The making of Amour, a French Saison (and Saider!)

I haven’t been talking much about our homebrew adventures of late, but that’s not for lack of activity, just standard life craziness. So let’s update!

All the way back in November I was asked to participate in the first ever CannonBLOG Event at Fifty West Brewing. The back story to this is that the  50W brewers started a competition called Cannonball amongst their staff for who can brew and pair the best beer/food. For CannonBLOG they changed things up and asked us Cincy beer bloggers to brew beer instead!

CannonBLOG! at Fifty West

Myself, Hoperatives, the Brew Professor, Beer Mumbo, Queen City Fresh, Jesse from WCPO #9Beer and Queen City Drinks all gathered together at Fifty West, had some tasty brunch, and brewed. It was a fantastically fun day and we all learned a thing or two about the various homebrew systems we all have. Continue reading The making of Amour, a French Saison (and Saider!)

Tips for “beer clean” glassware at home

If you saw my recent piece about beer glassware, then you’ll remember that “Beer Clean” is a technical term for glassware that undergoes a proper washing with the right detergent at the right temperatures. It makes for a beer that not only looks great, but tastes great too.

So, perfect! Now you know exactly how a bar should clean your beer glass (and know if they didn’t). But some of you asked: since I don’t have the requisite three tub sink or a high heat dishwasher specifically used for beer glasses, how do I get the best beer clean glassware at my own home??

Great question! I’m ashamed to say that I’ve honestly never thought much about what I was doing to clean my beer glasses beyond air-drying. So, I took to Google. Unfortunately I found that there is not much advice out there for those of us who want perfect beer clean glassware at our home. Abita has some tips on their website, and certainly many of the same rules apply at home that do for a bar/restaurant. For example, air drying really is key, and should be done on a dishrack or somewhere that air will circulate. For quite some time now, we’ve washed all of our glasses by hand with regular old dish soap and a sponge, and let them air dry upside down. We mainly do this because we don’t want the logos to come off, but after doing some research I also learned that dishwasher detergent will ruin head/lacing on beer. Continue reading Tips for “beer clean” glassware at home

Tasting and evaluating beer

I’ll be playing beer judge this Saturday at the NKY Homebrewer’s Association Moerlein Cup in Cincinnati. I’m excited, but a little nervous too since I’ll be judging for the first time. See, the only thing more intense than the Certified Cicerone exam is the Beer Judge Certification Program; Their tagline is “it’s tough, but fair” – these guys don’t mess around. I’m a Certified Cicerone, NOT a BJCP certified judge, so I’ll be paired up with one to guide me through the official, competition process. In preparation for my debut, I thought I’d freshen up by sharing a little of my knowledge about proper beer tasting and evaluation. They say that teaching is the best way of learning, right?


Proper evaluation, especially at the competition level, is no laughing matter. There are strict rules at play. Definitely take a look a the BJCP Style Guide before even thinking of evaluating beer, especially if its a competition.

Whether you are preparing for a competition, or hosting your friendly neighborhood beer nerds for a casual beer tasting, there are things you should remember. A full belly is your friend, don’t be drinking a bunch of beers on an empty stomach (but don’t eat a fiery burrito right before hand either). Your palette should be fresh, so no chewing gum or smoking, or even chapstick wearing – and ladies, it might be super cute, but no lipstick either. God knows I love a smokin’ hot red lip, but I’ll save that for date night. Also, ditch the perfume or cologne. Basically anything that may interfere with your sense of smell or taste is bad bad bad. If you’re doing a lot of sampling like at a competition, make sure plenty of water and unsalted pretzels are available to cleanse the palate.

Now that you’re prepped and ready, pour yourself a beer! (Of course, proper glassware can aid you in the best sensory experience.)

Continue reading Tasting and evaluating beer

Local Bottle Shop Spotlight: Market Wines

A bunch of the Cincy beer bloggers and I are collaborating on a joint effort to share our favorite, local, sometimes hole in the wall, bottle shops. Luckily, we live in different areas of town, meaning there is a broad swath of small, local businesses being featured this week.

The below list will continue to get updated as the posts come in, so far we have:

Market Wines at Findlay Market

One of my personal, and newest favorites is Market Wines at Findlay Market, which if you don’t know is in the ever-evolving OTR Neighborhood. Continue reading Local Bottle Shop Spotlight: Market Wines