MadTree Brewing announces release of 'Pilgrim' in cans for Fall

It had to happen some time. Fresh on the heels of the release of fan-favorite Dreamsicle, MadTree Brewing announces they are canning “Pilgrim.”

Fans have been clamoring for Pilgrim Pale Ale to be canned since its initial release at the 1.0 facility. With the expansion at 2.0 in Oakley, MadTree now has the capacity to can the beer.

The brewery is also partnering with La Soupe and Busken bakery as part of the event.

Here are all the details on the release, straight from MadTree:

Continue reading “MadTree Brewing announces release of 'Pilgrim' in cans for Fall”

Beer Review: Madtree Sprye & Lift

Just over a year ago MadTree flew out of the gates with cans of PsycHOPathy, Gnarly Brown, and Happy Amber all over the greater Cincinnati area. If you haven’t been following your local beer blogs or been into a better beer store lately then you may have missed that Madtree launched 2 new cans last week! No small feat for a brewery barely over a year old.

Sprye is the first of their seasonal releases and will only be around till May. Sprye is a rye pale ale which means it’s like most other pale ales you’re familiar with but has rye malt in place of some of the other standard malts. Rye is a specialty malt that adds a spicy zest to the beers.

Light and hoppy, at 5%, Sprye is a sessionable pale ale, that will put a spring in your step. Earthy and spicy notes evoke scents of spring, while the hops.

MadTree Sprye
ABV: 5%
IBU: 40
Malts: Rye, Flaked Barley, Munich 10L, Melanoidin
Hops: Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe

Started with a dose of fluffy white head that hung around a while before skimming down. Golden nectar colored with awesome clarity and plenty of free-flowing bubbles of carbonation keeping the head around,

Smells like spring. Fresh citrusy hops, some resin, and a touch of spice from that rye malt.

Taste is light as the spring breeze I’m waiting for after winter thaws. That rye spice comes back from the aroma and leads the way down your throat. It’s the most notable flavor but not overpowering. Some of those hops come back mostly in a resiny way. All capped off with a light touch of malt flavors.

Very light body that packs a super crisp zing on your tongue.

Not really the beer for a 30 degree day in February that’ll see snow fall before the sun rises but it’s already available from Convington to Dayton and will likely remain that way till the tulips bloom. If you’ve read the blog before you know I’m not the biggest fan of rye, however, if you are you should try this. Despite my general dislike of rye Sprye handles it well with a light touch that leaves me wanting this again once the temperature tops fifty.

If you haven’t been down to MadTree’s tap room lately, which you should frequent often, then you may have never heard of Lift. However, you may have heard of Kölsch, which was also briefly known as Timber, which is now known as Lift. MadTree knew they couldn’t go the standard route with a light American lager so instead they went a slightly odder style. Lift is a Kölsch style ale that is extremely light but still features hops, just not nearly as much as most hop-forward beers like we’re used to. Unlike Sprye Lift is being added to the lineup year round and will kick ass on a hot summer day in July or August that will leave us missing the polar vortex… well, maybe not “missing.”

Whether taking a break from a hard day of work or just a huge day of hops, this crisp, refreshing beer with a hint of orange will lift your spirits without lowering your expectations for what a craft beer should be.

MadTree Lift

ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 11
Malts: 2-row, Red Wheat, Vienna, Flaked Barley
Hops: Pacifica

Frothy white head that hangs around for the long haul topping off a liquid that is 2 shades darker than the butter yellow of the can artwork above.

Very light smell with a hint of light citrus zest and orange peel.

The flavor is very light as well with more citrus action and some wheat mixed in.

Body is easily the high spot on this beer. The wheat gives it an awesome creamy mouth feel that remains super light on the tongue. The lightness of the body is met with a crisp tingle of carbonation on the tongue.

I’m no Kolsch expert but this is similar to the others I’ve had and seems to be a good example of the style. This is a very light beer which is great in some ways and not in others. Despite my fondest wishes I can’t drink Galaxy High and Axis Mundi all day (not that I haven’t… I just shouldn’t). Days like that are when Lift will come in as a nice break from the high ABV, IBU, hopped beers. Like the Sprye it’ll be much more enjoyable when it’s warmer out but it’s still good now.

Beer Review: Rhinegeist Truth

Rhinegeist has made impressive beer in OTR for a few months now and has gone through a variety of beers and styles but Truth was one of their launch beers and has remained part of the core lineup. When they announced they were canning this beer was clearly going to be one of the first to be distributed. Now you can find 6-packs of 12 oz. cans of Turth and Cougar across the greater Cincinnati area. Stores are selling out within a day or two after getting it so follow your favorite store like @Lovelandcappys to know as soon as it comes in. Here’s the brief blurb that Rhinegeist has for this beer:

Intensely hopped, dry IPA with Centennial, Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe hops. We hop this at a rate of 3lbs/bbl to rev up peach, mango, and passionfruit notes.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Rhinegeist Truth”

Introducing Ei8ht Ball

A massive disturbance in the Cincinnati beer scene is going to begin at 11 am Saturday morning. At that time Ei8ht Ball will officially open it’s doors.

The Cincinnati area has had some great bars for a long time now. Dutch’s, Lackman, Japps, and Arnold’s are all fantastic places full of amazing beer. Ei8ht Ball is a different beast entirely. Oh yes, it serves beer but it also brews its own beer. Yes, it has tap handles… 42 of them! And those tap handles contain  some of the best beer you can get anywhere, including many locals. They also have bottles, but there’s no Bud Light here just a little thing called Zombie Dust  and another bit of nothing called Cantillon Classic Gueuze, but nobody likes either of those!

The other great thing Ei8ht Ball has going for it, and against my bank account, is that it’s located in The Party Source. You have to cross their entire craft beer section to get back to Ei8ht Ball. The Party Source has been one of the best bottle shops in town for years and now they’re adding Ei8ht Ball… oh, and a distillery will be opening there soon as well.

I keep mentioning that it’s a brewery so let’s talk about their beer. Ei8ht Ball is opening up with 2 brews, Prodigal Son and K-Hole. Prodigal Son is an American pale ale that really does justice to the style. Far too many APAs are light IPAs and that’s really not what the style is about. K-Hole is just plain nuts it’s an imperial stout but it’s got so much coffee it’s crazy. Both of these beers are amazing and are must tries as soon as you can get down there. Mitch Dougherty is heading up brewing operations there. Mitch was formerly the head brewer at Cincinnati’s Rock Bottom and won gold at the 2012 World Beer Cup in Wood and Barrel Aged Beer for Sarah’s Two Headed Buffalo so the guy has lots of experience making awesome beer.

Ei8ht Ball Tap List
Dat Tap List! – Thanks to Danny Gold for the photo

What’s a great bar, brewery, or bottle shop without great people though? For all the awesomeness I’ve already discussed it would suck if the people there didn’t know their shit. Danny Gold has been the craft beer guy at The Party Source for a while now and has done a phenomenal job at it but he couldn’t take care of this whole bar/brewery by himself. He’s assembled the Cincinnati beer dream team, they came together and formed Voltron wielding a pint instead of a sword! I already talked about head brewer Mitch Dougherty but Danny has also brought in Peanut Khales, formerly with the Dilly Cafe and always with the best damn beard in town! Peanut has been packing huge amounts of craft beer knowledge since before I was born.

So they’ve got 2 guys with mad beer knowledge so what, well they also have 2 awesome women with mad beer knowledge. Natalie Phillips was the head beer maiden at Belmont Party Supply up in Dayton, which was and still is Dayton’s best bottle shop. Lastly but certainly not least is Andrea Besl who was tending bar at Rivertown’s tap room and has been involved on increasingly higher levels at almost ever Cincinnati beer fest for the past few years. I’ve seen a fair bit of complaining lately from craft beer nerds that a place may have great beer but your server doesn’t know anything about them. These 4 don’t just know beer, they love beer, and they live beer.

The Dream Team - Thanks Jesse Folk for the photo!
The Dream Team – Thanks Jesse Folk for the photo!

This has been a lot of hyperbole but I really am truly excited for Ei8ht Ball’s future. They’re opening big and I know they’re only going to grow and get better over time.

Now that you’ve read all this go check out Brew Prof’s excellent post he did on Why you need to visit Ei8ht Ball.

Know your local brewery: Listermann’s/Triple Digit

Continuing my goal to help folks get to know the brewers and breweries behind their favorite local beers I stopped by Listermann Brewing Company in Evanston (next to Norwood) for a talk with owner Dan Listermann, head brewer Kevin Moreland, and social media director Jason Brewer. To provide some background info before we get rolling Listermann’s was first a home brew store, supplying the area with everything they needed to make their own beer. They then evolved into a small brewery under the same name and after a few more years decided to add Triple Digit as a separate brand, though it’s still brewed in the same place and on the same equipment as the Listermann’s beers.

Due to interviewing 3 people at slightly seperate times over 2 hours I have paraphrased most of the following unless otherwise noted.

About the brewer:

  • How’d you get into “good” beer?
    • Dan Listermann first brewed in 1973 (before home brewing was legal in the US) when he was at Miami University, he gave it up after a few terrible tasting brews.

    “I walked into a drug store in Oxford and it was a package with a pound of malt and an ounce of hops and I was supposed to boil that all up with 5 pounds of sugar and put that in a clean garbage can with a packet of fleischmann’s [bread yeast]. I had a special hydrometer with a big B on it and you were supposed to bottle it when it got to the B. So I bottled it then and most of them foamed all over the place and some of them blew up and it all smelled bad. You couldn’t get proper yeast.” – Dan Listermann

    • Around 1987 Dan’s old roommate gave him a call, convinced him to hang out and brew again, and they made some really good brews. Dan started making beers again, joined the bloatarians, and wasn’t happy with some of the equipment available. Being an engineer by trade Dan set about making his own equipment. By 1993 his business was being held back by his job and his job was being held back by his business. Dan could get another job in engineering easy enough but to found another business would be very difficult.
  • What has the local brewing community been like?
    • Dan: Oh wonderful. I go to events and all the beer geeks are there and I know them all.Most of the guys who have breweries now started out here one way or the other. It’s a real tight community, we don’t look at each other as competition, we are mining the rich vein of Bud Light drinkers. The more they drink of craft beer the more likely they’ll drink our craft beer as well. The big conversion isn’t going form one craft beer to the next, it’s going from Bud Light to real beer.

About the brewery:

  • How and when did Listermann’s get going? How bout Triple Digit?
    • Dan Listermann started manufacturing homebrewing equipment back in 1991 out of his house. The store officially started in 1995 and kept manufacturing equipment until about 7 years ago. They found it wasn’t really worth the effort and in 2008 got a brewing license. It was really a side thing that didn’t take off very well at the time. In the winter of 2011/2012 Kevin Moreland was hired as head brewer and that’s when things really started taking off big time.
    • Triple Digit was Dan’s idea from a long time ago. He wanted something to differentiate the Listermann beers from the “honking huge ones” that is big, high alcohol beers in 22 oz bombers.
  • What’s it like managing two brands under the same roof?
    • The upside is they are able to differentiate between two different kinds of beer and distribute differently. The downsides are having to double brand awareness efforts. They frequently have to explain to people that both Listermann’s and Triple Digit are actually the same brewery.
  • Is there a story behind the names?
    • Listermann’s Brewering Company (the store and brewery) are named after owner Dan Listermann
    • Triple Digit is named for all their beers having a starting gravity of over 100. Starting gravity is a measurement of the amount of sugars in a beer; the more fermentable sugar the higher the starting gravity. The  difference between starting and finishing gravity can be used to calculate the alcohol by volume.
  • What is your brewing process, from brain storm to bottle shelf?
    • Kevin: The first thing I do is listen to Jason nag about things about what we don’t have and what we should be doing. I always look at what the market is doing here locally, then I’ll look at our flavor profile, and something I want to drink during this season. Once we come up with a concept we have to figure out if it’s feasible to do at the brewery, how we’re gonna brew it, bottle it, label it. It kills you to do some small batch runs because the amount of labor involved and labels and everything. One of the big key things is if it’s gonna be unique enough for us to produce, we want to make sure it’s a home run and not something that’s just for 100 people in the room.
    • Jason: Long story short it either takes 2 hours or 6 months. Like the Peanut Butter Porter I bugged Kevin for 6 months, every time he asked me what he should brew and I’d say the Peanut Butter Porter. One time though he asked me and I said brew me a double IPA, he went to his computer and 30 minutes later was brewing it.
    • Kevin: At any time there’s 50 different beers in my head that I want to brew but it’s the space and time. That’s what I like about being in the small brewery and that’s why I chose to come here. I get an idea and next week you may have it on draft here. We’re not here to do 8,000 barrels a year, we’re here to do unique beers and making sure everyone gets paid.
  • What can we expect to see from L/TD going forward?
    • Slide Job – This is a collaboration brew with Cellar Dweller. It will be an oatmeal sweet stout aged in port barrels with cherries added.
    • Cranium – Imperial oatmeal stout with vanilla and coffee, from Coffee Emporium, added.
    • Julia with blackberries – Julia is a Belgian-style sour blonde brewed with Riesling and Muscat grape juices and aged in oak barrels
    • The Cincinnati river boat series – Kevin: This will be 3 sour historical style beers, 2 of which are too far off in the future to talk about, but the first one will be called Colonel Plug its a Kentucky Common. This is a historical style brewed with a lot of corn, black malt, and 6-row malt. We did a 20 hour sour mash and used 40% corn, 6-row, and a little bit of honey malt. Which added some sweetness and gave it all a nice color that looks like Bourbon. We took the sour mash and got it to a certain PH that I felt was the right sourness for the beer. Ran it off and boiled it then aged it in American White Oak like how the beer would’ve been done back then. We’ve bottled it and are waiting on label approval. This was a collaboration with Ray Spangler, creator of the Bloatarian brewing league and home brewer of the year for 1987.
  • Details on the new bottling line
    • Jason: Currently 2 guys work together to hand fill the bottles much like a [slightly advanced] home brew system. We had someone the Ohio’s Bureau of Worker Compensation in at an event who mentioned that they had a grant available that you can write and get money towards a bottling machine. We looked into it and didn’t think anything of it, I wrote the grant, they came out and watched us. I had to write out all the steps for hand bottling and how much time and money we could save with a bottling machine. They approved the grant and we should have the machine here by the end of August. Then we just have to do case studies on the number of steps that are saved to prevent workers compensation claims, not that we’ve had any, but with the expansion that we’re doing there will be a whole lot more room for that to happen. We’ll start doing 4 packs of 12 oz for Triple Digit bottles.
  • Where can folks go to get Listermann’s or Triple Digit?
    • Listermann’s – Always on tap at Arnold’s and JAPs, often at Gordo’s, Rhinehaus in OTR, Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash has Jungle Honey, Parker’s in Blue Ash [and the Listermann’s tap room!]
    • Triple Digit – Is available in bottles at  better beer stores around town
  • Anything else that you want folks to know?
    • Kevin: Come down and have a beer with us! Cincinnati is booming with craft breweries coming on board and all the fans, and the bloggers, talking about all the collaborations and brands is great. I encourage everyone to go around and check them all out and for the local bars to carry the local beers.