Jesse and I headed out to Fairfield to meet and talk to the folks from Swine City Brewing. We talked to owner Dan Ebben and his crew about opening a brewery and what to expect from Swine City when they open in the next month or two.
If you are unaware of March First Brewing, don’t be hard on yourself. They’ve been intentionally flying under the radar for a few weeks, slowly seeping out to bars and restaurants around town. But this is only the very beginning of perhaps the most ambitious Cincinnati brewery yet.
Three years ago I talked to Steve Shaw at Cellar Dweller to learn more about this new Cincinnati brewery. I’d had a few of their beers, and they were mediocre, one was fantastic but sadly a one off. At the time, I couldn’t find much information about them so I headed to Valley Vineyards and went to the source.
Every month, I look through my archives and decided what to post for #ThrowbackThursday. It shcoked me to discover it’s really been three years since I first met Steve Shaw. Thinking about that, and a recent Facebook discussion, I decided I had to go out and catch up with all the changes that have happened at Cellar Dweller.
I got a special invitation to join MadTree in a session ale tasting and hear a special announcement. What follows part 1 of 2, with part 2 coming at a soon but as of yet undetermined time.
It’s been just over a year since Warped Wing opened their doors. It’s been less than a year since Warped Wing pumped out their first 3 cans. There has been a great variety of draft beers created since those first cans rolled off the line, including a session IPA named Self Starter. It’s been a week since Warped Wing introduced new seasonal IPA cans of Self Starter.
Here’s Warped Wing’s blurb about the beer:
Once, there lived an engineer. Innovator. And indefatigable holder of 186 patents. Who, in 1911, filed U.S. Patent No. 1,150,523. An electric starting device for automobiles. To not a single person’s disparagement, it ended the era of the hand-crank. Fitting, then, that you’ll be holding this. Named as much for the inventor. As for what he invented.
Self Starter. This session India Pale Ale is pale orange in color with copper highlights. Its citrus/fruity aroma and flavors comes from the Amarillo hops that were added during the boil and the dry hopping at the end of fermentation. The malt character is slightly bready or nutty to start. This beer finishes with a patently dry close. Carry on.
Self Starter will be available in the market from April thru August in both draught and cans. The beer will be tapped at the brewery this Thursday and draught and cans will be released to taverns, restaurants, and select retail accounts the following Monday.
Before we get to the liquid I love the wrap around artwork on these cans.
They also made this rocking video
Ok, that’s all awesome and all, but let’s get to the beer.
I was a little surprised by how little head I got, but there’s enough to get by on. The head is a light white that shrinks down to a skim and a ring pretty quickly. The beverage itself is shockingly hazy with bits floating through an orange amber ocean. Ok, yeah bits floating around is a bit bothersome. It just means they likely didn’t filter it at all, allowing the preservation of as much hop flavor as possible. There’s one other brewery that does this, and it clearly says “DRINK FROM THE CAN” around the rim of Heady Topper for this reason.
Based on the powerful aromas of fresh-cut grass, super grapefruit, and dank ass marijuana I feel it’s safe to say all those floaty bits are hops. All hop heads need to apply themselves to drinking this. This isn’t just a hop bomb though. There are notes of bready and caramel malts hanging around the back.
The flavor kicks a lot more of those malts up front but doesn’t slack off on the hops. Bitterness wise things lean heavily toward the sweet malts. That throws my expectations for a curve ball. IPAs, even session IPAs, always lean to some degree toward the bitter.
Body rocks medium to a slight heavy with low carbonation.
Ok, let’s break the fourth wall for a moment. As I’m typing this review I’m popping to another tab messaging WCPO’s Jesse Folk who is also drinking this beer right now. We didn’t plan this, it just happened. We got to talking about the atypical aspects of the beer when it hit me.
What are we doing thinking about how this beer doesn’t meet what a session IPA is supposed to be. This is a Warped Wing beer. These are the guys who brought us the Belgian Cream Ale! What the hell is a Belgian Cream Ale? That’s totally not a thing at all! Well, it wasn’t till Warped Wing made it. Now it’s an enjoyable thing.
Who am I, or who is anyone, to tell someone what they can or can’t make? This is a good beer. I enjoyed it. You should try it and enjoy it. It’s a hop bomb aroma and a malt bomb flavor. It’s got a good body and a solid sweetness. Bottom line, this is a local beer well worth your money.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My friend who works for Warped Wing surprised me with this can. To our readers, and any companies interested in sending me stuff, giving me free stuff impacts the review in only 2 ways. That I will do my best to review it in a timely fashion and that and I will write a blog post about that review. Giving me free stuff does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it.
Special thanks to designer Dan Schmidt (@schmidt) for the artwork.
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!