Short Hops: May 28, 2009

Beer Box Bandit — The Ultimate Head Case
So that’s what Bud Light is for!

From a Revered Chef, a Beer That Behaves Like Wine
This very unusual beer is available at Whole Foods markets for $9.99 a bottle.

Beer price overflows for Munich’s next Oktoberfest
Somehow, you have to think that prices are going to go up at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati too.

Action Alert from Beer Advocate – Federal Excise Tax on Beer Could Triple
As Todd puts its, “It is imperative that you call your member of Congress and your Senators, especially if they are on the Senate Finance Committee and weigh-in on the devastating impact ANY increase on the federal excise tax on beer would have on your business.”

● Did you know that Hoperatives is doing all kinds of social media now? Besides the blog and informational web site (where you are right now), you can follow us on Twitter ( http://twitter.com/Hoperatives ) or join our group on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=49280578300 ). You can also check out our PhotoStream on Flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/hoperatives/sets/ ).

● And don’t forget we’re on our way to our 100th Hoperative and our next drawing. We already have some prizes for this next round including $40 gift certificate to Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, a t-shirt from Weasel Boy Brewing Company, a Magic Hat opener and more. Who knows what else we might add by the time we get to 100? Not a Hoperative yet? Just drop an email message to rollcall@hoperatives.com with your name and location to join our ranks and get your roll call number.

● Want to tell the world (or at least the Tri-state) that you are a Hoperative? Check out our Cafe Press store at http://www.cafepress.com/hoperatives!

Short Hops: March 20, 2009

● No word on this week’s Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence yet. We’ll update this post as soon as we hear. UPDATE: The featured brewery for this evening is Left Hand Brewery of Colorado.

● On the Growler Station at Party Source in Newport: Kasteel Rouge, Goose Island Imperial IPA, Dogfish Head Red & White, Sam Adams Hardcore Cider, Ayinger Celebrator, Avery Maharaja

● On the Growler Station at Party Town in Florence: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Great Divide Hibernation Ale 07, Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA, Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine, Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Espresso, Great Lakes Burning River Barrel House Cumberland Pale Ale

● And don’t forget… If you are a believer in better beer and you want to win prizes, then you 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.

Short Hops – March 12, 2009

● This week’s Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence will feature a selection from the Stone Brewing Company including: Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Ruination I.P.A., Smoked Porter, Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Double Bastard Ale. As the guys at Party Town put it, “Stone is one of the most solid microbreweries on the scene, so don’t miss this one.”

● Are you a believer in better beer? Want to win prizes? Then, you 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. As soon as we get our first 50 Hoperatives, we’re doing a special drawing from just those fifty people for a Bockfest themed prize package. Those first 50 numbers are going fast!

● Did you know that Hoperatives is doing all kinds of social media now? Besides the blog and informational web site (where you are right now), you can follow us on Twitter ( http://twitter.com/Hoperatives ) or join our group on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=49280578300 ). You can also check out our PhotoStream on Flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/hoperatives/sets/ ).

● Hoperative #36 John Graff sent in information on an organization that he’s involved with called “BeerTrips.com“.

BeerTrips.com offers avid beer and food lovers the opportunity to discover the history and influences of the World’s Best Beer. On our tours we travel to fantastic destinations such as Belgium, Germany, Britain, France, Russia, Poland, the US, and the Czech Republic. Already so rich in culture, cuisine, history, architecture and natural beauty, these historic places are only made better when you add beer to the mix! Discover the role that beer and brewing plays in the history and culture of Europe and North America — and have a really good time, with great people, along the way. Our Prague, Bamberg, Munich’s Oktoberfest trip has been included in the National Geographic Society’s book: The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life! At Beer Trips, we create the ultimate scenarios for beer lovers, introducing you to the history, people, brewing methods, and beer culture of the places we visit. Drink your favorite beers at the breweries. Get behind the scenes and experience the world’s great beers at a local level. Discover and indulge in cuisine a la biere… and visit some of the world’s great cities.

Enjoying Oktoberfest
in the Schottenhamel tent
Enjoying Oktoberfest
in the Schottenhamel tent
Wreath of hops

worn at the Zatec(saaz) hop festival
Wreath of hops worn at the Zatec(saaz) hop festival
Brewery tour at Pilsner Urquell
Brewery tour at Pilsner Urquell

Digging Out, Looking Ahead

So Carla and I picked a heck of a week to leave town.

There was a time when I used to secretly regret missing big winter storms (hey, I grew up in Texas.  They didn’t happen that often).  Then a weird thing started happening.  As I moved around the country, I’d live through the local version of the “Storm of the Century” the first winter I lived there.  It happened three times.  The biggest was 1996 in Philadelphia.  27.6 inches in a 24-hour period.  After that, I didn’t feel so cheated if I missed the big snow.

So while the Ohio Valley was getting pounded with snow and ice, Carla and I were in Nassau, the Bahamas.  I’ll admit to giggling a little when I thought it was just snow.  Then we heard about the ice and it wasn’t a laughing matter anymore.  For what it’s worth, we were thinking of you.  Hope you got through it all safely.

I expect no sympathy for the fact that it was too cool in Nassau to swim the first couple of days we were there.

One of the things we decided for this trip is to go off the grid.  No laptops.  No wi-fi. We left the blog on auto-pilot. If you sent something in, we weren’t ignoring you!

And  now we’re back.  It’s good to be home.  Of course, we have to dig out, but luckily it’s more metaphorical than actual (though we can’t thank the folks at CVG FastPark enough for helping us dig out our car last night!)

The blog will be busy this week.  Hoperative #14 Jared Whalen has contributed a review and has made a fine suggestion regarding our grading scale that should make it easier for everyone to contribute reviews that have some internal consistancy.  Hoperative #13 John Lavelle let us know what was on tap at Dilly Deli, which we’ll update (but is likely already out of date.  Which means we just need another report!).  Carla and I sampled Bahamian beers, and came across a local stout that was out of this world.  And, finally, the Midwinter Beer Festival is almost upon us!  We’ll preview it.

Oh, and have a beer.  You deserve it after the week you’ve had.

Calling All Hoperatives!

I hate the space-time continuum.  Especially the part where you’re not allowed to be in more than one place at a time.  It really gets in the way of blogging.

Carla and I are gratified and thankful for the wonderful reception we’ve been given by both the Cincinnati and the beer blogging communities.  It’s been great, and we’re having a blast.  This is a new thing for us, and it’s a new thing for you, too. (At least I hope the habit of reading what Carla and I write is a new habit.  Though it would explain why our mail keeps getting opened…) We know folks are reading us because of the fine folks at SkyNet Google Analytics, but we also know it because some of you have taken the time to e-mail us at rollcall@hoperatives.com to request your own Hoperatives ID, a number that might win you some swag somewhere down the line.  We also have a lot of folks following us on Twitter.  We thank each and every one of you, and we want to hear from you!

Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.  Pull up a chair.  Pour yourself a beer.

The Cincinnati metro area is big.  Not Houston or Chicago big, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it.  It also turns out that it’s an awful big area for two people to cover when the topic is beer and this is such a great beer town.  So this is where the ‘operative’ part of Hoperative comes in.  We want this site to be a resource for folks all over town, not just the folks who happen to live where Carla and I happen to live, shop and drink.

For example, we go to Party Town more than anywhere else because we live closer to them and we’ve gotten to know the guys there — because we go there a lot.  We’re regulars.  You’re probably a regular somewhere.  Tell us about it.  What makes the place you like to get beer special to you?

Want us to keep track of what’s on tap there?  We’ll be glad to do it.   We want to be as wide-ranging as we can.   Just let us know who we need to contact at your favorite establishment, and we’ll do the leg work.  Hey, this isn’t entirely altruistic: we want to find out about places that are new to us.

We’ll write about them.  Heck, we’ll let you write about them.  Send us an e-mail with a review and we’ll post it.   Don’t want to call it a review, but just want to brag on your favorite place?  That’s fine!  Send it in.  We’re just the ringleaders, not the whole circus.

Own a place that believes in better beer?  Tell us about it!  We don’t — and won’t — charge for placement in our informational pages.

If you find yourself on this site saying “I can’t believe they don’t list X Y or Z,” it only means you haven’t told us about X, Y or Z yet.  As soon as you do, it’ll be listed.

With great powers come great responsibilities, Hoperatives.   Luckily, this is a blog about beer and all we want to know is what you think, so it really should be pretty easy for you.

Thanks again for making us part of your day, and let us know how we can be more of what you want this to be.

A little tour around the new place

So far I’ve been doing most of the posting because Carla has been very busy doing some of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. You’ll notice over there on the left that there’s a navigation menu broken out into a number of categories. I hope you’ve take a look around, because that’s where you’ll find the fruits of her labor: In a short period of time she’s made a great start on creating a resource that we hope you’ll find useful. Want to know what beers your favorite beer store has on tap in their growler program? We’ll have them here, updated with the most recent information we can get our hands on.

(By the way, do you own an establishment that fits into one of the categories? Let us know who you are and what you’re doing. We want this to be as comprehensive a resource as we can make it. We’re making the rounds as quickly as we can, but you don’t have to wait on us.)

The events list to the right will always show the next five events we know about, but you can get a more comprehensive view from the full Calendar link on the left.  One event that I’m already looking forward to with great anticipation is the 2nd Annual Midwest Winter Beer Festival slated for February 6-7 at the Radisson Cincinnati Riverfront in Covington, KY.  In many ways, last year’s event planted the seeds for this blog.  It’s well-organized, an incredible value and benefits an outstanding non-profit organization:  the Big Joe Duskin Education Foundation.  This event is an absolute can’t-miss.  Start making your plans.

In the upcoming week you can expect to see some reviews, including one in a category we’re calling “Yeah, We Tried It.”  That’s where we’ll review beers you’ve been curious about, but don’t want to be seen buying.  This week’s entry:  Budweiser American Ale.

Yeah.  We tried it.

We’ll also take a look at Mt. Carmel’s Copper Ale and probably a couple of others to to kick us off.  And we’ll be at Rock Bottom Thursday evening for the tapping of the Buffalo Gold Ale.

Look for us.  We’ll be the ones with the beer.

A Brand New Bouncing Baby Blog

Welcome to Hoperatives, a place for believers in better beer.

What’s better beer?  It’s not just the beer you like, it’s the beer you love.  It’s the beer you’ll search for far and wide, the one you’ll drive long distances to sample and buy, the one you’ll  hoard for yourself or grudgingly share, but only with friends who get it.

That’s what this site is about.  It’s about the beer, the places that make the beer, the places that sell the beer, and the places that serve the beer.  Most importantly, it’s about the people.  The people who make the beer, and the people who love the beer.

This blog is centered on Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the world’s great beer towns. We’ll focus on the people, places, and events that make it great.  We’ll also look at happenings in the region, which we’re defining as anything within a five-hour driving range.  That takes us from the shores of Lake Erie to the north to the Tennessee River to the south, from somewhere in the middle of Illinois to the west, to somewhere in West Virginia to the east.

Hey, it’s about beer, not geography.

Finally, because the proprietors of this establishment like to take their love of beer on the road, we’ll venture beyond regional and national borders and report back on what we find.

There’s a reason a good beer bar is noisy.  It’s because people are talking.  That’s what this place is about.  It’s a place for believers in better beer to congregate and have a conversation.

It’s going to be fun.

Happy New Year!