It’s been many a year since Christian Moerlein unleashed a brand new beer in full. Sure, the Lager House does special batches and cask offerings almost every week but the Zeppelin will be in kegs and bottles!
Check out the detail of the Queen City under the blimp!
Here is Moerlein’s description from the bottle label so you don’t have to read that sideways:
You’ve made a discovery – a German-inspired Pale Ale lifted by creativity and crafted for the loffty flight of a Zeppelin. Christian Moerlein Zeppelin Bavarian Style Pale Ale showcases the characteristics of traditional pales, enhanced by the distinctive flavors and aromas of German noble hops. Pilsner and Munich malts provide a significant backbone balanced by delicate floral and fruity notes from a late kettle hop addition and dry-hopping. The result makes this Zeppelin constantly smooth and balanced in flight.
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In the bountiful world of beer it can be hard, neigh impossible, to be aware of all the varieties of beers! Duchesse de Bourgogne (think Doo-shay de bore-gone-a) is one such beer that escaped my notice for far too long. Luckily the fantastic Richard Dubé VP of Brewing Operations at Cincinnati’s own Christian Moerlein brought this beer to my attention earlier this year by proclaiming his love for it. I had it first at Wildflower Cafe in Mason and realized I must get a bottle for a review and spread the love!
Here’s the description courtesy of Brouwerij Verhaeghe’s web page:
“Duchesse de Bourgogne” is an ale of mixed fermentation. It is a sweet-fruity ale with a pleasant fresh aftertaste. This ale is brewed with roasted malts and with hops with a low bitterness. After the main fermentation and the lagering , the “Duchesse de Bourgogne” matures further for many months in oak casks. The tannins in the oak give the “Duchesse de Bourgogne” its fruity character. “Duchesse de Bourgogne” has a full, sweet and fresh taste : it is a ruby red jewel of 6.2 % alc. vol., that best is served in a chalice-shaped glass between 8 and 12°C [46 to 53°F]. A perfect beer .
- Type of beer : West-Flemish red brown ale
- Color : ruby red
- Fermentation : mixed fermentation
Beer: Duchesse de Bourgogne
Brewery: Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Style: Flanders Red Ale
An aromatic combo of acetic vinegar sourness, dark fruits, and malt fills your nose as soon as you bring the glass close with a nice oakyness following after.
The color is an extremely dark red, much darker then anticipated. Though if you hold it up to a strong LED light you can see it’s more of cherry red. The head on here is a nice thick and creamy off-white that stayed around until the very end of the glass.
Flavor has a delightful tang of tartness along a touch of oak and some dark cherries. All of that action is on the more acetic/vinegar side of things but it’s balanced out by a nice malt body and some apple sweetness but the sweetness doesn’t linger which is cool.
Medium body and smooth carbonation with a long dry finish though there is some astringent prickliness left hanging around.
This is a delightful and complex beer that I love to have every so often. I wouldn’t advise drinking this every day, but if you haven’t had one yet you should really try it. It should be easily available at all better bottle shops around town and Richard Dubé keeps it on-tap at the Moerlein Lager House.
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Girls just want to have beer!
Look out Cincinnati! Lock up your husbands’ and sons’ beer taps because Ohio women have a new drinking club and we are officially open for business. Girls Pint Out is a loosely organized national group with many local chapters but they are all dedicated to bringing together women who love craft beer.
Girls Pint Out originated in Indianapolis, Indiana in early 2010. The Girls Pint Out movement quickly spread to Arizona and Texas with charter chapters. Today, Girls Pint Out has more than 15 chapters nationwide giving women the opportunity to socialize and learn more about craft beer. While educational events are planned with women in mind, our social events are co-ed to encourage craft beer drinkers both male and female to further their journey into the craft beer community.
I was so happy to be able to attend the first meeting of the newly formed Ohio chapter of Girls Pint Out. Terri Houston, the Ohio coordinator of the group, did a fabulous job setting up the event held at Tap House Grill. We had one of the distributors from Mt. Carmel Brewing company there to talk us through a flight of their beer and to answer our questions. We started with a pitcher of the Blonde Ale and I have to say I was very impressed by that one. It was a perfect summer ale; light, refreshing, mildly sweet with a hint of citrus and easy on the hops. I could have drank that all day.
We had a nice selection of appetizers to share and of course we also had to have at least one other pint as well. The Tap House does have a pretty decent selection of beers on tap as you might expect from the name. The conversation was great. I got to finally meet Lindsey from Love Beer Love Food as well as hang out with several other good friends. We discussed our favorite types of beer and breweries, and shared the story of how we got into craft beer. A common comment I heard was basically, “I tried beer in college and it was gross so I never really bothered with it. Then one day I tried good beer and a whole new world opened up.” This experience fits nicely into my own theory of why it is that fewer women drink beer. I believe that a great many women and men try the gross stuff when they are new drinkers and think it is disgusting. But since women aren’t expected to like beer anyway and there are alternatives, they head over to Arbor Mist or Mike’s Hard Lemonade and never give beer another thought. Men, on the other hand, probably grew up seeing their dads and other men drinking beer and their friends give them a hard time if they drink something ‘girly’ so they keep chugging the gross beer until they develop a taste for it. But I digress. The point is that this was a super fun event and I hope to see more women at the next Girls Pint Out. The next meet up is July 15th at the Moerlein Lager House. It will include a beer tasting and talk by Brewmaster Richard Dube. The cost is $15 and includes taster samples and some light appetizers. Space is limited for this event, so please reserve your spot today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or RSVP on the facebook event page. I plan on being there and I hope to see you there too.
Rockmill is a semi-local brewery from Lancaster, Ohio. Lancaster is about 2 hours from here and slightly south-east of Columbus. They make the somewhat lofty claim that their local water ” is nearly identical in mineral content to that of Wallonia, Belgium, where Belgian ale originated.” They also use all organic ingredients in their beers. I’ve seen the Triple, Dubbel, and Witbier at various locations around town for a while now but have resisted trying them due to the $15 price. I drink a lot of beer and that gets expensive fast so when I’ve always opted for the $10 bomber/750 over the $15 one. I’m not sure why I changed my mind and finally picked this up but I’m glad I did!
Sorry for the poor quality
Brewery: Rockmill Brewery
Style: Belgian Tripl
Calories: ~270 per glass
Super dense and cloudy orange brown with skim of white head.
Oh man, ultra pungent flowery aroma jumps out as soon as you pop the cork. Lots of spices, banana, cloves, loads of yeast, bit of bread.
Nice classic tripel flavors showing off some floral hops, much more banana taste, some other fruits like lemon and citrus stuff. Really nice and complex flavor.
Medium body with a pretty smooth feeling and a fair bit of carbonation.
No real sense of the 9% which is nice that you can enjoy this without it being in your face. Super awesomely complex aroma and taste are both very enjoyable. I strongly regret waiting so long to have this. $15 is kinda steep and is why I held off so long but honestly for a very small brewery making beers like this it’s not an unfair price. One thing to note was how hard it was to get the cork out. I’m not sure what that means but I had to get out the wine opener and fight with it a bit. Also kinda accidentally poured the yeast in and didn’t keep it separated too well.
This review was just on their tripel but coincidentally and unbeknownst to me fellow Cinci beer blogger Queen City Beer Nerd has just posted a review of the dubbel. I picked this bottle up at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate and you can check the Rockmill website for other locations around town as there are a few too many to list here.
I enjoyed this so much that I’m going to find some time this summer to get out to the brewery and try their other beers. I will, of course, let everyone know what I discover out in the rural Ohio countryside!
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Last year was the first year for Rivertown’s Brewmaster Reserve series and focused on the muched hyped but ultimately disappointing Mayan apocalypse by way of the 4 horseman Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. This year the Brewmaster Reserve is being kicked off with the Infinite Shilling wee heavy Scotch ale. I stopped by the tap room last night to try this out and was able to talk to Tom Hull, Rivertown’s general manager, about this beer. He provided lots of excellent information on brewing a Scotch ale for any ambitious home brewers.
The Brewmasters reserve series this year is gonna be the Big Ass Beer series, everything is going to be over 10%. Starting with a Scotch Ale, the second will be a Belgian quad, after that will be an Imperial American pre-prohibition pilsner, then the fourth one will be an imperial oatmeal stout. If I do my job right it will basically be a just under 12% oatmeal raisin cookie.
For the first one we did the Scotch ale mostly because at home I brew low alcohol content beers. When I brew something strong it’s a wee heavy scotch ale, that’s because my sister lived in Glasgow so I’m very influenced by Scottish brewing. With this beer I wanted to take a different track then most American brewers do. Scotch ale is more an american term then a Scottish one, the Scottish call it a wee heavy that’s why we say we heavy on our tap handle.
The American approach is to mimic the flavors of a traditional scotch ale by using a variety of specialty grains, but 9 times out of 10 will give it a residual sugary sweetness. The Scots don’t use specialty grains in their beer, they’re primarily single malt beers. They don’t use a lot of smoked malt because their maltsters fuel their kilns partially with peat because it’s a cheap fuel source. So the tiny bit of smokiness in a Scottish beer is because peat was a fuel source. A big problem I have with American scotch ales it they’re frequently overly peaty, so we used a combination of peat smoked malt and cherry wood and only a small amount of peat smoked malt. Beyond that it’s nothing but base malt, there’s no specialty grain except for those two very small additions.
The flavor is achieved by taking your first runnings, with the most concentrated sugar, then you start boiling the hell out of it. So on our setup I had to do two mashes for 1 batch to get that nice concentrated wort to start the boil. Then we remashed and sparged after we’d been boiling for about 2 1/2 – 3 hours on those first runnings. Boiling that wort creates melanoids, similar to the Mylar reaction in cooking almost like caramelization but not quite, even if you beer finishes out with a dry gravity it’ll still have a nice significant body to it without being sweet. It’ll be incredibly malty, full bodied, but not cloying sweet at the same time. Another misconception is a lot of [American] Scotch ales turn out extremely dark, because the use of specialty grains, a real wee heavy should be in similar color to a red. So I gave it another 2 hour boil once the full batch was in the kettle to make sure we got that color and really developed the flavor. There is only 1 hop addition, just the bare minimum amount of hops needed to balance this beer out. After that we fermented at a color temperature, I did that because Scotland is a cold place and Scottish ale yeast likes to ferment at a colder temperature I did that to keep it smooth avoid getting too much alcohol heat. Not really a way to avoid getting any, so far but I’m gonna work on that by the end of this series I swear I’ll manage to do it. But we barely got any on this, at 10.8% is really nice. These are meant to be really smooth beers.
For the name of the beer I went with Infinite Shilling because, even for a wee heavy, this is a really big beer. So I thought it’d be fun to follow the naming scheme [see further down] all the way up because it is such a big beer. The goal I’m trying to convey with this is that as far as brewing a wee heavy, at least in the state of Ohio because the alcohol limit laws, you’re not gonna go further then this. My goal was to make the best wee heavy I could, and if I’m making the best one I can then that’s the name I’m going with.
This year the brew masters reserve is entirely draft, we had a lot of people complaining that they couldn’t get kegs of it and with each one we ended up with cases [of bottles] left over [the tap room has 6-packs of War for $9.99]. I just want to make sure people get it and get to enjoy it. We want you to go to the bar and enjoy this with people.
The name of this beer refers to the shilling system used in 19th century Scotland. Shillings were a form of currency in Scotland and beers would be categorized based on their gravity or alcohol by volume (which is kinda the same thing and will be my next Learning About Beer post). So a light beer (under 3.5%) would be 60 shillings, heavy at 4% would be 70 shillings, export was 5.5% and 80 shillings, finally Wee Heavies were over 6% and came in at 90 shillings. Per Tom Hull the wee heavies were so “heavy” they were sold in wee little bottles Note that these classifications don’t apply just to Scottish style ales but all beer in Scotland at the time. Also pretty much any “Scottish Ale” from an American brewery is apt to be a Wee Heavy.
Tonight I’m knocking back the last two styles contained in Mt. Carmel’s Porch Pack. Last week I had the India Pale Ale and Amber Ale to start off my review of the Porch pack. So far I’ve been impressed at how spot on to style Mt. Carmel is but not amazed or wowed in anyway. The IPA & Amber were both good beers, lets see if the Blonde & Nut Brown follow suit.
The Amber Ale is my second beer from Mt. Carmel’s Porch Pack. Earlier this week I reviewed their India Pale Ale and their Blonde and Nut Brown Ales will be coming later this week or next. I’ve always been a fan of beers brewed with a red hue and while this one doesn’t excite, it also doesn’t disappoint.
With some family in town I picked up a Mt. Carmel Porch Pack. The Porch Pack is Mt. Carmel’s 12-pack style sampler containing the IPA, Nut Brown Ale, Blonde Ale, and Amber Ale. By the by I think Porch Pack is a great name for a 12-pack as opposed to ya-know a 12-pack. Mt. Carmel also has a whole “porch” thing like porch sitting at the brewery and other porch related events. Having a brewery at a farm house had certain advantages, like porches.
On a trip to Indy last year I stumbled across 2 Belgians from a brewery I’d never heard of before and scored them both. The brewery was Schlafly, which I understand is one of the bigger/better breweries in St. Louis (not counting he who shall not be named). The beers were Tripel and Quadrupel, it’s nice to occasionally find simple straight forward beer names. When I got home I realized I bought way too much beer to fit in the fridge and decided that it was a good time to get into aging beer. I didn’t start with any lofty goals I just went in needing more space for beer and hoping to keep them for as long as possible. Well, this one made it a year and more friends have joined the Quad.
I’ve gone into the history of Tripels a few times in previous posts so to sum it up.
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This is the last of the beers that Oskar Blues provided for us to review but keep looking forward to the Ten FIDY review in the next few weeks. So far I’ve really enjoyed everything they’ve made. I had G’Knight (imperial red) a few months back and it’s still my favorite, then Deviant Dale’s India Pale Ale is next up, followed by Mama’s Little Yella Pils, and lastly Oskar Blues’ scotch ale Old Chub. I’m happy to be drinking this red, white, and blue can of Dale’s Pale Ale after having done my civic duty and voted. As always, on to the beer!
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