Spencer Trappist Ale Now Available in Ohio

Just got this information from Cavalier. It will be great to have Spencer Trappist available here!

Cavalier Distributing has partnered with the U.S.’s only Trappist brewery, Spencer Brewery, and will distribute Spencer Trappist Ale immediately throughout Ohio. Brewed by the Trappist monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer Abbey) in Spencer, Massachusetts, the Spencer Brewery is one of only 11 Trappist breweries in the world, and the first in the Americas.

Spencer Trappist Ale is a full-bodied, sunrise-hued ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness. At 6.5% ABV, Spencer is one of the most accessible of the Trappist beers and complements a variety of foods. The monks recommend that the beer be served in a stemmed glass, preferably the distinctive Spencer glass designed specifically for the beer, and enjoyed responsibly, in the company of family and friends.

For the monks, the release of the beer marks both the culmination of years of hard work, and an exciting new chapter in the 191-year-old story of their monastery community. “We’re just so happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to share this labor of love with the world,” says Father Isaac Keeley, director of Spencer Brewery. “We hope that by making this beer, we can both honor the centuries-old Trappist tradition, and contribute to this exciting time in American brewing history.”

About St. Joseph Abbey, Spencer Brewery and Trappist Brewing
Settled in 1950 in Spencer, Massachusetts, St. Joseph Abbey or Spencer Abbey, is a Roman Catholic monastery of monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, commonly known as Trappists. The monks live in silence and solitude, dedicating themselves to prayer, service and solitude, following St. Benedict’s sixth century Rule for Monasteries. In 1954, the monks began handcrafting and selling jams and jelly under the name Trappist Preserves. In 2014, Spencer Abbey launched the Spencer Brewery, and Spencer Ale has been well received by both connoisseurs and occasional beer drinkers. Known for their complexity and richness, Trappist beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast and complex carbohydrates in the bottle. Historically, this nutrient-rich “liquid bread” was an integral part of the monks’ simple diet.

Trappist monks follow the Benedictine counsel of ora et labora (pray and work), and for centuries have supported themselves by the work of their own hands, producing a variety products, including beer. All 11 Trappist breweries – Westmalle, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren, Aachel, La Trappe, Stift-Engelszell, Zundert, Tre Fontane, and Spencer, must operate in accordance with the strict rules set by the International Trappist Association, a nonprofit which ensures that the beers are brewed at the abbey, under the supervision of the monks, and that the profits provide for the needs of the monastic community and its charitable outreach. The Trappist name is a registered trademark, and beers can be identified by the hexagonal “Authentic Trappist Product” logo displayed on their labels.

Spencer Trappist Ale

Short’s Brewing Entering Ohio and Indiana Markets

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

Short's Brewing Logo

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

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

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

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


Canned Beers We Love Right Now: August 12, 2015

We are mixing things up a bit again this week and talking about canned beers that we love right now. Like the Beers We Love Right Now posts, these aren’t be long reviews analyzing the beers available in cans, just the name of the beer and a sentence or two about why it’s one (or more) of the canned beers we love right now.

Tom – Magic Hat Dream Machine IPL. Part of their Cantastic Variety pak which also includes Magic Hat #9 and, for fall, Wilhelm Scream – their pumpkin ale.

Carla – Whether you like it or not, the pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are upon us. One of my favorite canned Oktoberfest beers is Franz from Rhinegeist. But, since it’s still really summer, I’m also still enjoying Steigl Grapefruit Radler in the 17 ounce cans. At only 2.5% ABV, it’s great for long late summer afternoons.

Jared – MadTree Shade is pretty delicious. Arcadia Sky High Rye is best fresh in cans. Oskar Blues 10 fidy. Its a World class imperial stout that you can take anywhere.

John – I just found a can of MadTree Citra High in my fridge. Even after aging for a few months behind a pickle jar and two jars of mustard it still tasted great. Looks like they just released a new batch in cans. Better to drink fresh, I’m sure.

Jessica – Two of my favorite canned beers are, unfortunately, not sold in the area. I really like Cigar City’s Florida Cracker and Terrapin’s Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse. Both are great in warm weather. The locally available canned beer I always enjoy is MadTree’s PsycHOPathy.


MadTree and Pink Boots to Raise Money for Burned Brewer

You may have noticed this entry from our This Week in Beer post on Monday, but we wanted to give you a bit more information and encourage you to stop by tomorrow and help out a burned brewer.

From the Facebook event page:

Help the Pink Boots Society : Cincinnati support brewmaster Kerry Thomas by drinking delicious beers at MadTree Brewing on Thursday July 23rd! Our sister in brewing was injured in a brewing accident on July 10th. She suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on 30% of her body. On the 23rd, MadTree is releasing a new can in the Tap Room, a Blackberry Gose called “Shade.” {{ YUM! }} A portion of sales of the cans will be graciously donated to the Pink Boots Society for Kerry’s Go Fund Me page. Want to help but can’t make the event? Consider a donation directly to the Go Fund Me page, here: http://www.gofundme.com/zaf57s.

Brewmaster Kerry Thomas
Photo from the Brewmaster Kerry’s Burn Relief Fund GoFundMe page

One thing that impressed us was the fact that, according to this article in the Idaho Statesman, she had turned her back because she wanted to make sure her assistant was okay. As Teri Fahrendorf, the founder of the Pink Boots Society, said in a speech at the University of Kentucky in 2014, there are only two kinds of brewers: those who have been burned and those who will be burned. Fahrendorf herself was seriously burned in a brewing accident in 1989.

So stop by tomorrow (July 23rd) any time after 5:00 pm and you can drink beer for a great cause. And maybe you can make a donation to her GoFundMe account too.

Hope to see many of you there!

— Carla and Tom

Alltech Acquires Two European Breweries

With the announcement last week of Duvel and Firestone Walker combining plus the purchase of Boulevard by Duvel in 2013, this news is rather interesting. Will more U.S. breweries consider buying breweries outside of the country? Be sure to check out the last sentence of the press release.

In a major expansion of its international alcohol division, Alltech, the animal nutrition multinational and producer of award-winning beers and spirits including Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale® and Town Branch® Bourbon, has acquired a craft brewery in Northern Ireland and also one in mainland United Kingdom. ­Dr. Pearse Lyons, the Irish-born entrepreneur and founder of Alltech, purchased the breweries from the family of the late Northern Irish businessman Lord Ballyedmond.

Alltech’s acquisition of The Station Works Brewery in Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and Cumberland Breweries Ltd. in Great Corby, Cumbria, England, represents the first major expansion outside the United States for its brewing division. Already one of the fastest growing craft brewers in the United States, these purchases represent a significant investment by Lyons in the future of the rapidly expanding craft brewing sector in Europe. Alltech’s core animal nutrition business has achieved annual sales greater than $1.6 billion and recently spent approximately $400 million acquiring Ridley, Inc., with operations in the U.S. and Canada.

With a capacity to produce 40,000 hectolitres, the two new breweries add several new brands, including Finn Lager and Foxes Rock Ale, to the growing Alltech portfolio.

“These new purchases will allow us develop already established European brands while at the same time introducing our Kentucky Ale range to new markets,” said Lyons, who achieved his doctorate in brewing and distilling before founding Alltech.

“We are dedicated to offering the consumer real choice in the beer sector. Since our first investment in the Alltech Craft Brews & Foods Fair in Dublin three years ago, the sector has mushroomed and our Fair is now the largest in Ireland, attracting more than 10,000 visitors annually,” said Lyons.

With three new breweries under construction in the United States, and a major investment in a new distillery in the heart of the liberties at the former St James Church, where his grandfather is buried, Lyons is set to continue the family history.

“We want to be one of the top 50 craft brewers in the world,” said Lyons.

Beers We Love Right Now: July 8, 2015

Once a week (or so), we post a beer (or two) that we are loving right now. These aren’t be long reviews analyzing the beers, just the name of the beer and a sentence or two about why it’s one of the beers we love right now.

Tom – When it’s warm like it is now I like a solid Pilsner.  It’s the beer where there’s nowhere to hide. It’s good or it’s not, there’s nothing in-between. Rhinegeist Puma Pils is where it’s at for me right now. It’s a Czech Pilsner so it’s all about the Saaz hops. Crisp and refreshing and you can tell your uncle that this is what the beer he’s drinking is supposed to taste like.

Carla – This past weekend, we went back to my home state of Illinois. We had a late lunch on the 3rd at brewpub called J.T. Walker’s in Mahomet, IL. My dad really liked their Bulldog Brown Ale, but I loved their Orange & Blue Belgian Wit with orange peel and blueberries.

Jared – Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose. Gose and blood orange – what more can you ask for? And Brew Kettle White Rajah, because I can find it readily now and because White Rajah!

John – I’ve been loving New Belgium Slow Ride, their 4.5% abv Session IPA. Lots of hop flavor, low-ish alcohol, and straightforward. Great for the beach or sitting outside.


Beers We Love Right Now: July 1, 2015

We’ve been kicking this idea around for a while now and finally had some time to launch this new feature. Once a week (or so), we’re going to post a beer (or two) that we are loving right now. These won’t be long reviews analyzing the beers, just the name of the beer and a sentence or two about why it’s one of the beers we love right now.

In addition, we will also be featuring some other beverages and food items that we love and are beer related from time to time. The first one is listed at the bottom of this post.

Tom – Braxton Trophy: Hull Melon. The first time I had it I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Then I had a second. Then a few days later I had a chance to have another.  Now I can’t pass up on it if I see it. Some day Hull Melon hops will be commonplace, but for now they’re still something different. And this beer won’t be around forever.

Carla – Alltech Kentucky Old Fashioned Barrel Ale. While it’s a pretty big beer for hot weather (10% abv), it is a great cocktail inspired beer. And it has to be served with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry.

Jared – Arcadia Sky High Rye. Has to be fresh but come in cans. Big hoppy punch and rye character.

Chris – Founders All Day IPA. There is something to be said about a deliciously hoppy beer that won’t make you regret drinking it when you literally try to drink it all day. This beer has been in my fridge and in my belly since the weather started to get above 80 and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. That reminds me, I need to go buy another case.
[Editor’s note: We have some in our fridge too. Party Town in Florence had a great price on it last time we checked.]

Jessica – Christian Moerlein Strawberry Pig. Love that it is extremely flavorful with such a low ABV. Tastes like spring/summer in a can.

Jason – I just tore through a pack of Stone’s update to Ruination, the 2.0. It all has hop glory of it’s previous incarnation, with what seemed a slight added punch of malt that really balanced it out. It was thick and sticky and dangit, I want another right now please. Sadly, 8.6% Double IPA is probably not the best choice for mid-afternoon software development.

John – I just got back from Spain, where I drank a lot of lemon shandy – or “clara con limon.” It was pretty much always made with fresh lemonade, much better than the prepackaged shandies. I also loved “tinto de verano” which is the same but with red wine. Great for the warm weather…or, you know, the constant rain.

Tom and Carla – It’s not a beer, but we are really loving the new Hopwater. We were provided with a four pack sample of each of the flavors and they are perfect for summer. The ginger has quite a kick and works well with bourbon. The original is just great on its own and both the lime & grapefruit are so refreshing. Check out their web site to find out where you can get some.


Traveling Tuesday: Crooked Can Brewing – Winter Garden, FL

As Disney Vacation Club owners, we travel to Walt Disney World and Florida several times a year usually. And being believers in better beer, we started going to the Big River Grille and Brewing Works at Disney’s Boardwalk on a regular basis. It was there that we were lucky enough to meet Kent Waugh, the head brewer from 2010 to 2014.

Since then, Kent has moved on to a new brewery located in the lovely town of Winter Garden, Florida just southwest of Orlando. During a trip last month, we were able to check out his new work home – Crooked Can Brewing Company.

Crooked Can - Entrance
The Well is Crooked Can’s tap room and it’s part of the Plant Street Market. You can get food from the other market vendors to enjoy with your beer. We especially liked The Wandering Wonton.
Crooked Can - Patio
The large patio features one of Crooked Can’s tanks. They frequently feature live music on the weekends.
Crooked Can - Windows
This small second bar serves both inside and outside patio patrons.
Crooked Can -  Bar
The main bar with the ever changing chalkboard of beer selections.
Crooked Can - Tap Room
This shot shows the main bar on the left, the second bar on the right and shows some of the rest of the Plant Street Market.
Crooked Can - Tanks
Turning 180 degrees, you can see the actual brewery through a large window. Like many new breweries, they are already looking to add larger tanks.
Crooked Can - Flight
Flights are delivered in this adorable wire airplane. Highly recommend Domestic Bliss! Also check out High Stepper and MacSwagger’s Own.

The Well Tap Room at Crooked Can Brewing is open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am; and Sunday from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm. They are located at 426 W. Plant Street; Winter Garden Fl 34787. You can call them at (407) 395-9520.

Jim Hennessey’s Farewell Tour at The Woodward Theater Tomorrow Night

Cincinnati beer pioneer Jim Hennessey passed away in early February and his friends (many of whom happen to be his colleagues) have come up with a perfect tribute to him. Tomorrow night at the Woodward Theater in OTR there will be a benefit concert and beer festival from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. The cost is $20 cash at the door and proceeds benefit the Hennessey family.

This is the way the event is described on its Facebook page:

On February 2, 2015 the Heidelberg family and local craft community lost a legend. Jim Hennessey was a 12 year Associate at Ohio Valley Wine and Beer Company and a trailblazer in the world of craft beer. Over the course of his many years in the business, he touched the lives of countless individuals, both personally and professionally.

Jim passed away unexpectedly, two weeks after he received a diagnosis of advanced-staged cancer. He was 59 years old. He is survived by his beloved wife Maryanne and two daughters, Alyson and Kat.

On April 8, a benefit concert and craft beer festival to aid Jim’s family will be held at The Woodward Theater. Tickets are $20 cash at the door. Please join us as we remember the life and legacy of a great man!

http://www.gofundme.com/ny53vo Visit our GoFundMe page to donate.

Jim Hennessey's Farewell Tour Graphic

Ryan Horan from OVC was kind enough to share the event tap list. Some of these are single 1/6 bbls and when they’re gone, they’re gone:

Tap #1: Rogue 7 Hop IPA
Tap #2: Victory Abby 5 Belgian Single
Tap #3: Brooklyn Brewery Ama Bruna Belgian Dubbel
Tap #4: Schlafly American IPA
Tap #5: Rogue Anniversary Barleywine
Tap #6: Great Lakes Barrel Aged Blackout Stout
Tap #7: Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Cerberus Tripel
Tap #8: Anderson ValleyBlood Orange Gose
Tap #9: Uinta Brewing Detour Double IPA
Tap #10: Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Lager
Tap #11: 21st Amendment Down to Earth session IPA
Tap #12: Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA
Tap #13: Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA
Tap #14: Uinta Brewing Hop Nosh IPA
Tap #15: Victory Hop Ranch Double IPA
Tap #16: Sam Adams Kosmic Mother Funk
Tap #17: Moerlein Lab Lager Dry-hopped Pilsner
Tap #18: Ayinger Maibock
Tap #19: Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner
Tap #20: Anchor Saaremaa Island Ale
Tap #21: Lost Coast Sharkinator IPA
Tap #22: Mt. Carmel Snapshot Imperial IPA
Tap #23: Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat
Tap #24: Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner

His family. Music. Beer. Those are pretty much the three things that were most important to Jim. You couldn’t keep us away from this event with a big stick. If you knew Jim we know you’ll be there if you can. If you didn’t know Jim you should come out anyway because it’s just not possible to overstate what he meant to the growth of better beer in Cincinnati.

See you tomorrow night.

This Week in Beer: April 6 – 12, 2015

We frequently get updates for our This Week in Beer post after our regular 9:00 am publishing time. Any edited listing will have UPDATE at the beginning of the listing. NEW – Check out our new Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled specials on better beer.

See our earlier post for some of the better beer options for the day.

Monday, April 6th – Mug Night Monday at Flipdaddy’s Union

Monday, April 6th – 1/3 off craft beer bottles at Moerlein Lager House

Monday, April 6th – Randall Monday at the Brass Tap U Square

Monday, April 6th at 5:00 pm – Rare Keg Monday at Ei8ht Ball Brewing

Monday, April 6th from 5:00-9:00 pm – Rivertown Spring Release at Incline Public House
Sours, draft, bottle with retail pricing. $10 flights with pass appetizers.

Tuesday, April 7th – Penny Flips at Fifty West

Tuesday, April 7th – Tappa Keg Tuesday at Dingle House

Tuesday, April 7th – $8 Growler Fills at Moerlein Lager House

Tuesday, April 7th – Infusion Special at the Brass Tap U Square

Tuesday, April 7th – Brewer’s Happy Hour at Rock Bottom

Tuesday, April 7th from 5:00-7:00 pm – Meet the Brewer at Barleycorn’s

Tuesday, April 7th at 6:00 pm – BOGO Craft Beer Special at Hebron Brew Haus
Special applies to select rotating draft beers.

Tuesday, April 7th at 6:00 pm – Tuesdays on Tap at Whole Foods Mason
Six drafts, six bites, $6.

Tuesday, April 7th at 6:30 pm – Great Lakes Beer Dinner at 20 Brix
Cost is $50 per person. Call (513) 831-2749 to make your reservations.

Wednesday, April 8th – Select Craft Beers for $2 at Molly Malone’s Covington

Wednesday, April 8th – Local Wednesday at Buckhead Mountain Grill Bellevue
All local beer served in a 16 oz pint glass are $3.99.

Wednesday, April 8th – Pint Night at UC’s Catskeller
This week, it’s Jackie O’s Brewery.

Wednesday, April 8th at 6:00 pm – Jim Hennessey’s Farewell Tour at The Woodward Theater
This benefit concert and craft beer festival is being help to aid family of Jim Hennessey who was a such an important help of the greater Cincinnati beer scene. We wrote Jim’s death in an earlier post. Tickets are $20 cash at the door. There will be 24 beers available. Many of them are listed on the Facebook page for this event.

Wednesday, April 8th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm – Fifty West Tap Takeover at Marty’s Hops and Vines
Six pours for $12. Beers include Vehicular Hopicide, April Fools Gold, Dipstick Double Brown, Shortcut Petite Saison, Cali Girl Common and Mainstreet Amber Ale.

Wednesday, April 8th at 6:00 pm – Clown Shoes Tap Takeover at Brass Tap
Beers include Undead Party Crasher, Hoppy Feet 2.0, Space Cake and Crasher in the Rye

Thursday, April 9th – Firkin Thursday at Fifty West

Thursday, April 9th – Tap That Thursday at BrewRiver GastroPub

Thursday, April 9th – Tap-N-Tapas Thursday at Mt. Carmel Brewing

Thursday, April 9th at 5:30 pm – Chili Cook-off with Deschutes & Ei8ht Ball at Gypsy’s (Covington)
Enjoy two different chilis (one made with Deschutes Red Chair NWPA and one made with Ei8ht Ball Brewing Prodigal) and then pick a winner.

Thursday, April 9th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night Thursdays at Cock & Bull (all three locations)
The beers for this week’s Pint Night Thursdays are: Main Strasse Covington – Braxton Sparky, Glendale – Oskar Blues Mama’s Lil Yella Pils and Hyde Park – Jackie O’s Razz Wheat.

Thursday, April 9th at 7:00 pm – Rhinegeist Beer Dinner at Izzy’s Fort Wright
Beers include Cougar, Truth and Zen. Food Pairings are Izzy’s Fried Pickles, Chicken Wrap and Rice Pudding. Cost is $25 per person. For reservations, call Brian Ramey at (859) 331-4999 or email him at brian.ramey23@icloud.com

Friday, April 10th – $8 Growler Fills at Christian Moerlein Brewery

Friday, April 10th from 5:00-8:00 pm – Brats-N-Brews at Mt Carmel Brewing
Cincy Beer Brats will have their Maple Doppelbock infused Premium Beer Brats available for $5 or $8 for a beer and brat.

Friday, April 10th at 5:30 pm – Beer and Wine Tasting at Everything’s d’ Vine
$10 per person to taste five beers and four wines. $5 to taste just beer or just wine.

Friday, April 10th from 6:00-7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights Beer Tasting at Party Town in Florence

Saturday, April 11th from 12:00-10:00 pm – Pints, Pinups and Pitties / Sour Saturday at Rivertown Brewing
This event was postponed from Cincinnati Beer Week. $1 from every pint sold from noon until 3:00 pm will go to the Miami Valley Pit Crew, a non profit animal rescue. There will also be a doggy (and maybe human?) kissing booth and a selfie stand. Miami Valley Pit Crew will be accepting cash/dog accessory donations as well. Rivertown will be tapping a 1/6 barrel of Kriek and a particularly tart batch of Pomegranate Lambic after that. Two of their year round sours will also be on draft – Divergent (Berliner Style) and Soulless (Flanders Red).

Saturday, April 11th from 12:00-10:00 pm – PREACH DIPA Release Party at Ei8ht Ball Brewing
From their Facebook event page: “food from Texas Joe The Legal Mexican, Tex-Mex Food Truck and SugarSnap! Truck and live music. Plus, there will be 75+ local motorcycles and scooters”

Saturday, April 11th from 5:00-8:00pm – Beer Tasting at Ludlow Wines
The cost to taste four beers is $6.00 per person.

Sunday, April 12th from 2:00-5:00 pm – Toast to the Tunnels at Christian Moerlein Brewing
A benefit for the Betts House, take an tour of the underground barrel vault tunnels and then have a beer. Tours are $10 and then a flight of Christian Christian Moerlein beers will be available for only $10. For information, check out their Facebook event page.