This Week in Beer: July 27 – August 2, 2015

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled specials on better beer. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. As always, any edited listing will have UPDATE at the beginning of the listing.

Monday, June 27th at 5:00 pm – Rare Keg Monday at Ei8ht Ball Brewing

Monday, June 27th at 6:30 pm – Glow LUMENOCITY Pale Ale at Rhinegeist
Tapping is at 7:00 pm and the CSO Brass Quartet will be performing.

Wednesday, July 29th at 6:00 pm – Great Lakes Pint Night at Drake’s Florence
Featuring their Lake Erie Monster DIPA.

Wednesday, July 29th at 7:00 pm – Monthly Keg Tapping at Hofbräuhaus Newport

Thursday, July 30th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Burgers and Beers at the Party Source
Beers: QUAFFTOBERFEST! Beers include KABOOM!, What the Wheat?, Grand Crow, Grendel Mead, S’more of What?, Gnappy and the release of OX and Orange Melvin. Bottles of OX and Orange Melvin will be released at 8pm, after the event.
Burger: Marsala
For reservations, go to their web site

Thursday, July 30th from 5:00-7:00 pm – Bells Summer ‘Splosion at Market Wines
Beers include Sparkleberry, Quinannan Falls, Hopsolution, Oberon plus they will have 16 ounce cans of Two Hearted with matching tall-boy Koozies.

Thursday, July 30th at 5:30 pm – Shamble On Dubbel Barrel Blues Tapping at Rivertown Brewing
This Belgian dubbel aged with whiskey-infused wood chips is in honor of the Whiskey Rambles band who will be performing at 6:00 pm.

Thursday, July 30th at 6:00 pm – Bosmo’s Imperial Cream Ale Tapping at Taft’s Ale House
The second beer in Taft’s Taft’s Resurrection Beer Series, Bosmo’s is well known among members of the Bloatarian Brewing League.

Thursday, July 30th at 6:00 pm – 5 Rabbit Pint Night at BrewRiver GastoPub
Beers include Lulo Galactico, Yodo Con Leche, Tamarind Paletas, 5 Lizard, and the Super Pils W Hop Randal.

Thursday, July 30th at 6:00 pm – Warped Wing Tap Takeover at Wild Mike’s Shady Lane
Beers include Ermal’s Belgian cream ale, the Radler and Mr. Mean Imperial IPA.

Thursday, July 30th 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 – Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, Glendale – Revolution Bottoms Up Wit and Hyde Park – Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster

Friday, July 31st – Hops for Hippos: The Final Chapter at Taste of Belgium Clifton
Beers include special brews from West Sixth.

Friday, July 31st from 4:00-7:00 pm – Great Lakes Tasting at Country Fresh Farm Market and Wine Depot

Saturday, August 1st – Third Annual Made in Cincy Beerfest at Marty’s Hops & Vines
Featuring sixteen taps of local beers, Camp Washington Chili and Hop Water. Tickets are $36 in advance; $46 at the door (pricing includes tax and gratuity). Call (513) 681-4222 or stop in at Marty’s to get your tickets.

Hoperatives This Week in Beer

Beer Trivia and More Saturday Afternoon at Bockfest

Good news! If you missed our beer trivia during Cincinnati Beer Week, you have another chance AND it’s part of a great new event at Bockfest this year. Join brewers and representatives from Bad Tom Smith, Blank Slate, Christian Moerlein, Ei8ht Ball, Fifty West, Hudepohl, Listermann, MadTree, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, Schoenling, Triple Digit and Wiedemann plus beer bloggers like Jesse Folk from WCPO and us for the first ever Bockfest Bock Beer Experience / Bock Beer Tasting on Saturday, March 7th from 1:00-6:00 pm.

Saturday, March 7th

1 – 2:00pm
Opening of event – casual socializing

2:00 – 2:45pm – Panel 1
(Blank Slate, Cellar Dweller, Ei8ht Ball, MadTree, Listermann/Triple Digit, Fifty West)
• Introduction of guests
• General discussion amongst panel participants
o Questions/debate items/beer stories • Audience Q/A

2:45 – 3:00pm

3:00 – 3:45pm – Panel 2
(Bad Tom Smith, Christian Moerlein/Hudepohl, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, Wiedemann)
• Introduction of guests
• General discussion amongst panel participants
o Questions/debate items/beer stories • Audience Q/A

3:45 – 4:00pm

4:00 – 4:45pm
Beer Trivia with audience – Hosted by Carla and Tom from Hoperatives

4:45 – 5:00pm

5:00 – 5:30pm
Bockfest 2015 Homebrew winner announcement — Bloatarian Brewing League

The event is free to attend, individual 3oz drink tickets are $2 and it’s $25 for 15 3oz tickets and that includes a Bockfest pint glass. Tickets are now available at:

Hope to see many of you there!

Bockfest 2015

Benefit for Kevin Spatz Family at Rivertown – Dec. 17th

Rivertown Brewing Company will be hosting a benefit for the family of Kevin Spatz on Wednesday, December 17th from 4:00 pm to close. Kevin Spatz passed away unexpectedly in October at 47. He left behind his wife Carol, his son Philip who is a sophomore in college and his daughter Elizabeth who is a junior in high school.

As Roxanne Westendorf who works in the Rivertown tap room and is a member of the Bloatarian Brewing League told us,

Many of us in the brewing community have very strong connections with Kevin and his family. While our friendships started with brewing, they became much stronger through the years. The benefit is not just about helping a fellow brewer, but is part of the bond that many of us developed with Kevin and his family through the years.

Kevin and Carol moved to the Cincinnati area just over 20 years ago. In 1995 – Kevin attended his first Bloatarian Brewing League meeting – which is where Rob & I met Kevin (also our first meeting), and we quickly became friends with Kevin and Carol (and Philip and Elizabeth, of course). A couple of years later – Kevin got a job at the Samuel Adams brewery in Cincinnati – and was one of their first employees in Cincinnati.

When Jason Roeper – owner of Rivertown Brewing Company – started homebrewing, Kevin was one of the first Bloatarians he met. Jason was a Sam Adams Longshot finalist in 2009, and Kevin spent a lot of time escorting Jason and introducing him to the folks at Boston Beer and other key industry players. When Jason turned pro – he and Kevin kept in touch professionally as well.

In addition to their regular taps, Rivertown will have a special beer in honor of Kevin – an American Stout. Stouts were one of Kevin’s favorite styles. Net proceeds from beer sales will go to an educational trust for Kevin’s children Philip and Elizabeth.

There will also be a silent auction and raffle. Boston Beer / Samuel Adams has donated items for the silent auction and raffle including several gifts with face value of $200 or more. Rivertown will be adding additional items to the silent auction and raffle. Donations will also be accepted at the brewery before and during the event. All proceeds from the benefit will go to the education fund.

In addition, food available for purchase during the event.

Cincinnati’s Craft Beer Oktoberfest – October 6th

Listermann’s Brewing Company is hosting the first ever Cincinnati’s Craft Beer Oktoberfest on October 6th from 10:00 am until 11:00 pm. Participating breweries and organizations include Blank Slate Brewing Company, Bloatarian Brewing League, Mt. Carmel Brewery, Rivertown Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Cincinnati, Triple Digit Brewing Company and… Hoperatives! We’ll thrilled to be part of it. Mark the date! We hope to see lots of you there on the 6th!

Craft Beer Oktoberfest

Introduction and Beer and Sweat

[Please join Carla and me in welcoming our newest contributor, Steve Marks. We’ll let him introduce himself in the post, but we’re really, really happy he’s come aboard. Welcome Steve! –Tom]

For my first contribution to Hoperatives, it is only fitting that I begin with an article on Beer and Sweat.  The event encompassed everything I love about craft beer.  But before I get to that, I will give an introduction of myself.

I recently graduated as an engineer from Ohio State and am fairly new to the Cincinnati area.  As a diehard Buckeye fan, my love of Michigan beers will always hold a special conflict of interest in my heart.  Especially since Bell’s Hopslam is my all-time favorite (sorry, Pliny).

Quite simply put, I love craft beer.  I have been home brewing for a little over two years, and the more I brew, the more I continue to explore everything beer.  As cliché as it sounds, the greatest thing about this journey has always been the people I have met along the way.  Whether it has been fellow brewers, beer business owners, or other craft beer enthusiasts, the people in the beer community are just wired slightly different.  There is a certain genuineness that comes with the territory.  Enter Tom and Carla.

I had been reading this blog daily for some time, and when I finally got the chance to meet Tom and Carla at the Teller’s Craft Beer Symposia, it was truly an honor.  I had a strong interest in contributing to the blog, but I wasn’t sure it was even something appropriate to ask.  After all, this is their site that they have built from scratch.

I was expecting a guarded and cautious response when I finally mustered up the courage to ask.  I clearly forgot I was dealing with craft beer people.  They couldn’t have been more welcoming or accepting of the idea, so here I am.  I hope to bring some beer perspective from the eyes of a young brewer who is currently studying to become certified as a beer judge (BJCP).

Which brings me back to Beer and Sweat…

Main Hall
Early in the day at Beer and Sweat. It got much more crowded later
For those of you who are unaware, Beer and Sweat is a yearly home brew competition hosted by Cincinnati’s own Bloatarian Brewing League.  Unlike most competitions where three unmarked bottles are submitted, Beer and Sweat requires its entrants to submit an entire five-gallon keg.  This year there were 266 entries.  Yes, you read that correctly.

This was my first competition as a beer judge, which is just a step in the process towards becoming BJCP certified.  In many ways I felt like I was prepared, but it really would depend on the style I was judging.  Luckily, I was tossed a softball and assigned to the style I am easily most familiar with: Belgian Strong Ales.   This covers Belgian Blonde Ales, Dubbels, Tripels, Golden Strong Ales, and Dark Strong Ales.  It’s safe to say my path has crossed with more than a few of these in the past year.  They also offer some nice variety for your palette (unlike judging IPAs, which can become tiresome quickly).

I ended up getting paired to judge with a BJCP Master Judge, one of the highest ranks a judge can achieve.   This was a guy who could read through any line of BS and had been doing this for years; it was a bit intimidating to say the least.  Luckily, I didn’t screw up too badly and learned a lot from sitting in with such an experienced judge.  Plus, he was a craft beer guy, so of course he was patient and helpful the entire time.

Judging at Beer and Sweat
Overall, it was a fantastic learning experience and a fun evening. You will not find an event more representative of everything great about beer.  Individuals came from all over the Midwest to test their merits as brewers, share their newest concoctions with fellow beer lovers, and meet new people.  This is beer stripped to its rawest form.  No one is competing for market share, people are not ordering fancy drinks to impress others, and there are no ulterior motives.  It’s just craft beer, plain and simple.

Also, sampling that many beers was not a bad consolation prize.  Perhaps that’s why craft beer people get along so well?

With that, I leave you until next time.  I hope to contribute many thought provoking beer articles, and most of all, I hope to continue making friends along with way.



[Note: the original version of this post said that Steve was paired with a BJCP Grand Master Judge. Thanks to the commenters who kindly pointed out that he was actually a Master Judge. It doesn’t change the essential point he was making, and we’ve edited the post to be correct it. The comments you see will make more sense now. –Tom]

Beer Dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse – Tuesday, April 20th

Thanks to a number of Bloatarians asking, BJ’s Brewhouse in Tri-County is hosting their first beer dinner featuring beer and food pairings from Stone Brewing. Originally just for Bloatarians, the beer dinner has now opened up for the general public to attend.

When: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Where: BJ’s Brewhouse at Tri-County Mall

Cost: $30-$35

Reservations: 513-671-1805 (restaurant)

Details: 6 courses each paired with a 5oz pour of Stone beer
Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
And many more…
Dinner served family style

Call the restaurant to make reservations. The success of this first BJ’s Beer Dinner will determine if more beer dinners are to follow. Please make your reservations today!

Homebrewing for Better Beer: Part 3 – Where To Start

This is the third in a three part series on the basics of homebrewing.  Part 1 looks at the benefits that homebrewing offers the believer in better beer (aka YOU).  Part 2 gives a basic overview of the process that a new homebrewer will undertake.  Part 3 lets you know what you need to get started and provides some helpful resources.  If you have thought about getting into homebrewing, hopefully this series will push you over the edge!

You’ve decided that you want to get into homebrewing, but where do you start?  First of all, let’s talk about some resources that are going to show you how to brew in far greater detail than we discussed in Part 2.  There is lots of stuff out there, but here are some that have served me well:
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian.  Considered by many to be the “Homebrewer’s Bible,” Papazian is a central figure in the modern history of American homebrewing.  His text is a classic; it will take you from your very first batch, discuss ingredients, provide recipes, and arm you to be a resourceful homebrewer.  And he coined and uses (ad-nauseum) the mantra: “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.”
How To Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right the First Time by John Palmer.  Many consider this to be the best book for the beginner, with Papazian’s being better once you get your footing.  Palmer offers great technical help and troubleshooting tips.  The current edition is well worth owning, but you can read the 1st edition for free online HERE.
Basic Brewing Radio/Video.  This is a great homebrewing podcast that is updated weekly and available either on the site or through iTunes for free.  They handle basic and more advanced techniques.  The full archive is also available for free, so you can find topics that interest you and listen for hours.
-Local Homebrew Clubs: I know of two homebrewing clubs in Cincinnati: The Bloatarian Brewing League and the Cincinnati Malt Infusers.  I’m not involved with either, but clubs can be a great way to kickstart your hobby, gain great experience, and meet others who are as crazy about beer as you are.

Secondly, let’s talk about where to buy what you’ll need to get started.  There are two homebrew shops in Cincinnati (that I know of).  Where you go may be determined by where you live and which is more convenient.
Listermann: located close to Xavier’s campus on Dana Avenue.  This is where I do most of my shopping (again, I live close).  They are well stocked, and I’ve always found the staff helpful and knowledgeable.  Also, they have excellent ingredient kits that give you all the ingredients you need to brew a 5 gallon batch.  I used these to hone my craft before I started formulating my own recipes, and each one was a winner.
Paradise Brewing Supplies: located on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson Township.  I’ve only been there once, but they staff was very helpful and I had a great experience.
-Online: you can also get just about anything you want online.  Might I suggest clicking on that Cooper’s ad on the Hoperatives website?  ;-)

Finally, what extra supplies will you need to start brewing?  There are several paths to follow.  If anyone has other experiences, please comment below!
-Hardware: your local homebrew shop should have an equipment kit that has most of the hardware you’ll need to get started, including a fermentation bucket, a bottling bucket, along with brushes, measurement tools, and cleansers – all for around $60.  You could buy this all separately, but this will probably save you a little money and a lot of grief.  The kit will allow you to make ANY 5 gallon batch, which is the standard size of a homebrew recipe.  I know there are other kits out there (like the Mr. Beer) that include hardware and ingredients, and I’ll confess that I don’t really have any experience with them.  However, I’m a little suspicious of kits that tie you a too closely to then having to use THEIR ingredient kits to keep brewing (plus, there are some elementary flaws to the Mr. Beer kit, in particular, that effect the brewing process).  If you have experience with any particular kits, please comment below!  But a standard 5 gallon equipment kit will allow you so make great beer, whether you’re using a kit or gathering your own ingredients for a recipe.
-Most kits do not include a brew pot.  Preferably, this will be a stock pot that holds at least 3 gallons.  You can make do with smaller, but your beer quality may suffer.
-Bottles: some kits may include bottles, but you’ll likely need to buy your own.  Two dozen 12 ounce reusable glass bottles will run you about $10, and two dozen 500 mL plastic bottles go for about $17.  Take care of your bottles, and they can last you a long time.  Plus, you can clean and save bottles from commercial beers to refill with homebrew.  That’s recycling at its best!
-Ingredients: when starting out, I personally recommend using a kit.  That way, you can concentrate on the process and enjoy a tested recipe.  I only have experience with Listermann’s kits, and they’ve never steered me wrong.  Also, both the books above have basic recipes that are easy to assemble at the homebrew shop.

If you know someone who homebrews, he or she may be your best resource starting out.  The first batch can be nerve-wracking, with all the waiting and worrying and wishing for a cold homebrew of your own.  It’s easier to not have to go it alone.

In closing, I hope you’ll consider homebrewing!  It’s relatively easy, extremely fun, and educational.  I guarantee that homebrewing will help you love and appreciate beer better than you already do.

Homebrewers, please comment below with any tips or advice.  Here’s to better beer!

-John Lavelle (#13)

First Bockfest, then the world!

We’re just a week away from Bockfest, and it occurred to me that I’d neglected to write about something I think is going to be an awfully big deal this year (and into the future).  Friday marks the entry deadline for the Bloatarian Brewing League’s Bock Homebrew competition.

Bockfest 2009 Artwork by Jim Eiffler
Bockfest 2009 artwork by Jim Eiffler

Needless to say, it’s a worthy competition:  BJCP-sanctioned, judging at noon on Saturday at Bockfest Hall, opportunities to enter under seven different categories.  Bragging rights for winning such a high-profile event.  Yep, it’s a good competition.

Oh yeah, and Christian Moerlein is going to pick one of the entries from the Traditional Bock category to be the recipe for the 2010 edition of Hudepohl Bock.

You know, just a run-of-the-mill competition.

I’m not always plugged into the latest and greatest happenings in Cincinnati, but I can’t believe this hasn’t been a bigger deal.  I happened to hear about it from Christian Moerlein’s Greg Hardman at the Bockfest poster signing happy hour on the 12th.  He was talking about how well this year’s Hudy Bock turned out and the fact that it was brewed at BarrelHouse.  As he was talking about that I was trying to figure out how long it had been since any Hudy brand had actually been brewed in Cincinnati proper (2001?) and I almost missed it when he mentioned the Bockfest competition.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know more about how such a thing came about.  I e-mailed Ray Snyder with the Bloatarians looking for a comment, and he generously responded with the following:

The Bloatarian’s consider it a sacred duty to cultivate and improve the beer culture wherever we go, but most importantly here in Cincinnati. Greg also shares this passion and is spearheading the effort to restore Cincinnati to it’s rightful place in the brewing world through his resurrection of the Cincinnati brands.

Last year the Bloats hosted the AHA national convention. I was tasked with brewing the commemorative beer. Preparations for this task began several years ago. I approached Rick Debarr at the Barrelhouse and he agreed to let us brew on his facilities. Since the Brewers Association had merged with the AHA the links between craft brewer and home brewer were growing and things like the GABF pro-am competitions started popping up.  Rick and I thought  it would be cool to invite all of the local craft brewers to participate. Greg jumped on board right away and that was the beginning of our relationship.

Around the same time the Bloats started the Bockfest competition at the encouragement of Greg and Mike Morgan*. We  participated in the parade for many years prior to that.

One evening last fall Greg and I were having a pint and he approached me with the idea of adding this incentive into the mix. I immediately agreed and thought it was a perfect fit. Many of the homebrewers in the area share the [G]erman heritage and last year the quality of the entries was exceptional.

How cool is that?

(On a somewhat related note, don’t forget the Precipitation Retaliation Happy Hour at Grammer’s Friday night.  A snowman immolation is scheduled for 6:30 PM)

* Executive Director, Over-The-Rhine Foundation