Review: Quaff Bros Big Kahuna

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Coconut beers always seem to be a disappointment to me. It always just seems to be a hint of coconut, leaving me wanting more. After drinking Big Kahuna from our buddies Quaff Bros across the river (though brewed on this side at Listermann), I can safely say that this is no longer the case. Utilizing coconut flakes, toasted coconut, and coconut oil, this beer essentially tastes like it has been aged inside of a giant coconut that previously housed bourbon.

It starts off looking like every other stout, porter, etc. in the world. The only differentiating figure looks-wise is the Coca Cola head on it; big brown bubbles. It gave me pause for a moment because I was under the impression that fatty coconut kills head retention. I guess not always. From the smell alone, you know that you’re going to be in for a treat if you’re a fan of coconut. For just about the first time I’ve experienced with a Quaff Bros beer, the barrel takes the back seat here. In the driver’s seat (and probably the passenger’s, as well) is COCONUTBourbon is in the child seat in the back and the base beer (an imperial porter for those who care), is bound and gagged in the trunk.

The taste, following this trend, is dominated by coconut, with a slight butterscotch flavor either from barrel or base beer. It’s tough to tell. The bourbon is even more muted in the flavor, though to be fair, barrel characteristics often include coconut notes, so it’s entirely possible this is getting lost. Also strange is a slight lactic twang on the finish. I have not the slightest idea what would lend this, but I don’t care for it.

The coconut here is obnoxious and somewhat reduces drinkability (in my modest opinion, of course), but that’s the whole point. It’s supposed to be obnoxious. This is a good, not great, beer, but I am happy that I have another bottle. If I’m going to buy a unique beer, I’d much rather make it a local one than one Sam has recreated from some terracotta pot in a third world country. I know there are a handful of people whose palates I respect who really enjoyed this, but I’m having a tough time putting it on the same level as Sour Grapes, Joseph, and a few other top tier Quaff beers. Maybe it’s just that I don’t appreciate coconut enough. Who knows.

There are still more than fifty bottles of this at Party Source, and if you and a buddy go in on it together, at $9.99 a bottle it won’t cost you more than buying a drink at the bar. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of coconut, you owe it to yourself to get over there and pick up the maximum of four bottles you’re allowed to buy.

P.S. In other cool Quaff Bros news, their “Corn on the Knob” will be on draft at Great American Ballpark on June 14 when the Reds take on the Milwaukee Brewers.

Quaff Bros.’ Manhattan Project

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Sometimes craft beer is weird. Brewers of beer (or at least craft beer) are an inherently creative bunch. With brewers, like bakers, chefs, and pretty much anyone else who uses their noggins to turn a concept into a finished product, you’ll find that the concept itself is often as important as the process that leads to the finish product. And boy, oh boy, do the Quaff Bros. have some concepts. Strong – sour – barrel aged – stout- wheat – IPA, their creations run the gamut. I thought Sour Grapes (check out my review) was weird, but apparently I had seen nothing yet.

Obviously, following a sour brown ale aged in bourbon barrels with wine grapes (yep), they release a beer that attempts to mimic a classic cocktail. Manhattan Project is a rye beer, aged in rye whiskey barrels with maraschino cherries and bitters. Like I said, craft beer is weird.

Anyways, on to the good stuff. Continue reading “Quaff Bros.’ Manhattan Project”

Yelp Drinks 2013!

Yelp has been doing Yelp Drinks over the past couple years and it’s been a great event. The short of it: three select drinks at certain bars/restaurants are 50% off. This is a great way to visit some new places and an even better way to try some new drinks. The full details are below.

http://www.yelp.com/events/cincinnati-yelp-drinks-2013

It’s back! Our famous city-wide, week-long happy hour… Yelp Drinks!

Cincinnatians know how to get down. As it happens, so does Yelp! For seven straight days, we’ll be getting down with 50% drink specials from bars and restaurants all around Cincy. These participating businesses have each chosen three of their best bevvies to show off—so start coming up with your sorry-I’m-late-to-work excuses now!

Who: You and your thirsty friends!
When: February 18th – February 24th, 2013
Where: Various locations around Cincy!
How: Just click I’M IN on the right side of the event page.

A few quick notes:
1) Yelp Drinks prices are 50% off of the regular listed price until *9:00 PM during regular business hours from February 18th-24.
2) No coupons. Just let them know you’re there for “Yelp Drinks!”
3) Please tip on regular price.
4) Please consume responsibly and designate a driver.
5) You must be 21+ to participate, clearly.
6) Follow @YelpCincy #yelpdrinks if you wanna share with your Twitter friends

Participating venues [after the jump. -JO]: Continue reading “Yelp Drinks 2013!”

BREAKING: Rock Bottom’s Mitch Dougherty to be head brewer at new Party Source brewery

I’ve always had a soft spot for Quaff Bros. The beers they put out are fun, unique, and – most importantly – very good. With the expansion of the Party Source, the new brewery space hasn’t really received as much attention as the distillery. Since they’d be brewing in house (rather than their current nomadic habits), they needed a tried and true individual for the head brewer position. As of 10:00 PM, I am at liberty to tell you that they got their man. Mitch Dougherty will be taking his talents across the river to Northern Kentucky from Rock Bottom to the new brewery, Eight Ball Brewing.

This is a hell of a catch and I was very, very excited to hear it. Mitch, being as skilled as he is with barrel treatments, will fit in perfectly over there. I’ve been very excited since Danny Gold (Head Honcho at the beer department at Party Source) filled me in on this, and luckily pulled some more information from both him and Mitch. What follows is a short, lightly edited interview.

Congrats to Party Source and Mitch! Continue reading “BREAKING: Rock Bottom’s Mitch Dougherty to be head brewer at new Party Source brewery”

My New Year’s Drinking Resolution: To Drink Local-er

Oh, New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never much been one for them, but being a grownup with a wife, kids, and a house gives me enough things to improve myself on that I think I’m going to give a few a whirl in 2013. Among the more trivial of those are related to alcohol. Because I don’t drink that much, my resolutions aren’t related to the Betty Ford Clinic or anything so dramatic. I’d like to homebrew more often, make better homebrew and — the topic of this post — I would like to give local beers more of a chance.

Most of the beers I review for this site are brewed in the Cincinnati region. Behind the scenes and away from this blog, though, local beers make up a tiny portion of what I consume. There are a number of reasons for this: up until this last year, there really wasn’t a great deal of locally-brewed beers on the shelves that were up to par or better than the non-local options sitting right next of them for the same price. Many of the beers that I would then actually rather buy than their non-local counterparts were either draft only, growler only, or not available on most stores’ shelves. Not exactly conducive to everyday drinking.

With the last year, a lot of this has changed. Though Cincinnati still needs to get with the program and catch up to its C-named sisters in terms of producing a really good, off the shelf IPA (Cleveland with White Rajah and Head Hunter, Columbus with Columbus IPA and Bodhi), the options have improved substantially in terms of quality. In many ways, 2012 was a banner year for better beer in Cincinnati. Rivertown now puts out a sour for almost every season of the year. Listermann/Triple Digit, who turned Cincinnatus from a pretty bad barrel aged stout into a fantastic one, has been pushing out high-gravity beers than can be found all over the place, including places like Walgreens. We’ve also seen Blank Slate welcomed to the scene, Fifty West (my current favorite and most promising brewery) opened their taproom doors with more than ten offerings out the gate, and MadTree is going to be making a splash immediately from the looks of their setup and capacity. And that’s without even mentioning the crazy barrel-aged only stuff that Quaff Bros seem to be constantly brainstorming.

Even with all of that, local brews currently don’t make up anywhere near half of the beers I drink. When I can pick up a six-pack of Two Hearted from the gas station a block away from my house, it’s always going to be an uphill battle for local breweries. But, you know what? I’m going to try in 2013 to give local breweries a fair shake. I’m going to try this: half the beers I drink, at least to start 2013, will be locally-brewed. I’m even going to include my own homebrew into that bucket, so it should make things a little easier.

I’m certainly not bought into the “buy local” beer movement and I probably never will be. More than blindly buying local, I advocate being a smart consumer first. I’m happy to give local beer a try, but when it’s not as good as the commonly-available non-local alternative, I’m not going to continue to buy it just because it’s local. So, I’m asking you, local brewers, keep improving your regular lineups so I can keep this resolution moving. Even better, if  you have something you’re proud of, fill me in. I’m always happy to put up reviews to give local beers their time in the spotlight.

Happy New Year’s to all you Queen City Drinks readers out there. Drink well, but more importantly, drink safe and we’ll look forward to seeing you in 2013!

Westvleteren 12 release at The Party Source

From the Party Source beer newsletter. Good luck and happy hunting!

It is with great pride and joy that we are announcing the release of the highly sought after Westvleteren XII. There are very strict rules and regulations handed down by the Abbey itself on how and when you can sell as well as buy these beers. Westvleteren XII displays a score of 100 points on both ratebeer and beeradvocate. It is considered by many to be the best beer in the world, as well as the most elusive. Westvleteren was founded in 1838, and has gained national recognition for their beer, which are not brewed for normal commercial demands. The Party Source Beer Department is one of the very few lucky retailers in the US to be able to offer these beers. However, with great reward come rules. In order to be one of the fortunate, you must follow the orders handed down by the monastery. So please check all of the details below on how you can purchase this amazing six-pack that includes two Westvleteren XII glasses. Mark it on your calendar, the Westvleteren XII Gift Set will be sold online for in store pickup ONLY at 12 pm on 12/12/12.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING POLICY:

To distribute this coveted gift set to as many as possible, sales of Westvleteren XII are limited as follows: You may purchase one gift set of Westvleteren XII and one gift set only per person / household / address. Orders that violate this policy will be summarily deleted without notice.

Sales of Westvleteren XII are first come, first serve. There is no waiting list, and The Party Source cannot hold or sell gift sets in advance, take sales by phone or in the store. We also cannot deviate from these limits for anyone. Finally, we regret that we cannot combine orders of Westvleteren XII from multiple customers. Each customer can only order his or her own Westvleteren XII Gift Set.

The Party Source is pleased to announce that the Westvleteren XII Gift Set will go on sale exclusively online (for in-store pickup ONLY, sorry no shipping) on Wednesday, December 12th at 12:00 pm EST.

 

Some Quaff Bros updates…

From the Party Source newsletter:

Thanks for buying up all of the Sour Grapes! With a limit of just two bottles per customer to help spread the love (something we never thought we would have to do) it is now sold out. There is just a few 1/6 barrels of Quaff Bros. “Joseph“ left and with the speed it is going on our growler station, it won’t last long. What else is going on? Well, lots! We are now in cahoots with Scott from Blank Slate Brewing Co., and are hoping for a draft only white wine influenced brew coming to us in a few months. We are also in the early stages of three new Quaff projects with our good friends from Listermanns and Triple Digit. We will not let the cat all the way out of the bag yet, but preparations for Cincy Winter Beer Fest 2013 are being made. We also will have a brew just in time for the holidays, which we can promise you is like no other beer on the planet. Finally, the next time you read about and taste a Quaff Bros. beer it will be “Ginever“, a Belgium style Blonde aged in Corsair Gin/Rum barrels. More news to come soon. Keep Quaffing, cheers!