I’m starting to worry now that the end of the year is coming. If you want to send in your Top 5 Beers, go ahead and drop them in the comments section. I’ll publish them with the Friends & Family post. I think it’ll end up being a three post event this year with some new friends joining in. They’re connoisseurs enough that they grow their own hops and brew their own beer. These beers only have a chance of going on to my Best of Cbus list since they’re all local.
Actual Brewing Co. – Conductor – For picture related purposes, this beer is the one in the upper left of the image above. Conductor is an Imperial India Pale Ale that is made from rye. For all of those warning signs that this beer was going to be hop-tacular, it is only 47 IBU. It comes through much heavier in the hop department than that number would suggest. The malt helps to curb the bitterness so that the imaginary IBU number in my palate doesn’t go into overload. The ABV is at 8.1% which is low for an Imperial beer but plenty good to knock you upside the head. I enjoyed this beer so much that I just bought a Bourbon Barrel aged variety of this beer which I haven’t cracked open yet. Smells like another tasty review.
Fat Head’s Brewery – Headhunter – I hope you know after the directions above that this beer happens to be the one in the upper right of the picture. The Fat Head Saloon started in Pittsburgh in 1992. Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon in North Olmstead, OH which is west of Cleveland. Even though this brewery had a Midwest start, they make a West Coast style IPA to head line their beer line. They use Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe hops to come up with their brew. They use plenty of it too since it comes in at 87 IBU. It’s just at the end of my palate range but they help out with the citrus notes to balance out the pine bitterness. With all of the hops, I expected a bigger punch than 7.5% ABV. Taste is always a paramount though and this one packs plenty of flavor.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Wandering Pelican – This beer was a collaboration with Cigar City Brewing, which is out of Tampa FL. They did the collaboration because of a Brown Pelican migrated from Tampa to Cleveland so that it could take in the lovely scenery on Lake Erie. They decided to make a black lager together which seems to be a popular style this year. This one sits in the same pocket as both Dark Helmets. It has a nice roasted malt flavor to it while it has just a little kick of hops at 20 IBU. The Pelican must be an alcoholic too since this beer is 8.5% ABV. This is second beer I have had that is dealing with Cigar City (Last year it was with New Belgium at their tasting this time last year) and both have been tasty so I can’t wait to try one of their own beers. Whether you’re in Cleveland or Tampa, try this one if you like black lagers.
Seventh Son Brewing Co. – Wysss Witbier – This beer is a collaboration with Yellow Springs Brewery which is down near Dayton, OH. It also happened to be a beer a tune up beer before Ken and I started recording OHPA 11. I was trying to put my finger on what made this beer unique from other Witbiers. When I took a look at their write up, I realized it was the dry hopping that I was missing. It gave this beer a kick at the end. I was not surprised to see staples of Witbier like cardamom, citrus peels and coriander in it. All of that goodness hits you up front. This beer falls into the session category much like the beer below but this one comes in at 5.1% ABV which is a bit higher. The oddness of the back end didn’t make me a big fan of this beer.
Seventh Son Brewing Co. – Wuffles Session Ale Cask Conditioned – This beer was the one that was the official beer of OHPA 11. Wuffles Session Ale is a pale ale at the start. It has a prominent, bitter hops taste to it. Seventh Son conditioned it in citra hops, marjoram and Osmanthus leaves, which have a smell and flavor similar to apricot and peach. The citra hops is one that has a nice citrus flavor to it so it helps to cut through the original bitterness. It also helps to high light the flavors of the marjoram and Osmanthus leaves which have subtler flavors. The cask conditioning imports a slight woody flavor but it’s not overwhelming. I actually think this version of the beer is better than the original. If I’m going to Session with it, grab the cask variety since it’s only 4.5% ABV. – Kevin