AboutDavid Nilsen – PorchDrinking.com
2019 was a fun year for me in the beer world. I attended the Great American Beer Festival for the first time, published a lot of articles and drank a lot of great beer.
Here are my thoughts on the best beer of 2019, and the many happenings that occurred this past year in the world of craft beer.
Sara Stathes co-owns The Barrel House in Dayton, Ohio, with her husband, Gus. The Barrel House is a beer bar and bottle shop with 17 beer taps and shelves stocked with amazing bottles and cans, and it’s become something of a second living room for Dayton beer lovers. Sara is the beer buyer for The Barrel House, and folks like Sara who are in charge of buying packaged and draft beer have a unique perspective on what’s popular in the beer world at any given moment. I sat down with her recently to get her insight about craft beer in 2019.
Ohio’s Little Fish Brewing has partnered with a non-profit group supporting survivors of sexual assault to promote the importance of consent.
For the last two years, this brewery from the small college town of Athens has worked with Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program (SAOP) to release Consent, a barrel-aged sour ale brewed with tea. The beer was released on draft during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April, and was released in bottles for the first time during the last week of November.
The annual release of Great Lakes Brewing Co.‘s Christmas Ale is a big deal in Ohio, and that excitement extends all the way up to the man responsible for its creation.
“When I take a sip, it’s like I’m wearing a sweater,” says Pat Conway, co-founder of Great Lakes in Cleveland, Ohio.
His brewery first brewed Christmas Ale in 1992, but Conway is still like a kid on Christmas when asked about this celebrated holiday seasonal. The beer helped define the Christmas beer style for the early craft beer movement.
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. Or—as your aunt insists on calling it—Turkey Day. Of course, this day involves a lot more to eat than just a large bird and therein lies the challenge when it comes to Thanksgiving beer pairings. Which beers are flexible enough to work well with the cornucopia of flavors and textures we enjoy on this holiday?
Many guides to pairing with Thanksgiving dinner suggest course-by-course pairings with one beer matched with one particular dish. No one actually eats like that though. We pile our plates with as much food as we can fit and then dive in. Rather than match beers with dishes, I’ve outlined a beer pairing list that divides the day into stages and offers suggestions for each phase.
Market Garden Brewery in the historic Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, has made a name for itself on the success of an unlikely flagship beer for a modern craft brewery. Prosperity Wheat is a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen, and it won the gold medal for the style at the Great American Beer Festival last month.
The name “grisette” has popped up on brewery taplists more and more in recent years, but the style is still poorly understood by many. What is this curious little beer, where did it come from, and why is it growing in popularity? Turns out none of those questions have easy answers.
The popular origin stories for many historical beer styles are often festooned with fanciful narrative elements of dubious veracity. Ask any dudebro at a bar about how IPA was created and be prepared for a tall tale involving colonialism and sea commerce. The true story is often a little more complicated if it can be uncovered at all, and grisette’s backstory is no exception.
Ohio Craft Beer’s Ale-O-Ween beer festival moved to a new location this year, but the spooky fun of this 4th annual event stayed true to its calling. Ale-O-Ween moved to the Dayton Convention Center this year after a couple years at The Steam Plant event center, and Ohio Craft Beer is hoping the event continues to grow into the larger space.
Leaves are falling, Ohio evenings are getting crisp and jack o’ lanterns are smiling from porches across the Buckeye state. It’s time for the Ohio Craft Brewers Association’s Ale-O-Ween in downtown Dayton!
Utopias on Cherries. Coconut Brandy Medianoche. Millerzzzzz. 5 Candles.
If you’d thrown a dart at the pour list for Denver Rare Beer Tasting 11 at the McNichols Civic Center in downtown Denver last Friday afternoon, any beer name you hit …
Brink Brewing in the College Hill neighborhood of northern Cincinnati just opened in 2017, but they already have seven medals and awards from the Great American Beer Festival. In fact, they’ve never failed to medal in the three GABFs since their founding. Last week they brought home gold medals for their Hold the Reins English Mild and Moozie Milk Stout, as well as top honors for Very Small Brewing Company of the Year, which is awarded to a brewery producing fewer than 1,000 barrels of beer annually.
Pastry stouts, hazy IPAs and rare sours tend to command most of the buzz at the Great American Beer Festival; the lines at brewery booths pouring those beers last week in Denver certainly attested to that. However, I chose a different tasting route for my festival experience. As I wandered the festival floor, I didn’t so much choose “the road less traveled” as much as an overgrown path forgotten by time: I wanted to taste as many obscure, historical beer styles as I could.
GABF offers a wonderful educational opportunity for anyone who wants to taste styles largely lost to history. Want to know what a gruit tastes like? Want to compare multiple export stouts or Dortmunder lagers beside each other? You’ll never have a better chance to do it than at GABF.
I’m just going to cut to the chase: We make some really good beers in Ohio, and if you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on October 3-5, you’ll get to taste quite a few of them. To help you plan your tasting tour, here are some of my favorite Ohio beers that will be poured at GABF.
On the night of May 27, a powerful line of storms ripped across Indiana and Ohio. Numerous tornadoes caused considerable damage. The Miami Valley region of southwest Ohio, centered around the city of Dayton, was hit especially hard. Multiple tornadoes left parts of the city and surrounding communities in shambles. Lives were disrupted and families were displaced.
In the wake of the storms, countless area businesses and individuals came together to help those affected by the disaster. Dayton’s breweries were no exception.
It’s the beginning of August, and by the inexorable laws of seasonal creep, that means it’s officially Oktoberfest season in taprooms and bottle shops across the country. Most folks assume the word “Oktoberfest” on a beer label or tap list refers to a particular style, but it’s actually a little more complicated than that. Let’s talk about how we got here, and then get into the details of what’s what with Oktoberfest lagers.
Most of the time when we see Farmhouse Ale on a beer label in this country, the beer in question is a Saison or Bière de Garde. A new book about northern European rural brewing traditions expands the world of farmhouse ales and opens readers’ eyes to a thriving Nordic subculture of farmhouse brewing and expands our understanding of farmhouse ales beyond popular Belgian and French traditions.
“I didn’t write it for people who are into beer. I wrote it for a specific demographic of people who didn’t know anything about beer.”
That’s Dom “Doochie” Cook, founder of Beer Kulture, talking about his new book, This Ain’t the Beer that You’re Used To: A Beginner’s Guide to Good Beer. The book is intended to be an introduction not just for newcomers to craft beer, but for racial and ethnic demographics that for the most part haven’t had good beer marketed to them. The book is finding an audience with established beer fans as well though, providing a new perspective on an industry that has too long been dominated by white voices.
Draped over a few rolling hills in eastern Ohio sits the property of a farmhouse brewery that comes by its agrarian title honestly. Wooly Pig Farm Brewery’s name isn’t marketing; the brewery is a working farm growing livestock and hop bines. Founder and brewmaster Kevin Ely specializes in rustic German lagers, and his bestseller is Rustic Helles, a Munich Helles served unfiltered and cloudy straight from the lagering tanks.
When I lead beer tastings and classes, I often hear people express a common misconception: lagers are inferior to ales. This idea is starting to change as craft lagers become more popular, but there is still plenty of confusion out there about lagers, and for good reason—with so many styles, craft beer can be confusing! Fortunately, misconceptions about lagers are pretty simple to clear up.
Germans love their beer, and they love to drink a lot of it, which means most German styles need to be crisp and fairly low in alcohol to support extended drinking sessions in those gorgeous beer gardens you keep drooling over on Instagram. When I say the words “German beer,” you most likely picture a glass of pale, brilliantly clear Pilsner, or perhaps a stein of amber-colored Märzen (Oktoberfest). Maybe you think of a curvy vase of cloudy Hefeweizen that’s the color of a wheat field. All of those refreshing styles can make a sunny day even better, but it gets pretty cold in Germany during the winter months, and one family of German lager styles—Bocks—have the strength to stand up to the season’s cruelest weather.