Bogrolls & Barley Wines
Columbus Winter Beer Festival 2012
So another year is upon us, full of fresh hopes, ideas and dreams. What will 2012 bring us? Will the Mayan prophecy come to fruition? Will western
governments collapse over failed economic policies? Will global warming produce boiling hot summers? Will Cheltenham Town secure promotion to League
1? All important questions to be sure. Most importantly, will Bogrolls & Barley Wines continue to be the most innovative and objective beer reviewing source
on the planet? That’s one question we CAN answer – a resounding YES!!!!
We write to inform, entertain, educate and if we can strike a chord with just one reader (like the bloke in Australia who sent us mega-kudos), then it’s all worth
Each year at Bogrolls, we start afresh with renewed energies towards the glory and majesty of the world’s greatest bevvie. Soooo, the 2012 Columbus
Winter Beer Festival….lets get rolling!!!
This took place on one of the few official “cold” days this winter – in hindsight a bit of a luxury. The event was housed in a larger hall than in 2011, but it still
left all the participating breweries huddled together in the middle, which meant for organized chaos when the masses came in through the doors.
With a VIP ticket in hand, we began our tastings – an hour before the rest of the plebs came in….
1) Harpoon Brewing Co, Boston, Mass.
Leviathan Triticus (11.5%)
Up to this point, the only Harpoon beer I’d ever tried was their excellent UFO Hefeweizen, but the large Harpoon entourage at their stand (looking resplendent
in their Harpoon polo shirts, I might add) insisted that I try ALL five beers they were presenting – honestly, Squire, how could I resist?
The Leviathan Triticus was not your average beginning to a beer festival – it was dark, rich and thick with plenty of juicy malt, Egyptian dates and dark plums
with minimal bitterness. Mighty, to put it mildly. 8/10
2) Harpoon Brewing Co, Boston, Mass.
A Czech name reflecting the use of Sladek hops from the Bohemian city of Zatec, the Docesna reminded me of a beer version of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut,
without the chocolate. Another earthy intense beer with flavours of tangy cherries, liquorice, figs, with a herbal, nutty underbelly. This brewery has it going
3) Harpoon Brewing Co, Boston, Mass.
Imperial IPA (10%)
Brilliant – we were on home turf with the Imperial IPA, what with IPA’s being the tipple of choice at The Manor and Harpoon’s version delivered BIG! Featuring
Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo hops and also dry-hopped with Simcoe hops, this little beauty of 120 IBU’s gave deep, rich, intense citrusy flavours
with tons of grapefruit, yet nowhere near as bitter as you’d expect from an IPA with so many IBU’s. A total work of art. 12/10
4) Harpoon Brewing Co, Boston, Mass.
Barley Wine (10%)
Oh, here we go – Barley Wine is the true winter beer that you sip while watching the fire crackling away, with a bowl of hot porridge on the kitchen table. And
Harpoon’s Barley Wine would be the one – beautifully smooth, rich and oaky, with an aroma of an 18th century Manor hallway on a warm day after a
thunderstorm outside. It gave forth flavours of rich Michigan dark cherries, sweet malt with a nice balance of hops (provided by Chinook and Tettany hops)
with a woody/nutty finish. A classic! 12/10
5) Harpoon Brewing Co, Boston, Mass.
Hefe Belgian Wit (4.8%)
What a delightful way to finish the five-for-five Harpoon offerings – a cross between a Belgian Wit and a German Hefeweizen. It makes us wonder why we
haven’t seen more of this type of hybrid as the Hefe Belgian Wit was a delicious, refreshing concoction with plenty of lemons, coriander, spices, with a touch
of cloves and just a little bit peppery. Is it Spring outside yet? 10/10
6) Columbus Brewing Co, Columbus, Ohio.
Winter Stout - brewed with Sumatra Coffee Beans - (7.8%)
The CBC’s Jalapeno Pineapple Ale was the sensation of the 2011 Columbus Summer Beer Festival, so my immediate thoughts were could their Winter Stout
equally deliver the goods?
First, the aroma - Hmmmm. I passed my tasting glass over to the couple sitting beside me, to get their opinion. We were all agreed – this was brewed at
Starbuck’s using Sumatra Coffee Beans.
Secondly, the taste – coffee, with coffee malt, coffee hops, coffee notes and a coffee finish. I was still working out where the word “stout” came into things as
there was nothing “stout” or “winter” in this liquid. The CBC Winter Stout was a masquerade of a mug of Starbuck’s coffee – a mug of cold coffee at that and I
hate cold coffee. Simply hideous. -10/15
7) Jolly Pumpkin Brewing Co, Michigan
Noel De Calabaza (9%)
Don’t ask me why I went from coffee to a tart Belgian-style ale as for us at The Manor that’s like watching grid-iron throwball on the telly and then switching
channels to watch basketball – both excruciatingly boring and tortuous.
However, some things in life just cannot be explained, so anyway, the Noel De Calabaza (great name) was only slightly sour with a gooey medicinal body and
predominant flavours of bright Belgian cherries and ripe red plums. At this rate, I’m going to develop a taste for Belgian lambics! This was a beautifully
balanced and refreshing beer packed full of fruit. Totally brilliant and much needed after that bloody awful Winter Coffee! 12/10
8) Rivertown Brewing Co, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Winter Ale (7.5%)
I was starting to get a bit wary of anything bearing the name “Winter”, but we were here to try different beers and styles, so Rivertown’s Winter Ale was next in
And really, one should always listen to one’s Royal instincts as this was a total nightmare. However, if you enjoy a beer that tastes like Christmas Pudding that’
s been prepared with raisins and sultanas that have been left outside to rot for a few months, combined with a packet of Liquorice Allsorts that had gone
moldy from being left inside the boot of an old Triumph Herald which had been parked in the middle of the Sahara Desert for several years, then THIS is the
beer for you. ‘Nuff said. Ghastly! -10/10
9) Victory Brewing Co, Downington, Pennsylvania.
Storm King Stout (9.2%)
Another unexplained mystery as to why I’d head for a rich stout next -maybe it’s because we’re about to award Victory Brewing Co our Royal patronage,
being as they are easily one of the best brewers in the entire stratosphere. Storm King was as I expected: Rich, dark, earthy, roasty, bitter, with some rich
hops and coffee. I’d normally be all over this like a cheap suit, but today (thanks to you know what) I wasn’t in the mood. This is one to review under more
normal circumstances in the future. 4/10
10) Barley’s Brewing Co, Columbus, Ohio.
Behjun Noel – Belgian Christmas Ale - (7.5%)
Whenever I see our old mate Angelo Signorino – Head Brewer at Barley’s - I always feel drawn to the Barley’s stand to see what Angelo has put together for
the festival. His Behjun Noel was a Belgian delight with sweet Belgian Candy yeast (giving those“bubblegum” notes), and bright, sparkly, fruity flavours with a
dry finish. I wasn’t quite sure where the “Christmas Ale” bit came into it as this was more like a Belgian Trippel, but either way, this little ripper was delicious.
11) Barley’s Brewing Co, Columbus, Ohio.
Blood Thirst Wheat (5%)
The final one of the night and what a fine way to finish, with another new (to us) Barley’s brew. Angelo was taking no prisoners with his Blood Thirst Wheat –
Using a German yeast with Sicilian Blood Oranges, he gave us a simply delicious beer with a distinct flavour of bitter oranges mixed with cloves and more
fruity, citrusy flavours and a reprise of oranges in the finish. What made this really stand out was the bittersweet aspect of this beer. It’s easy to produce a
nauseating “sweet” beer when you have fruity, citrusy flavours, but by choosing Sicilian Blood Oranges, Angelo kept the flavours bittersweet and thus
infinitely more interesting and refreshing. A masterstroke on his behalf. 12/10
And that, shipmates, was the 2012 Columbus Winter Beer Fest. We had no time to sit and ponder though – next up was the 2012 Columbus AleFest,
followed by a visit to San Antonio and Austin in Texas. Yee-Ha!!!
Oh, it's busy work serving the punters!
A somewhat bladded Angelo Signorino, brewer of excellence at Barley's, enjoying a joke about Sumatra coffee beans.