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!
The second MadTree beer to hit the cans is their amber ale known as Happy Amber. It’s been around town in kegs for a few weeks now and before that you may have seen a MadTree beer called Batch One. Batch One was what would become the Happy Amber, but they called it Batch One as it was the very first batch on their production system. They’ve made a few batches since then and last week they canned a batch of it!
MadTree Brewing has been around town for a few months now but only this week did they start canning their beer. As of the time this post is going up they only have PsycHOPathy canned but Gnarly Brown and Happy Amber will be filling the aluminium sometime in the next week or two. Shortly after that, around mid-April, you’ll start seeing the cans pop-up around town! If you’re like me and impatient though then head on down to the brewery for a pint on draft and a 6-pack ($10) to take home!
If you follow other Cinci beer blogs, you’ve no doubt already heard lots this week about MadTree. They’ve been on a bit of a beer blog spree which is great news for them and our fellow beer bloggers! That said I’m not going to focus too much on the brewery, if you want that info, please check out our friend Brew Prof’s post: MadTree cans roll off the line and make history. He did a fantastic job on that, and there is only one thing he’s missing a beer review! [Ed. note: three years after writing this, Brew Prof is now MadTree’s
HR manager Director – People and Social Strategy.]
Continue reading “Beer Review: MadTree PsycHOPathy”
The official grand opening of Rivertown’s tap room occurred yesterday, and I was on the spot for the event. Their location is pretty convenient from the highway. Don’t let the neighborhood fool you; you’re on the right path. Keep an eye out for their sign on the left side of the road and go about halfway down the building and you’ll find plenty of parking. It can be a bit tricky to find but isn’t bad at all.
Once you get there, you are in for a great deal. It’s $5 for a tour, a Rivertown pint glass (see below), and a pint of beer
(in a plastic cup, not the glass, though) this has changed since Rivertown installed a 3-sink system. Again, all that for just $5. I don’t want to sound like (too much) of a shill for Rivertown, but seriously folks. Most pint glasses run you $5 anyway, a decent beer at a good bar/restaurant will probably be more than $5, and most brewery tours that I’ve been on are free. So it’s a $10 value for half the price. It’s hard to get a good picture of the pint glass empty but wait a day or two for my review of the Hop Baron and you’ll see it full. 🙂 It’s a great looking glass, though.
The taproom is a small bar area right in front of the brewery. It’s a very nice bar with a couple of stools, a bench or two scattered around, and another small table off to the side. But you don’t care what it looks like; you’re here because you like beer, good beer, and my next picture will wet your whistle for that!
I accidentally cut off the Helles in my picture, but it’s just above the Dunkel on the list. So don’t anyone fret that they didn’t have that on tap! I’m not going to get into an in-depth review of the beers I had there, but the Hop Baron, Helles, and Roebling were all far more delicious than I’ve ever had from a bottle before. The Roebling here is also on a nitro tap (the taller weird looking one all the way to the left) which gives it an amazing smoother (compared to the bottle) taste with a much creamier mouthfeel.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is that they also fill up growlers (which quite a few people were doing Friday night, including myself). The pricing varies for different beers, and I don’t recall them exactly. Suffice to say I have a growler full of Hop Baron in my fridge that I’m psyched to review for everyone’s reading pleasure!
The taproom is at 607 Shepherd Drive, Unit 6 Cincinnati, OH 45215. Their hours are Friday 5:00-10:00 PM, Saturdays noon-10:00 PM, and Sundays noon-6:00 PM.