Southern Tier Beer Dinner at deSha’s – October 11, 2012

deSha’s American Tavern (11320 Montgomery Rd. Cincinnati) will be hosting a Southern Tier Beer Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 pm. The cost is $45 dollars per person (tax and tip included). To make reservations, call (513) 247-9933. For more information, go to their web site at

This dinner will kick off deSha’s Southern Tier Tap Takeover weekend for the entire weekend of Oct 11 – 14th with 422 Pale Wheat Ale, Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale, Harvest Ale, 2X IPA, 2X Milk Stout and Pumking.

Beer Dinner Menu

Course 1
Parmesan Garlic Flatbread
Paired with: Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale

Course 2
Pan Seared Diver Scallops
Paired with: Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale

Course 3
Pancetta wrapped Chicken Thigh
Paired with: Southern Tier Harvest Ale

Course 4
Braised BBQ Beef Short Ribs
Paired with: Southern Tier 2XIPA

Course 5
Brown Cow Creamery Rum Butter Walnut Ice Cream
Paired with: Southern Tier Pumking

Recap: Rivertown Beer Dinner at Holler Hops and Grill

A couple of Thursdays ago I broke my normal Mexican dinner routine and ventured out to Oakbrook for the first ever beer dinner at Holler Hops and Grill (@HollerHopsGrill) along with Tom, Carla and my buddy Brian.  If you aren’t familiar, Holler Hops and Grill is located at the corner of Oakbrook Drive and Pleasant Valley Road.  It is a quaint little restaurant serving up great food along with an excellent beer selection.  The beer dinner featured five Rivertown Brewing (@RivertownBrew) beers along with delicious dishes served up by Holler Hops.  Rivertown was well represented as always by Rivertown Brewer Jason Roeper who took the time to explain each beer and educate everyone on Rivertown, one of Cincinnati’s home town breweries.

Rivertown served up five beer offerings including several I hadn’t tried yet like the Blueberry Lager and the Jenneke Belgian Golden Ale (an excellent beer).  We also sampled the Lambic, Hop Baron which was served on Nitro and finished the night with a Roebling Porter float which was an excellent combination of my two favorite things, beer and ice cream.  By the way, it sounds like they are going to try to keep the Hop Baron on Nitro all the time if the demand keeps up.  This is the first place in the area offering this so, you know…. you should have some J.  Favorite food offerings of the evening included a really tasty chicken appetizer (which I am told is regularly on the menu) and delicious pork tenderloin entree.  All four food courses were paired with a complimentary Rivertown beer, and for $20 you couldn’t beat the value.  I also got to meet some great local beer enthusiasts from the Northern Kentucky Brewers Guild (@NKYBrewersGuild) who were also in attendance.  Like always, the power of better beer bringing cool people together!

Following the beer dinner, Holler Hops regular Thursday evening Karaoke kicked off and we were serenaded by Brian Black, the karaoke king of Greater Cincinnati.  You will find live music and other entertainment regularly at Holler Hops in addition to great food and beer.

All in all, I think it was a great first beer dinner and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.  I hope to see you all at the next one.


Traveling Tuesday: An Ode To Cincinnati Craft Beer

I was dead set on writing a Traveling Tuesday this week (I even opened a new post and typed “Traveling Tuesday”).  I have been on the move a lot this year, so I still have a bunch of great places to cover.  But once I cracked a Cincinnati Beer Week Barleywine Ale, I began reflecting on what has been the most exciting year of my young craft beer adventures.

See, I wasn't just lying for effect!

Sure, traveling has been a big part of this.  Between two trips to Asheville, one to San Francisco, two to Chicago, one to Louisville, one to Indianapolis, two to the Outer Banks, one to Nashville, and several to Cleveland, I have certainly come across a fair share of cool beer bars, bottle shops, and breweries this past year.  However, when I sit back and think about it, my Cincinnati beer adventures have proven to be every bit as monumental.

I used to be fairly critical of the Cincinnati beer scene.  Part of it was being new to the area.  Great places existed, I just didn’t know where to look.  And let’s face it, with all the ingrained dynamics of this city, it is not always the easiest place for a transplant to break into.  Part of it was growing up in NE Ohio adoring Great Lakes Brewing Co. and seeing craft beer really take off early in that area.  While it has taken Cincinnati a little bit longer to gain steam, it is clear the momentum is here to stay.

Mt. Carmel, Red Ear and Rock Bottom have continued to crank out great beers since I have been here, Rivertown really took off this year and won over the title of my favorite local brewery (I think their Lambic is a religious experience), Listermann increased their production substantially, and Moerlein has the city buzzing about the lager house.   In addition, Blank Slate Brewing is nearing its opening and Brew River Gastropub is in the works.  And judging by the current pace of the industry as a whole, the best guess is this is only the beginning.

That is all exciting stuff, but the real evidence of this momentum is the first Cincinnati Beer Week beginning this Thursday.  Local breweries, bars, restaurants, bottle shops and homebrew stores are collaborating and celebrating everyone’s favorite malted beverages in unison.  From the initial list of events (, it appears the city is in for a treat.  There are events for everyone this week, from those just starting to dabble in craft beer to those stashing rare bottles in their basement cellar.

I am looking forward to trying some beers I have never had before, as well as enjoying some old favorites in my favorite Cincinnati beer spots.  I am most looking forward to De Struise and 3 Floyds at Dutch’s, Sours at Comet, Bell’s, Blues, and BBQ at Arnold’s (three of my favorite things), and the Rivertown beer dinner at Dilly.  Those are the ones at jump off the page because they involve my favorite beers, but you really cannot go wrong with anything planned.

A lot of people had to put a lot of hard work into making this week happen, and as fellow beer lovers in this city, we owe it to everyone involved to make this week a roaring success.  Raise your glasses, meet some new people, spend more money than you should (beer week only comes once a year, after all…), and support this city’s growing beer scene so we can ensure this event is a mainstay in Cincinnati for years to come.

(Also, it wouldn’t be a bad cherry on top of the week if my Amber Ale won at the All American Ale competition, so keep your fingers crossed.)

Happy Cincinnati Beer Week!




DIY Beer (Marathon) Dinner

This past weekend my fiancé and I were fortunate enough to be invited to a beer dinner by our neighbor.  Or maybe I should say a beer marathon.  Come to think of it, it was just like the Flying Pig… only no running, more pig, and a ton of great beer.

Either way, it was a really great concept that I wanted to share.  The dinner was a potluck of sorts where each person invited made dishes and brought beer pairings with those dishes.  If you are a beer and/or food enthusiast, I urge you to hold one of these events.  You will learn a ton about pairing food and beer, eat a delicious meal, get to try new beers, and have a blast along the way.

Luckily for us, our neighbor is an award-winning brewer and his soon to be wife an equally fantastic cook, so I knew we would be in for a real treat.  They did not disappoint. None of us knew what each other were bringing, so the menu was kind of all over the place, but that was part of the fun.  Obviously, with this many pairings, the beer pours have to be fairly small.  Below was the order of courses we ended up with.

1)    Liefman’s Goudenband with truffle pâté and assorted cheeses

2)    Maibock (homebrew) with potato, onion, and cheese pierogi

3)    Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale with curried chicken salad

4)    Tart Cherry Wheat (homebrew) with pickled cherries and serrano ham wrapped smoked shrimp

5)    Dogfish Head Bitches Brew with smoked trout dip

6)    De Glazen Toren Erpe-Mere with paprika butter shrimp

7)    Imperial IPA (homebrew) with toasted French spent grain brewers bread, meatball and mozzerella

8)    Amber Ale (homebrew) with tequila flank steak tacos, guacamole, queso fresco, and smoked serrano pepper

9)    Belgian Tripel (homebrew) with spinach, phyllo, feta and pine nut pastry


10) Hitachino Nest Beer with orange chocolate truffle (truffles from the Truffle Tree)

11) Celebrator Doppelbock with chai tea truffle

12) Leffe Blonde with dark chocolate truffle

13) Left Hand Milk Stout with mocha truffle

14) Russian River Consecration

My favorites were the first, third, fourth, eighth and eleventh courses.  The fattiness of the pate complimented the sour beer great in course one.  The IPA played perfectly with the Indian spices in the chicken salad, and the nuts complimented the fresh hops well in course three.  Course four had spicy pickled cherries that paired with the tart cherries in the beer perfectly.  The guacamole and grilled steak in course eight went extremely well with the maltiness of the amber.  The eleventh course worked because the chai tea truffle had some bitterness to contract the sweetness of the doppelbock.

This was the first beer dinner I have attended, and I learned a lot about what works best in the pairings.  My mind is already racing about potential pairings for the next beer dinner.  Obviously, the format can be a little less over the top than this dinner, but no matter how you set it up, I guarantee it will be fun!