Quaff Bros: Catching Up, Blue Melvin, and Beyond

Quaff Bros. is a gypsy beer label from Cincinnati, and now across Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. It’s been three years since my post helping you know your local brewery. There have been some changes at Quaff Bros that we’re going to get into, but rest assured, the future is bright and blue (melvin)!

Quaff Bros

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Learning About Beer: Water Treatment in Cincinnati Craft Beers

Water is one of the four core ingredients of beer and represents more than 90% of the finished product that enters your mouth. It’s time to learn more about water and its role in Cincinnati beer.brewing elements water

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Catching Up With Blank Slate Brewing Company

Blank Slate Brewing Company joined the Cincinnati brewing scene in Spring of 2012, and I sat down with him in the fall of that year. Realizing it’s been three years since then,  we sat down for another interview recently. Scott and I talked for a long time, this is a long post please bear with it, it’s worth it. Also, hang tight for later this week or next when I’ll post part 2. Today, though, it’s all about Blank Slate Brewing Company!

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Cincinnati Dog-Friendly Breweries

Hello world,

Meet Izzy and her friend Rudi, actually, if you’ve read the blog for a while you already met Izzy as she product tested Brewhouse Dog Bones for me. Izzy is my dog and she loves visiting breweries, but not all breweries love Izzy visiting them, so here’s a list of where four-legged friends are welcome and where they aren’t.

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Book Review: Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski

I always ask for a deluge of books for Christmas. I love giving and receiving books for birthdays or the holidays. They’re little bundles of knowledge that enrich the life of the giftee. Which is to say get ready for a couple book reviews over the next few weeks. Farmhouse Ales and Wild Brews have both been on my must read homebrewing list for a few years so I was stoked to receive them both as gifts. Farmhouse Ales ended up on the top of the pile of books so we’re tackling that first, look forward to Wild Brews soon!

Farmhouse Ales

To start us off here’s the publisher’s description:

Farmhouse Ales defines the results of years of evolution, refinement, of simple rustic ales in modern and historical terms, while guiding today’s brewers toward credible—and enjoyable—reproductions of these old world classics.

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King of the Cincinnati IPA

As previously teased one beer has been named the King of the Cincinnati IPA. Last Saturday a plethora of local beer bloggers expert tasters and myself got together to drink a bunch of free donated beer, hooray free donated beer! The full list of bloggers is:

The blind tasting was proctored by

If you don’t read these guys blogs and/or follow them on twitter I’d highly advise it. They’re all cool and knowledgeable dudes each covering Cincinnati beer in a slightly different way. Also we’re each blogging our thoughts on this whole event and covering everything slightly differently so you should spend a few minutes reading all their posts on the event.

But back to the King of the Cincinnati IPA competition. I’m not sure who’s idea this first was but over the course of ~200 some emails we set a date and a place and got all the local brewers to donate growlers of their IPAs. To ensure fairness Jack & Matt stepped in to randomize the growlers and take care of pouring the samples so we were blind to what beer was in what cup.

The city has some fantastic IPAs some like Mt. Carmel, Cellar Dwellers, and Moerlein are more classic IPAs while Rhinegeist and MadTree produce more over the top hop-focused IPAs that are currently the rage. Rivertown comes in with a session IPA aiming for plenty of flavor with less alcohol so you can drink it over an extended session, hence the name. Blank Slate brings in a very different kind of IPA, as it does for all it’s brews, with what it calls a White IPA. It’s described as a wheat IPA “containing two different wheat malts in addition to oats and honey malt meld with copious amounts of Columbus, Cascade and Nugget hops”.

With all these slightly different IPAs it was hard to pick 1 winner but alas we did, in fact we picked two! Rhinegeist’s Truth and Blank Slate’s Lesser Path tied for first in the initial scoring. We then did a final round with no scoring just a straight up preference pick and while I myself went with Rhinegeist on the basis of it being more a true IPA I was out voted 3 – 2 so Blank Slate’s The Lesser Path took the King of the Cincinnati IPA title.

King of the Cincinnati IPA

Since we crowned a king IPA for the Queen city folks may be anxious to give this a taste. If that’s you then the following list should help, but these places may have already sold out so call before you go!

•Allyn’s •Arnolds
•Bar Louie •Beer Sellar
•Dilly Deli •Firehouse Grill
•Flip Daddy’s – Mason •Liquor Box
•Mios Blue Ash •Northside Tavern
•Remke Hyde Park •The Comet
•Valley Wine & Spirits •Vito’s Cafe
•Washington Platform Saloon •Whole Foods – Mason
•Yard House

Since our winner is draft only I want to give a special mention to Christian Moerlein’s Northern Liberties which was the highest ranked packaged IPA we tasted. Now I’m also realizing that out of 10 beers we tried only 3, Mt. Carmel, MadTree, and Moerlein are available in non-draft forms.

I want to thank all the breweries for making such great beer and letting us try some, all the bloggers for helping throw this together, and the Brew Professor’s family for putting up with us all for a night! We all had such a great time that it’s agreed we’ll do something like this again. Perhaps another style of beer or perhaps tap rooms or perhaps some other idea we’ve yet to think of!

Embree’s Northern Dark Baltic Porter Review

Cincinnati’s Beer Week officially kicks off this Wednesday with a party on Fountain square and a special taping of this years Cincinnati Beer Week collaboration beer, Embree’s Northern Dark Baltic Porter. Starting last year all the brewers in Cincinnati got together to create a special collaboration beer. This year’s list of contributors includes; Blank Slate, Christian Moerlein, 50 West, Great Crescent, Listermann, Moerlein Lager House, Mt. Carmel, Rivertown, Rock Bottom, Sam Adams, and Tripel Digit. Kind of an odd list if you think about it, Moerlein is on there twice, Great Crescent comes in from Aurora, In but not Quaff Brothers (Bellevue, Ky) or Cellar Dweller(Morrow, Oh)? But I digress, regardless of who got in and out this is an awesome list of Cincinnati’s breweries. They all got together to decide what to make and it was eventually made at Rivertown. In case you’re curious where the name came from, it’s a history lesson in itself. David Embree opened the first brewery in Cincinnati in the long ago of 1812 so this beer is a tribute to him.

Before we get to the review I want to introduce everyone, including myself, to the Baltic Porter style. The Baltic States are in between England and Russia and in turn the Baltic porter is in between an English porter and a Russian imperial stout. The malt profile and flavor is that of a English porter but with a kicked up alcohol content from the Russian Imperial Stout. Having never had one before I’m excited to try this style as it appeases one of the complaints I’ve made regarding other porters, that I wished they were a bit stronger.

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