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George Remus & Death Valley – Prohibition’s Core

Photo credit: http://storify.com/zukejj/george-remus-cincinnati-s-king-of-bootlegging

On January 17, 1920 the Eighteenth Amendment (XVIII) took effect in the United States.  This made the production, transport, and sale of (though not the consumption or private possession of) alcohol illegal.  The Volstead Act was a sidebar that actually defined which intoxicating liquors were prohibited.  It today’s terms, it was the gray area.  This act also brought forth exclusions, such as alcohol for medicinal and religious purposes.

Welcome the kingpin of bootlegging, George Remus. George was a successful lawyer in Chicago who moved to Cincinnati after prohibition started to capitalize on the saturation of distilleries surrounding the area.  Being a lawyer, Remus was obsessed with the loopholes of the Volstead Act and immediately found fortune in the exploitation of the gray undefined areas.

George realized that he could legally sell bonded liquor to himself for medicinal purposes if he simply bought out distilleries and pharmacies in the region.  He bought out many of America’s more famous distilleries and would hire his own employees to hijack the inventory.  It would then be resold for a much higher profit as bootlegged booze.  He is even mentioned multiple times in the show Boardwalk Empire.  This guy made Nucky Thompson look like a amateur.  Over a three year span, Remus made well over 40 million dollars.  He was rumored to be the inspiration for Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby.  Brilliant!

George Remus

George Remus also owned one of the most spectacular homes to ever exist in Price Hill.  He threw crazy parties and handed out lavish gifts to those of power in Cincinnati.  This guy gave out cars to the ladies who attended!  In 1919, the southwest section of Price Hill was actually called Elberon Heights.  His Hermosa estate was built by Henry Lackman of the Lackman Brewery.  The home had a carriage house, stable, greenhouse, Grecian swimming pool, and a baseball diamond for the neighborhood kids.  

George remus House
The Hermosa Mansion
Photo credit: Price Hill Historical Society
A Remus dinner party
Photo credit: The Delhi Historical Society

At the same time he acquired the Lackman mansion,  George also bought the Dater Farm in Westwood.  He made this purchase for a strategic reason.  It was off the grid, not visable to traffic, and close to the core of Cincinnati. 

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This is a Google Map view of the approximate location of the Dater Farm aka Death Valley.

It was here that his largest bootlegging operation would take place.  As a matter of fact, the majority of booze that reached Cincinnati came from what he called “Death Valley Farm”.  When his inventory was falsely hijacked, it was brought here for storage and distribution.  George Remus actually hired a small group of 10-12 men to protect the property from hijackers and trespassers.  If you crossed the property line, you would be greeted with a shotgun.

Remus Death Valley
A rare photo of the Death Valley farm looking from Queen City Ave.
Photo credit: Enquirer Archives

Death Valley had a shell that appeared to be a small farm with barns, chickens, and a home on the property.  The truth was far beyond the cookie cutter appearance.  The barns held the majority of the bootlegged liquor and even beer.  The home was a centralized station for distribution logistics throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.   Each barn had a cellar and there were a few tunnels that reached Queen City Ave.  George strictly conducted cash transactions and it is rumored that some of his earnings were buried on the property in the event a raid would ever occur.   It is also rumored that he has a hidden vault built between 1918-1923 to protect his millions of dollars.  The vault could be somewhere in Cincinnati or in Newport, KY.  His business partner Buck Brady, was likely the only other person to know where this safe was located.  Find the property records and you just may find a vault.

The farm sat in a valley that was overlooked by some of his loyal buyers. These homes would keep an eye out for raiders and hijackers at all times.
Photo credit: Enquirer Archives

Eventually, a regular Death Valley customer was flagged down in Indiana, and his fault led to a warrant on the property.  George Remus was aware of the suspicious activity in the Cincinnati area and ordered his men to removed all booze from the farm.  His men failed to remove the liquor in time.  The Death Valley location was shut down due to a surprise Sunday raid.  He was not concerned because his additional halfway houses in Hamilton, Reading, Glendale, Buffalo, Pennsylvania, California, New York, and New York City were thriving. 

Photo credit: PBS

In 1925, George Remus was found guilty on multiple counts and sentenced to 2 years in prison on violations tied to the Volstead Act.  While serving his prison sentence, he met an inmate by the name of Franklin Dodge.  During his time spent with Franklin, he admitted that his wife had full control over his assets.  He was telling this to an undercover agent positioned as a faux inmate. Dodge left prison after hearing this information and started a relationship with George’s wife (Imogene Remus). They liquidated everything leaving a couple hundred dollars to George.

Spring House Gazebo
It is rumored that Imogene Remus still roams the gazebo that overlooks Mirror Lake.

When George Remus was released from prison, his wife immediately filed for divorce.  On the day they were to attend a court hearing, George paid off a cab driver to run Imogene’s car off the road in Eden Park.  It was in front of the Spring House Gazebo where she was fatally shot in the abdomen by George.  It is said she still haunts the gazebo that overlooks the mirror lake.

George Remus was somehow found not guilty by reason of insanity and only served 6 months in an institution.  He lived the remainder of his life in Covington off of the grid and supposedly lived very comfortably.  That raises question about the rumored hidden vault.  He died in 1952.  He was in his seventies.


In Cincinnati, you now have two options to celebrate the legend of George Remus.  There is George Remus Whiskey and Fifty West Death Valley Shootout Imperial Stout.  They also have a version aged in Remus Whiskey barrels!  Check out Fifty West’s other Remus inspired beers throughout the year.

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Open Container Districts Closer To Reality In Ohio

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The Ohio Senate has just passed SB 116 (31-0). This proposed law allows cities with a population greater than 35,000 the ability to designate “entertainment districts”. Within the districts, open containers laws would be lifted and visitors could carry beverages from one business to another. These districts would be be limited to 1/2 mile and at least 4 current liquor permit holders must exist. A similar bill is currently pending in the House, but will face a tougher path to passing.

SB 116 was backed by Sen. Eric Kearney in effort to revitalize certain entertainment districts and promote tourism to cites. There are already laws similar to this in effect if you have ever traveled to New Orleans or even Louisville.

To shed a little light on the impact of creating these districts, we need to take a look at New Orleans. According to the City of New Orleans, in 2013, the City of New Orleans had nearly 10 million visitors who spent $6.47 billion dollars. Of those visitors, 77.2% were there on vacation/pleasure and 57.5% were repeat visitors. These numbers are directly tied to the entertainment district and the excitement it creates. Cincinnati may never output those tourism statistics, but we can surely improve on or own while creating a unique experience.

What does this mean for Cincinnati?

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With the addition of the streetcar, tourists would have the pleasure of visiting two potential districts in Cincinnati. Those candidates are likely to be OTR and The Banks. Over the Rhine has already started an epic resurgence of bars, shops, restaurants, breweries, and residential housing. Taft’s Ale House, Lachey’s Bar, and many other businesses are set to open in the coming months as well. Designating OTR as an entertainment district puts the bow on the package and a destination for more tourism is born. I would love to grab a beer at The Lackman on my way to eat at Pho Lang Thang.

The Banks would never be the same for Reds and Bengals games. Let’s be honest with ourselves, businesses have not thrived as the city had hoped. Designating The Banks as an entertainment district can potentially jumpstart business during the offseason. It can also increase business and elevate the atmosphere during sporting events. My only advice would be inclusion of more businesses and owners that are a representation of Cincinnati and not corporate America. We want people to experience Cincinnati and not a strip mall.

This is a good thing for Southwest Ohio. I know there are plenty of “what ifs” regarding potential issues that can arise, and it is understandable. Trust our city, the investors behind economic development projects underway, and the wonderful residents of Cincinnati. Tourism equals jobs. Jobs equal better quality of life. Lastly, who doesn’t want a beer while enjoying the scenery of our kick ass city?

Cheers!

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Cincinnati Pedal Wagon Launches Winter Tours

Pedal Wagon

Pedal Wagon Cincinnati

If you have been to Downtown Cincinnati within the past couple of years, you have probably witnessed a group of people pedaling a giant oddity called a pedal wagon.  By far, the Cincinnati Pedal Wagon is the most unique experience to share with a group of your closet friends/family/strangers.  The crazy folks behind the pedal wagon have decided winter will not slow them down or block your opportunity for fun.  They have launched “The Polar Bear Express” that comes with special winter pricing.  

What are the special pricing deals?

Winter Pricing for all Tours except Progressive Dinners (Food & Labor costs)
$16.50 per seat (this pricing  includes Tavern Cruise, Globetrotter, Hair of the dog & Wanderung)

Book It Here

What are the available tours this winter? 


Polar Bear Express:

Enjoy all the holiday season has to offer with a 2 hour pub crawl including seasonal drink specials (hard cider, hot chocolate, eggnog etc.) at 4 of Cincinnati’s most eclectic bars, all aboard the abominably decorated Pedal Wagon that would be the envy of Clark Griswold.

HalfCut, Arnold’s, Lackman, and Rhinehaus

Dressing up as Santa, Grinch, Buddy the Elf, The Abominable Snowman or wearing Ugly X-mas sweaters are all strongly recommended…


Pedal To The Jungle Description:

Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? Football Season is upon us, and what better way to support our Cincinnati Bengals, than to embark on a 2 hour, pedal powered pub crawl? “Pedal to the Jungle” gives 15 die-hard Bengals fans an reason to enjoy some of Cincinnati’s great neighborhood sports bars. Rolling around town for both Home and Away games, your group meets at Rhinehaus, O’malley’s in the alley and Jefferson Social – 2 ½ hours before kickoff…


Progressive Dinner:

Climb aboard the Pedal Wagon for a culinary adventure unlike anything else in Cincinnati! This 3-hour showcase of our city’s “best kept secret” food spots is perfect for company outings, birthday’s, or just a night out on the town. The evening includes stops at Kaze (appetizer and drink), Arnold’s (entre and drink), Taste of Belgium (desert and drink), and drop-off at a location of your choice in the OTR neighborhood.


Hair Of The Dog: Very popular tour! 

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, but lets be honest… if it wasn’t, we’d still be shamelessly enjoying America’s favorite past time: bar hopping. We’ve rounded up 4 of Cincinnati’s great drinking establishments all into one 2-hour pub crawl aboard the 15 passenger Pedal Wagon.  They are: HalfCut, Knockback Nats, Lackman, and Rhinehaus


Support the Cincinnati Pedal Wagon and the locally owned businesses they support! It is a win, win, and a win.

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Karl Strauss Brewing – A Great Universal City Pit Stop

Karl Strauss Universal

Karl Strauss Brewing

As a graduate student in Cincinnati, I do not often have the chance to travel. When a recent opportunity to go to Los Angeles presented itself, I jumped on it. Although the trip was very short, preventing much sightseeing, I managed to stumble upon a cute local brewery on the one free evening I had there. I was staying near the Universal Studios in Hollywood and walked over to the Universal CityWalk when the signs for Karl Strauss Brewing Company (KSBC) caught my eye. If there is one thing that grad students love (besides their research), it is beer. I had to try this place!

Karl Strauss Beers

As I learned from the bartender and confirmed by researching their website, the KSBC is a regional craft brewer with its main operations in San Diego. They have 7 brewery restaurants in California, and have won over fifty awards including WBC medals for two of their brews, the Red Trolley Ale (reviewed below) and Two Tortugas, along with being considered a top 3 up-and-coming craft brewer of the Western US. If the vibe of the well-appointed and modern, but not pretentious, restaurant had not already pulled me in, these accolades would have substantially piqued my interest. By this point, the bartender and I had become fast friends, and I ordered a flight of four craft beers of my choosing from the 14 on tap (including a number of limited releases). I was relieved to see that super hoppy or bitter beers did not dominate their draft list; the variety of malts and hops promised something for everyone. I had a hard time picking just four beers, but I arrived at this combination (here with their menu descriptions and ABV/SRM/IBU):


1) Endless Summer Light
A refreshingly light American Blonde Ale with clean malt flavors, subtle Cascade hop undertones, and a crisp finish (3.4%/4/15).

The Endless Summer Light seemed to me like the quintessential “girlie beer,” so I had to try it. It was very light in flavor; to this grad student/consummate beer drinker, this was a bit too similar to water. I would not hesitate in calling it the Bud Light of KSBC.

GOOD FOR: People who want to look like they’re drinking craft beer but actually just prefer to drink what they play beer pong with, people on diets, people who don’t usually like beer but want something with a low alcohol content

2) Red Trolley Ale
Brewed with half a ton of carmelized malts, our award-winning Irish red has rich toffee flavors, notes of dried fruit, and a slightly sweet finish (5.8%/30/17).

I had to taste the Red Trolley Ale when I saw the numerous awards it has received. I believe they were well-deserved. This spicy and bold, yet still light tasting, beer enticed me to have another full pint even after filling up with my flight and samples. It was definitely worth the trip.

GOOD FOR: Anyone with a passion for beer

3) Peanut Butter Cup Porter
This decadent twist on a robust porter packs rich layers of smooth peanut butter and dark chocolate flavors. The lingering, slightly dry finish is sure to keep you going back for the next sip (5.6%/56/30)

Being a peanut butter and chocolate addict, I wanted to see for myself if the Peanut Butter Cup Porter could live up to its name. This is a seasonal/limited brew that KSBC has been brewing since 2012 with has a reputation for selling out. With my sample, I could really see the wide appeal of this crowd-pleaser. It is a well-executed representation of the flavor and aroma of peanut butter and chocolate in a substantially heavy porter.

GOOD FOR: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup lovers, dessert

4) Windansea Wheat
A centuries-old strain of German weissbier yeast gives our Bavarian-style Hefeweizen its trademark banana and clove flavors that linger through a refreshingly smooth finish (5.1%/3/12).

The description of the Windansea Wheat really set my expectations high. When I actually tasted the light wheat beer, I was left a bit disappointed. The aroma of bananas (another one of my favorite flavors) was very strong, but the flavor of the beer was lacking. If the discrepancies between these could be resolved, I think this beer would be a real winner in my book.

GOOD FOR: Blue Moon/Shocktop fans who prefer bananas to oranges


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There was still so much unexplored territory at KSBC after my flight, so I had to try a few more samples. I was feeling particularly adventurous at this point, so I decided to taste their Tower 10 IPA (IBU of 70). Unsurprisingly, it was a bit too bitter for me, but for IPA fans, I would encourage you to try this or one of their two other IPAs: the Big Barrel Double IPA and the Tower 20 IIPA (IBU of 90 and 100, respectively). I also sampled their Fullsuit Belgian Brown Ale, a characteristically substantial and bold ale that I highly enjoyed. The only disappointment I had with this one was that it was too filling for me to get a pint. I ended up settling with one more pint of Red Trolley Ale, but my bartender gave me one last treat. He made me and a few other patrons a shot of the Wreck Alley Imperial Stout with a splash of vanilla vodka, which IMHO tasted exactly like an A&W root beer float. It would be sure to please anyone feeling nostalgic for childhood, or fans of unique, non-syrupy shots. What a fantastic way to end a night!

Special note for people trying to parent me: I did eat dinner while I was consuming this massive quantity of beer during my time at KSBC. It was a Wednesday night, so I had their Wednesday Meatloaf. The meatloaf itself was nothing special, but the gravy it was smothered in (made with Wreck Alley Imperial Stout) was fantastic and it paired well with the garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini. The zucchini was also finely cut lengthwise to resemble a kind of vegetable spaghetti, which was one of the more unique ways I’ve seen to prepare food in a while, and I’m sure it lessens cooking time.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Universal CityWalk
1000 Universal Studios Blvd
Universal City, CA 91608
(818) 753-2739

karlstrauss.com

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Beer Review: Founders Backwoods Bastard

Backwoods Bastard Pic

Backwoods Bastard Pic

Once a year, the seasons start to change from the therapeutic fall to the cold winter months that most of us dread.  This is the time of the year when I usually tap into my cellar for those solo sipper beers.  These are beers I pop open when I want to escape from reality and enjoy the quiet calmness tied to these months.  Yes, I have kids.  Founders Backwoods Bastard does that for me once a year for a very short time.   However, the wait is so worth it!  The artwork is subtle showing a bearded man from the backwoods holding a double bit axe as he roams through his claimed plot of land that sits deep in the forest.  It is not aggressive polished turd labeling because there is a story to be told.

The availability of Founders Backwoods Bastard is extremely limited to one month out of the year and only to selected areas.  KBS, Devil Dancer, and Harvest Ale are the only other limited release beers offered by Founders.  I am sure you have heard about or tracked down one or more of these.  They truly are worth the hype and Backwoods Bastard is worth more hype in my opinion.  It is highly rated yet lacks the hype of KBS.

Backwoods BastardFounders Description:

Style:  Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy  – Aged in bourbon barrels

Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.

ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: 50


Ratings:

ratebeer:  100 /100
Beer Advocate:  97
Untappd:  4.20

 Mumbo Review:

Glass:  Snifter
Serving Temperature:  50 degrees

The beer pours a beautiful dark reddish brown with a finger sized tan head that dissipates rather quickly.  The bubbles from the carbonation leave within a few minutes of pouring into the snifter.

The aroma is quite complicated.  This complexity is consistent each year and really throws your nose for a loop.  It immediately releases vanilla and dark fruits from a distance.  After taking a strong whiff, the bourbon, oak, and sweet malts shine through.  The aromatics rival any of the top rated beers in the world.  You almost feel bad for drinking it because it smells that good.

The mouthfeel is a sweet medium body that almost disguises itself as thin from the sweetness.  Sticky with medium carbonation.  The bourbon finish lingers.

It is an intense beer full of sweetness and deep roasted chocolate thanks to the malts.  It reminds me of figs or dark fruits that have been soaked in a fine bourbon.  Backwoods Bastard is very malt forward and hides the bitterness from the hops behind complexity.  If you asked me to describe it in 5 phrases or words I’d say: Dark Fruit, Bourbon, Vanilla, Cocoa, and Caramel.  Founders has seriously done a perfect job with this beer.  It is like bourbon soaked fruits and candy.

I highly recommend trying Backwoods Bastard.  For the price of $14.99-$15.99, it is well worth the purchase.  Cellar a bottle or two and enjoy with the 2015 release.  Founders never fails to satisfy.

http://foundersbrewing.com/

 

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Braxton Brewing Company Update – Get Ready Covington

braxton brewing

Braxton Brewing

If you recall back in April, the Brew Professor brought us the exclusive on Braxton Brewing Company and their plan to open a brewery in Covington, KY.  Since then, things have been fairly quiet with few updates via social media.  However, the team at Braxton has been working around the clock and are ready to shift into overdrive.  Today, I was given the opportunity to visit and chat with the Braxton team.  Here are some updates you need to know about:

The Brewery

Braxton Brewing
Planned layout for Braxton Brewing Company


Construction will begin very soon.  They have decided to go with a 20 BBL 4 Vessel brewhouse that can grow with the brewery.  The brewing system is 100% customized and will be supplied by Quality Tank Solutions.  The brew team is extremely excited about the toys they will be playing with in the near future.  Some major enhancements will need to be made to the site, such as a creating more clearance for larger equipment down the road and creating a drive up loading area in the rear of the building.  The construction is scheduled to be completed no later than January 1, 2015 with hopes of having beer at Cincy Winter Beerfest.

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Looking out from the future taproom


The taproom will be the face of the brewery, as it should be.  Jake Rouse wants this to be a taproom of the future and his ideas support that goal.  It will feature 20 taps behind the bar with a Pegas growler filling station.  A special events room will feature metered taps and privacy to accommodate any group or function.  The taproom will have free 1gb wifi for all guests.  I am pretty sure they will have the fastest internet speed in any brewery.   Food will not be sold in the taproom.  They are committed to brewing beer and not making food.  Multiple food trucks and local restaurants are currently being reviewed for partnerships.  Do not worry, you will be drinking well and eating well at Braxton.

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Braxton Brewing Kickstarter Offer


Part of building a taproom of the future requires insight and engagement from everyone.  A kickstarter program will be launched September 30, 2014 dedicated to funding the taproom while launching an offer called Braxton Builders.  I saw the campaign video and it had me sold within the first 30 seconds.  The brewery is dedicated to community support and involvement.  Stay tuned for more information on this.

The Beers

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They plan on having 20 different Braxton beers on tap at all times.  I have no idea how they will pull this off.  However, the concept is what we all want from our local breweries.  Evan and Richard have committed to creating exciting beer.  Utilizing ancient brewing methods was even brought up.  I am very excited about the concoctions that will be available in the taproom.  

Braxton will also have an extensive barrel aging program.  They are currently sitting on three Pappy Van Winkle barrels.  Expect to see an English Barleywine, A Russian Imperial Stout, and a Scottish Strong Ale thrown into these barrels at one point.  Bourbon barrels are not all they plan on using.  Wine barrels are on the agenda too.  I am hopeful to see a west coast IPA aged in a reposado barrel (hint hint).  Richard also mentioned plans for a robust sour program.  Yes please!

Braxton Brewing

Braxton Brewing Company will also have a standard line up of beers.  They will start off with keg distribution only and eventually shift to canning as well.  Here are the initial beer releases you can expect.  The American IPA will be a 70IBU quaffable brew hopped with Simcoe, Chinook, and Citra.  The Tropical Stout is one of a kind to the area with the addition of date syrup.  The Cream Ale is one of Evan’s award winning homebrew recipes and will likely be their top selling beer.  The saison will satisfy any Belgian beer addict.  My prediction is cream ale and American IPA will be canned first. These are just soeculations since they haven’t brewed anything yet. You can also expect to see some special release bombers in the future once the barrel aging and sour programs take off.

I cannot express with words just how excited I am for Braxton Brewing. The planning, build out, and beers are being done right. The City of Covington will finally get the jumpstart it needs to revitalize a beautiful area. Keep your eyes peeled for social media updates on the progress and launch dates.  Construction and permits are in process.  Follow Braxton Brewing Company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Triple Digit To Bust Some Craniums

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Listermann Brewing Company has made it known that slowing down is not an option in 2014.  Over the past couple years, they have established themselves as one of the top rated breweries in the country.  Beers like Listermann’s Nutcase and Triple Digit’s Chickow! are being demanded faster than they can be brewed.  The expansion and additional equipment will help that gap close. Not a bad problem to have at all.

Here is one more secret planned for late Q3 of 2014…Cranium bottles.  These will be the same screen printed bottles as Nutcase, Aftermath, and Chickow. They do not bottle a beer unless it is perfected. How great are the bottled beers at Listermann/Triple Digit?

Cranium
Ratebeer: 96
Beer Advocate: 91

Chickow!
Ratebeer: 97
Beer Advocate: 92

Nutcase
Ratebeer: 94
Beer Advocate: 84

Aftermath
Ratebeer: 91
Beer Advocate: 86
*Totally underrated

Cranium may take the top spot from Chickow and will likely be in extremely high demand. It is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla and coffee. It also happens to show up to your palate at 11.5%.

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Keep these dates on your calendar:

8/28/2014 – The fourth and final Audit Ale will be released at noon.  They will also have all four version on tap.

10/10/2014 – 10/11/2014 – Oktoberfest is back! Expect more beer and a bigger turn out.

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Fifty West Brewing Is About To Smack Your Face with Beer

Fifty West

It has been a while since I last wrote a piece on the great guys/gals at Fifty West Brewing.  They have been turning and burning beers for nearly two years now in addition to pulling together John’s killer food menu.  I think Cincinnati has really taken the beer variety for granted because we know something new and exciting will be put on tap every week.  Every time I visit, something innovative yet polished is being poured on tap.  Blake Horsburgh takes a lot of pride in the beer before it reaches our gullets.  He understands the importance of keeping consumers on their toes by constantly tapping new beers.  Take note breweries, this is what we all want.  Change.  Variety.  Quality. Recently, I paid 50W a visit and learned about some exciting things brewing up on the East Side.  It is hard to excite a beer nerd and I am very excited.

Update #1 – Death Valley Shootout Russian Imperial Stout

George Remus Whiskey

They currently have a Russian Imperial Stout sitting in a fermenter that will likely chime in slightly under 12% ABV.  It will be another tribute to George Remus called Death Valley Shootout.  If you have read my write up about Remus, you will understand the historical significance of this location in Westwood.  I tried it from the fermenter and immediately took chocolate to my nose and palate.  No sign of the high ABV and it reminded me of a more well structured Darklord.  That is not the best part!  This beer will be aged in George Remus Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.  I bet you had no idea a small batch bourbon whiskey in honor of Remus was being produced locally.  From the sample that I had of both the beer and bourbon whiskey, it will be their best beer to date.  I will bet you a pint on that claim.  If you are trying to get some Remus Bourbon Whiskey, good luck, there is a demand 20 miles long for it right now.

Update #2 – An Enhancement To Some Beers

Blake SMells

Expect to see some more unfiltered versions of their brews.  I do not mean beer with floaters and chunks floating around.  That is not what unfiltered means.  As a matter of fact, most people will not be able to tell a difference in the appearance.  When beers are sent through commercial grade filters, they are striped of hop aroma and flavors.  Some will argue this.  I have tried both versions and it is true.  These losses are usually taken for the sole purpose of a clearer beer.  Fat Head’s and many other breweries have started stepping away from these hardcore filters for a more natural filtering process and sometimes centrifuges.  Thirty-37 Session Pale Ale and Punch You In The EyePA will start steering back to a more natural clarification process.  I tried the Thirty-37 today and I was floored at the hop presence upgrade.  The aroma and hop notes stick like glue.  I was so impressed, I didn’t even recognize that I was drinking Thirty-37.  It tasted like Citra heaven.  The unfiltered Punch You will be out soon and will have the same effect.  I believe they originally brewed Punch You without running it through the filter.  This is a great move by Blake and a major improvement to beers that were already amazing.  As displayed in the photo above, Blake puts his nose in every batch for quality control.

Update #3 – More Fifty Beer For You?

Large Brewery

They are apparently searching for a location to establish a production facility.  A specific location has not been identified and I am not sure how serious this endeavor is at the moment.  However, it would only mean more beer for the Cincinnati market.  I would expect a more industrial agenda with a taproom if I know these guys right.  I really hope this to be true and approaching the final stages.  The photo is a representation of what they should do.  This would be a minimal cost of course.

Additional Items To Know

Fifty West Tripa

Tripa is the most pungent IPA to hit Cincinnati and I can assure you this will hold the title for eternity.  I was a little skeptical about this beer because most 3x IPAs that I try remind me of barleywines instead of IPAs.  Tripa has launched itself into an extremely rare club of super high ABV/super high IBU IPAs that go down like you could drink it from a can.  It is 11% and 420 IBUs (read QCDs write up on IBUs).  I am not sure how they pulled this off.  Maybe locks of Bobby’s hair?  

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 The recent collaboration #2 with Fat Head’s is a Chocolate Stout.  Some Remus bourbon barrels also made their way up north and are probably awaiting this beer.  I would expect to see a regular and barrel aged version of this beer in the coming weeks/months.  What else would you expect from Fat Head’s and Fifty West Brewing?

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The Beer Knowledge Quiz – How Much Do You Know?

beer quiz

Craft beer is growing at astronomical rates.  So is the general interest in beer.  It seems as if everyone is now an expert on beer.  Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about beer.  The BeerMumbo beer knowledge quiz will tell you where your knowledge stands…

 


beer gifts

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How To Make A Hidden Beer Bladder

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I decided to dig up that old Camelbak and find a way to turn it into a beer bladder.  Why I decided to make this cannot be discussed.  Ok, I made it for cutting the grass.  This Camelbak is getting much more use these days.

If you are not familiar with what a Camelbak is, they are used by runners, bikers, hikers, etc.  At one point in my life, these activities were a possibility and the intended use for a Camelbak made sense.  Now, I am a father of three kids and I only have time to work and drink craft beer.

So here is what I did.  It is super easy and I am happy with the overall result of my impromptu beer bladder.  The beer stayed fairly carbonated and of course other liquids can be added to the new beer bladder.

What do you need?

Camelbak
Picnic Tap
-Scissors
-Booze

beer bladder

1 – This is a Camelbak. You wear these like a back pack and fill them with water to stay hydrated. They have a cap that you unscrew to fill them with water and a hose that runs up to your mouth. Generally, you have to use the mouth piece at the end like a straw.

beer bladder

2 – The Camelbak has a hose that comes down one of the shoulder straps. Detach the hose and remove the drinking valve at the end of the hose.

beer bladder

3 – Slice a small slit on the backside of the Camelbak and feed the hose back through here. This is needed to provide the gravity flow. Be careful that you do not slice too far and cut the inner wall of the Camelbak. That holds your booze.

picnic tap

4 – This is a picnic tap. You can get these very cheap. It has a release valve to ensure the gravity fed beer does not drain out. Remove the stock end piece and slide the hose on the picnic tap.

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5 – Fill it up and wear it like a back pack. I usually hook the picnic tap to my belt loop.

In Final:  Do not forget to strap it on and hide it.  I hope this lame yet easy beer bladder tutorial has helped you find use for the Camelbak that you never use.  Hydrate with water?  Dumb!  Hydrate with beer!  Win!


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Cincinnati Beer Find: Country Fresh Market On Vine

Country Fresh Market Cincinnati

Country Fresh Market Cincinnati

Tucked away near Hartwell, is a craft beer gem called Country Fresh Market on Vine.  They are not the new kid on the block at all.  There is only one Donnie Wahlberg.  As a matter of fact, CFM is one of the last businesses remaining in this area from my childhood 30 years ago.  I remember going with my Grandma to get fresh produce when I was a kid.  The location has pretty much stayed the same local fresh market since the 1980’s.  Seriously though, they have kept the vintage local market vibe and that is something rarely experienced these days.

In March of 2014, the go ahead was given to expand the wine selection and create a craft beer smorgasbord.  They acquired two adjacent retail spaces to the right and went absolutely bananas with the new floor space.  After visiting hundreds of bottle shops throughout the country, it is very hard to impress me.  I can honestly say, they did a kick ass job with every detail.  It is organized.  The beer is priced well.  The selection is fantastic.  The staff know what they are talking about.

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Customers now have the one of the largest and most diverse build your own 6-pack selections in Cincinnati.  Single bottles are everywhere and if you really want something singled out, they will do it for you.  Most bottle shops will not do that for their customers.  They also have hundreds of bomber bottles, 750ml bottles, and limited releases that are not easy to find.  I was very excited to see some Jackie O’s bottles on the shelf.

Country Fresh Market

If you are feeling the need for a growler, CFM on Vine has a spectacular tap line up with excellent prices. Bring your own growler or buy one of theirs. You cannot go wrong either way.  I was able to sample some Death and the Fat Head/Jackie O’s collaboration known as After Hours Black IPA.  The beer was cold and they have dialed down the draft lines to pour a perfect offering.  If you need a growler, they are only $5.

Country Fresh Market

I also noticed some great sales that blew my mind.  Dogfish Head Noble Rot and Etrusca were half off.  Where can you buy a 6 pack of Southern Tier anything for $5.99?  That is cheaper than Natty Light!  They would rather sell it for less than see it collect dust. That’s the way it should be and I have some serious respect for that.

Country Fresh Market on Vine is only 2 minutes off of Interstate 75 and worth the trip. This is a much appreciated addition to a historical business in Cincinnati.  While you are spending your pay check on beer/wine, check out the fresh market too.  I have always loved the fresh produce here and the hometown feel.  It is something we should embrace and support.

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Country Fresh Market on Vine
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cffmvine  
Address: 8425 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45216
Phone:(513) 821-5335
Hours:

Monday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 7:30 pm
Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 

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Borg Brugghús Welcomes Fenrir Nr.26 – A Sheep Poop Smoked IPA

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Borg Brugghús (City Brewery) in Iceland has decided to jump into the craft beer oddity competition with their rendition of poop laced brew. 

Mikkeller made this style a global phenomenon with their Beer Geek Brunch Weasel that used Civet poop because it was rich with coffee flavor.  Gross? Actually, it is Damn good. Sankt Gallen Brewery in Japan also brewed a beer called Kono Kuro using elephant dung. This beer was also praised by many.

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The brewers, Sturlaugur Jón Björnsson and Valgeiri Valgeirssyni have used sheep droppings for their latest creation, a West Coast Style Smoked IPA called Fenrir Nr. 26. It also comes in at 6% to keep those poop notes at the front of your palate. I love the desire to be innovative and fun with beer.

Some may say this is ridiculous and it is not craft beer. Sure, making odd beer doesn’t make your beer good. However, Icelanders were under a “Strong Beer” prohibition from 1915-1989. Strong meaning anything over 2.25%. Iceland even celebrates the end of prohibition with Beer Day. After putting up with that BS for so many years, these guys can brew whatever in the hell they want. Maybe next time they’ll just throw a baby lamb into the mash. Totally kidding PETA.

Where does the doo doo come in?

Sorry folks, they don’t actually toss poop into the boiling wort or add it to a secondary.  In Iceland, sheep droppings are often used as a replacement for firewood.  It burns well and for a long time. When smoking the malts, they build a sheep dropping fire and let that delicious flavor saturate for a couple of days.  I highly doubt any poop aromatics shine through.

Here are the brewers with their explanation of Fenrir Nr. 26:

So far, Fenrir Nr. 26 has not performed too bad on RateBeer.  This could be due to the taboo or people not comfortable admitting their love for poop.  If I can get my hands on some, I’ll let you know.

I wonder if they run this through a Randall in their tap room…


25 Awesome and Somewhat Ridiculous Beer Gifts

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Listermann’s Volksfest 2014 Details

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One of my favorite beer festivals in Cincinnati is this weekend.  According to Listermann, “Volksfest is a festival for the people of Cincinnati, brought to you by your favorite local craft breweries”.  It is held August 1st and 2nd at Listermanns in Norwood.  Volk in German means people, and Cincy’s brewers have decided to come together once again to show how much they appreciate the Cincinnati love support.  Things have changed a little bit this year so make sure you take a look at the festival guide map.  This year has some serious food, beer, and music in line for your faces.

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This is one of the few opportunities to see all of the local Cincinnati breweries come together with some of their best brewed concoctions.  It is an amazing list!  Here are the beers:

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Listermann Brewing Company has teamed up with the Cincideutsch to host the event. They will be bringing an authentic German feel to the festival, as well as booths, banners and parades to talk about their respective clubs. The ceremonial keg tapping of the Listermann Volksfest Lager will be held at 4 p.m.  You will also see booths by the The Bloatarian Brewing League.  Just like every even held by Listermann, this event will be family and dog friendly.  As a matter of fact, on Saturday, Adore-A-Bull Rescue will be hosting an adoption event.  You cannot miss these sweet dogs.

BeerMumbo giveaway:  On Friday, the first person to find this shirt and tell me the year Dan Listermann opened the doors for business…wins a FREE beer of their choice. 

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When:
Friday:  5pm – 12am
Saturday:  12:00pm – 11pm

Listermann Brewing Company

1621 Dana Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45207
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Old Beer Recipes From The 1800’s

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We often forget about the importance beer played in the foundation of the country we love so much.  In the 1800’s, beer was a huge component to the daily diet for most families, including their children.  As a matter of fact, families kept sacred cookbooks that contained family beer recipes alongside food recipes dating back hundreds of years.  Until modern water treatment surfaced,  it was generally safer to drink beer than water.  American families were a different kind of poor back then. There were no support systems established in 1840, outside of the church. When a family needed nutrition, beer played a crucial role in survival. Even if they were lacking the money to eat well, people drank fairly well.

Beer usually consisted of locally acquired ingredients.   Hop pellets, specialty grains, lab controlled yeasts, and artificial flavorings did not exist.  An open fire with an iron pot is how it went down.  If a cheap beer was desired, local adjunct items were collected and often mixed with molasses.

Anyways, I was recently given permission by the Cincinnati library to view a rare book dating back to 1840.  I had to lock my belongings in a secured room and was not permitted to use any flash photography. This was only to protect the original copy of the book. Fortunately, I was allowed to snap some photos with my phone.  White’s New Cook Book is a collection of family remedies,  recipes, and blueprints distributed to the residents of the growing Cincinnati area.  Check out these awesome old beer recipes.  Try one!  However, I promise they will not match our current selections.

Check these photos out:

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How To Make A Beer Can Sleeve

Beer Sleeve

Beer Sleeve

Have you ever heard of a beer can sleeve?  It is an old school trick that works extremely well to conceal a beer and disguise it as a soda. I was shocked to find out that most of my friends in the craft beer community had no idea what a beer sleeve is.  Shame on you all!

Apparently, they didn’t have a rebellious uncle who found ways around the rules and somehow enjoyed every family event. With the growing number of craft breweries switching to cans, it can be of benefit to learn how to make a beer can sleeve.  It may take a few practice attempts but you’ll get it down.  Remember, this could get you in trouble and placed in the chair of shame. Also, never drink with the cut side facing out. It should rest on the inside of your palm. I hope my How-To is clear and concise.

Here is a YouTube How-To video:

 

If you would prefer a How-To manual, read below

Tools Needed:
Soda Can
Handheld Can Opener
Sturdy Scissors

1.  With a can opener, remove the top and bottom of the can.  Make sure the cutting wheel is on the inside of the can.  Turn the dial away from you until the top and bottom are cut out.

Beer Sleeve

 

beer sleeve

2. Trim the top metal ring off of the can with scissors.  Trim the bottom of the can right before it tapers in with scissors.  The top should bevel in and the bottom should not.

Beer Sleeve

 

beer sleeve

3.  Find a spot on the can away from the logos and cut a line from the top to the bottom with scissors.   This needs to be a clean cut and a straight line. If you hack this up, your sleeve will not be convincing.

Beer Sleeve

4.  Roll the sleeve up and rubber band it.  This will make it coil around your beer can better.

Beer Sleeve

5.  Wrap it around your beer and smile at everyone else. Just make sure the cut side is not facing out.

Beer Sleeve

Cheers!

*Doing this can get you in trouble so don’t say we didn’t warn you.  Pepsi and Hudy are not affiliated with BeerMumbo.


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