New local beer alert: Rivertown Ojos Negros Barrel-Aged Fruit Sour Ale (and the new Lambic)

Following the amazing success of their Lambic, Rivertown Brewing Company will be releasing “Ojos Negros”, a fruit sour ale. This will be one to watch for. I don’t have much more concerning it now, but when we do, we’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Edit: While we’re at it, the label for this year’s Rivertown Lambic was approved. See below!

(H/T to Beer Pulse)

Beer Review: Quaff Bros’ What the Wheat?

Wheat wines: what is there to say about them? As the underrated, under-produced little brother of the barley wine, it’s tough to get a grasp on the style. Including New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole, Snuttynose’s Wheat Wine, and the long-but-not-forgotten 2009 version of Founders Nemesis, I can count the number of locally available examples of the style on one hand.

With this in mind, it doesn’t surprise me much that the Quaff Bros decided to cook up an under the radar style. As was noted in an earlier post, they are putting out some really great beers, both in terms of the creativity of the concepts and the quality of the finished product. This offering was brewed at Listermann, home of the delicious Cincinnatus.

What the Wheat?, like all of Quaff Bros offerings, is barrel aged. In keeping with the theme, the barrels used to age originally hosted Bernheim Wheat Whiskey. The difference between a wheat whiskey and a bourbon is simple: rather than 51% of the grain bill consisting of corn, it must be made up of wheat. I haven’t tried Bernheim itself, so I can’t speak to it at the moment. As for What  the Wheat?, however, here we go…

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A Different Viewpoint of the Moerlein Lager House

[Ed.: As I’ve said in numerous other places, the authors at QCD are given almost full discretion to create critical and/or contrarian content. We aim to maintain QCD not as a vehicle to softball or pander, but to provide a voice that is willing to say when a product is subpar. As consumers in the beer, wine, and spirit market, we owe it to ourselves, our readers, and those industrious men and women who create and sell these products to be as honest as possible. With that in mind, this is the first (and definitely not the last) piece treading this ground. If you disagree (or agree) with Steve, let us know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more! – J]

I know many of you are going to disagree with me on this article, but I am going to write it anyways.  Part of me thinks I am going to get excommunicated from the city of Cincinnati for voicing this opinion.  Oh well, here goes nothing.

As a craft beer destination, I think the Moerlein Lager House is not as spectacular as most people think.  It is fine; just not the second coming.

Sure the structure is beautiful, the location is perfect, the food is good and the outdoor space is phenomenal.  I also think it is going to make a ton of money and be wildly successful and great for downtown.  But I am talking about the beer.  And that is where it has fallen short, at least thus far for me.

Let’s start with the guest tap and bottle list.

Yes it is good and yes it is great that before the game you can buy craft beer downtown.  At the same time, if you showed me the beer they sell at the price it is sold, I would not be more compelled to go there over many of my favorite Cincinnati beer bars (Dutch’s, Dilly, Fries, and Comet in particular).

Moving onto the brewery part.

The funny thing about the Lager House is I don’t even really think of it as a brewery but more of a Cincinnati focused gastropub that brews beer on the side and is owned by a large brewery.  Want proof?  They had a grand opening with exactly zero beers brewed on site and to date have made two styles.

This is a place that has every resource available to make fantastic beer.  They have state of the art equipment, a world-class brewer, and a ton of capital.  To me, it is clear that the brewing part is just not high on their list of initial priorities.  Seeing that the commercial turn around on an ale is about 10 days and on a lager is about 28 days, they could have easily knocked out several batches by now (even if they started brewing the day they opened).  This is the part I don’t understand- why pay for that brewer if you are not going to give him the keys to the car?

Maybe it is still in the working out the kinks stage.  Maybe I’m being overly critical because there were such high expectations.  Maybe I just need a to display a little patience.  Or maybe everyone else loves the beer and thinks I’m crazy.  But at least for the time being, when I am in the downtown area and want a locally brewed beer, you can find me drinking Mitch’s beer at Rock Bottom.

Magic Hat’s Spring Fever variety 12-pack

To my surprise I found a Magic Hat Spring Fever variety 12-pack at my local Kroger store. Having heard of Magic Hat but having never tried any of there beers before I was quite excited at the find. What follows is my opinions regarding the 4 brews included in this variety pack: the #9, Vinyl, Demo, and +/-.

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Hello (an introduction from QCD Contributor Tom)

A brief introduction from one of the new Queen City Drinks team members… I’ll be looking forward to some great content from Tom! Welcome!J

Hey there readers,

Just wanted to hop on and quickly introduce myself. I’ve been drinking beer for more years than I’ve legally been allowed to, but only drinking good beer for the past 7 or so. And of those 7, I’ve only been thinking about good beer for the past 2 years. I got started on the path towards good beer during a family trip to Europe. Our last stop was Brussels and a dinner on the Grand Platz. When asked what we wanted to drink we just asked for whatever the popular local beer was. By the time we finished, the four of us had finished 5 bottles of Chimay Grande Reserve (the blue label). This was back in the old days of 2004 when Kroger only carried AB-InBev and Miller/Coors products. Of course, now you can get the Chimay Grande Reserve just about everywhere. Well, that set me on my course to drinking good beer and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for any type of Belgian Ale from Coor’s Blue Moon to Victory Brewing’s Golden Monkey (my favorite beer) up to the fantastical Trappistes Rochefort 10 and it’s 11.3% ABV of awesomeness.

I hope everyone will not necessarily agree with, but at least enjoy the many beer reviews to come!


The Three Dos and Don’ts of Beer Releases

First, a very brief introduction:

My name is Steve and I am going to be writing for this site from time to time.  I am a self-described beer geek and home brewer who is still a young pup at 24.  I have no prior ties to Cincinnati, so I think I may be able to present an outsiders perspective on beer in the area.  I hope to provide a fairly straightforward opinion about the local beer scene and give both praise and criticism where deserved, all while promoting you to imbibe in more craft beer.

Now that that part is over, time for my first post.

How To Fix Beer Releases

As craft beer in general continues to grow like wildfire, the beer releases from breweries have turned into a certifiable shit show.  KBS, a beer that just a couple years ago was fairly easy to obtain in Ohio, came and went from beer stores in a matter of hours.

The current situation leaves more people empty handed than ever before, and while there is no ideal way to distribute 100 bottles of beer to 1,000 people that want them, many bottle shops make the situation worse by the way they release the beer.  I am here to highlight the right and wrong ways (according to yours truly!) that a place chooses to release beer.  And now we will have a public service announcement to all beer stores in Cincinnati…

We will start with the WRONG ways to release bottles:

1)   Reservations/Lists– There are many reasons why this does not work well.  For starters, the majority of stores have no idea how many (or if they will get any at all) bottles will be in their allotment.  Also, places that do this don’t tend to publicize that they do it, so many people could get screwed out of innocent ignorance.

2)   Best Customers Only– To me, this is basically the worst method possible.  In theory, this is a great idea.  Reward those people that come regularly.  In practicality, it is borderline impossible to know how frequently someone shops at a store, so what happens is the owner ends up reserving the bottles for his buddies and making good customers mad.

Here’s a quick aside: I was searching for CBS at a bottle shop that will remain unnamed.  I shopped at this store on average 2-3x per month since I moved here and spent what I would classify as a good amount of money per trip.  I asked the guy working about how they were releasing CBS, and he said that it was reserved for only their best customers, like all of their releases.  I asked them how he classified “best customers” and he said trust me, he knows.  I have not set foot in that store since.           

3)   Release Bottles When They Arrive– Another one that seems innocent enough on the surface, but in practicality it fails.  The reason?  It means that anyone who works normal people hours can never get bottles.  Since beer costs a lot of money, and the majority of people work normal people hours, I am going to go ahead and extrapolate that this includes the majority of the craft beer population.  This wouldn’t be as big of a deal if there was some advanced notice, but since beer stores don’t know what day the bottles are going to come in and what time their deliveries arrive, it is near impossible to take time out of a working day to take a trip to a store.

And now onto the RIGHT ways!  If your bottle shop currently does one of these methods, give yourself a round of applause.

1)   Random Lottery– I know it’s not ideal, and I know it means sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but hear me out.  Every time you make a purchase at a beer store for one month prior you get one ticket in the lottery.  This process is announced in a newsletter that goes out to current customers, and you MUST ASK to be placed in the lottery when you make your purchase.  By doing this, everyone that wants a chance at the bottles gets a fair and equal chance, plain and simple.  It will also allow new customers to try these bottles from time to time rather than the same guys over and over.

2)   Serve the Beers On Premises– This is not a legal option for everyone, but for those that it is, it makes way more sense to get many pours out of a bottle and let more people try it.  Plus it eliminates the eBay selling.

3)   Release the Bottles At a Predetermined Time- Tell everyone in advance when you will release the beer.  Ideally, it would be a weekend morning.  This way, people with 9-5 jobs are not left out, and everyone has a fair heads up to get the bottles.  There is no loss to the store for holding the bottles for another week since they are going to sell out in an hour anyways.

So there you have it; the three Dos and Don’ts of bottle releases.  I am sure there are those that disagree with these, so fire away in the comments below!


Housecleaning: Guest Writing for Queen City Drinks

Now that I’m starting to feel good about this blog and what kind of content I’d like to see on it, I’m going to venture out into the vast world of the interwebs and try to start soliciting some more content providers (AKA: bloggers). This will be in conjunction with a real domain name in the near future and a more professional-looking page in the longer-term future. For now, though, all I’m concerned about is content.

I’m going to keep it very informal; set up a user name, post as you feel, and I’ll get it published, with full attribution to you, of course. Though I will make exceptions, I would prefer content to be locally-driven (Ohio, preferably Southwest Ohio, or Kentucky, preferably Northern Kentucky). This can be for beer, wine, or spirits. Shoot, if you’re clever, I might even accept coffee or tea. They are “drinks” after all.

Anyways, if you have a voice you want to be heard, but are too lazy to start your own blog or just want to write for someone else’s for a change, get in touch with me at @Cincy_Drinks or