Confessions of a Homebrewer

[This is a guest post by a friend of mine and store manager at Osborn Brewing. I want people to know that they aren’t getting this post just because Osborn Brewing is a sponsor of the blog. This post is here because it’s quality content on homebrewing, an area I wish I had more posts on. If you have anything you want to say on homebrewing or other Cincy/beer/liquor stuff shoot me an email! – Tom]

Why do I homebrew? Why does he homebrew? Why does that guy at your office spend all of his free time making beer when he could just be buying beer and drinking it? Jeez, he should have just become a brew master and not work at this office if he loves beer so much. Why are these people always asking you to try whiskey aged this, and double dry hopped that, or his attempt at something you are pretty sure had bacon in it? 

It’s because we all love beer, and we, as home brewers want to share this love and enthusiasm with every person we meet.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh C’Breulu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

Continue reading “Confessions of a Homebrewer”

Call for blog post topics from MadTree!

I’ve somehow talked the guys at MadTree into writing a guest blog post. Here’s the thing though, we can’t really decide what’d be best for them to write about. Due to our indecision we’re turning it over to you, our dear readers, to voice your opinion on what you’d like to read from them.

Just keep it beer or brewery related and we’ll take the idea that’s most popular or that we like the most. Leave a comment below, on the Queen City Drinks Facebook page, or shoot us a tweet. Here are some ideas that I had as well as that we’ve heard from folks on Twitter already:

  • strategies for acquiring tap handles and shelf space at bars and liquor stores
  • how they market themselves for the casual drinker vs the committed followers.
  • new seasonals, and marketing.
  • Suppose I’d like in-depth “why.” Obviously they love beer, but why the need to make it or people? also enjoy talk about branding/marketing. What’s the brewery’s unique voice? Why? How does it fill a hole as local biz?
  • Decision to go with cans instead of bottles and the process for actually canning the beer

Hopefully this guest post works out well for everyone and I can talk more local breweries into it later. But that will come then, for the time being you need to tell us what you want to read from MadTree!

Cider, really?

[This post was put together by Roger Fecher, a friend of mine and reader of the blog. I’d like to thank him for submitting it to be published. -J]

With the wide world of alcoholic beverages available to you, you’ve probably thought, “Why would I want to try that?” or “That’s not for me” or “Is there anything special about that?” Some of you have even contemplated these very questions while looking at a bottle of cider. Some of you haven’t even gone that far because you discount the beverage outright. And why not, right? In the world of alcohol many of us like to stick to one kingdom: cereal grains. Bread and pasta can be good, even great, but cereal grains come into their own in the world of alcohol. Give me the complexity of a fine beer or a well-aged whiskey and I’m a happy dude.

Sure, you occasionally step out of your comfort zone and have a wine with dinner. You might even order a glass of mead or put your trust in B. Nektar and order a cyser (mead fermented with apple juice or cider). But have you ever given cider itself a chance?

ciderI’m sitting here sipping a Domaine Dupont Reserve cider considering how blessed I am. My brother told me for years about the glory that is cider, but unfortunately most of our domestic product falls short (most of it just plain sucks). It was on a trip to Paris that I made it a personal quest to try a variety of ciders from Normandie one of the areas where traditional cider has been produced for hundreds of years with ancient apple varieties generally not available in the US. In addition many of their ciders are bone dry with a huge effervescence. When so much of the sugar has been fermented out the character of the cider can really shine through.

Truly good ciders have an incredible gueuze-like funk to them with horse blanket and barnyard. There’s a tartness of the tongue, but these aren’t sour. And don’t get me wrong, they won’t blow you over with funk like a gueuze might, but they can certainly hold their own.

This particular cider was aged in calvados casks for six months. Calvados is essentially apple brandy produced from the same apples in Normandie. This cider is produced once a year. The apples for this bottle were harvested in 2011 and matured in 2012.

The bottle pours with a nice white head that diminishes to a small ring but never fades away. The cider is slightly yellow with a touch of copper and a steady stream of bubbles similar to champagne. The aroma is heavenly; lemon, barnyard funk, gueuze, tart apple, leather, and oak – just an incredible mix.

While the base cider was clearly fermented out leaving a bone dry, crisp cider, the calvados casks add back some of that sweetness. It’s akin to the difference between a dry Riesling and a late harvest Riesling. Sure there’s a bit more sweetness there, but it’s a complex sweetness with vanilla and caramel. The taste is both slightly tart and sweet. The finish is completely drying leading to a continual desire to take another sip. The high level of carbonation makes this a super easy drinker. At 6.9% ABV it’s also an easy bottle to open with just one other person (750 mL).

If this intrigues you at all, I highly recommend that you give ciders a(nother) go. Try the ciders from Normandie first, especially from Domaine Dupont. The Domaine Dupont Reserve cider is certainly among the best that I’ve tried. I believe I picked it up at The Party Source for $20-30. TPS seems to get Domain Dupont on a fairly regular basis.

Guest Post: Jake Metzler from Midwest Supplies on the entire Chimay Lineup

[Ed.: Today we have a great guest post from Jake Metzler, a writer for Midwest Supplies. Jake spends his free time writing songs, brewing beer, and drinking his creations. He’s still perfecting the practice of doing all three at once. He also has a growing collection of brewing supplies. Thanks for getting in touch with us and providing us with this piece!]

Chimay Beer Review and the Search for the Rare, Golden Chimay Dorée

Whether you’re a Trappist monk at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourment in Belgium’s Hainaut province or a beer-lover, chances are you’re familiar with Chimay. For the sake of readers that aren’t members of a Belgian beer-brewing monastic order or haven’t encountered Chimay secularly- it’s a top-shelf brand of ales much sought by connoisseurs. There are three varieties publicly offered by the Chimay Brewery: Rouge (Red), Blanche (White) and Bleue (Blue).

Should this inspire you to seek out some Chimay, it’s probably my duty to moderate the hypothetical sticker-shock. While not Châteaux Lafite-expensive, you can expect to pay between $5.50 and $8… per 12 oz. bottle. Chimay also comes in 750 ml bottles that will set you back between $11 and $15. However, there’s another variety of Chimay that would set you back considerably more than $15 to acquire (unless you’re one of the previously-mentioned Chimay Trappists)…

Continue reading “Guest Post: Jake Metzler from Midwest Supplies on the entire Chimay Lineup”

Guest Post by The Brew Professor: “Women, Don’t Fear the Beer” Part II

[Ed.:Yesterday we published the first half of a guest post from Mike at The Brew Professor. Below is the second half of his post. It seems that some folks got their jimmies rustled by yesterday’s contribution, so feel free to head over there and contribute to the just-almost-civil comments.  Thanks again to Mike for the post -J]

Below are my recommendations of the top three styles that lend themselves to the untrained palate and will let you stick your toe in the water.  These broad style categories include: wheat beers, saisons and farmhouse ales, and even some mild sour beers.  They are all delicious, light, and pretty easy to find locally.

Continue reading “Guest Post by The Brew Professor: “Women, Don’t Fear the Beer” Part II”

Guest Post by The Brew Professor: “Women, Don’t Fear the Beer” Part I

[Ed.: So, we’re going to be doing something a little bit different today. Mike from The Brew Professor was kind enough to submit a guest post on my request. If you like what he has to say, keep an eye out on his site. I read it and think it’s good stuff. He gave us a very informative long form piece, which I am going to split up over the next couple days. Without further ado… -J]

Guest Blogger: The Brew Professor

The Brew Professor ( is a new Cincinnati beer blog covering everything from craft beer reviews to homebrewing to better beer stores to beer tasting events.  It’s another take on the world of beer for all you beer nerds out there, whether you like making it or just like drinking it.

 Women: Don’t Fear the Beer

Before I begin, let me start out by saying this mild diatribe will contain generous helpings of broad assumptions and stereotyping.  Most of this is observational “fact” that I have experienced personally.  So sit back, drink a beer, and soak it all in before you fire off the hate mail.  Now then…

The idea to talk about women and beer was originally suggested by my wife.  As my love for beer has evolved she has been along for the ride with me, albeit, begrudgingly at times.  A scant ten years ago, I couldn’t get her to even sip a Miller Lite (and for good reason, I suppose).  However, as a matter of convenience and cost it became easier and easier to convince her to just drink a beer instead of ordering some sort of frou-frou mixed drink.  Standing shoulder-to-shoulder at a bar on Reds Opening Day just doesn’t lend itself to trying to shout a mixed drink order to an overwhelmed and underpaid bartender.  Pretty much the same thing goes with wine.  But when she had her druthers, she would opt for the “not beer” drink. But, things have changed as the craft beer boom continues to surge.  Now she actually gets excited about discovering and trying new beers.  I’m going to provide some guidance on how an open mind and semi-adventurous spirit can bring you into the water, barley, hops, and yeast – beer – family.

Continue reading “Guest Post by The Brew Professor: “Women, Don’t Fear the Beer” Part I”