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!

Beer more important than knife wound

From Monday, January 19, 2009 issue of the Edmonton Sun

A man who was stabbed at the York Hotel opted to return to the bar to finish his beer rather than seek medical attention.

Police responded to the downtown hotel located at 10401 96 St. just after 9 p.m. Saturday with reports that a man had been stabbed.

When they arrived, they found the victim at his table drinking beer.

“He’s got a minor poke to his chest, but he’s not giving us any details,” said Staff Sgt. Regan James. “You can imagine the level of his concern was not that high.”

No suspects had been located and cops said the victim was unco-operative with them.

Thanks to Hoperative #14 Jared Whalen for sharing this with us! Would love to know what beer he was drinking!

This Week in Beer: January 19 – 25, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 from 6:00pm-10:00pm – Stone Levitation & 11th Anniversary Keg Tapping at UC’s Catskeller
Beers on tap that night will include Stone Levitation Ale, Stone 11th Anniversary Ale,Stone Imperial Russian Stout and Stone Double Bastard. Stone Bottled includes Stone Cali-Belgique Belgian IPA, Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nogne-O Holiday Ale and Stone/Mikkeller/Alesmith Tripel

Wednesday, January 21st at 6:30pm – Winter Harvest Brewer’s Dinner at Rock Bottom
Appetizer: Hearth Roasted Cedar Planked Salmon with a Honey and Rosemary Glaze – Paired with Cincinnati American Light Lager
Salad: Whole Grain Harvest Salad with Spinach tossed in a Cherry Balsamic Dressing – Paired with White Tiger Hefeweitzen
Entrée: Bacon and Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon served with Horseradish Whipped Potatoes and a Wild Mushroom and Green Bean Ragout – Paired with Brown Bear Brown Ale
Dessert: Carmel Pecan Bread Pudding with Homemade Carmel Sauce – Paired with Old Curmudgeon Scotch Ale
$35.00 a person – Call 513-621-1588 for reservations.
Alas, a previous commitment prevents us from making this one, but the ones we’ve attended in the past have been mighty tasty!

Thursday, January 22nd 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Rock Bottom Firkin Tapping
We’ve heard that this could be a rather special firkin tapping. More information on this on Thursday.

Friday, January 23rd 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Party Town: Beer Tasting
If you missed last week’s Rogue tasting, you really missed something!

Saturday, January 24, 2009 – Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest, Indianapolis
We aren’t going to be able to make it to this one either and it’s killing us! Any Hoperatives going to be able to check this premier event out and let us know what we missed?

Oregon’s Rogue Brewery to be Featured at tonight’s “Friday Night Flights”

Big news about tonight’s 2nd “Friday Night Flights” at Party Town:

Hello. First we would like to thank you all for coming out last Friday. We truly appreciate your support and your enthusiasm for great beer. Now we would like to invite you all over again to try out some incredible beers from the Rogue Brewery of Oregon. Rogue opened its doors as a brewpub in october of 1988. They have gone on to become a world class brewery with an astounding number of truly unique beers, and a clear mission of making each beer a highly personal work of art. We are going to start at the top of the line with three from the XS line: Imperial India Pale Ale, Old Crustacean Barleywine Style Ale, and Imperial Red Ale. We will also open the very rare Ten Thousand Brew Ale. The beer was brewed two years ago and we have carefully aged it since then. This beer will be something incredible, I am not even joking. Please join us and Eugene Platinum on Friday, from 6pm to 7pm.

Party Town – Florence
Location: 6823 Burlington Pike, Florence, KY 41042 (Between Office Depot and Big Lots)
Phone: (859) 371-4466

Our First Guest Post – Review of Christian Moerlein Christkindl Winter Warmer

[Hoperative #14 Jared Whalen has submitted our first guest post and it’s a review! It’s also perfect timing since we just had a request for some Winter Warmer reviews. Thanks Jared!]

Let me preference this review by stating that I usually have a general aversion to beers that fall into the “Winter Warmer” category. The category itself brings to mind some of the bad experiences I’ve had with blasts of nutmeg, cinnamon, pine and a few bad experiences with pumpkin beer whilst in college, all things that I prefer for the most part to keep in my pies and potpourri.

Color: Very clear Medium Copper Brown
Head: Thick almost frothy, dissipates fairly quickly leaving some nice lacing.
Mouth Feel: Has a good bit of carbonation. It stings the tongue briefly but is very crisp.
Aroma: Sweet bread aroma with maybe a hint of citrus fruit.

Taste: The flavor is very malty and a distinct caramel stands out in this beer but there is a nuttiness that you might find in brown ale. There is a faint hint of chocolate probably from small amount of chocolate malt. The spice flavors that you expect from a winter warmer are there but they aren’t. It seems like the flavors aren’t actually from the spices them self but rather from some very spicy earthy hops. It’s a very malty beer but the hops cut it nicely while leaving the malt to dominate.

Rating: A-

Summary: A great winter warmer whose flavor makes you think about the flavors of the holiday season with out having to consume something that is more closely related to pie in a bottle than to an enjoyable beer. The weather outside is frightful but this beer would be quite delightful next to a warm fire.

Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence

It’s hard to believe that in the short time we’ve been at this beer blog and informational web site business, there are already some big changes in the local beer scene. For many months now, Party Town has been having beer tastings on Saturday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00 pm when they also have one of their wine tastings (they also have a wine tasting on Friday afternoons from 5:00 to 6:00 pm).

Party Town

This past week, however, they switched things up. No more Saturday beer tastings. Instead, they will have a special beer tasting each Friday evening from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. This set of tastings are called “Friday Night Flights” and that describes them well. For a small $1 charge, you get to taste a flight of beers (often from the same brewery) and usually some of the tasty munchies that Party Town also has available. The inaugural Friday Night Flight featured beer from the Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado. Here’s what we got to try (as best I can tell from my notes):

Samurai Rice Ale
Wild Raspberry Ale
Denver Pale Ale
Saint Bridget’s Porter
Hades Belgian-Style Strong Golden
Titan IPA
Hercules Double IPA

Of these seven, we liked the Titan IPA best. It had a bolder taste than even the Hercules Double IPA. The Denver Pale Ale was a bit disappointing.

All in all, it was a very nice start to these new tastings. We highly recommend checking out “Friday Night Flights” some time soon!

A Year of Beer: Rock Bottom’s Tappings for 2009

When we were at Rock Bottom Thursday night for the Buffalo Gold Ale Mug Club tapping, Brewmaster Mitch shared with us several upcoming events that will be happening at the downtown brewpub.

First of all, the next Chef and Brewer Dinner will be Wednesday, January 21st at 6:30pm. This one will have a Winter Harvest theme. The menu is as follows:

  • Appetizer: Hearth Roasted Cedar Planked Salmon with a Honey and Rosemary Glaze – Paired with our Cincinnati American Light Lager
  • Salad: Whole Grain Harvest Salad with Spinach tossed in a Cherry Balsamic Dressing – Paired with our White Tiger Hefeweitzen
  • Entrée: Bacon and Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon served with Horseradish Whipped Potatoes and a Wild Mushroom and Green Bean Ragout – Paired with our Brown Bear Brown Ale
  • Dessert: Carmel Pecan Bread Pudding with Homemade Carmel Sauce – Paired with our Old Curmudgeon Scotch Ale

The cost is $35.00 a person (excluding tax and gratuity) and you need to call 513-621-1588 for reservations. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to miss this one, but the ones we’ve attended in the past have been exceptional.

Next, we happened to get the list for all of the Rock Bottom tapping for this coming beer. And they look amazing and intriguing:

February 19 – Fire Chief Ale, March 12 – Lumpy Dog Porter, April 16 – Catcher in the Rye IPA, May 7 – Goat Toppler Mai Bock, June 4 – Happy Pilsner, July 2 – American Dream, August 6 – Silver Mullet Mild, September 17 – Rocktoberfest, October 15 – Pumpkin Ale, November 12 – Liquid Sun Belgian Tripel, December 10 – St. Nick’s Barley Wine

Don’t you just love the names? I’m really looking forward to trying the Catcher in the Rye IPA. You can find this listing both on the Local Events page and the Rock Bottom page here at Hoperatives. It will also show up on our Upcoming Local Events roll as these events draw nearer.

New Beer Tasting Added at Party Town

Just received this message from Party Town in Florence:

The party people at Party Town would like to invite YOU to a special new thing we came up with a few minutes ago. Introducing: FRIDAY NIGHT FLIGHT with Eugene Platinum. That means this Friday, and the following ones too, we would like very much if you and any 21 or over friends you may have would come in and try some beer with us from 6pm-7pm. This week we will be spotlighting the Great Divide Brewery, winners of twelve G.A.B.F. medals, four World Beer Cup awards, and current seventh highest rated brewery worldwide by Beer Advocate. So please come in and see us or Eugene will get bored. Thanks and good day.

Party Town – Florence
Location: 6823 Burlington Pike, Florence, KY 41042 (Between Office Depot and Big Lots)
Phone: (859) 371-4466

Short Hops for 1/5/09

No more free beer at SeaWorld or Busch Gardens: http://tinyurl.com/9cj46u

The latest in Shiner Brewery’s anniversary beer series will be a Doppelbock called Shiner 100: Commemorator: http://tinyurl.com/7j5jvv

Want to be a Hoperative? Just drop an email message to rollcall@hoperatives.com with your name and location to join our ranks and get your roll call number. Later on, your number could win you prizes. Single digit numbers are going fast gone already!

Christian Moerlein Ice Bar on Fountain Square for New Year’s Eve

The (formerly?) local brewery Christian Moerlein celebrates New Year’s Eve in mega style with the construction of a 20 foot long, 12 foot high ice bar made out of about 15,000 pounds of ice. The taps were frozen inside the ice sculpture.

Christian Moerlein Ice Bar at Fountain Square
Photo courtesy of 5chw4r7z

Here’s the press release from 3CDC:

WATCH THE ICE BAR BEING BUILT FOR TONIGHT’S 2009 KROGER NEW YEAR’S EVE BLAST ON FOUNTAIN SQUARE
15,000 pounds of ice used to create elaborate bar

WHAT: Construction of the Christian Moerlein Ice Bar on the U.S. Bank Ice Rink on Fountain Square.

WHEN: Crews arrive around on the Square around 3:30pm today and start work around 4:30 pm. Workers will unload an additional 10-12 blocks of ice to complete the Ice Bar, made up of a total 15,000 pounds of ice.

WHERE: Northeast corner of the U.S. Bank Ice Rink

ICE BAR FEATURES: Faucets are frozen inside the bar so beer can be tapped from inside the ice sculptured bar, which is about 20 feet long, 12 feet deep and 10 feet high. In addition to beer, martini drinks will be sold.

ON-SITE CONTACT: Jeff Stahl, Arctic Diamond Handcrafted Ice Sculptures, 276-3341 (cell)

The Christian Moerlein Ice Bar is part of the Kroger 2009 Fountain Square New Year’s Eve Blast. Festivities begin at 8pm with free ice skating and skate rental, courtesy of Strauss & Troy, LLP, DJ Pillo, soft drinks and snacks and a countdown to midnight capped off by a fireworks show by Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks.

Special thanks to our title sponsor Kroger and presenting sponsors Strauss & Troy and Christian Moerlein as well as U.S. Bank, sponsor of the 2008-2009 Fountain Square Ice Rink. For daily skating rink hours, visit http://www.myfountainsquare.com. The rink is open New Year’s Day from 2pm to 10pm.

New Year’s Eve parking is available in the Fountain Square Garage for $4. The 2009 Kroger New Year’s Eve Fountain Square Blast is produced by Fountain Square Management Group, a subsidiary of 3CDC.