Ei8ht Ball Brewing: Open for business!

As I sit here sipping our very own homemade cider, I can’t help but smile. This has been an amazing week. It started out pretty normal, working the daily grind at my real job. And then the good news started pouring in: First, I got invited to the media preview for Ei8ht Ball Brewing, Greater Cincinnati’s newest brewery. (The event was Thursday and it was amazing. I’ll expound on that in just a second I promise). Next, my Beer Glassware post went viral on Reddit with over 15,000 views thanks to my friend Tom of Queen City Drinks. Then, the kicker. I got the email I’ve been waiting on for the past nail-biting month:

“On behalf of Cicerone Program Director Ray Daniels and the Cicerone Exam Management Team, I’d like to congratulate you on passing the Certified Cicerone® exam!”

I nearly peed and threw up at the same time. Months and months of hard studying, tasting, and evaluating has paid off: I am a Certified Cicerone®.

Whew! Exciting stuff, guys.

But enough about that, like I said, this Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to the media preview event for Ei8ht Ball Brewing. Ei8ht Ball is located at the Party Source, the epically huge and amazing liquor store just over the river from Cincinnati in Bellevue, Kentucky. They have an amazing beer selection and now, they have their very own brewery and tap room.

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A clean, perfect glass for your beer.

There are certain things I really appreciate when it comes to drinking beer at my favorite local watering holes. In addition to the beer’s quality (a given), I relish a beer served in a clean, appropriate glass.

How do I know my glass is really clean, you ask? Well, several things. First of all, “beer clean” is actually an industry term used for a glass that has been cleaned in a very specific way. There are certain techniques and cleansers that must be used. The Brewer’s Association’s Draught Quality Manual goes into great detail on this subject (see page 46). If manually washing glasses, better beer bars should have a three tub sink, if not, they should use an automatic machine with the appropriate cleanser at the right temperatures. I won’t bore you with every detail, BUT the good news is, there are ways to tell if your glass is really clean.

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Simple and delicious beer vinaigrette

Remember when I made beer vinegar with chef Ryan Santos? Well, 8 months later it’s done and glorious.

It’s actually been done for a while, like since the summer. I sort of um, forgot about it. Which, at first was the point, since it needed about three months to get all vinegary and delicious.

And then it was November. Oops!

Good news is it’s definitely done, and it’s time to make some more.Making Beer Vinegar Continue reading Simple and delicious beer vinaigrette

So much cider.

Our first batch of cider is done!!

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It is golden and dry at a final gravity of 0.996 (to learn all about gravity click here). For reference, a typical American Pale Ale would have a final gravity of 1.010-1.015, and your driest saisons are as low as 1.002). We used Wyeast 3068 or Weihenstephan yeast which is mostly used for weizen beers, or German wheat beers. These types of ales typically have a noticeable banana and or clove characteristic. We thought it would be interesting with the cider, and it is. The flavor is subtle, but there. A light banana and phenolic smell on the nose and in the after taste, with a dry, long, somewhat tart finish. Continue reading So much cider.

Pairing beer and CHEESE

For those of you who think that wine is the ultimate beverage to pair with cheese, think again.

I’m not hating on wine. I LOVE wine, but beer has an equally deserving place at the side of your favorite cheeses.

Cheese for me is heaven. It satisfies my love for everything savory. I would seriously take a big hunk of cheese over dessert any day. Weird, I know. I recently read Cheese & Beer by Janet Fletcher – the perfect intro level book for beer and cheese pairing, which inspired me to write this post. If you’re really interested in the topic, I would highly recommend it – great pictures and fantastic, straight forward advice.

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