The Comet to Host Fundraiser for Tsunami/Earthquake Relief

Join the Greater Cincinnati Community as we come together in a special fundraiser for Tsunami/Earthquake relief.

Sunday, April 3rd there will be a special event at the Comet all-day to benefit relief efforts needed because of Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan. The beer community has come together to participate as Cavalier Distributing, Premium Beverage Supply, Ohio Valley Beer and Wine, Goose Island Brewing, Listermann Brewing, Mt. Carmel Brewing, and Rivertown Brewing have all agreed to participate in this special event. Others have been invited,expect a full list of participants soon.

Beginning at 1pm, there will also be an auction with unusual & rare beers. Beer Advocate Fans are being asked to make a donation from your cellar, and bid on what you want. Expect to see lots of good stuff you won’t find otherwise.

There will be a raffle for gift certificates and gift cards from local restaurants, tattoo shops, t-shirt shops, homebrew supply stores, hair salons, apparel stores, services, and other special stuff. Look for lots of collectible items to be on hand, including signs, t-shirts, plus other merchandise from Premium Beverage Supply, Listermann’s, Table Top Brewing, Cincinnati Custom T Shirts, Take The Cake Cafe, Melt, Picnic and Pantry and others have already made donations.

As always, the Comet will have brunch from Chef Luke Radkey 11am-2pm, along with all the great craft beer, plus excellent Bloody Marys, and Mimosas. All sales of certain beers will go 100% toward relief efforts.

Entertainment from Aurore Press will be happening beginning at 3:30pm, Live music from the Comet Bluegrass Allstars will be performed with sets at 7:30pm & 9pm.

100% of all profits from the special activities will be donated to the Red Cross Tsunami/Earthquake relief.

Cincinnati’s Image: Finding the Future In Our Past

Roughly a week ago, Cincinnati Council Member Laure Quinlivan publicly asked a very reasonable question about our city’s image. Cincinnati’s image? To some, this seemed like kind of a silly question, because most of us already know what this city is all about: traditional values, tightly-knit communities, and a proud, rich history. Those of us living in the area generally tend to lean toward substance more than style, though, and overlook flash in favor of family and friends. So what’s all this business about an image?  Who really cares? We know who and what we are, and by and large, we’re pretty happy with that.

The question, though, was never about us. If you read my other blog, Puddintopia, you’ve probably heard me mention before that my father taught high school political science in the NKy for years. One of the first things he covered every year was a very simple, very crucial tenet:  those who succeed have a goal and a plan. Is there a goal for Cincinnati? Yes, I believe so; we need to find a way to bring growth to the region, economically, socially, personally, whatever. However we go about it, growth will be the key to our success. But is there a plan to affect that growth?

Um…well…

*crickets*

That, right there, is what the Council Member’s question was all about. In order to grow, we need to attract the interest of people, companies, and groups that don’t already realize exactly how great a place Cincinnati really is. This city desperately needs some PR, a bit of fresh marketing to the outside world. And it doesn’t seem to me that Harry’s Law is going to help much. So, yes, we absolutely need to think a little about our image.

With that in mind, then, what do we say and how do we say it to help people realize they want to come here? Well, sadly, you can’t lean too heavily on how great a place it is for its community and values. Those are reasons people will eventually want to live here, not reasons to come for a visit. You have to have a quicker hook.  Most people won’t take the time to get to know you unless you have a solid opening line.

We’re not going to change who we are though, no matter how much marketing we need. The image of Cincinnati has to be authentic; it can’t be all smoke and pyrotechnics followed by crummy lip-syncing. That’s just not how we do things. It won’t fly at the chili counters or ice-cream parlors.  So the real trick in developing a new image for the city is that you have to find a way to underscore the glories of our past while pointing to the wonderful potential of our future.

Is that even possible? I say, yes, absolutely. To accomplish it, all you have to do is put a big shiny spotlight on (wait for it) beer as part of our tradition.

And no, I’m not just talking about how much we enjoy the occasional brew with friends around here. What I’m really talking about is about how beer, and brewing, truly seem to be in our blood.

In the post I wrote last week, I suggested that we are currently in the “young stages of a beer revolution in Cincinnati, one emphasizing production as well as appreciation.” Don’t believe me? Well, Christian Moerlein, the company building that fancy Lager House at The Banks, is Cincinnati-based and owned by resident Greg Hardman. I’ve not yet met the man, but I’m pretty sure he agrees with me. Moerlein, which also brews historic Cincy brands Hudepohl and Burger, recently opened a new brewing facility in Over-The-Rhine, which is expected to be fully operational this spring.

Moerlein is just the tip of the iceberg for the modern brewing story in Cincinnati. Depending on who you believe, the Boston Beer Company is now the single largest American-owned brewery. Guess where they brew a huge proportion of their product every year? Yep, right under our noses. Mt. Carmel Brewing is doing good things on the eastern edge of town, fine people are making some excellent beer at Rivertown Brewing in Lockland, Red Ear Brewing is operating on Pike street in Covington, Great Crescent Brewery is a short hop away in Aurora, IN, and Dan Listermann is finally making beer for other people to drink at Listermann. Oh, and very soon, Cloister Brewing will undoubtedly be producing quality brews for thirsty people in Northside.

And that’s just the commercial brewing operations I know about. But wait, there’s more! Brewmaster Mitch Dougherty has been doing us proud at the Rock Bottom Restaurant Brewery on Fountain Square for years now, even earning a Bronze medal at the World Beer Cup and a Gold Medal at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers. And let’s not forget that in Newport, our Hofbrauhaus was the first one ever in the United States, and they brew all of their beer on site.

You might have heard, the Germans can be picky about their beer; it’s worth noting that they picked us first.

When I look out across the Cincinnati metro region, I see a lot of people working hard to produce great beer, and more and more places showing off our appreciation for it. For instance, the Dilly Cafe in Mariemont has been named one of the top 100 beer bars in America. In general, it’s a lot harder than you’d expect to find a bar around town that’s not offering something for every craft beer lover. A decade ago, I’d walk into an unfamiliar bar and have to hope to find a friendly tap handle. Now, more often than not, I’m staggered by so many options that I don’t know where to start.

So, yes, we’re definitely a beer town.

I say, why not try to leverage that?

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Cincinnati was one of the greatest beer cities in the US. Since those golden days, there have obviously been some ups and downs. But look at where we are today, and then take a moment to consider the overall state of the US economy, especially in recent years (including the large-scale brewing industry). Through the recession, few industries managed to squeak by unscathed. Craft brewing did, though. The industry showed growth in 2008, 2009, and 2010, which is even more interesting when you consider that overall beer sales were down in those years.

Craft beer is a growing industry, and right now, this is a city looking for growth. At the same time, this is a city extremely proud of its history, and brewing quality beer is part of our collective soul. To me, this sounds like a perfect match, a match made in Over-the-Rhine well over a century ago.

Those who succeed have a goal and a plan. To promote growth, we need to enhance the city’s image to the outside world. Our skill in quality brewing and appreciation for good beer should be the cornerstone of that image. There’s no reason we can’t make Cincinnati the Great American Beer Town once again.

So support your local breweries! Because if we support them and somehow get this message to Ms. Quinlivan and the rest of City Council, those breweries can go a long way toward supporting all of us.

And supporting each other is exactly what this community is all about.

Pud’n

Local Beer Tasting at Olives – January 19th

Have you stopped by Olives in the historic Ludlow Garage lately? They have really stepped up their craft beer selections and on January 19th, they will be hosting a Local Beer Tasting featuring beers from Christian Moerlein, Rivertown, Mt. Carmel and Listermann.

The event will run from 7:00 to 9:00 pm and the cost is just $10.00 per person. That includes a sampler flight as well as an appetizer buffet.

The local beers on draft at Olives are as follows:
Rivertown Winter Ale and Vienna Lager
Listermann Friar Bacon Smoked Bock
Christian Moerlein Christkindl
Mt. Carmel’s Amber Ale

[Please note that the Rivertown Winter Ale may be replaced by Hop Bomber and the Moerlein Christkindl may be replaced with OTR depending on sales of those beers go this weekend.]

Sounds like a great way to spend a Wednesday night!

This Week in Beer: September 13 – 19, 2010

Monday, September 13th from 5:30 to 10:00 pm – Half Price Draft Night at The Bistro
Formerly JeanRo Bistro

Tuesday, September 14th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm – All About Beer at Mac’s Pizza Pub
Meet local brew masters Mike Dewey and Dan Listermann, taste Mt. Carmel beer and two new Listermann beers. Six tastes for $10.

Wednesday, September 15th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm – Beer Tasting at Marty’s Hops and Vines

Wednesday, September 15th from 6:00 to 10:00 pm – Mt. Adams Oktoberfest

Wednesday, September 15th at 6:00 pm – Burgers and Beers at the Party Source
Tonight’s theme is Dogfish Head.

Thursday, September 16th at 6:00 – 10:00 pm – Cock & Bull: Pint Night (Covington) Thursdays
This week, it’s Kostritzer Oktoberfest.

NEW Thursday, September 16th at 6:00 – 10:00 pm – Cock & Bull: Pint Night (Glendale) Thursdays
This week, it’s Warsteiner Oktoberfest.

Thursday, September 16th at 6:00 pm – Firkin Tapping at Rock Bottom Brewery

Friday, September 17th from 4:00 – 7:00 pm – Flowing Fridays Beer Tasting at Cork ‘N Bottle (Covington and Buttermilk Pike-Crescent Springs)

Friday, September 17th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm – Beer Tasting at DEP’s Fine Wine and Spirits in Fort Thomas (formerly Liquor Direct)

Friday, September 17th from 6:00 – 7:00 pm – Friday Night Flights Beer Tasting at Party Town in Florence

Saturday, September 18th from 11:00 am – 12:00 midnight – Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

Saturday, September 18th from 5:00 – 8:00pm – Beer Tasting at Ludlow Wines

Sunday, September 19th from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm – Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

More Beer Events for This Weekend

● Listermann’s will be have TWO keg tappings this weekend at Grammer’s (1440 Walnut St, Cincinnati). Tonight (6/25), it is cask conditioned IPA (we had this at the Cincinnati Beer Festival and loved it). And tomorrow night, it’s their truly amazing smoked bock. Not to be missed! Both tappings are at 7:00 p.m.

● Flipdaddy’s (7453 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati) will be tapping a keg of Two Brothers Hop Juice Imperial IPA tonight at 8:00 p.m. Tomorrow, they are holding a World Cup extravaganza. Starting at 1:00 p.m., they will be offering four different beers for $2 per pint and will have appetizer specials too. Wear red, white and blue and get a free Flipdaddy’s logo pint glass.

● Cincinnati Roller Girls’s home season may be over, but there’s still flat track roller derby going on south of the river. The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls have a home bout tomorrow night. In fact, it’s a double header vs. Fort Wayne. Hudy Delight and Hudy 14-K are two of their sponsors. You can get from $1 Hudys from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls skate at Midwest Hoops – 25 Cavalier Blvd in Florence.

Special Beers at Grammers Tonight

Both Chris Mitchell from Listermann’s and Darryl Dieckman from the Bloatarians contacted us to let us know that Grammers is going to be having some special beers tonight:

Listermann Cask Conditioned IPA – 6.25% ABV – Listermann’s Enter The Beagle India Pale Ale receives and overall A- rating on BeerAdvocate . Taste this cask conditioned version of the beer and judge for yourself.

New Holland Envious – 7.5% ABV Its high-gravity malt-fermented base is blended with Michigan pear juice and chardonnay yeast for a second fermentation, before being aged with raspberries and oak. Unlike any style or beer before it, it must be tasted to be appreciated.”

New Holland Mole Ocho – 8.8% ABV – “Our exploration into the flavors of mole, the legendary sauce of central Mexico. Malty aroma and rich, cocoa-laden body laced with an invigorating tinge of dried chilies and coffee.”

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)