Columbus Microbrew Festival

September 16, 2008

Well, I’m certainly new to having an updated blog.  I’ll do this on time and tell people before review the event next time, I promise.  The Columbus Microbrew Festival is at North Market, Sept. 12-13th.  It is $15 and $2 off if you bring the flyer to the event.  Your $13-15 gets you a standard pint glass, and ten tickets.  Most beers cost one ticket, but some cost two.

Beef number one:  You must pay cash for this event although everywhere in North Market takes credit cards.  This is a minor beef as many beer festivals seem to think this is a good idea.  There is also no way to buy tickets online or before the event at any of the participating microbreweries as the original flyer claimed.

Beef number two:  There is no correlation between what beers cost two tickets when previously at other beer events, the same beer cost one ticket, and some of the two ticket deals are pure and simple greed.

For example:  Everything from Columbus brewing was two tickets.  Luckily for them, they came to their senses midway through the event and decided that most of their beers (excluding their “featured” barleywine) would be one ticket.  Which brings me to their “featured” barleywine.  Just how long does something have to be featured to make it non-featured anyway?  Not that the beer is bad, it is actually very good, but I reviewed that beer back in the beginning of May.  That means it’s been around on their tap handles for quite some time now.  Come the hell on Eric, if you’re going to brew something at the same capacity of all your other bottled beers and are only going to keg it, serve it at the same ticket price of all the other beers, or just hang on to it until it becomes a proper barleywine.  All barleywines should be drank at about the five year mark anyway or later.

Elevator’s Oktoberfest, Alt, and Doppelbock were all two ticket deals as well.  Oktoberfest currently isn’t on BA, I’ll be inserting that one on the site at a later time from my notes.  Now Alt isn’t a huge beer by definition or by the taste on that beer.  Perhaps I was harsh on it in my review, but it sure as hell wasn’t a double price type of beer, nor is their year round Doppelbock.  Actually, as I’ve said before, the only great beer Elevator has to this date is their root beer.  These ticket costs are pure greed, plain and simple.

The other two two ticket deals were from Barley’s.  Both the downtown location and the smokehouse.  I didn’t get to sample the five year old barleywine as it is on for the Saturday festival, but I have had that on cask for one ticket at the Smokehouse’s firkin fest.  I will say that one is worth two tickets.  Unfortunately, I was there on early bird friday for the Lame Duck Imperial Pilsner.  Well, although beer advocate thinks this is from the downtown location, it is actually from the Smokehouse.  Once again the Smokehouse dissapoints me.  I really hope this changes soon.  On Lame Duck, Scott makes a pilsner more in the vein of Miller Lite, full of corn and swill water than in the realm of a proper pilsner such as Czechvar (Budweiser for non-Americans) or Pilsner Urquell, which is a more flavored and drinkable version of a pilsner.  If this beer is Imperial (beer definition of imperial meaning big in ABV), than it is hardly imperial, and is no where near good enough for someone to be charging more for it.  For christ’s sake Scott, your brewery isn’t conveniently close to me and I have to make special trips out there for your beers.  Quit making bad beer for god’s sake.

Beef three:  The organization of this festival was shit at best.  Water was not supplied at all, and I think this is the stupidest idea for all festival organizers.  Hey, I have an idea!  Let me give everyone the means to get drunk and go out and drive and get OVI’s, but not give anyone the means to combat getting drunk, like water!!  Bars and breweries are concerned about getting their liscenses revoked by letting homebrew clubs such as SODZ (the local Columbus homebrewing club) bring in their own homebrews, but they have no qualms about inviting people to get shitfaced and then sending them off to drive with no other alternatives to cause them to not get arrested.  Even the water in the bathroom was on warm only because it was one of those damned sensor faucets.  I could clean my glass out for more beer, but I couldn’t get any water to cleanse my system.

Of course, the festival wasn’t all bad, I just had to get the grievances out of the way first.  On to the good things:  Weasel Boy, the brewery out of Zanesville had the best beers to be sampled by far, and all were one ticket.  they know how to treat their faithful drinking audiences.  With a good beer at competitive costs.  I found myself coming back to them just to blow out my extra tickets rather than wasting them on beers I’ve already had before.

The rundown on the Weasel Beers was pretty vague by my notes.  Wiesel Jungle Kolsch was light, smooth, lightly overhopped and fruity.  River Mink Mild Brown was probably the easiest drinking of the beers I sampled having a very dark mild flavor, lightly roasted malts, again, slightly overhopped again, but that was OK.  The beer itself was worth a revisit if I ever see it again.  The one I found myself going back to with the extra tickets at the end of the festival was the Brown Stoat Stout.  Fruity, smooth and creamy was the order of the day.  Not overwhelming with alcohol, and something I could have drank all day.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought this because the tap was gone by the end of the night.  The Dancing Ferret IPA was also on tap, but I had the beer before and I wasn’t feeling IPA’s until later in the night.

While I’m running down the beers, I may as well do the same with all the breweries I hit last night.  I did have one other Barley’s Smokehouse brew which was the Oktoberfest.  This tasted like a homebrewed ale (the Marzen/Oktoberfest style is a lager) was highly malty, grainy, and husky with off flavors running rampant.  It tasted unfiltered and very grist laden.  It wasn’t a bad beer, but it wasn’t a Marzen either.  Luckily, the term Oktoberfest can be used very loosely.  It doesn’t really have to be a Marzen, that’s just what is assumed by almost everybody.  Even Germany has an Oktoberfest beer that goes outside the style, perhaps I’ll bring that up in the future.

Gordon Biersch also had decent offerings.  I really feel that they are underrated for a Columbus brewery.  When Brian is left to his own devices without the corporate machine controlling him (Gordon is a chain, there are beers he must brew as well), he makes some rock solid beers.  Not to say his corporate beers aren’t good either, some of them are quite worthy.  I still can’t say much for German Pilsners, but the rest are quite good.  The special beer for the night there was the Berliner Weiss which he had flavored with woodruff or raspberry syrup.  I sampled the woodruff as I had never had the flavoring in a Berliner Weiss outside of Dogfish’s Festina Peche.  Interesting stuff, it had a very apple cinnamon flavor that cancelled out the sourness altogether.  I had Brian pour me an unflavored sample immediately following just to make sure it had that famous lacto bacillius sourness that I love so much.  Sure enough, it was there and perfectly to the style.  He knows his stuff over there.

Later on in the evening I ran into good old Wildman Dan and Ashley Routson, the friendly beer wench blogger, soon to be moving to Florida after this weekend.  To commence the celebrating of the farewell festivities, I took the liberty of smuggling a few bottles from the shop downstairs up to our tasters table.  Those beers were Green Flash Imperial IPA, Buckeye Hippie IPA, and Hoppin’ Frog BORIS the Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout.

Some may say smuggling beer in a beer event is excessive and wrong to do.  Those people would be right, but it was a joyous occasion, there was much rejoicing afterward, and when beer bloggers get together, you have to expect just a little drunken debauchery.  Luckily, no one got hurt.

More beer news and the farewell event to the beer wench at tip top on the next post.

If anyone reads this blog, which I would be suprised if they do, tomorrow afternoon at Tip Top on Gay St. is the official farewell of the beer wench.  I’m sure she will accept beer related gifts for said farewell, come out and get someone else drunk other than you for a change.


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