The season of the witch.

October 31, 2008

Aaah, Halloween.  And I believe this is the first one that I was not prepared enough to have a costume.. Kind of depressing as I had one planned and just got too busy with work.

There’s better things to focus on in this holiday though.. Such as great beer!  It is firkin Friday after all, and there’s a little something special at Barley’s Smokehouse..

Oysters & Stout night, featuring, you guessed it, oysters and stout.

I would love to make it out to this one but I’m working late.. and this kills me.. but for those of you that aren’t.  Here’s how it’s going down.

The firkin at the smokehouse is their Russian Imperial Stout first and foremost.  I’ve had it downtown, but not at the Smokehouse and as they are different breweries, I’ll not comment on it just yet.

I’m assuming they are also serving oysters, but they have other greatness on tap as well, today only.  Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury.  That is a very strange beer that one has to try to believe.  Southern Tier Oat, which is quite possibly the best oatmeal stout in the world, and if it’s not, Stoudt’s Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout.  I’m going to try to make it out early Saturday on the slim event that they didn’t bleed these kegs dry and possibly have some oysters left over.  This sounds just great to me.

So where did Scott get this great idea?  Well likely, he was thinking about Oyster Stout.  An all but extinct style that I only know of one brewery still doing in the United States.  Yard’s brewing in Michigan still brews oyster stout with oysters added in the mash.  I have heard it adds a certain salty pleasant character to the stouts.  I have made an oyster stout before as well but without oysters added in.. Mine was something of a complete and total failure.  I still have plenty if anyone wants to try the three year aged version.

Still, I’m not the man to be telling you about oyster stout as I haven’t perfected it, and perhaps I’m a little less qualified than the man, Michael Jackson.  So here’s an article he had on the stuff from his local newspaper clearly stolen from his site:

Bushy’s Oyster Stout revives a tasty tradition

Being a stickler for ritual, I have been looking for a beer with which to greet the return of an “r” to the month. After some thought, the answer is obvious: an oyster stout. It might be thought that such a powerful beer would drown the shellfish, but it is a marriage made in heaven. I believe such a brew should actually contain oysters. This is true of the oyster stout just introduced on the Isle of Man, a traditional home of such brews.

The earthy intensity of stout is a perfect foil for the gamey brineyness of oysters. Disraeli once wrote of an election celebration: “I dined at the Carkon, on oysters, Guinness and boiled bone…” In the early Victorian period, porters and stouts were everyday beers, and oysters a bar snack as commonplace as peanuts today. Porter dates from the early to mid-1700s, and is characterised by the use of highly kilned malts. Its name is said to have derived from its popularity as a restorative among porters in the markets of London, though I am not so sure. Until the industrial revolution. a brewery typically served a single pub. With the canal era, breweries began to deliver their beers farther afield. Perhaps porter had something to do with its being carried. In the early to mid-1800s, some of the bigger-bodied porters gained the epithet “stout”.


Stout seems happy with all shellfish and crustaceans. I once downed pints of Guinness with a I bucket of boiled softshell crabs, as sandy as they were peppery piled high on brown paper, in a pub called Brady’s in Baltimore, Maryland.


The black beers gradually lost popularity to pale ales in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and oysters were over-dredged, but the marriage never ended. Around the turn of the century the Colchester Brewing Company made a special stout to mark the oyster harvest. Guinness once used the slogan, “Makes the oysters come out of their shells”. Between the wars, the company rendered a pastiche of Carroll and Tenniel, with an illustration of an oyster conducting a lobster at the piano.Stout seems happy with all shellfish and crustaceans. I once downed pints of Guinness with a I bucket of boiled softshell crabs, as sandy as they were peppery piled high on brown paper, in a pub called Brady’s in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1929, a New Zealand brewery added oysters to their stout. In 1938, the London brewery Hammerton followed suit (the brewery later closed, but not as a result of its oyster stout). At least three British breweries tried the same idea in the undernourished post-War period when “nutritious” beers were in vogue. On the Isle of Man, the Castletown Brewery made an oyster stout until the Sixties.

In the mid-Eighties, Martin Brunnschweiler, who is of Swiss origin but grew up in the northwest of England. left his job with Whitbread to start a new brewery on the Isle of Man, initially in a pub decorated with stuffed foxes – hence the name of his new enterprise, Bushy’s. In exploring the brewing history of the island, Brunnschweiler came across old labels showing that Manx oyster stout had been exported to the United States and even the Middle East.

“I felt such a beer must surely be worth reviving, but I first had to establish my brewery with something more conventional,” he says. As the revival of interest in traditional beers has spread, oyster stout’s time has come, and Bushy’s have just launched their own.

Brunnschweiler uses oysters imported from England by a fishmonger on the island. He adds them whole, at the rate of a mere five or six per barrel, to the kettle in which the barley-malt and hops are brewed. The oysters melt away during the boiling stage, leaving just a touch of their gamey flavours to enhance the brew.


Bushy’s Oyster Stout, at just over four per cent alcohol, is on the light side in body and intensity for this style of beer, with just the subtlest hint of the magical bi-valves. Unfortunately the only way to taste this wonderful combination of flavours is — for the moment, at least – to visit the Isle of Man. The beer is available only on draught, at about £1.45 a pint, at seven or eight pubs on the island, though there is talk of its being served in the northwest of England, perhaps in the Matthew Brown pubs.

Those of us who live elsewhere may have to be content with Marston’s Oyster Stout, made to a strength of 4.5 per cent in the less maritime setting of Burton-on-Trent and available by the 500ml bottle at about £1.40, from national chains such as Oddbins. This beer was introduced a year or so ago, as part of a series of traditional specialities from Marston’s.

It contains no oysters, which seems a bit of a swizz, and is intended merely to accompany oysters, which it does very well. It is a very creamy brew with just the right balance of toasted grain flavours and acidic hoppiness.

A stout must lean to the dry side if it’s to accompany oysters. Despite its fullness of body, Guinness‘s Dublin-brewed, strong (7.5 per cent) and quaintly named Foreign Extra Stout does the trick. especially if it is lightly chilled. The regular bottled or canned stuff is arguably too sweet and the jury is out on the draught version.

Murphy’s and Beamish are barely dry enough, but there is a case for the peppery, spicy Cain’s Superior Stout, from Liverpool. I have long loved the toasty, faintly anise-like porter from Harvey’s of Lewes, East Sussex. A more recent example of that variation is a smoky, bottle-conditioned Old Porter from King and Barnes of Horsharn, in the west of that county.

Back on the Isle of Man and fired by the success of his stout, Martin Brunnschweiler is wondering whether the island’s oyster beds might be revived. He’ll have us flying there yet.

Firkin Friday continues downtown as well.  But it’s the pale again.  Balanced, wonderful, and not new.  But I’d get a growler from the cask if they offered it that way.

I’ll keep my eyes and ears open this weekend for more beer goings on.  This is all I know for now outside of that Evil Dead 2 showing at Studio 35 tonight.  I’m missing that too, but if you want that and 14 tap handles, it’s $5 tonight and at 11PM.

Here we are at another firkin friday.  And it looks like I missed out on the firkin barleywine last week.  There will be another chance I hope as it’s one I was really looking forward to.

Today we have at the downtown location, the Barley’s Pale dry hopped with Summit hops.  I have a feeling I’ll make it out just to have a bit more of the pale the best way that it’s available.

At the Smokehouse we have the Centennial IPA also dry hopped with Simcoe, which is nothing new for them really, but worth a swill if you end up in that area, and of course the food is to die for as well.

Also on tap at the Smokehouse we have a Belgian Dark from Bear Republic that I’ve never heard of, Crazy Ivan.  If I make it out, I’ll be trying that one for sure.  We also have the amazing double IPA from Southern Tier, Unearthy.  If you haven’t tried that and love IPA’s, this is one for you to try now.  Take off work early for it.  They also have Lagunitas Imperial Red which is one of my favorite red ales and is worth a pint or three.

Also for the horror movie fans, Studio 35 (with 16 beers on tap) is airing Evil Dead 2 tonight at 11PM, and an encore showing on Halloween, October 31, at 11PM as well.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin and Great Lakes Nosferatu are still on tap there and that’s just a fraction of the good beers they have on hand.  For $5 movies, you really can’t go wrong with our friends in Clintonville, Studio 35.

So there is today’s beer news for Columbus.  I’ll keep my eyes open for more better beers and keep the world posted.

Perhaps I spoke too soon.

October 24, 2008

Well, the movie marathon was excellent and I was sitting right next to the organizers.  Apparently my smuggling wasn’t overly frowned upon.  I suppose it all goes with the realm that if blatent drunkenness ensues, then they may have to care a little bit more about it.

That’s as far as I’m going into my lawbreaking issues as I plan to do it again in other places.  But this all just leads into the beer that I smuggled and had never sampled before.  Alesmith Yulesmith.  Now this beer has had a lot of words about it as there are two different versions.  I had the version with the red and green print indicating that this one is the winter edition.  It may also be good to note that this was the winter 2006 edition.  Without further ado, the review:

Beer gushes on opening causing quite a mess, but there was still plenty of beer leftover for reviewing.

Appearance- Beer pours a dark red brown with a one and a half finger head of tan/cream foam that dies slowly to a murk across the top. Lacing clings pretty solidly to the sides of the glass.

Smell- Cat piss and vaginal fluid mixed with grapefruits and pines along with thick bready malts. Some Candied gelatinous sour patch scents are in there as well. This is the first vagina scented beer I’ve ever had.

Taste- Sweet pines with a large load of earthy hops, a little sourness and a bit of yeastiness stinging on the tongue and lightly burning. I’m not sure if it was better younger, but this time it’s just pretty good.

Mouthfeel- Bitter, burning, sticky, full-bodied, and medium in carbonation.

Drinkability- This is a strong IPA that would cater to many, but I am really a fan of flavor and taste at the end of the day. It really doesn’t cut the mustard for me.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-24-2008 15:55:10

No real beer events to speak of this week, but I’ll mention Firkin Friday on the next post to fill those in who don’t leave the house for these sort of things.

Well the Studio 35 review got a little long and didn’t say anything about this weekend and what’s going on.

This weekend the Drexel theater on Main St.  Which I have never been to, is having an all night horror movie marathon which I will have to attend as well.  As stated in earlier posts, I love horror movies and marathons are perfect venues for this kind of thing.  For those interested, check the link, but it’s Saturday October 18th 10PM to sometime Sunday morning, and it’s $20.  I wonder if I can smuggle in a cooler?

In other beer news, Firkin Friday is later on today after I wake up again, and the beers du Friday will be:

Smokehouse:  Maclenny’s Scottish Ale, which I don’t think I have tried yet.

They also released a Raspberry Infused Saison tonight.  Which really intrigues me as I have brewed one as well.  They also have Lagunitas Imperial Red on tap and I just can’t say enough good things about that one.

and

Downtown:  Barley’s Barley Wine.  Another I have not tried, but I had better before it’s too late.  Hope it’s still there when I get off work.

Holy crap.  Columbus Beer news.. Just what I always wanted.  I can’t wait to hear more. Gotta love strong beer season.  Hopefully I’ll have more updates in the near future.

I did make it out to the Studio 35 beer tasting and good god, it was a good one.  Let me give you the rundown on the beer list.  My reviews have yet to hit the websites, but I will give a brief synopsis…

Number one on the lineup was New Holland’s Golden Cap Saison, which I did review in the bottle, but had yet to try on draft at the time:

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a standard beer mug. This was purchased at a retail store in Ohio so this is not just limited to the brewery.

Upon opening and the pour I nearly immediately spilled it all over the pants and keyboard area. This is usually a good sign. I usually accidentally spill the good beers out of sheer clumsiness wasting precious liquid from past instances.

Without further ado:

Appearance- Beer pours a slightly hazed golden yellow with a two and a half finger head of sodalike carbonation that quickly dies down to tiny bubbles raising up from the bottom of the glass.

Smell- Spices, a slight funk, lots of malt character, light fruits, and minor hop character. Some cardboard oxidation notes, I hope that isn’t in the flavor. Some citrus notes are there but the spices quickly overpower them.

Taste- Fruity and citrus with a creamy quality that gives way to more funk. I’m not sure if funk is entirely appropriate for the saisons, but I’m very glad that it is there. I love the funk. Hops are present but not too overpowering. Malt is adequately balanced.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, lightly warming, lightly fruity, highly carbonated, medium bodied.

Drinkability- Very nice for the summertime and very nice for the winter as well. The high ABV makes it a beer for all seasons. I would love to try this on tap and feel I may have the opportunity soon.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-02-2008 22:35:34

There was a beer mishap on this review, but it was a fine beer and was worth a try on tap.  Just for elaboration purposes, on tap was about 25% better, which makes it a grand slam of a beer.  If you find it on tap, I say get it.  You won’t regret it.

Now this is one hell of a starter for a tasting, but you won’t be seeing me complain on that one.  The fun had just begun and we weren’t even up to number 2.

Number 2 was Troegs Pale Ale, which was good, but it’s pretty hard to follow up that first one and it just didn’t do all that much for me.

number 3 was the oh so mediocre Troegenator Double Bock, which I would encourage others to try, but afterward, try Sam Adams version than tell me which one you like best.

Number 4: Founder’s Dry-Hopped Pale Ale which was pretty good!  Not that Founder’s is really a brewery that would disappoint, they aren’t but this was no Breakfast stout, and really, what is?  Founders excells with their dark beers, but still does a good job with the lighter ones.

Number 5:  Moylans Kilt Lifter.  This is probably my favorite American made Scotch ale, and it is different every time I have it on tap.  This time was no exception and it was especially flavorful this time around.

Did I mention this was a good tasting?  Ten bucks and already I had felt I’d gotten my money’s worth.  I would love to see the Studio 35 guy doing this more often.  It has to be good for his business as the theater has been packed both times I’ve come to these tastings.

Number 6:  Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury.  This was one of the strangest beers I have ever had and this year’s batch is totally different than the first batch they did.  That is to say, this is a completely different beer.  I would guess the only thing in common with the old one is maybe base malts.  It was one wacky monkey.  Roasted like a stout, sweet, no hop flavor, spices, it’s something, but who knows what kind of beer.. Maybe herbal/spiced?

Number 7:  Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale.  I suppose there had to be a pumpkin beer in the mix as it is the season.  I’m no longer that big on the pumpkin beers, but this one was quite good.

After this the tasting got really good.  I don’t know what wild hair got up Andrew’s ass, but he really pulled out the stops on this tasting and gave the tasters a real kick to the goods on this one..

8:  Avery The Kaiser.  Again i will offer up my bottle review on this one, but I assure you, the tap is much better.  This is the only imperial Oktoberfest to my knowledge, and it’s a damn good one.

Poured from a 22oz foil capped bottle into a tasting glass. Bottled in early 2007.

Appearance- Beer pours a golden amber with a decent and impressive head of foam. Dissipates to a thinner layer of foam on the top of the glass. Cleanly layered.

Smell- Big malts, mostly light with very mellow hops. Fellow commenter’s say they catch barnyard, but I say nay. Sweet light malts and very little hop. Yeast is present and mysterious.

Taste- Rich malty flavour with a rich hoppy background. Hops linger and nearly overpower but then the malt comes back reminding us that this is actually a Marzen. Warming and gingerbread on the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full bodied with thick carbonation. No astringency. Creamy and enjoyable. Warming with the ABV of 9.37%, slightly sticky on the lips.

Drinkability- A nice Marzen. Time has balanced the beer slightly, but the beer could use much more time to come together. Adam could stand to make this beer a little lighter. As an Imperial Oktoberfest goes, Great job!

9, and this one really knocked my socks clean off.. This one was something I thought I would never see again, but I was oh so glad I did.  One of my favorite beers of all time, Flying Dog Wild Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter which I have reviewed from the bottle here:

Poured from 750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus Chalice.

Appearance- Solid black with a huge head of foam that reaches the 3 finger mark. Head is tan and splotchy, thick and undying. Clings to the glass and makes it’s artistic statement on the sides of the glass just like Steadman does on the bottles.

Smell- Malty and thick. I could paint my goth ex-girlfriends room with this stuff. Deep dark malts, chocolate and possibly some rye. The oak whiskey barrel is detracting from the malted smell and throwing me off. Caramels and rich dates and figs come in and the flying dog yeasty reminiscent that standard gonzo has (standard gonzo? That doesn’t quite sound right).

Taste- This is one hell of a beast right here. Smoother than gonzo porter, for some reason the barrel aging has made this beer more deceptive than it previously was. Malty sweetness gives way quickly to the whiskey oak flavor that I know all too well. Alcohol is warming but not felt on the tongue or nose. Smooth as all get-out, espresso on the finish makes me wish I had cracked it earlier in the night. I’ll be up all night with this one.

Mouthfeel- Thick and creamy, full-bodied and smooth. Alcohol warmth is big but unnoticable. Big carbonation on the appearance, but not too much on the mouth. Heavy like Elvis in the final days. It trys to cover it up, but everyone sees right thru that veil.

Drinkability- It does get hurt a little on drinkability due to the weight of this monster. 9.5% is nothing to scoff at. I will have it again on tap soon, but I won’t be drinking it all day much to my dissapointment.

and last but not least, the very nutritious, and delicious, and oh so good for you:

Southern Tier Oat (Imperial Oatmeal Stout) the bottled review is here as well.  Once again, the tap was better than the bottle:

Poured from 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Solid obsidian but when held to the light slight reddish hues escape around the top. A light brown 1.5 finger head appears but quickly dissipates to a splotchy peninsula of tiny bubbles thin over the top.

Smell- Oats, cream and fusel alcohol byproducts. Belgian chocolate malts and more creaminess. The alcoholic bit wafting in and out really docks the score on this bad boy. Hints of raisin and almond come out after repeated sniffs.

taste- black patent malt, lactose creamery with a rich oaty chocolate malty sweetness. A coffee huskiness permeates the palate, no real dark fruits on the tongue, but imperial Russian traits still persist. Damn Southern Tier knows the way to make their stouts. I would love to age one of these back longer. Hops are nicely balanced and not too over the top.

Mouthfeel- Rich and sticky. Smooth and creamy with low carbonation.

Drinkability- This stout, although huge with alcohol and oily, is still delicious and quite drinkable. I would love to find this on tap.

What a great tasting, all that, and Better Off Dead as well, which I had not seen before and I will have to obtain on DVD now.  Last Sunday night would have been hard to make it go any better, and the only thing to make it any better.. No work on Columbus Day the next day.  An event like this makes me love this city even more than I already do.

I did make it out to the Studio 35 beer tasting and good god, it was a good one.  Let me give you the rundown on the beer list.  My reviews have yet to hit the websites, but I will give a brief synopsis…

Number one on the lineup was New Holland’s Golden Cap Saison, which I did review in the bottle, but had yet to try on draft at the time:

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a standard beer mug. This was purchased at a retail store in Ohio so this is not just limited to the brewery.

Upon opening and the pour I nearly immediately spilled it all over the pants and keyboard area. This is usually a good sign. I usually accidentally spill the good beers out of sheer clumsiness wasting precious liquid from past instances.

Without further ado:

Appearance- Beer pours a slightly hazed golden yellow with a two and a half finger head of sodalike carbonation that quickly dies down to tiny bubbles raising up from the bottom of the glass.

Smell- Spices, a slight funk, lots of malt character, light fruits, and minor hop character. Some cardboard oxidation notes, I hope that isn’t in the flavor. Some citrus notes are there but the spices quickly overpower them.

Taste- Fruity and citrus with a creamy quality that gives way to more funk. I’m not sure if funk is entirely appropriate for the saisons, but I’m very glad that it is there. I love the funk. Hops are present but not too overpowering. Malt is adequately balanced.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, lightly warming, lightly fruity, highly carbonated, medium bodied.

Drinkability- Very nice for the summertime and very nice for the winter as well. The high ABV makes it a beer for all seasons. I would love to try this on tap and feel I may have the opportunity soon.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-02-2008 22:35:34

There was a beer mishap on this review, but it was a fine beer and was worth a try on tap.  Just for elaboration purposes, on tap was about 25% better, which makes it a grand slam of a beer.  If you find it on tap, I say get it.  You won’t regret it.

Now this is one hell of a starter for a tasting, but you won’t be seeing me complain on that one.  The fun had just begun and we weren’t even up to number 2.

Number 2 was Troegs Pale Ale, which was good, but it’s pretty hard to follow up that first one and it just didn’t do all that much for me.

number 3 was the oh so mediocre Troegenator Double Bock, which I would encourage others to try, but afterward, try Sam Adams version than tell me which one you like best.

Number 4: Founder’s Dry-Hopped Pale Ale which was pretty good!  Not that Founder’s is really a brewery that would disappoint, they aren’t but this was no Breakfast stout, and really, what is?  Founders excells with their dark beers, but still does a good job with the lighter ones.

Number 5:  Moylans Kilt Lifter.  This is probably my favorite American made Scotch ale, and it is different every time I have it on tap.  This time was no exception and it was especially flavorful this time around.

Did I mention this was a good tasting?  Ten bucks and already I had felt I’d gotten my money’s worth.  I would love to see the Studio 35 guy doing this more often.  It has to be good for his business as the theater has been packed both times I’ve come to these tastings.

Number 6:  Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury.  This was one of the strangest beers I have ever had and this year’s batch is totally different than the first batch they did.  That is to say, this is a completely different beer.  I would guess the only thing in common with the old one is maybe base malts.  It was one wacky monkey.  Roasted like a stout, sweet, no hop flavor, spices, it’s something, but who knows what kind of beer.. Maybe herbal/spiced?

Number 7:  Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale.  I suppose there had to be a pumpkin beer in the mix as it is the season.  I’m no longer that big on the pumpkin beers, but this one was quite good.

After this the tasting got really good.  I don’t know what wild hair got up Andrew’s ass, but he really pulled out the stops on this tasting and gave the tasters a real kick to the goods on this one..

8:  Avery The Kaiser.  Again i will offer up my bottle review on this one, but I assure you, the tap is much better.  This is the only imperial Oktoberfest to my knowledge, and it’s a damn good one.

Poured from a 22oz foil capped bottle into a tasting glass. Bottled in early 2007.

Appearance- Beer pours a golden amber with a decent and impressive head of foam. Dissipates to a thinner layer of foam on the top of the glass. Cleanly layered.

Smell- Big malts, mostly light with very mellow hops. Fellow commenter’s say they catch barnyard, but I say nay. Sweet light malts and very little hop. Yeast is present and mysterious.

Taste- Rich malty flavour with a rich hoppy background. Hops linger and nearly overpower but then the malt comes back reminding us that this is actually a Marzen. Warming and gingerbread on the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full bodied with thick carbonation. No astringency. Creamy and enjoyable. Warming with the ABV of 9.37%, slightly sticky on the lips.

Drinkability- A nice Marzen. Time has balanced the beer slightly, but the beer could use much more time to come together. Adam could stand to make this beer a little lighter. As an Imperial Oktoberfest goes, Great job!

9, and this one really knocked my socks clean off.. This one was something I thought I would never see again, but I was oh so glad I did.  One of my favorite beers of all time, Flying Dog Wild Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter which I have reviewed from the bottle here:

Poured from 750ml bottle into a St. Bernardus Chalice.

Appearance- Solid black with a huge head of foam that reaches the 3 finger mark. Head is tan and splotchy, thick and undying. Clings to the glass and makes it’s artistic statement on the sides of the glass just like Steadman does on the bottles.

Smell- Malty and thick. I could paint my goth ex-girlfriends room with this stuff. Deep dark malts, chocolate and possibly some rye. The oak whiskey barrel is detracting from the malted smell and throwing me off. Caramels and rich dates and figs come in and the flying dog yeasty reminiscent that standard gonzo has (standard gonzo? That doesn’t quite sound right).

Taste- This is one hell of a beast right here. Smoother than gonzo porter, for some reason the barrel aging has made this beer more deceptive than it previously was. Malty sweetness gives way quickly to the whiskey oak flavor that I know all too well. Alcohol is warming but not felt on the tongue or nose. Smooth as all get-out, espresso on the finish makes me wish I had cracked it earlier in the night. I’ll be up all night with this one.

Mouthfeel- Thick and creamy, full-bodied and smooth. Alcohol warmth is big but unnoticable. Big carbonation on the appearance, but not too much on the mouth. Heavy like Elvis in the final days. It trys to cover it up, but everyone sees right thru that veil.

Drinkability- It does get hurt a little on drinkability due to the weight of this monster. 9.5% is nothing to scoff at. I will have it again on tap soon, but I won’t be drinking it all day much to my dissapointment.

and last but not least, the very nutritious, and delicious, and oh so good for you:

Southern Tier Oat (Imperial Oatmeal Stout) the bottled review is here as well.  Once again, the tap was better than the bottle:

Poured from 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Solid obsidian but when held to the light slight reddish hues escape around the top. A light brown 1.5 finger head appears but quickly dissipates to a splotchy peninsula of tiny bubbles thin over the top.

Smell- Oats, cream and fusel alcohol byproducts. Belgian chocolate malts and more creaminess. The alcoholic bit wafting in and out really docks the score on this bad boy. Hints of raisin and almond come out after repeated sniffs.

taste- black patent malt, lactose creamery with a rich oaty chocolate malty sweetness. A coffee huskiness permeates the palate, no real dark fruits on the tongue, but imperial Russian traits still persist. Damn Southern Tier knows the way to make their stouts. I would love to age one of these back longer. Hops are nicely balanced and not too over the top.

Mouthfeel- Rich and sticky. Smooth and creamy with low carbonation.

Drinkability- This stout, although huge with alcohol and oily, is still delicious and quite drinkable. I would love to find this on tap.

What a great tasting, all that, and Better Off Dead as well, which I had not seen before and I will have to obtain on DVD now.  Last Sunday night would have been hard to make it go any better, and the only thing to make it any better.. No work on Columbus Day the next day.  An event like this makes me love this city even more than I already do.

This weekend I have to go south to get my winter clothes, but also this weekend there are a few things to do in Columbus beer-wise.

I’m going to try to make my visit south very short to get to the beer tasting at Studio 35 which will be showing Better Off Dead (80’s movie with John Cusack) on Sunday, October 12th.  I’m not sure if I can make it but I sure as hell will try.

At Barley’s tomorrow for firkin friday, the downtown location will have the same thing that’s been sitting in the cask all summer, the Russian Imperial Stout.  It’s good stuff, but I’m still not certain that there is a difference between a firkin and a cask although Scott seems to think differently.

The Smokehouse will have the Centennial IPA which must have some appeal as they seem to put it in the firkin every other week.  It’s not a bad beer, but Centennial is not my hop of choice.  Where are all these rare hops that sprung up this year?  I want to try some new flavors.

Studio 35 had a tasting a month ago which featured somewhere in the realm of 14 beers and a showing of Anchorman with Will Farrell.  It was a mere $10 as is this one, and it started at 5PM but they seem open to late arrivals as I showed up an hour late.  It’s the best priced beer tasting deal that I’ve seen since I moved here.  I can’t say enough good things about this theater/brewpub.  It’s a great idea and if I had the cash, I would open the same thing along with a brewery stuck in the facility as well.

In the distant past they also had 24 hour horror movie marathons where I met the esteemed George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, Tom Savini, the best special effects man of all time, and Joe Bob Briggs, TNT/TBS MonsterVision lacky.

Hopefully they will continue with more cult movie support as I believe Columbus has a decent sized audience for that as well as craft beer.  Put them both together, and it’s nearly as good as chocolate and peanut butter.

With all the bitching I was doing about local beer lately, it could be perceived that I don’t like local beers at all.  This is far from the truth.  It is more that I want the local breweries that make beer for people like me to make beers that beer fanatics like myself will enjoy and tell their friends about.

I am not alone when I say almost all of Elevator’s brews taste like they are blended together in one big macro recipe that never improves on itself, and I hate that I have to say that, so I am very pleased to say now, Elevator has made a beer that beer fans can enjoy.

This month’s special beer for October is Vic’s Barley Ale Wine #3.  Not the greatest of names, but for Elevator, it is their best in beer.  I will always herald their craft root beer as my year round beverage of choice, but clearly in the month of October I can enjoy great beer to my heart’s content right downtown at a different location than Barley’s Downtown (more on them later).

So I waltz into Barley’s after work thinking, “well, looks like it’s time for the monthly card punch on some swill”, they have a beer appreciation card and when one fills it out, they get a stein style mug that can be drank from.  A pretty great idea and I think more places should have mug clubs set up.  So I belly up to the bar and go for the barleywine which pours into an oversized brandy snifter.  I really like this style glass as it really accencuates the smell of just about any beer.  Anyway, on with the review:

Appearance-The beer pours a hazy amber brown with a slim quarter finger of a head comprised of large and medium sized bubbles.  Lacing is ample and is showing some very liquor like legs on the side of the glass.

Smell- Strong alcohol phenols and strong malt on the nose.  Smells to be an american barleywine as the hops are strong, but noble hopping is also present.  Sour dark fruits come forward afterward with a strong figgy scent.

Taste- Light and fruity with a bit of burnt malted goodness.  Warming alcohol sneaks up afterward.  Who knew that Elevator could make a good barleywine?  A bit of a mouthwash aftertaste, downright minty.  A bit pleasant.

Mouthfeel- Slightly astringent with alcohol but not bad.  Warming, lightly bitter, low in carbonation, and full-bodied which again is a very rare thing for Elevator.

Drinkability- Much alcohol, but much drinkability on this one as well.  The waitress told me it was 12.5% alcohol which I believe, but it was very drinkable.  I’ll come back for this one, and maybe even get a growler!

After this beer of course I had to go to the mainstay from the brewery and have a root beer as that alcohol will really catch up to you on an empty stomach.

Then we had last Friday, right after my Barley’s bashing blog, I went out to the smokehouse to have that pale on tap and some Founder’s Breakfast Stout.  A fair share was drank, and eaten at the smokehouse and don’t you want to know what was there?  You probably should, because it’s still all there now.  I talked to Scott yesterday about it.  People don’t drink Breakfast Stout around here?  Well, keep that up.  I’ll finish off all the kegs in town if they stick around eventually.

I started off ordering a Breakfast stout and a Bell’s Oktoberfest.  I had a feeling that the stout would be served too cold, and I was right.  I set the stout to the side and got started on the Bell’s:

Poured from the tap into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a light golden amber with a finger of head that quickly dies to nothing. There is no lacing to be found and really, the appearance doesn’t do too much for me. The temperature feels quite nice from the glass though.

Smell- Very little on the nose coming through. Some Munich malts and a perfumey smelling hop. Light caramelized notes. I really expected to get a lot more on the ol’ schnoz from Bell’s.

Taste- A bit better here on the flavor. Carmel and Munich malts with lightly toasted crystal malts coming through with a light hop finish. A slight twinge of bitterness on the finish, but the beer drinks much smoother than it smells or looks. A little diacetyl.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, lightly bitter, lightly astringent, medium bodied, and medium-light in carbonation.

Drinkability- A smooth drinker for the swilling needs. I may get a sixer just to slam back on a bender. Taste fine for those purposes, but with that in mind, wouldn’t it be a better deal to get a Sam Adams Oktoberfest twelve pack?

The Breakfast stout was still too cold after that was said and done, so I followed it up with a Goose Island Matilda.

Poured from the tap into a Belgian style tulip.

Appearance- Beer pours a solid amber with a slight half finger of head across the top that quickly subsides to a ring around the sides. Lacing is fairly substantial and lingers on the sides of the glass as well.

Smell- Candi sugar, rich piny hops, light pilsner malts, alcoholic phenolics, correction on the sweetener, candi sugar syrup and possibly maple syrup.

Taste- Overly sweet upfront with heavy candi sugaring and over hopping with extra florals and pines from the hops. It really does have more to it than I had originally thought from the first sip. There are more white grapes, dates, and slight raisins.

Mouthfeel- Warming from alcohol, lightly astringent from the hops, somewhat creamy, medium full-bodied, and highly carbonated.

Drinkability- Not the easiest drinker in the world. Not that smooth, sweet, but not a Belgian that I want to come back to.

Now finally, after the best quesidilla that I have ever had in my life and a couple beers.  The fine Breakfast stout was at the right temperature and could be savored:

Poured from the tap into a Belgian Style tulip glass.

Appearance- Beer pours solid molasses black with a red hued ring of foam around the sides that doesn’t die for over an hour and a half. Beer was poured too cold so I set it aside and waited. Lacing is THICK, and clings to the sides forever as well.

Smell- Rich coffee with cream and roasted malts. Dark fruits are quick to follow but not near as strong as the first upfront coffee and Irish cream smells. Black licorice and burnt malts. This beer smells amazing. The hops aren’t overly strong on the nose and that’s just fine with me.

Taste- Creamy, good god this is some amazing nectar. It is no surprise that I was unable to clone it perfectly. I did come close, but not as excellent as this perfected recipe. Coffee and rich creams. Almost a Kahlua style taste but so much better. Malty sweet roasted balancing acts with toffee, caramel, espresso, the great flavor just doesn’t stop coming! Again with the dark and milk chocolates. Wonderful!

Mouthfeel- Creamy, thick, full-bodied, medium-high in carbonation, even two hours later, I can find no negatives in this beer.

Drinkability- This is a desert island beer, a winter wonderland beer, the taste for the people of Hoth, and quite possibly the best stout of all time. I need more.. More.. MORE!!

During this stout we had a slice of the caramel apple wort encrusted pie.  Talk about a great pairing.  This is the kind of redemption I had to see at my local breweries to get me back in their corner.  As long as they can keep up this kind of great work, they will have me and my fellow beer lover coming back again and again.