Bell Time Beer Review – National Beer Day

Since today is National Beer Day and it’s a little past the quarter way mark of the year, I figured I could list my top ten beer that I’ve drank in that time frame. I’ve visited several new breweries I hadn’t visited before in Columbus (Ill Mannered, Platform Beer Cbus, Knotty Pine, BrewDog USA and The Brew Brothers) since posting the best of from last year.

Ill Mannered Brewing Co.Fat Bottom Girl – This beer is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale which is a really tasty style. It has that good Belgian yeast flavor that is tamed a bit with the darker malts. It has a nice spice flavor to it from what I’d wager is cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or some combination thereof.  I never shy away from a big beer and this one delivers at 9.4% ABV which does mask the still relatively low 38 IBU. It is not on their beer menu now but you can always wait for the next batch.

Arrogant BrewingBourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard – This company is a sister company of Stone Brewing Company and is run by Greg Koch, who helped found Stone. They took this beer from Stone’s line up and started building around it. I liked Arrogant Bastard to start with so tossing it in Bourbon barrels for an undisclosed amount of time made it good in a different way. Just the right hint of bourbon and flecks of vanilla added to already malty greatness. Another big beer coming in at 8.1% alcohol which I’m assuming is so that you can drink just one of these 22 ounce beers and be pretty arrogant all night long with your friends.

Homestead Beer Co.3 MCs – We went to Homestead’s 3rd Anniversary party to try and forget about the pending demise of my Boxer Cayenne. They did their part to help drown my sorrows by having this 9.8% ABV, 75 IBU Double IPA on tap. Though I don’t typically find double IPAs good, this one was hopped perfectly to not have that funk that normally comes with doubles. I didn’t need any more than 10 ounces. Coming in a close second to this beer for this list was their anniversary beer, Drie which is a Triple IPA.

Rockmill BreweryCask Aged Tripel – I tried this beer at their Tavern in the Brewery District of Columbus (and later finally paid visit to their farm outside of Lancaster OH) to officially drown my sorrows for Cayenne demise. Another in a long list of strong beers, this one coming in at 10.5% ABV. Belgian Tripels are probably one of the first craft beers I tried many years ago. I still love the style – high in malt, low in IBU. It has that perfect Belgian yeast flavor that helps bring out the spices of the malt. The catch on this beer is that it’s aged in whiskey barrels, which I normally don’t like, but it helps to counter act the sweetness that can come out from tripels.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria2014 Huitzi Strong Belgian Ale – Though the name is similar to Fat Bottomed Girl, it is a Golden Strong Ale which comes with less spice and more champagne like sparkle. The spices are more floral since they included hibiscus flowers and ginger which compliment the lighter malt used to brew this beer. As with anything labeled strong, it comes in at 8.7% ABV. Belgian beers are normally low in hops and this one is no exception at 22 IBU so it doesn’t affect the flavor profile much. If you’re in Chicago, I’d definitely recommend going to this brewery as the few beers I have had from it are fantastic.

Sideswipe Brewing Co.Sparring Rounds – Round 7 – I tried this beer at Sideswipe’s Anniversary party where all the cool brewer’s are releasing their new beers. As I realize that this is yet another Double IPA on my list, it is dawning on me that I may just like the style now and embrace the funk. They don’t list an IBU for this beer which is odd considering that it’s an IPA. What this beer does have in common with most of my beers is that it’s high in alcohol, 9.5% ABV. It’s a KO of a beer in both flavor and inebriation level.

BrewDog USADead Pony Club – After recommendations from Stone Brewing as to where to put their USA brewery, BrewDog choose Lancaster OH, just southeast of Columbus. They have yet to be producing their beer at this location but have opened the bar which we tried opening weekend. I had a chance to try three of their beers and this pale ale was the best in my opinion. It is way different from virtually since it is only 3.8% ABV but that helps to bring out a low 25 IBU. Funny what you can do with so few ingredients being rearranged slightly.

Lineage Brewing Co.Vanilla Vilkati – Their Vilkati is a Baltic Porter which I found out is a lager and not an ale meaning that it ferments at a lower temperature. I was hoping to brew it for a home brew contest but don’t have the equipment to make it happen. I’m glad they made it happen though because it’s a fantastic beer with chocolate notes and just enough vanilla. This beer comes in at a hefty 8.1% ABV while only sporting an IBU of 28.

RhinegeistMosaic – This beer is one of the most recent beers I’ve had and just adds to my love of mosaic hops (which I’ll need to use in a beer). It is the only hop they use and it displays that it works as both a bittering hop and a great flavor hop. Mosaic comes in at 5.6% ABV so it won’t knock your block off like eight of these beers on my list. It has an IBU of 45 which comes through the clear malt base well without being overpowering or piney.

Land-Grant Brewing Co.Folie de Mars – I just had this beer this past weekend so it is fresh in my mind and does present a different style of beer since it is Biere De Garde aka a French farm house ale. It has a little darkness to the malt bill but it is balanced with wheat malt to not make it too dark and brings nice lightness to the beer. Most farm house styles are low in IBU and this one stays the course at 21 IBU. As for the ABV, did you guess 7.7%? You should have at least guessed north of 6.0% because I like to drink less beer but still get hammered.

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