April 1st, 2013
Founders Brewing Company
First off, let me apologize for my absence. It’s rather tough to post without a computer. But I finally got a new one, so I’m back. In a big way. KAY. BEE. ESS.
Black as oil with a thin khaki head.
Lots of cocoa and sweetness, balanced with just a touch of coffee roast.
Thick and smooth. Really full body.
Miraculous. Can I say miraculous? Chocolate, coffee, bourbon, roasty malts. Oak at just the right times. Vanilla undertones throughout, but not extremely noticeable. Not boozy in the mouth, but a little in the stomach. Really masks that 11.2% ABV.
Absolutely lives up to the hype. A remarkable beer. Full-bodied without being overpowering. Complex without being muddled. High ABV without tasting like booze. It’s just delicious. Everything you could ever want in a stout.
Big thanks to Mike for hunting these down today. And use the word ‘hunting,’ very literally. This afternoon, Weiland’s tweeted a series of cryptic messages — each accompanied by a photo — disclosing the location of a bottle of last year’s super rare KBS. Mike managed to find four of them, and was kind enough to share two of them with me. I owe him. Big time.
Rating: 5 out of 5
- Style Imperial Stout
- ABV 11.2
- IBU 70
- Origin Michigan
March 15th, 2013
21st Amendment Brewery
Pours a redish brown with a light white head.
Hoppy but really sweet fruit notes and floral aromas. Very fresh hops.
Smooth, almost syrupy mouth feel. Moderate carbonation.
Hoppy and fruity. A nice sweet malty character that you get with most barleywines with the citrus flavors of an IPA
Hey looks at us posting a review. It’s been a while. I just recently moved to a new house and have been living between two places and Kyle’s computer is on the fritz. We will certainly try to bring you more reviews and beer news soon.
As for this beer, it was a nice surprise when Kyle brought this over to my desk for me to give it a try. He and I both have similar feelings of “eh” for this style but this beer was better than expected. Probably from it’s hoppiness. It has a nice fresh fruity flavor with the sweet malty backbone of a barleywine. There is a pretty solid alcohol note in the finish but over all this is probably one of the better Barleywines I’ve had.
Rating: 3 out of 5
- Style American Barleywine
- ABV 11.5
- IBU 92
- Origin California
January 31st, 2013
Pours dark brown with a light tan thin head.
Roasty, lots of coffee notes. I don’t get much chocolate or hops.
A little over carbonated. A light finish.
A lot of roasty coffee flavors. A little chocolate in the finish.
My first thought was how this beer totally breaks that “Sixpoint flavor.” It doesn’t have that hop profile that most Sixpoint beers have. To be completely honest, from the can I really don’t get as much chocolate flavor or aroma that I would like. I did have a taster of 3Beans today on draft a got a lot more chocolate notes than I did from the can. Kyle and I have talked about this beer and how we feel like we had totally different experiences with this beer. His review is quite different from mine. Let us know in the comments what you think.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
- Style Baltic Porter
- ABV 10.0
- IBU 85
- Origin New York
January 22nd, 2013
Pours a really dark brown with a slight hint of ruby and a thick khaki head.
Roasty, dark chocolate aromas. Just a touch of the coffee. Slight hop hit at the end.
Very smooth with mild carbonation. Nice, big body. Silky finish.
Sweet cocoa flavors in the middle complemented by a bitter coffee finish. Very well-balanced.
This is the first Sixpoint beer I’ve had that I haven’t been able to recognize as a Sixpoint. Their distinct hop flavors are fairly absent here, allowing their malts (and Romano beans) to mingle with the Mast Brother Chocolate cacao husks and Stumptown Coffee Roasters cold-brewed coffee. It’s refreshingly light, for the amount of flavor it packs in. And the aftertaste is really lovely. I’m left craving just a little bit more roasty or smokey notes to round out the flavor profile.
Rating: 4 out of 5
- Style Baltic Porter
- ABV 10.0
- IBU 85
- Origin New York
January 17th, 2013
The most enjoyable Columbus Beerfest yet.
Now, I went on record as not being the biggest fan of the Summer Beerfest back in August, when the event was at the LC. There were too many people, in too small a space, and they oversold the VIP tickets. Needless to say, my expectations weren’t very high for the Winter session. But it was back at its usual location, The Greater Columbus Convention Center. And the beer list did look really promising, with a bunch of new breweries. So I went. But I vowed that if this event wasn’t up to snuff, it would be my last from these organizers. Thankfully, the night was great; smooth from beginning to end. Almost.
If it weren’t for the well-intentioned, but misinformed security guard that tried to confiscate our pretzel necklaces, the evening would’ve been a complete success. Luckily, my girlfriend carries a rather large purse, and we smuggled the necklaces in without incident. (The event organizers later tweeted that pretzel necklaces were, indeed, allowed.)
As for the actual fest, it was great. Not too packed — at least not on Friday — lots of friendly people, and tons of great beers. Here’s a short list of some standouts that I got to try for the first time:
A really delicious, complex mix of hops, coffee, chocolate, and more hops.
#4. There Will Be Black American Black Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Bready but crisp. Dark in color, but light in flavor. Hints of citrus and mint.
Just a damn good beer. Solid throughout, and packs a bit of an ABV punch.
Spicy as hell and warms on the way down. Lovely malt character.
But far and away, the best beer of the night — and one of the best I’ve had in a while — was:
So rich, and lusciously complex. Cask-aged with cacao nibs. Absolutely flavor-packed.
I don’t know what the actual numbers were, but I can’t imagine there were more than 2,500 people in the hall at any given time on Friday. We didn’t have to wait in a single line, not even for the limited selections. Saturday, on the other hand, completely sold out. And from what I heard, it was ridiculously packed, with lines the whole night. Although I would’ve loved to have tried some of the Saturday-only offerings — especially, given how good Friday’s were — I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with the mob.
The pretzel necklace incident aside, the group that runs the festival went a long way to redeeming themselves for last Summer. For now. We’ll have to wait and see what happens this August.
January 7th, 2013
Just a reminder for everyone: the 3rd Annual Columbus Winter Beerfest is this Friday and Saturday at the friendly, indoor confines of the Columbus Convention Center. This year’s event will feature over 60 breweries, 300 beers, and 10,000 visitors. Tickets are available for purchase here, with a list of the beers available here. Of note from that list, is the addition of over a dozen new breweries at this year’s event including: 5 Rabbit, Ballast Point, Finch, Hinterland, Kona, Revolution, Weyerbacher, and local brewery, Zauber.
Half of the Beer Notes contingent will be in attendance on Friday. Keep an eye out for the large, sourdough pretzel necklace and say hi. Full coverage right back here, following the event.
December 13th, 2012
Traquair House Brewery
A nice amber brown, with just a hint of red.
Dark fruits — raisins, prunes, figs — molasses, candy, tobacco, coriander.
Mild to medium carbonation. Just right for the style.
Subtle sweetness. The raisin comes through. Bits of apple. Caramel. Licorice. Warmth.
So, I don’t want to make too big a deal of it, but this is the first five we’ve given out since we started the site. And it’s not without reason. This beer is perfectly balanced. It’s infinitely drinkable, which is remarkable given the alcohol content. And every sip leaves you wanting more. There’s such an incredible depth to this beer; so much going on, but not overpowering or overwhelming. I randomly happened upon this beer at Weiland’s and only bought one bottle, but I hope like hell there’s more left when I go back.
Rating: 5 out of 5
- Style Scotch Ale
- ABV 8.0
- IBU 10
- Origin Scotland
December 4th, 2012
The first inaugural Black Friday brew with my dad, Wally.
I found this really intriguing oatmeal stout recipe a while back and thought it would make a great annual Thanksgiving brew. I scaled it down for a 3 gallon batch this first go-round, and then tweaked it just a bit.
In the end, it was pretty tough to find “toasted” oats in a brick-and-mortar store, but Trader Joe’s came through in the 11th hour. For the coffee beans, I decided to use some from a local roaster, Crimson Cup’s Dark Reign, a really robust and flavorful dark roast.
On brew day, we ran into a stuck sparge due to a malfunctioning false bottom, but we were super close on all our numbers. And even though we missed our original gravity by 0.002, I think we’ll more than make up for it with our yeast starter.
Full review to follow in about 5 weeks or so.
- 4.50 lb. Maris Otter
- 1.25 lb. Toasted Oats (Country Choice Organic Oven Toasted Oats – Old Fashioned)
- 0.50 lb. Roasted Barley
- 0.50 lb. Chocolate
- 0.25 lb. Caramunich
- 0.25 lb. Caramel/Crystal
- 1.50 oz. Cascade (55 min.)
- 1.50 oz. crushed coffee beans (36 hours before bottling)
- Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale (w/yeast starter)
- 65 min. Mash
- 90 min. Boil
- 2 weeks primary fermentation
- 2 week secondary fermentation
- 2 weeks bottle conditioning
November 8th, 2012
A first-of-its-kind shop in the heart of downtown
Last month GQ named Cleveland one of the 5 Best Beer Cities in America. Their coverage of “The Old-School Beer Town” mentioned Great Lakes Brewing Co., Happy Dog, Market Garden Brewery, Nano Brew, even Heinen’s. But, one thing it didn’t mention was a dedicated home brew shop. The reason? Until now, Cleveland didn’t have one.
Enter Paul Benner — entrepreneur and longtime home brewer — with the passion and vision to give his hometown the type of brewing store it deserves. Starting with the radical idea that a home brew store should be more community space than warehouse, he set up shop in the Tremont area with the intention of a creating a place where customers would want to hang out. That being said, Paul couldn’t have picked a better neighborhood, and he knows it; “It’s a cool young place with a strong creative and maker vibe. We’re hoping to tap into that.”
In attempting to conjure a space that matches Tremont’s eclectic feel, Paul has constructed a very non-traditional brewing store. As an homage, of sorts, the shop is built mostly from materials reclaimed from Cleveland’s past — high school science tables, coal factory carts, hardware store displays — saving them from a quick trip to the landfill. Paul’s hope here is two-fold: 1) “Reuse materials and celebrate Cleveland’s history” and 2) “Give the people coming in something to talk about.”
And if the interior doesn’t get people talking, the brewing classes probably will. The Cleveland Brew Shop plans to hold several classes every month, aimed mainly at novice brewers, giving them a place to spend time, ask questions, learn techniques, and hone their craft. To Paul and his team, educating and supporting the new brewer is a passion, and at the core of the shop’s mission.
Though near and dear to Paul’s heart, the classes are there to support the business of selling ingredients and equipment, and it seems like they’re going to be fully stocked. Partnering with wholesaler LD Carlson, CBS will carry every base grain, over 40 specialty malts and 25 different hop varieties, as well as yeast strains from White Labs and Wyeast. Being up the road from LD Carlson’s headquarters will have an added benefit, too; deliveries will be made on a weekly basis, so they’ll always have the freshest stock possible.
When asked what his pie-in-the-sky dreams for the shop were, Paul said he’d, “love to turn into a brew-on-premise somewhere down the line; start carrying our own kits, fabricating our own equipment,” but for the time being, he’s consumed with getting Cleveland Brew Shop ready for their soft launch on November 13. Beyond that, he and his team are excited to start interacting with customers, supporting new brewers in the area, and sharing their passion with the community they call home. Which just happens to be in the middle of one of the nation’s most burgeoning craft beer scenes. Sounds like a match made in beer heaven.
The Cleveland Brew Shop is located at 2681 West 14th St, Cleveland, OH
For hours during launch phase, please call (216) 574-2271
October 31st, 2012
Flying Dog Brewing Company
Dark brown, dark orange around the edges. No head and minimal lacing.
Strong spice aroma. Cinnamon and pumpkin. As close to a pumpkin pie as it gets.
Light to moderate carbonation.
Heavy on the pumpkin up front and a nice dry finish of spices. Heavy on the cinnamon. It’s like dessert. Really.
Here we are on Oct 31st and the guys from Beer Notes have yet to deliver a single review of a pumpkin beer. I figured why not do a little review of one of my personal favorites from this season. If you’re looking for something with huge pumpkin flavor this isn’t going to be your beer. The Fear is a wonderful balance of spice and pumpkin. It doesn’t hit you with over the top pumpkin flavor like other beers of this style. The sweetness makes it completely dangerous to drink, masking the big 9% ABV. I could easily drink this throughout all of the holidays.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
- Style Pumpkin/Yam Beer
- ABV 9.0
- IBU 45
- Origin Maryland