I wanted to get this done earlier but life happens. So for my first beer post of the year, I’ll run down my favorite beers from the 614 area code. I had a nearly completely different take last year. Funny what happens in a calendar year. Taste evolve, brewers put out new beers and I tried some new breweries.
10. Four String Brewing Co. – Russian Imperial Stout – This beer is when I officially knew I would like coffee for the first time in my life. I still don’t drink coffee but would be more than happy to drink more of this beer when Four String decides to start brewing more. It was thick, creamy and smooth as most Imperial Stouts are. I’ll try to resist the temptation of having this beer as a breakfast beer.
9. Smokehouse Brewing Co. – MacLenny’s Scottish Ale – On any of my lists, there will always be malty beers. This Scottish Ale ranks among the best of a crowded field. I reviewed when I went to a Drink Up Columbus event. I have also had it in their very tasty barbeque joint. Their signature is to heat up the kettle prior to putting the wort in to help caramelize the beer. It works very well.
8. Land Grant Brewing – Son of a Mudder Brown Ale – I haven’t gotten to the review of the beers that I invested in. Shame on me. I will give them their due by putting one of their core beers on the list. This beer happens to be one beer type that I bemoaned earlier this week wasn’t out there enough, the brown ale. Which of course brings on a different kind of malty goodness from Scottish or Amber ales. This brown happens to be closer to an amber because of it’s relatively high IBU, which is 37. There is a bitterness but it isn’t too prominent of a taste. This one won’t kick you in the teeth at 6.1% ABV. Very glad that they’re finally open and that my investment is quite tasty.
7. North High Brewing Co. – Queen Madine Milk Stout – I tried this beer when I went on the tour of their brewery with my soon to be father in law. Though I don’t agree with our fellow tour attendee that this one is better than Left Hand Brewing’s Nitro Milk Stout, it is a very close second. It has just enough sweetness against that fantastically roasted malt.
6. The Granville Brewing Co. – The Betrayer – This beer is the second beer on my list that hasn’t been reviewed. If this was the Year of The Pale Ale for me, the secondary beer of this year would be Belgian Tripels and Quadruples. This one happens to be of the Tripel variety. They don’t have much information out there on Facebook or even their site so I can’t throw out any numbers or spices. You’ll have to trust my palate that this beer is fantastic.
5. Columbus Brewing Co. – Pale Ale – This staple of CBC has been part of my revival in pale ales. It isn’t very hoppy (28 IBU) but has great floral notes and just enough of a bitter note to be near perfect. Although it isn’t quite a session beer (5.5% ABV) it is close enough for my concerns.
4. Rockmill Brewery – Saison Noir – I had this birthday during my birthday party. It was so good that the next time I saw it on a menu, I ordered it. I may not be able to spot all of the ingredients that they use in the flavor profile but that doesn’t make it a bad beer. In fact, this beer is the winner of the farmhouse ale category. At 8.0% ABV, this beer will kick the barn doors in.
3. Seventh Son Brewing Co. – Lost Sparrow – I’m bumping December beers to the following calendar year so my lists will be a Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving list going forward. I’m putting together these lists for most of December so that’s a good enough reason to bump them. Another reason to put this beverage on the list is because of the already mentioned changed palate. IPAs are bigger among the craft beer community at large than it is for yours truly. Beers like this one give you that punch of hops while blending it with fantastically roasted malt. Lost Sparrow is the best example in this city of tasty beers.
2. Zauber Brewing – Myopic Red – If I had anything resembling an “everyday” beer, this one would be it. Last year’s choice from Zauber was their Blonde, which I still like quite a bit. But something that didn’t involve hops changed my mind, probably the fact that this beer has more of the malty sweetness that I so love. It isn’t overly sweet without having a bitter note raise it’s head and it’s exceedingly drinkable.
1. Staas Brewing – The Evangelist – As noted, above Belgian beers were a second big winner this year. My favorite of the year was definitely this one from Staas Brewing. I vowed to get back up there again after our trip “zombie hunting” but haven’t been able to follow through. This beer is worth the jaunt up to Delaware. I don’t try to put a label or rating on beers because I don’t have the same palate as anyone else. Any time I label one as “Trouble” that’s a good thing. That means it’s everything you could want in a beer, especially a high ABV. Just make sure you have a designated driver after trying this one. – Kevin