatility and vibrant taste make it the perfect companion for a refreshing and invigorating beverage experience. So, the next time you plan a summer gathering or simply want to indulge in a delicious cocktail, reach for a bottle of Squirt soda and let your imagination run wild.

Cheers to a summer filled with delightful moments and unforgettable flavors!

Port and the U.S. Open Whiskey Championship

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on May 02, 2023 at 11:17 AM

Earlier last month, Tom and I were lucky enough to be judges for the second time U.S. Open Whiskey Championship. It’s part of a series of competitions that also includes the U.S. Open Beer, U.S. Open Seltzer, U.S. Open Cider, and the U.S. Open College Beer Championships.

Almost every competition, the judges and stewards receive a piece of glassware as a thank you. As we received the ones for this year, I happened to mention that the glasses were perfect for drinking port. Immediately, everyone else at our table was happily sharing their love of port. So much so, that U.S. Open Head Honcho Dow Scoggins heard us talking and brought over a very special bottle of port.

Dow's Boardroom Aged Tawny Port

If you are unfamiliar with it, Port (or Porto) is a fortified wine. It is typically higher in alcohol content than unfortified wines (typically 19-20% alcohol). It is also usually sweeter, heavier, and richer. This is accomplished by stopping the fermentation process when only about 50% of the natural sugars have been processed. Port houses do this by adding a distilled wine-brandy.

Much like the restrictions on what can be called champagne, real Port wine can only be made in Portugal, usually the northern region. Port is available is several styles including red (or ruby), white, rosé, and Tawny Port which is an aged style.

The name Dow’s has been connected with fine Port for over two centuries. It comes from the vineyards of the Upper Douro Valley. The current owners, the Symington family, are the third family owners of Dow’s and previously worked at the Dow’s vineyards for generations.

Dow’s is not available at Cincinnati area liquor stores, but you can get it at wine.com or Total Wine & More. We were lucky enough to pick up three different types of Dow’s at a Total Wine & More location last week.

Sandeman Fine Ruby Port

Later that weekend, I remembered that we had a bottle of Sandeman Port (which I had discovered at the 2019 Cincinnati International Wine Festival) at home. We poured it in our new glasses and enjoyed it with some pecans. One of the best desserts you can have.

Recently, we were dining at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort as part of Tom’s birthday celebration. After a wonderful meal, I really wanted some port. Alas, as a French/Italian restaurant, Topolino’s didn’t have any port. But they did have this:

Angel's Envy Aged in Port Wine Barrels

I’m new to drinking whiskey and bourbon straight (thank you, U.S. Open judging!) but this is now my sipping bourbon. The folks at Angel’s Envy blend this version twice, both before and after their secondary finishing. They describe finishing it in port wine barrels as adding “subtly distinct flavor nuances that enhance the whiskey without challenging it.”

So cheers and here’s to better beers and beverages (especially port and bourbon)!

Carla

That Old Faithful IPA

Posted by JR on Apr 25, 2023 at 12:11 PM

I had myself a birthday a few weeks ago. Actually, it was one of those milestone birthdays that really make you scratch your head and contemplate both the road behind and the ever-shortening road ahead. Such rumination is clearly best done with an adult beverage, and when I began considering my options for the evening, it was probably somewhat inevitable that my thinking about both life and beer would overlap.

What sage epiphanies did I have then, you might ask?

I realized that, sweet baby snorkeling jeebus, I'm old. My knees hurt for no reason some days. Last weekend I tweaked a muscle in my back reaching over my lazy Great Pyrenees mutt while attempting to unload the dishwasher. I could go on, but the list is long and no one wants to hear an aging Gen X-er complain.

The cool thing about aging, though, is that while, sure, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, it also brought some experience (and experiences) with it. What's any of that got to do with beverages? Simply this: I've been drinking craft beer for a long time, longer than I can almost imagine. Over all that time, I've got a lot of craft beer-related memories.

I remember drinking a Moerlein winter ale in the mid-90s, before Moerlein was sold out of town in 1999.

I remember a time when drinking Sam Adams was effectively ones only option for a draft beer of anything that wasn't pale yellow.

I remember my first sip of Arrogant Bastard Ale, somewhere in Arizona, long before Stone made its way to Cincinnati.

I remember the first craft beer boom in town in the mid to late 90's, that fizzled somewhat before the whole local industry rose like a really pissed off phoenix from it's not-quite-yet cold ashes.

I remember quite a bit. There's probably even more more I don't remember. Admittedly, it's quite possible that some of my memories aren't representative of what really happened. That's a fun part of getting older, too.

I definitely do remember when India Pale Ales first started gaining in popularity, though, and that is not a subject I recall clouded by the fuzziness -- or fizziness -- of passing years.

Interestingly, I don't actually remember what I thought of my first sip of IPA, which almost had to be Stone. I can't recall if I was appalled, as so many people tend to be when they first try the hop-forward, bitter style, or whether it was love at first sight. Regardless, IPAs found their way into my heart, and it has been my go-to style for years.

And what years they've been! I would be hard-pressed to name one single style of beer that's been through so many different innovations and interpretations (hell, there were a few actual fads mixed in there, too) in the past 15 or so years. West Coast IPA! Juicy IPA! Double IPA! New England IPA! Imperial IPA! Dark IPA (Mmmmm, dark IPA)! Hazy IPA! Cold IPA! I'm half expecting some clever brewer to find a way to kill yeast and then revive it somehow so we can have a true Zombie IPA.

And let's not forget the endless litany of different hop that have, from time to time, taken center stage in the IPA world. I've had IPAs proudly boasting everything from the humble Cascade to Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra, Centennial, Galaxy, etc. I honestly stopped paying attention to hop varieties around 2015, I think. There's probably a hop named "Your Mom" out there by now, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn I tried it in a pint last week.

The point, Gentle Reader, is that over the years, I have been up and down India Pale Avenue countless times, and often even crossed from one side to the other. And after all this time, and all those brews, there's one IPA I keep coming back to, Bell's Two-Hearted IPA.

Why that particular one, you might ask? Why do I repeatedly fall back on a beer brewed in Michigan when I live in a city with dozens and dozens of excellent local breweries, nearly all of which produce one (usually more) IPA offering? Well, because it's very nearly my platonic ideal of what an IPA should be.

Bell's Two-Hearted is clean, bright, a beautiful color, sharp but not mouth-assaultingly bitter, and is incredibly well-balanced. At least, that's how it hits my palate, anyway. I'll allow that taste is obviously a very subjective thing, and if you disagree with me here, I'm happy to allow you to go your merry way continuing to be wrong. Heh.

Two-Hearted is also readily available year-round at pretty much any beer, liquor, or grocery store I might stop in. Oh, and did I mentioned that it's frakking cheap? I can typically buy a 4-pack of 16oz cans for $8.99. And, no, I swear I'm not writing this under that influence of the four pack I recently bought as, um, research for this article.

See? Eight dollars and ninety-cents, in a world where I can't even get a burrito for that anymore. For an IPA sporting a impressive 7% ABV that is absolutely delicious, it's a modern day marvel, and I will continue to occasionally pick some up for as long as it continues to be available.

Oh, and there's another thing you begin to realize as you turn 50 years old and round the corner towards "wondering how long until your kids pack you up for Shady Acres". One day you'll notice that everything costs more than it did when you were 20. Too damn much more, you'll say, shaking your fist at the passing clouds.

With all that in mind, seeing that familiar cube of Bell's Two-Hearted on the shelf in the beer case typically brings a little smile to my face, and reminds me that the more things change (come on, Zombie IPA!), the more they sometimes stay the same.

Cheers and happy hops!

JR

Just Say No... to Green Beer

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 17, 2023 at 1:42 PM

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Or, as I like to call it, one of the two holidays from other countries that we Americans have turned into days for drunken debauchery.*

According to my Ancestry DNA results, I'm 4% Irish. Of course, they also point out that it really means that it could be anywhere from 0-9% Irish, and my heritage could be from the Channel Islands, Faroe Islands, France, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, or Scotland. So who knows?

But, as someone who is nominally Irish, I have one wish... For the love of everything Sláinte, could we please stop drinking green beer on Saint Patrick's Day?

Say No to Green Beer

The phenomenon of green beer is not a new trend. Professor Thomas H. Curtin is generally credited as being the "creator" of green beer in 1914 in New York. The story goes that he noticed all the green decorations at his clubhouse and decided that the beer should be green too. Since the beer that was mostly being drunk was a lighter yellow, rather than adding a green coloring to the beer, he simply added a blue dye to it. Specifically, he added laundry bluing to the beer. If you are not familiar with laundry bluing, it is "a colloidal suspension of a very fine blue iron powder and water." Great for making your whites whiter but not exactly something you want in your beer. Take that people who think clarifying beer with isinglass (made from the swim bladders of fish) is weird.

Nowadays, green beer is created by adding green food coloring to pale yellow fizzy beer usually from a macro brewery. Sometimes the coloring is added to the keg and sometimes it's added to the glass by the bartender before filling it with beer. This can result in green "milk moustache" if the bartender gets too zealous with the green food coloring.


Instead of green beer, try drinking an Irish beer or beer style. The most famous Irish brewery is Guinness, located in Dublin. Their dry Irish stout is their flagship beer and is known worldwide. Usually served on nitro, it has a creamy head and mouthfeel. Though its dark color can make some macro beer drinkers think it's a heavy or higher alcoholic beer, it's actually a thinner stout, and the ABV is 4.2% which is the same as Bud Light. There are only 125 calories in 12 ounces (just remember that the traditional Guinness pint glass is an imperial pint, which is 20 ounces).

Guinness

If you can't bring yourself to drink a stout, Guinness also makes Harp (an Irish lager), Smithwick's (an Irish red), and Kaliber (a non-alcoholic lager). American versions of Irish styles include Great Lakes' Conway's Irish Ale, Thirsty Dog's Irish Setter Red, and Listermann's Pot O' Gold Shamrock Shake Stout which is a golden oatmeal Irish cream stout with coffee, cacao, chocolate, and lactose.

So, as you go out to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day this year, just say no to green beer and have an Irish beer instead!

Sláinte! Cheers to better beer (and beverages)!


*Tom and I have been known to go to a Mexican restaurant on March 17th and then to an Irish pub on May 5th, which is definitely not Mexican Independence Day.

Define a Style: Cold IPA

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 08, 2023 at 1:34 PM

The India Pale Ale (IPA) beer style has long been a favorite of craft beer drinkers. With its bold and hoppy flavors, it’s the perfect beer for those who like a bit of bitterness in their brew. But a new kid on the block has been gaining popularity in recent years: the cold IPA.

A Cold IPA is meant to be a showcase for hops. It contains adjuncts like flaked rice or corn (or a combination of the two). Caramel malts are not used since the goal is medium-to-low malt character. While Cold IPAs are brewed with lager yeast, the temperatures are higher or warmer than the usual lager temps.

Many times, a Cold IPA is defined by what it is not. It is not an IPL. It is definitely not a hazy or New England IPA. In fact, sometimes it's described as the antithesis of a New England IPA.

Brewmaster Kevin Davey of Wayfinder Beer in Portland, Oregon has been at least informally credited at the creation of the Cold IPA. In his article on "What is a Cold IPA? on NewSchoolBeer.com, Davey describes it this way:

"What we ended up with is decisively unique from IPL or Dry hopped lager. It has a magnificent hop aroma, clean assertive bitterness and a bold, clean finish that makes the drinker crave another sip. I felt it needed a name to differentiate it. So it’s a bit Wester than West-coast, it’s crisp and sessionable, but strong and sneaky. It’s Cold IPA."

Last year, Sierra Nevada started brewing a Cold IPA which is part of their Torpedo line. It was included in their Hoppy Sampler Pack and hopefully will be back in the pack this summer.

Cold Torpedo Cold IPA

Several Cincinnati/NKY breweries have Cold IPA offerings. Grainworks Brrr is a Cold IPA that is a nod to the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Available from August through December, it is 6.5% ABV and includes Citra, Simcoe, and Centennial hops.

Grainworks Brrr

Rhinegeist has two Cold IPAs on their beer roster. Pixel - This seasonal offering is available on draft or in cans as part of their Hop Box Variety Pack. It is 7% ABV and uses Centennial, talus, Cascade, Mosaic, Simcoe plus Pilsner, Dextrose malts. It is not currently available.

Rhinegeist Pixel Can

The other one is Cold Fiction. This one is 6.7% ABV. The malts are Pilsner malt and Jasmine rice, and the hops are Motueka and Nelson Sauvin. While the Rhinegeist website lists it as available, no local better beer locations have it listed on their beer lists.

Rhinegeist Cold Fiction

A local Cold IPA offering that is currently available is Wooden Cask's Altered State. This was my first one, and it made a really good impression. The ABV is 6.2%, and it's 61 IBUs. The featured hops are Bravo.

Wooden Cask Altered State

The Cold IPA is a style that is perfect for the warmer weather that is just around the corner (crosses fingers). Check one out soon!

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

The Joy of Beer-Clean Glassware

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 01, 2023 at 2:35 PM

I went to a work-related event at a local brew pub late last year. It had been a while since I had been there, and I was curious to see what it was like. My first disappointment came when not one but two different bartenders told me that a beer I was asking about was a "light beer." (It was actually a Belgian wit.) The second disappointment came when I was served my beer.

Dirty beer glass

I know I shouldn't have been surprised that bartenders who don't know beer styles don't know how to properly clean beer glassware, either. I gave my other drink ticket to someone else and left. Life's too short to drink beer in dirty glasses.


As a Hoperative, you know that the experience of drinking a beer is just as important as the beer itself. From the aroma to the color to the taste, every aspect of the beer should be enjoyed and appreciated. While drinking a beer in the proper glass is preferred, having that beer in a beer-clean glass is essential.

First, let's define what we mean by "beer-clean" glasses. A beer-clean glass is a glass that is free from any residue, stains, or odors that can affect the taste and aroma of the beer. This includes anything from soap residue to old beer stains. When a glass is not beer-clean, it can affect the head retention and lacing of the beer, as well as the overall taste and aroma.

One of the main reasons for using beer-clean glasses is that it ensures that the beer is presented in the best possible way. For example, a dirty glass can affect the color of the beer, making it appear cloudy or dull. This can make it difficult to appreciate the beer's color and appearance nuances.

Another important aspect of beer-clean glasses is that they ensure that the beer's aroma is not affected by unwanted odors or flavors. A dirty glass can retain the aroma and flavors of previous beers, affecting the beer's overall aroma. For example, if a glass is not properly cleaned, it may give off the aroma of a previous beer, such as a sour beer, which can affect the aroma of the new beer being served. This can make it difficult to appreciate the beer's range of aromas and flavors.

Dirty or stained glasses can also affect the taste of the beer. A dirty glass can hold on to unwanted flavors and odors from previous beers, which can affect the overall taste of the beer. For example, if a glass is not properly cleaned, it may retain the flavor of a previous beer affecting the taste of the new beer being served. This can make it difficult to appreciate the beer's full range of flavors and aromas. Imagine drinking a pilsner in a dirty glass after a pastry stout.

Dirty vs clean beer glass

As this graphic from the Cicerone Certification Program illustrates, there are several ways to tell if a glass is beer-clean. Some can be seen when the glass is full, and some are noticeable as you drink the beer.

In the photo above, the way the bubbles are inconsistently clinging to the inside of the glass is the indication. If the glass was clean, there would be no bubbles on the inside of the glass.

As you look for those tell-tale bubbles on your newly poured beer, there are several other things to check out. Is the glass rim free from leftover lipstick or nicks and cracks? Is the head of the beer as you would expect it to be, or is it collapsing faster than you've experienced before?

If you see any of these indicators, send the beer back. No, don't just drink it. Send. It. Back.

Beer-clean glass from Oga's at Galaxy's Edge

If you are drinking a beer from a beer-clean glass (like the one above from Oga's Cantina in Galaxy's Edge in Disney's Hollywood Studios), you will see as you drink each sip, lacing will appear on the glass. To be honest, it's one of my favorite things. It makes me more likely to order another beer. I'm sure my tips are higher at better beer locations with beer-clean glasses.

Unlike dirty beer glasses, beer-clean glasses encourage head retention. The beer's appearance and aroma are as the brewer intended, and the beer-clean glass enhances that.

Basically, a beer-clean glass is a thing of beauty.


During the month of March (with all of its beer-centric events like Bockfest and St. Patrick's Day), take a moment to consider your beer glassware. Send us pictures of the beer-clean and beer dirty glasses, and we'll share them on our social media. You can tag us on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, TikTok, or YouTube or email us at socialmedia at hoperatives.com.

We may even surprise the better beer locations with beer-clean glassware with a certificate of appreciation. You know us... we like to surprise people.

Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!

Carla

Unmasking the Past: The Colorful History of the Ojen Mardi Gras Cocktail

Posted by Michelle Lentz on Feb 21, 2023 at 10:09 AM

[Editor’s note: This week’s cover story was co-written by Hoperatives writers Michelle Lentz and Monika Royal-Fischer. At this time, our CMS is only showing Michelle’s byline, but it definitely was a collaboration. As they say in Hollywood, we’ll fix it in post. 😁]

gold mardi gras mask

Laissez les bon temps rouler! What comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras? Likely your imagination immediately goes to New Orleans and lively celebrations, parades, beads, masks and colorfully costumed party-goers. But have you heard of the Ojen Cocktail? This centuries-old mysterious drink has a fascinating origin story that takes it from southern Spain to the streets of New Orleans, where it’s become the beloved unofficial cocktail of Mardi Gras.

Ojen, pronounced oh-hen (although some are said to pronounce it oi-yen) is a licorice-flavored liqueur, similar to absinthe but less alcoholic and sweeter. Ojen was first produced in the 1830s by the Pedro Morales family distillery, in the Andalusia region of Spain. Morales made his fortune in other ventures, but wanted to create a superior anise-flavored liquor, which led him to open a distillery to create Ojen.

At this point in history, licorice, aka anise, flavored liqueurs were not popular in Spain, so in 1883, 50 cases of Ojen found their way to Paul and Oscar Gelpi’s liquor distribution business in New Orleans. The Gelpi brothers were the enterprising sort, and they immediately began marketing Ojen to Americans as “superior to absinthe,” which was a savvy move for the time. In the late nineteenth century, absinthe was considered medicinal, and aligning Ojen this way made for easy mass appeal and profit.

Paul Gelpi continued his rise to prominence, leading to his inauguration in a gentlemen's organization called the Boston Club in 1886, when the actual Ojen Cocktail recipe was created as part of the ceremony. Someone, a bartender, Gelpi ... we’re not really sure, mixed Ojen with Peychaud’s bitters and soda water over ice, producing the signature pink louche. Over the next few years, the Ojen Cocktail continued to gain in popularity. In 1912, the drink received an unexpected boost when absinthe was banned because officials believed it to be hallucinogenic and dangerous. Ojen, with a similar flavor, proved to be a worthy, if less alcoholic, substitute, much to the relief of bartenders across the city.

The last Ojen distillery in Spain closed in 1920 and legend has it that the last male heir of the Morales family took the secret recipe for the liqueur to his grave. But, a twist! In 1960, Juan Espada Fernandez, whose father he claimed was an employee at the original Morales distillery, had a recipe, bought the Morales still and relaunched production of Ojen. Sadly this story ends in the 1990s, when the last of the Fernandez family ceased production of Ojen due to poor sales. Before shutting down, they fulfilled one legendary final order for Martin Wine Cellar in New Orleans which, in a panic, ordered 6,000 bottles.

In 2016, the Sazerac Company reverse-engineered the recipe from the last of those 6000 bottles. (Sazerac produces, amongst many other things, Sazerac Rye and Buffalo Trace bourbon.) Ojen is one of the local bottlings made by Sazerac, and you can buy it in New Orleans at the Sazerac House. (Ojen is also sold in limited quantities in IL, CA, NY, TX, and WA.)

The classic Mardi Gras Ojen cocktail (still the cocktail of the Krewe of Rex) calls for

  • 2 oz Ojen
  • 5 oz Peychaud’s bitters
  • .25 oz Simple Syrup
  • Twist of lemon
    Mix, stir, and strain into a cocktail glass. Use oil from the lemon on the rim and float the twist.
    pink ojen cocktail in a coupe glass

Like absinthe, Ojen can be prepared a la louche, which is the cloudy, lavender state that occurs when you combine it with water. Mixing it with Peychaud’s bitters, as in the classic cocktail, gives it a lovely pale pink color, making it the perfect drink for Mardi Gras as we close out winter and get ready to welcome spring.

A 2020 Food & Wine Magazine article compares the flavor profile of Ojen as in “the same range as sambuca, ouzo, and arak, so any cocktail you would make with those liqueurs is a good candidate for swapping in Ojen.” Other New Orleans establishments, such as Cure, have created their own twist on the traditional Mardi Gras cocktail, including the frothy Ojen Frappe. A dash of absinthe adds a bit of rock and roll to a classy gin & tonic, and I think the sweetness of Ojen might make for an intriguing take on that classic.

Instagram Post from NOLA Cure

An absinthe rinse is an easy way to add unique flavor and aroma to a cocktail without necessarily adding alcohol content. You can easily switch out absinthe for Ojen. A popular drink for an absinthe rinse is a French 75, but in this case, an Ojen rinse would complement nicely.

A simple way to add a rinse is to just chill a glass with ice (or use a pre-chilled glass). Once the glass is cold, swish or slow-roll your favorite anise-based liqueur until it coats the glass. You only want to use a little bit, because you’re then going to dump it out. From there, mix the drink as you normally would. No matter how you do it, you are adding additional nose and character to your cocktail, and yes, maybe just a bit of kick. Given the opportunity, there is quite a rabbit hole to go down, following the flavor profile and sweetness from Ojen and matching it with the botanicals in various gins.

Fun Facts about Ojen:

  • Pablo Picasso,featured Ojen in two of his paintings - the 1912 Spanish Still Life and the 1915 Bottle of Anis del Mono
  • Ojen is famously featured in Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel, To Have and To Have Not, in which protagonist Arthur Gordon knocks back three glasses of Ojen in a Havana gambling room.
  • In the 1950s, at the famous Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, you could order an Ojen Cocktail for 70 cents!

Hoperatives Guide to Aphrodisiac Cocktails

Posted by Monika R-F on Feb 14, 2023 at 11:15 AM

Aphrodisiacs

The dictionary defines an aphrodisiac as “something (such as a food, drink, or drug) that causes or increases sexual desire.” They are aptly named for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. According to ancient Greek legend, Aphrodite was born from the sea and arrived on land carried on either an oyster or scallop shell. This helps to explain why we hear that oysters and shellfish are thought to be aphrodisiacs. But what about drinks? Can cocktails be aphrodisiacs? In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s find out!

Hearts in flute glasses

STRAWBERRIES
Legend goes that strawberries originated from the heart-shaped tears of Aphrodite after she learned of her lover Adonis’s death. Today, we/I think of strawberries as the quintessential Valentine treat best served dipped in chocolate, which makes it a delicious aphrodisiac. Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that promote blood flow which are good for the libido and the sex drive.
Try: Cherub’s Cup Cocktail (thespruceeats.com/cherubs-cup-cocktail-recipe-761026)

CHILI PEPPERS
Chili peppers are one of the strongest aphrodisiacs out there, thanks to their high amount of capsaicin, AKA the stuff that makes them spicy. Capsaicin stimulates nerves on your tongue, kicking in your adrenaline, which releases endorphins…your natural “feel good” hormones.
Try: Hot in Rio (liquor.com/recipes/hot-in-rio)

FIGS
Rumored to be Cleopatra's favorite fruit, figs have long been considered an aphrodisiac in almost every culture. Figs are a true sensory experience with their fruity sweet smell, soft texture, and luscious flavor. Figs are high in amino acids, which can boost your sexual stamina and libido, hence their aphrodisiac status.
TRY: Sexy Fig & Lemon Fizz (mydiaryofus.com/blog/2014/7/31/sexy-fig-and-lemon-fizz)

HONEY
The ancient Greeks believed that honey was the nectar of Aphrodite. As far back as 500 BC, Hippocrates (Greek physician and father of modern medicine) prescribed milk and honey for sexual activity – like a primitive Viagra. Honey contains boron, which can help regulate hormone levels, and nitric oxide, which can trigger arousal.
TRY: Wicked Behavior (imbibemagazine.com/recipe/wicked-behavior-bourbon-cocktail)

Keep in mind the science behind aphrodisiacs is inconclusive at best, and it’s entirely possible that they are nothing more than the power of suggestion at work. Regardless, if you find a certain aphrodisiac particularly inspiring - it can’t hurt to indulge!

The All-Important Pizza Wines

Posted by Michelle Lentz on Feb 08, 2023 at 9:39 AM

Since launching The Grape Gatsby back in the fall, I've started to feel a lot of pressure (self-induced, of course) to always drink higher-end wine. But here’s the thing - sometimes a girl just wants a “pizza wine.” And for me, pizza and wine is a pairing that is meant to be.

Photo by The Nix Company on Unsplash

With the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, this seems like a perfect time to talk about two of my favorite pizza wines.

Rus Jimenez Manchuela
Spain, 2020
~$15
14% AbV

This is a weird grape; are you ready? (I love weird grapes.) It’s the Moravia Agria grape, which is obscure even in its Spanish homeland. This is a vibrant and juicy wine with bright fruit flavors and a lively acidity. On the nose, it boasts aromas of red cherries, raspberries, and a hint of spice. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with a smooth and silky texture, and a fresh, crisp finish. The tannins are soft and well-integrated, making it an approachable and easy-drinking wine. This Moravia Agria red wine is a versatile choice for a range of food pairings, but it paired quite well with my pepperoni pizza.

Hahn Estates GSM
~$13
14.5% AbV

A GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mouvedre blend) is an absolute classic pairing with a cheese and marinara pizza. You simply cannot go wrong. The Hahn GSM boasts a flavorful harmony of boldness. The Grenache adds fruity, spicy notes, while the Syrah provides full-bodied structure, and the Mouvedre offers a touch of earthiness. The result is a rich, smooth, and well-balanced wine with a long finish. The tannins are firm but not overpowering, and the fruit flavors are ripe and juicy. Overall, this wine is an excellent choice for those looking for a full-bodied, flavorful blend and, in particular, the perfect pizza wine.

My team (the Bengals, of course) didn’t quite make it to the Super Bowl this year, but whomever you are rooting for, may your team win!

Cheers!

Origins: The Hot Toddy

Posted by Monika R-F on Feb 01, 2023 at 10:54 AM

I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling sick or the weather is cold and gray, there’s only one drink that will chase away the chill – a warm, cozy hot toddy. Nothing says comfort like a mug of bourbon (my fave), honey, and spices, with their toasty goodness.

But what makes the hot toddy the beverage of choice on cold winter nights? Interestingly, the origins of the hot toddy are as varied as the recipes to make it. Maybe part folklore, part fact? You decide.

INDIA, ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, AND AN IRISH DOCTOR

Our first story starts in British-controlled India in the early 1600s. There, we find a beverage called the Indian tadi, which is a room-temp fermented drink made from the sap of the toddy palm. Brits added spices to liquor to try to recreate the flavor of the tadi, which lent its name to the drink and ultimately became the toddy. One source says that by 1786, taddy was officially written down and defined as a “beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices.”

The next origin story takes place in England in the 1830s begins the use of the hot toddy as a medicinal drink, thanks to Irish doctor Robert Bentley Todd. Dr. Todd is remembered for prescribing his patients the “Potion de Todd,” which consisted of hot brandy, cinnamon, and sugar. Some think the name hot Toddy is a riff on his last name.

Further securing the hot toddy as the widely recognized cure for the common cold, in 1837, the Burlington Free Press ran an article called “How to Take Cold,” which recommended,

“If your child begins to snuffle occasionally, to have red eyes, or a little deafness; if his skin feels dry and hot, and his breath is feverish — you have now an opportunity of doing your work much faster than ever before,” the unnamed writer states. The first step is to avoid calling a doctor. Next, feed the child excessive amounts. Finally, make him drink. “Ply him well with hot stimulating drinks, of which hot toddy is the best,” the writer recommends sagely.

Our last origin story introduces the hot toddy as the premier cold-weather cocktail and takes us to 1700s Scotland. Or the pubs of Edinburgh, more specifically. As it is said, the first hot toddies were made there by mixing Scotch whiskey with a dash of hot water to help patrons ward off the Scottish cold. An important fact, the water in the hot toddy was said to be sourced from Tod’s Well, the largest well in the region, which lent its name to the drink.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Depending on which of the origin stories you believe, the name “hot toddy” comes from a Hindu drink, is the namesake of an Irish doctor, or is named after a famous well. One additional source says that toddy is thought to be derived from the Hindi word “tārī,” meaning “sweet. The earliest printed recipe for a drink named the hot toddy is from Jerry Thomas’ “The Bar-Tenders Guide” of 1862, which included a tiny amount of sugar, a “wine glass of brandy,” some hot water, and a little grated nutmeg.

HOW TO MAKE A CLASSIC HOT TODDY

National Hot Toddy day has passed (January 11th), but it’s still cold outside, so make yourself a hot toddy and let me know if you have any creative twists on this classic recipe!

  • hot water
  • bourbon (or whiskey)
  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

Start by boiling some water, then pour the water into a mug. Add a shot of whiskey or bourbon, two teaspoons of honey, and two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Include the optional spices if you like. Stir the ingredients and enjoy!

Hot Toddy

What We're Drinking Right Now (Jan. 27, 2023 edition)

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 27, 2023 at 6:32 PM

Once a week (or so), we post a beverage (or two) that we are enjoying right now. These aren't long reviews analyzing the drinks, just what it is and a sentence or two about why it's our go-to right now. We may even talk about the foods that pair well with those beverages. You never know!

[This article may contain affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.]

Carla and Tom - Certain restaurants will always be special. One of them for us is St. Elmo Steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis. A few years ago, they added a foods sideline that included a St. Elmo branded bourbon that is cherry-vanilla infused. Carla actually stumbled upon it at the tiny liquor store across the road from us. It makes a great Manhattan, or you can add a splash of cola to make your own Elmo Cola.

St. Elmo Cherry Vanilla Infused Bourbon

JR - Pretty much every day, I drink an unsweet Iced Tea from McAlister's. They offer a Monthly Tea Pass for $6.99 or something ridiculous, which lets me get one tea or lemonade every day for a month. And occasionally, I even buy a Brookie while I'm there for one of my kids.

McAllisters Iced Tea

Julie - I’m obsessed with the pistachio cream cold brew from Starbucks. Basic? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.

Michelle - We had lost power in the snowstorm, and as it was getting cold, I opted for something that would warm me up inside. I had a glass of Heaven’s Door Highway 61 blend bourbon poured over one slow-melting clear ice cube. Heaven’s Door is the bourbon created in partnership with Bob Dylan out of Nashville. The Highway 61 blend is no longer available but was a unique yeast strain made with each partner location. My bottle came from Total Wine & Spirits in Atlanta.
And it did the job of warming me up!

Heaven's Door Highway 61 bourbon blend

Non-Alcoholic Spirits: Why Not Whisky?

Posted by Julie Niesen on Jan 25, 2023 at 8:20 PM

NA Whiskeys

It’s been six months since I’ve had real whiskey.

Maybe my palate has changed– but the NA spirits being introduced today are shockingly good. None of them quite duplicate bourbon (okay, maybe my palate is just right) but if you’re looking for a substitute, there are some pretty decent options. I’ve recently tried three different “whiskies”, from three different “distillers”.

A quick warning about all NA spirits: they are not meant to be consumed neat. Not a one of them. I assure you, you will not like the results. They are all intended to be mixed either with other NA spirits, as a part of a cocktail, or with mixers.

Lyre American Malt: Made in the UK, this is my favorite of the NA whiskies I’ve tried. It comes in two different forms: a premix (with cola) and “straight”. Admittedly I had some issues getting the “straight” bottle here – their shipping for small quantities is not well padded, so it took three tries to actually get me a bottle that hadn’t shattered either from shipping or from the subzero temperatures we had in December. The flavor on this is a Tennessee whiskey: a little sweet, lots of caramel notes. With a diet Coke (my preferred mixer), it almost feels like I’m drinking the real thing. When made into a Manhattan, my favorite cocktail, it’s not bad – not quite the same as a real Manhattan, but the flavor is right. The issue with using these in cocktails is that you have to use quite a bit more: I’m no scientist, but having the alcohol in an actual cocktail controls the rate the ice melts, and shaking or stirring a cocktail with NA spirits can very easily get watered down. Mixed with ginger ale or a coke, though? Fantastic.

Undone Not Whisky: If you’ve ever wondered what liquid smoke would taste like in a drink, just try Undone. The Germans, while good at dealcoholized wine and creating some great NA beers, seem to slip a little bit in whiskies. The bottle says "This is not whiskey." The warning is not needed: you won't mistake it for your favorite bourbon or scotch. Flavor-wise, I think they were attempting a blended Scotch, but fell pretty short: mixed with a diet Coke, it tastes like.. Barbecue diet Coke? This is a thing that should not exist, and I say that as someone who likes barbecue anything and can also opine at length on why McDonald’s diet Coke is the superior form of diet Coke. Needless to say, I did not try this in a Manhattan because of the heavy, smoky flavor. This might be nice in something like an old fashioned, where the smokiness can be cut with orange peel. And yes, the bottle is mostly gone because I really kept trying to like it.

Ritual Zero Proof Whisky: Ritual is the NA spirit that gets a lot of press– they were one of the first, and they also make a tequila, a rum, and a gin. This one is smack in the middle, flavor-wise: not as sweet as the Lyre and nowhere near as smoky as the Undone. Since it’s a little more balanced, lends itself well to cocktails, but the flavor isn’t really memorable on its own.

Honestly, all of the NA spirits I’ve tried so far are less than ideal if you’re trying to make a drink that is traditionally spirit-forward: think of them as more of a flavoring instead of a feature. Don’t worry: I’ll come back with some ways to use NA spirits as a flavoring in a future column.

For now: if you miss whiskey, go for Lyre’s American Malt. Just try to pick it up at your local bottle shop – at least until they have small package shipping worked out.

What We're Drinking Right Now (Jan. 20, 2023 edition)

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 20, 2023 at 3:10 PM

Once a week (or so), we post a beverage (or two) that we are enjoying right now. These aren't be long reviews analyzing the drinks, just what it is and a sentence or two about why it's our go-to right now. We may even talk about the foods that pair well with those beverages. You never know!

[This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.]

Carla and Tom - We went old school this week. Some times, a diet Cuba Libre just hits the spot. With a tip of the hat to Carla's post earlier this week, this drink comes in at only 2.5 carbs. Our version calls for caffeine-free Diet Coke, 1/3 ounce of lime juice, and 1.5 ounces of Myers's Original Dark Rum.

JR - Stone Ruination IPA. It's not exactly local, but it's one of the first double IPAs I ever tried, and it made me a little sad when they stopped making it regularly. They brought it back for a limited time only, and I was not about to miss the chance to catch up with an old, seriously hoppy friend.

Julie - Ghia soda is a take on an aperitif— notes of lemon balm, rosemary, orange peel and gentian for bitterness. It comes in aperitif that you can use as a mix, or premixed in cans.

Ghia soda

Michelle - Currently in an amazing bar in NYC where Ludwig Bemelman did all the art on the walls (author of the children’s Madeleine books).
I ordered a vesper and it literally came with a spare.

Vesper cocktail
Madeline mural from Bemelmans Bar
Dachshund detail in mural from Bemelmans Bar

Monika - For fun, what I'm drinking now is this exotic beer I found at a local hibachi grill.

Ice cream options listed under Domestic Beer

Beer and Being Diabetic

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 18, 2023 at 4:25 PM

I remember parts of the phone call vividly. “We got your test results. You’re diabetic.” I managed to let the medical assistant from my doctor’s office know that I appreciated her calling and I would discuss it more with the doctor at my appointment. I said good-bye and hung up. Then I sat there for a bit and then I told Tom. “My A1C is 7 and I’m officially diabetic.”

I said “officially diabetic” because I had been pre-diabetic for years. My A1C had been hovering in the 6.3-6.5 range for so long that I thought that was just where it was going to be. If you keep doing the same things, you’re going to get the same results, right? (Waves hands in the air, trying to shoo away reality... which doesn't work either.)

This was Tuesday and my doctor's appointment wasn't until Monday so I did what any former academic would do: I threw myself into research. I started with the Mayo Clinic website for a quick overview of treatment possibilities and to refresh my memory on the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (I'm Type 2). Then it was on to the American Diabetes Association website for a deep dive.

Eventually, with my doctor's guidance, I decided to both take the medication she prescribed plus count my carbs. I'm luckily enough to have a close friend who is a dietitian who specializes in diabetes patients (Hi, CJ!). She suggested that I aim for 45 carbs per meal. That was different for me. As a long time dieter, I was used to having so many calories per day. But it made sense. You want your glucose levels to be stable without huge peaks or valleys. That means moderating your carb intake throughout the day.

As luck would have it, my diabetes diagnosis came just a few weeks before I was scheduled to speak on a International Women's Day panel at Yellow Spring Brewery. Crap! Was I going to be able to drink any beer? Their Captain Stardust is one of my favorites and I knew it would be hard to resist.

Back into the research I went. This time, it helped that I am a ServSafe Alcohol instructor and taught classes on the effects of alcohol on the body.

First of all, it is important to remember what a "drink" is considered. It can be one and a half ounces (or a jigger) of 80-proof spirits, five ounces of most wines, or 12-ounces of your standard macro beer (about 3-4 ABV). But, even though those three are considered the same alcohol wise, they are very different in carbs.

Spirits = 0 grams of carbs, wine = 3-5 grams, beer = 11 grams

That doesn't seem too bad, but if you're reading this and consider yourself a Hoperative, you are probably not drinking a standard macro beer. Consider the number of carbs in some of your favorite non-macro beers:

Grams of carbs in popular beers

It's important to remember that these numbers are for 12 ounces. Depending on the style and ABV, the glass you may be served that beer in could be larger or smaller than that. A pint glass in the US holds 16 ounces and an imperial pints holds 20.

The American Diabetes Association points out that alcohol (especially when consumed while taking certain medications for diabetes) can increase your risk of hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar).

Blame it on your liver. This organ stabilizes glucose levels by storing carbohydrates and releasing them into the bloodstream between meals and overnight. It’s also the body’s detoxification center, breaking down toxins like alcohol so the kidneys can easily flush them away.
Trouble is, it’s not great at multitasking. Your liver will choose to metabolize the alcohol over maintaining your blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. The liver often makes this choice when you drink without eating food—so consider snacking while you sip.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, foods high in carbs are not the best at slowing the absorption of alcohol. Instead, choose foods that are high in protein and fats like cheese. And as we like to point out, alternate a glass of water with any alcoholic beverage. Keeping hydrated is always a good thing.

You can enjoy beer (and other types of alcohol) as a diabetic. You just need to count your carbs and decide which carbs are worth counting. For me, I’d much rather have one truly great beer than numerous bottles of a low carb, low flavor one.

Cheers and here’s to better beer (even if you’re diabetic)!

The Bes