Category Archives: Cincinnati

Five Places to Get a Great Cocktail in Over the Rhine

I originally set out to make a list of some of the best bars in the city for this article. Nothing too fancy, just a list of places I would recommend to people from out of town if they wanted to be sure of getting a great cocktail. Once I sat down to think about it I realized I had a problem. Not only do we have too many great bars and restaurants who are putting skill, art, and love into their cocktail menu to list in one article, but I was missing out on a great excuse to try a whole bunch of new places in the name of research. So for now I decided to limit myself to the one area of the city I am already way too familiar with and will be adding the top five cocktail bars of other neighborhoods in future weeks.

12th Street OTR

Five Places to Get a Great Cocktail in Over the Rhine

The rapid change of Over the Rhine from an economically depressed historical neighborhood to the city’s newest hot-spot for trend setters and foodies has been a boon for cocktail aficionados. Craft cocktails are a must for every new bar and restaurant in the area, leaving us with dozens of places within a three block radius to get a $10 cocktail.  Luckily we are talking about really good cocktails here and they are pretty darn strong to boot so that makes them easier to swallow (har.) But with limited time on your hands you may be wondering which spots to be sure to hit on a night out. Here is my list of five places in Over the Rhine where you are guaranteed to get a good cocktail.

5. The Lackman: This bar is probably my least favorite on the list when it comes to atmosphere and price but since this is list is about quality of cocktails it made the cut. The drinks I’ve had there are always wonderfully executed and served with a consistent quality. They have some barrel-aged drinks on a rotating basis, including a barrel aged negroni last time I was there. The bottle selection is not very deep but it is high quality. Service is usually very good even when it is crowded. The beer selection is great and rotates regularly. In short they are doing everything right, they are just missing some of the heart of other places and they charge you a bit more for the pleasure.

4. Bakersfield: I’ve written before about my admiration of Bakersfields’ cocktails. They were the first place in the area where I ordered a barrel aged manhattan and I love their Red Headed Stranger Cocktail. I also am a big fan of their $3 shot specials which always include a solid bourbon or tequila selection. I recommend stopping by on Fridays for a $3 shot of Four Roses. The cocktail list shows a great deal of thought and compliments their food and the vibe of the place. Just don’t go there if you are looking for a gin martini. Bakersfield loses points for being a tequila and whiskey only kind of place but you can’t expect urban cowboys to drink fruit flavored vodka now can you?

3. Neon’s: When Charlie and I did our run around OTR for Yelp Drinks Neon’s ended up with the winning cocktail with a smoked elderflower that was out of this world. They make their own bitters and syrups for their cocktails as well as a huge number of infusions so the variety of drinks you can get there is almost endless. They have a beautiful patio and a really excellent beer selection that is always good for trying something new. The drawbacks seem to have a lot to do with how popular it has become, with crowding and slow service being the most common complaint. Also, although I enjoy the creativity that can come from making your own infusions, they can be hit or miss. I’ve tried several bourbon infusions at Neon’s and unfortunately many of them seemed to be a waste of good bourbon.

2.  The Senate: The Senate Restaurant is one few places in OTR that manages to be a triple-threat. Great food, extensive beer list, and amazing cocktails that rotate out on a regular basis. The senate hits all the flavor profiles in their house cocktail list, from bitter to sweet, from fruity to fatty, from classic to cutting edge. I had a drink there once that was made with duck fat and looked like sludge but tasted divine and was served with a fig newton garnish. Recently I took my friend there for her bachelorette party and this was her reaction to the Fidel Castro she was drinking.

I think that says it all.

1. Japp’s: I realize that a lot of people probably think I am on the payroll for Japp’s considering how often I rave about it. But seriously, this place has everything a cocktail nerd could ask for. First of all, the atmosphere is great. Beautiful historic building with no TVs and frequent live bands that compliment the style. But this is an article about cocktails and here is where Japp’s really shines. The staff is trained amazingly well with a really high degree of professionalism and consistency for all of their drinks and I am willing to bet that this is one of the few places you can go in the whole city where you can order a Blood and Sand or a Martinez and not have the bartender ask you what’s in it. On top of the classic cocktails, the rotating weekly list of house specials is always great and the bottle selection is amazing. And let’s not forget that fresh juices and house made syrups and bitters that are standard at this location. Nothing but quality and the price is actually pretty reasonable if you look at what the other places are charging for similarly crafted cocktails. Not to mention that the bar’s owner and still regular bartender Molly Wellmann literally wrote the book on craft cocktails.

So now is the part where you go ahead and tell me how wrong I am. What places did I leave off? What places are over rated? I want to know. And before anyone says anything I do want to give honorable mention to Arnold’s, where I would actually rather drink most nights than a lot of the other places on this list. Arnold’s has a personality that can’t be beat in this city and they have upped their cocktail game considerably in the past few years but the mixed drinks are still inconsistent and rely on pre-made mixes . And let’s face it; wouldn’t we all rather keep Arnold’s feeling a little more down to earth and little less trendy?

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Bars, Cincinnati, Places, Restaurants

New local beer alert: Listermann Colonel Plug (Kentucky Style Common Ale)

Colonel_Plug13.ol

I had noticed the label approval for this one a little while back, but now we have the details concerning the beer and its release. From Jason at Listermann:

Listermann Brewing Company will be releasing its first beer in its new Ohio Riverboat Pirate series, Colonel Plug, a collaboration with 1987 Home Brewer of the Year and the founder of the Bloatarian Brewing League in Cincinnati, Ray Spangler. Ray and head brewer Kevin Moreland decided to revive one of the three beer styles that originated in the United States: Kentucky Common.  The Kentucky Common is a sour mash beer that had an 18 hour mash before it was boiled to naturally sour the beer.  The beer was then aged in an American oak cask.

Colonel Plug will be a brewery only release on Friday September 27th at 5 pm. It will be available for draft and bottle purchase. Listermann Brewing Company is located at 1621 Dana AveCincinnati, OH45207

Appearance – Bourbon Hue

Malt – Corn, 2-Row, Honey Malt

Hops – Sterling

Yeast – American Ale

O.G. – 15.5 Plato

IBU- 20

ABV- 6%

Edit: These are $13.99 a bottle with a limit of two bottles per person.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Events

New lagering tunnel discovered in Cincinnati!

After being sealed 18 years ago an entrance to the Hudepohl lagering tunnels has been reopened by the hard working Over-The-Rhine Brewery District team! IMG_5715 Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse Cincinnati

BJs-Restaurant-Logo

A few weeks ago while I was leading a microbrewery tour with Tonic Tours, I started talking with a guy named Dave Reed who was enjoying a pint at Rivertown’s taproom. Turns out he is the beer manager at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse and he invited Charlie and I down to enjoy some beer, check out their food, and see what we thought of the place.

2013-09-04 18.04.45

Because I live near Tri-County Mall I have driven by BJ’s a number of times since they opened but something about the name and the location in the mall had caused me to write them off as a cheesy sports bar with too much testosterone and too many chicken wings so I’d never actually been inside. In the end, I may not have taken Dave up on his offer except that my cousin who usually has pretty good taste in beer recently told me that BJ’s has one of the best pumpkin ale’s he’d ever had. I was intrigued to see if I had judged BJ’s too harshly.

2013-09-04 18.03.48 HDR

BJ’s started as a deep-dish pizza restaurant in 1978 in Southern California. The chain took off in California and in 1996 they added a brewery to their line up and began brewing their own beer to serve in their restaurants. All of the beer served at the Cincinnati location is brewed in the Reno brewery. In addition to the Tri-County location they have recently opened a location in Florence, KY and a BJ’s will be opening in Dayton later this month.

2013-09-04 17.04.40 HDR

BJ’s has 12 of their own beers on tap, with selections ranging from their standard American-style light beer to a stout and a double IPA coming out later this month. When we sat down with Dave at BJ’s he brought us a flight of their four most popular beers: the LightSwitch Lager, BrewHouse Blonde, Piranha Pale Ale, and Jeremiah Red. All of the beers were solid, approachable, and fairly safe which makes sense given that these are the best selling beers in a fairly mainstream restaurant. There was actually a barely detectable hint of hops in their light beer and I particularly enjoyed the Jeremiah Red. It has a fairly complex malt profile although it may be a bit sweet for most people’s taste in an Irish Red Ale. I wish that we had gotten a chance to try some of the darker varieties of beer as well to see how they compared, but overall I would rate the beer good but not great. In addition to their own beer’s BJ’s also has 12 more beers on tap with everything from Blue Moon to Rivertown’s Hopbomber.

2013-09-04 17.48.07 HDR

I have to say that the food impressed me a little more than the beer. The deep dish pizza was delicious, a nice amount of toppings that didn’t get overwhelmed by the crust. The seared ahi tuna salad I ordered was amazing, with the tuna cooked to perfection and nicely balanced by the rice-wine vinaigrette and generous portion of avocado. I was actually most impressed by the wide selection items on their menu that fit different diets. They had a surprisingly large number of gluten-free dishes that they apparently even use separate utensils and trays for to avoid cross-contamination. Their low calorie dishes, including the salad I got, were great even if they insist on calling them “Enlightened Entrees.”

2013-09-04 17.48.02 HDR

Over all the biggest disappointment was that this pumpkin ale I’d heard about from my cousin was not available yet. I guess I will just have to head back in October when the finally tap it and try a few more of their beers before I make a final decision. Over all I would to head to BJ’s for the food first and enjoy the beer as an accompaniment to the meal rather than the main attraction. With easy parking, little to no wait, and plenty of big screen TV’s there are worse choices for a night out with solid food and beer you can’t try anywhere else. If you want to check out BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse a good opportunity is coming up at the end of the month. They are doing a beer and cider dinner September 30th; for $30 per person you get five courses of food with a beer or cider paired with each one. Call the restaurant to reserve a seat at (513) 671-1805. And be sure to check out Episode 30 of Bottoms Up to hear Charlie and I try the beer and get a rundown of each one.

BJ's Restaurant and Brew House on Urbanspoon

2 Comments

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Places, Restaurants

Coming soon: King of the Cincinnati IPA

cincy-ipa2 (1)

 

More on this soon…

Special thanks to designer Dan Schmidt (@schmidt) for the artwork.

2 Comments

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Reviews

Handcrafted Cocktails Cincinnati Book Launch

2013-07-29 14.53.50

After months of buzz and anticipation Cincinnati was finally able get their hands on Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Morning, Noon & Night by mixologist and local alcohol-celebrity Molly Wellmann. The book’s Cincinnati launch was held last Thursday at Molly’s bar Japp’s Since 1879 so of course I was there to get my autographed copy and to check out a few of the cocktails that Molly was demonstrating from the book. Here are some of the highlights of the evening.

Molly Wellmann

Molly signing books and looking fabulous.

 

She likes us. She really likes us!

She likes us, she really likes us!

 

Molly Wellmann making a "sweet heat" cocktail.

Molly making a “sweet heat” cocktail.

I haven’t gotten a chance to dig into the book too much yet but it looks great so far. I really like that she divided the chapters into times of day, “Drinks for the Morning” and so on, and then in each chapter categorized them by the main spirit used in the cocktail. The recipes are a mix of classic cocktails with the stories to go along with them, as well as original creations. We tried two of the original recipe cocktails featured in the book, Little Boy Blue and the Sweet Heat.

Bourbon, blueberry simple syrup, and a stout floater

Little Boy Blue: bourbon, blueberry simple syrup, and a stout floater.

 

Sweet Heat: vodka, jalapeno simple syrup, and salt & pepper.

Sweet Heat: vodka, jalapeno simple syrup, and salt & pepper.

It was a great night out. Charlie and I really enjoyed the food, drinks, and atmosphere of the event as well as running into other local writers like Sharon Rudd and Anne Mitchell who were checking out the books as well. Of course the dangerous thing about starting to drink in Over the Rhine is that there are so many places to continue drinking once you’ve gotten a few under your belt. We ended up at friend’s birthday party being held at Neon’s once we were done and the next thing you know we are having a drink at Arnold’s with a guy dressed up like Marie Antoinette.

2013-07-25 21.05.24 HDR

Yeah, it was that kind of night.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Cincinnati, Events

Tonic Tours – Cincinnati Brewery Tours

When I went to San Diego for a bachelor party earlier this year we were able to sign up for a local brewery tour which provided a bus, a driver, some water, and tours at each of 3 breweries of our choice (we picked Stone, Green Flash, and Lost Abbey). As soon as we were done with that tour my friends and I began debating and plotting away to do that same thing in Cincinnati.

Luckily someone else has already done that for us making Tonic Tours are the first local tour of breweries that I’m aware of. I’ll let you read Tonic Tours description of the event before we dive into my thoughts:

Tonic Tours is launching public microbrewery tours in Cincinnati. We start at Everything’s d’Vine for an introduction to beer tasting before we drive the van to Rivertown Brewing, Fifty West, and Mad Tree before ending back up downtown at Everything’s d’Vine. Food will be available at Fifty West and water and snacks will be provided along the way. You will learn a little about the past, present, and future of making beer in Cincinnati as well as getting to try some amazing local beer at each stop.

For $90 you get a van ride from Everything D’Vine to Rivertown to 50 West to Madtree and back to Everything D’Vine, a tour and tasting at each brewery, water and snacks in the van, a commemorative glass, and some light food at Fifty West as well. If you want dinner at 50 West (I suggest the C.A.B. sandwich) or more beer at any of the stops then that is extra. Just getting tasting and a tour at Rivertown, 50 West, and MadTree is pretty sweet in itself. If you’ve already been to those then hang tight as the schedule will rotate up every few months.

If you’ve lived here your entire live or are only in town for the weekend this is a great way to discover, or re-discover, Cincinnati’s local breweries! These tours will be running the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month for $90 a head, you can book your spot over on www.TonicTours.com.

Full Disclosure: I was invited on this tour by Ginny Tonic who comped the tour and all beer, I still paid for my own food. Ginny Tonic is a writer for this blog and I gave her some advice and suggestions to help plan this tour. I will not say that this has in no way impacted my review of the tour since it very well may have. However, I have done my best to be objective and non-biased in the above review. If anyone wants to provide me with things to review I only promise that I will review them and I will write a blog post about them. I do not, under any circumstance, promise a positive review.

2 Comments

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati

Listermann Brewing Company presents Volksfest July 27th, 2013

flyer2

Some news from our friends at Listermann:

Introducing, the newest festival hosted by Listermann Brewing Company: Volksfest! Volksfest is a festival for the people of Cincinnati, brought to you by your favorite local craft breweries. Held July 27th at Listermann Brewing Company in Norwood, Ohio, Volksfest will feature beers only from local breweries. The word Volk in German means people, and Cincy’s brewers have decided to come together once again to show our customers just how much they mean to us. There will be live music all day, performed by local musicians (Bands yet to be announced). Several different food vendors will be on hand to serve a wide range of food. The idea behind Volksfest is lower ABV and session beers for the hot summer days in July. There is no cost to attend Volksfest, just pay for whatever you eat and drink! The celebration begins with kegs and eggs in the tasting room at 9 am and ends once the music stops playing at 11 pm.

The breweries involved are: Blank Slate, Fifty West, Christian Morelein, Rock Bottom, Rivertown, Mt. Carmel, Mad Tree, Cellar Dweller, Wiedemann, Quaff Bros, Rhinegeist, Triple Digit, and Listermann. Some of these breweries are making beers JUST for this event!

Listermann Brewing Company has teamed up with the German-American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati to host the event. They will be bringing an authentic German feel to the festival, as well as booths, banners and parades to talk about their respective clubs. The ceremonial keg tapping of the Listermann Volksfest Lager will be held at 4 p.m.

Like the Oktoberfest and Starkbier Fest previously held at LBC, this event will be family and dog friendly. More info on the music and food vendors will be provided later. The event will start at 9 a.m. with Kegs and Eggs in the tasting room.

We have a new Facebook page, Volksfest Cincinnati , and twitter account, VolksfestCincy, so join the conversation on those for the most up to date information.

For special accommodations or questions, call Listermann’s at 513-731-1130 or email Jason at Jason@listermannbrewing.com or Kevin at Kmoreland@tripledigitbrewing.com. We look forward to seeing you July 27th! Prost/Cheers!

Leave a comment

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Events, News

Know your local brewery: Cellar Dweller

When I first had Cellar Dweller last year I was not quite amazed. I remember trying 3 or 4 and found them all to be good, not great and certainly not astounding. That changed drastically a few weeks ago at Village Wine Cellar in Lebanon. I had the Doorbell IPA that went through a Hop Rocket right before kegging and man was it amazing (sadly as I found out there has only been 1 6 barrel of that so far). That motivated me to get me off my ass, pay a visit to the Cellar Dweller, and help you all know a bit more about them.

The fist things to know is that as of now Cellar Dweller is one guy in a basement. Steve Shaw is the head brewer out at Cellar Dweller and he really is in a “basement”, however it may be one of the nicest basements out there. Unlike most breweries who are on their own in a warehouse Cellar Dweller has the distinct advantage of residing beneath the Valley Vineyard winery. Steve is part of the Valley Vineyard’s family and they were happy to lend him a hand when he got the idea for this brewery.

About the brewer:

  • How’d you get into “good” beer?
    • When I was about 21 I did a road trip with my brother and it was the first time I had any craft beer. I’d been drinking Bud Light and Budweiser and we went up to a little local brewery and I was like Man this is what beer is supposed to be like. This was before you could go to Kroger or anywhere and buy craft beer so I started brewing it and it just developed from there.
  • What is local/craft beer to you?
    • Anything that is 100 miles from your area.
  • What has the local brewing community been like?
    • It’s been awesome man. I’ve gained a lot of friends that I think will be lifelong friends. Copper Head is a beer that I’ve been brewing at home for years and had it perfect. I got on the system here and kept running into problems. I sent some beers down to Kevin [Moreland of Listermann’s/Triple Digit], we talked over my process and as soon as he tasted it he knew what it was and helped me solve the issue. What other industry, where you’re directly competing with someone, can you go down there and get help with your beer?
  • You. Desert island. Three beers. What do you choose?
    • Sam Adam Boston Lager
    • Blank Slate Brewing Company Fork in the Road
    • MadTree Psychopathy

About the brewery:

  • How and when did Cellar Dweller get going?
    •  I’m a brother in law of Kenny, who owns the winery, I was never a wine drinker so I’d always bring the beer in. So I came to Kenny and talked to him about bringing some beer into the winery. He was a little hesitant but my beer started getting better and better at the family events. So my nephew and I talked him into it and here we are! We started brewing Feburary 21st, 2012 and are 15 times over our first year numbers, almost 400 barrels. New 10 barrel system will be online in the next 2 – 3 weeks, plus new bright tanks will be a total of 60 barrels on hand at any time.
  • Is there a story behind the name?
    • For years everyone that worked in the cellar at the winery, we called them cellar dwellers. They go downstairs in the morning and they don’t come back up till the end of the day. We threw the name out there and kept trying different names but that one kept sticking.

    The beer is actually brewed in the cellar

  • What is your brewing process, from brain storm to bottle shelf?
    • I go off of my palate, and that’s me becoming a brewer then having to brew for someone else. I was brewing beer that I liked, every beer I brewed I liked. Someone else would try and and say they don’t like it. Then I started to have to brew beers other people liked and that was the hardest adjustment. Out of our 9 beers there are probably 4 that I really really like and the others are like yeah I can drink ’em. My session beer is 50 IBU and if I’m sitting down drinking it’s 100+, that’s just my style and what I like. So I sit down and make a recipe trying to think about what people like. We’ll make a batch and bring it up and see what people think, if they like it I keep the notes.
  • How has everything been going over all?
    • Steve kinda answered this earlier saying they were 15 times over initial projections. Later on in the interview he had the following “the first full year of the brewery the dinner crowd didn’t swing off as fast in the fall as it has in years before. The crowd leveled out definitely but didn’t fall off as fast.”
  • Are any of your ingredients local? If so which:
    • All of our grain is out of Chicago and I try to buy as much as I can locally. We’re gonna start growing hops in the vineyard, start about 5 acres and see how they rate with other hop areas. We’ll grow all different varieties and see how Ohio can do at growing hops.
  • Where can folks go to get Cellar Dweller?
    • Valley Vineyard’s obviously
    • Village wine Cellar in Lebanon
    • Arthur’s in Hyde Park
    • Wildflower Cafe in Mason
    • General Denver Hotel in Wilmington
    • The Pub in Beavercreek, soon to be 2 more of their locations
    • Putters 2 Put in Maineville
    • Paxton’s Grill in Loveland
    • Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash
  • When can we expect to see bottles?
    • Once we get the new system up and running the plan is that about 50% of our production will go into bottles. But we’re also looking into cans, we don’t have a packaging system yet. I think the market is there for cans and I think it’d do very well. We have a company that’s starting up in Columbus, Buckeye Mobile Canning, everything’s packed in a 26 foot box truck, they hook their hoses up to your bright tank, run it through everything leave the pallets of cans and they’re gone! It’ll be towards the middle/end of summer before that happens.

Anything else that you want folks to know?

  • We’ll be adding a new upstairs area, calling it The Loft at Valley Vineyards. It’ll be more  of a pub feel more of a craft beer style tap room where you can come in and have a bar area and a table sitting area. Our beers are constantly evolving and we’re going for full distribution by the end of summer.

The biggest little brewery in town.

Festival info – We had this festival for almost 30 years but scaled it back, but it back on the drawing board, and came back with a new idea. Now it’s the Valley Vineyards taste of Warren County. We’re trying to bring in more local foods and local restaurants as well as a few other breweries. [Listermann/Triple Digit & Blank Slate Brewing Company have been confirmed since the time of the interview.] For last 2 years we had it it was only Saturday night, but this year we’re bringing Friday night back in. The hours are Friday 5 – 11 pm and Saturday 11 am – 11 pm. We’ll have live music, obviously the food and wine, a couple guest breweries. Here is the list of events for both days and you can get tickets here.

A grand future ahead!

Steve was kind enough to hook me up with a bottle of his Copperhead pale ale as a taste of what’s to come and trust me that there is some great stuff to come. I don’t want to give this a full review as it may be a bit different then whats on draft now and what will eventually be bottled/canned. The quick review is that is a super heady with a great hazy amber brown color, bountiful citrus aroma & flavor, nice hop bitterness and flavor balanced by bready caramel malt flavor. Really excited to have some more of this once it starts rolling out.

For more info on Cellar Dweller check their web page http://www.valleyvineyards.com/cellardwellerbeers.html and Facebook page.

This is the third post in my series on knowing your local brewery. If you missed the first two then go back and get some info on Rivertown and Blank Slate Brewing Company.

1 Comment

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Interview

Beer Review: Rivertown Lambic (2012 + 2011)

Lambics are some what of an interesting style, mostly because of the funk taste but also the nature of the open air fermentation. Back in Belgium, back in the the old days, brewers would leave their vats of beer open and whatever floated by would settle into the beer. The region in Belgium famous for lambics was lucky enough to have some very special yeast floating through the air that gave it this distinctive funk. Of course they didn’t know about yeast and all that back then. Today those special stains of yeast are added in instead of letting them float on by, at least I hope they are. The other qualification for a lambic is a 30% wheat grain bill. Then they are often aged in barrels before bottling once in the bottle they receive a secondary fermentation to keep them going for years to come!

In fact the owners of Rivertown, Jason Roeper and Randy Schiltz, were home brewing lambic style beers for many years before starting RTB. One of Jason’s home brewed Lambic style beers won the Sam Adams Long Shot competition in 2009 (Boston Beer Company now owns that specific recipe) but the current one is very close. Once the brewery got up and running they made it a priority to keep the lambics rolling and have been releasing a yearly batch ever since. On top of that they’ve expanded their sours to include an old sour cherry porter, Ojos negros (a wild ale), and a gueuze (a blending of 2 vintages of lambic).

Beer: Lambic (2012)
Style: Lambic
ABV: 6.3%
Calories: ~189

Nice hazy amber brown color that revels a hint of gold when held up to light, actually quite a pretty brew. I didn’t get any head even off of a more aggressive pour. There were initially quite a few bubbles but they popped away quickly.

The wild, barn yard-esk, smell pairs well with this lipizzaner stallion thing that happens to be on PBS tonight. There are quite a few other small things I’m picking up like some kind of wood, I think it’s oak that they age it in, and of course some sourness.

The first sip of any sour always reminds me of Vincent Price’s line from Thriller “the funk of 40,000 years” which is, in my opinion, an almost perfect way to describe many sours. Though in this case it’s just the funk of 1 year, because that’s how long it was aged. Plenty of tart sourness that throws your tongue for a loop and makes your head shutter a bit. There is more of that oak wood flavor as well as some bread action and lemon zest.

The body is on the light side of medium and there is light carbonation.

One quick note on the label, if you notice it says 2012 on there, but wait… this just came out and it’s 2013, what’s the deal?? Well this beer was brewed in 2012, stashed in oak barrels to age, then bottled and distributed in 2013. I don’t love sours but I do really enjoy shaking up my palate with one of these every once in a while and I can fully appreciate the styles. Sadly many can’t and I hope that changes, it certainly seems to be changing across the craft beer scene. Sours are becoming more popular and produced more often across the country. The sweet thing about having Rivertown make so many nice sours is that they’re easy to get for us, this is currently available at the brewery and is, or will be soon, at stores around town. Another great thing with Rivertown in town is that sours age fantastically, so without further delay I present today’s review of last year’s lambic!

Beer: Lambic (2011)
Style, ABV, and Calories are the same

Pours a curious combo of orange brown and a bit of yellow, kind of like dark honey. Again very hazy but this time around it started with a nice white head but that quickly faded into a ring of tiny bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Picking up more citrus along with that barnyard, funk, and bread. Like eating a fresh biscuit while riding a horse in an orange grove.

Far less of that tart sour kick it to the palate like before. The year in the bottle has really mellowed this out. Still plenty of funky sour flavor along with some lemon citrus, and malt biscuit action.

Plenty of carbonation tickles my tongue while the medium body slides across it.

This is a much more preferable brew to me. Plenty of that funk but none of that initial shock as it hits your lip. Aging is really very beneficial to this beer and I strongly encourage folks to pick up at least 2 bottles, 1 for now and 1 for the cellar. Also may want to pick up 1 to trade. Now you may be saying “dang, I didn’t think ahead last year and didn’t buy 1 to agree. Woe is me!” luckily for you Belmont Party Supply in the Dayton planned ahead for just such an event last year and still have plenty of the 2011 left, hence the ugly vintage 2011 sticker on the bottle shown.

And if you want to go back even farther here is Josh’s review of Rivertown’s 2010 Lambic. I’d like to try one of those today to see what 3 years has done to it!

Many thanks to Randy Schiltz for helping me out with some facts, oh and for brewing this beer!

2 Comments

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Reviews