|Columbus Summer Beer Festival 2011
Hey ho and away we go - time for yet another beer festival in Columbus. This was the sister festival to the Columbus Winter Beer Festival (not to be
confused with the Columbus AleFest). The Columbus Beer Festivals are a slightly odd grouping: they occupy a relatively small room in the massive
Columbus Convention Center and up to this point they have had an air of disorganisation about them. They seem like a disobedient sibling to the more
conservative, grown-up, Columbus AleFest.
But anyway, at least it wasn't 12-degrees F outside.
Once again, Lord Derryberry of Wapak would be making an appearance, so it was all hands to the pumps....
1) Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
All Day IPA (aka Endurance Ale) (4.8%)
This is how you start a beer festival - a delicious session IPA, hence the "All Day" moniker. It was all about the mild: mild hops, mild bitterness, mild
grapefruit. It was just a gorgeous IPA that my Royal self could have easily drank all day. A no-brainer. 12/10
2) Goose Island Brewing Co. Chicago, Illinois.
Pepe Nero (6%)
While agreeing that most Goose Island beers are complete shite, their specialty beers can be quite interesting. Take the Pepe Nero for example. This was
their take on a Belgian Farmhouse Ale, brewed with peppercorns. It was dark, with a creamy frothy head, with distinct earthy flavours of horse chestnuts,
caramel and vinegar. Very Belgique, if you will, and not overly disgusting either. 6/10
3) Stone Brewing Co. Escondido, California.
Old Guardian Belgo-Barley Wine (12%)
Even at this early stage, they were queueing up for this little number. Essentially, this is Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine which has been "spiked" with a
Belgian yeast strain. It was the Stone brewers in one of their experimental moods and they've decided to release the "Belgo" only on odd years, such 2011,
2013, 2015 etc.
Sooooo, what you got was this massive, strong, rich, earthy barley wine with a distinctive candi-sugar sweetness. A hoppy presence throughout lead to a
malty finish and more candi-sugar. Not really my cup of Oolong, but nevertheless a very fine effort from the Stone team. 6/10
4) 21st Amendment Brewing Co. San Francisco, California.
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale (5.5%)
You have got to be joking - Watermelon Wheat??? And brewed with no less than 400lbs of fresh watermelons! With all that fruit, this wheat actually tasted of
watermelons, although it was extremely light bodied - watery, almost - with no finish whatsoever. Flavours of lemons and hyacinths found their way into the
mix, otherwise it was all about the watermelons.
Again, definitely an off the beaten track offering, but it wasn't terrible - more like a watermelon pop. Probably very refreshing in 120-degree F temperatures
out in the Sahara somewhere. 7/10
5) Magic Hat Brewing Co. South Burlington, Vermont.
Quite frankly my dear, this was a bizarre mess - quite typical for Magic Hat. Wacko is brewed with unfermented beet sugar which gave you the colour of bright
red in the glass. People kept coming up to me and saying "What is THAT??!!" I mean, it was BRIGHT red! The taste was a mixture of tart cherries,
cabbages, courgettes and brussel sprouts with a undercoat of beets. An alcoholic version of V8, if you will. Absolutely ghastly! 0/10
6) Pyramid Brewing Co. Seattle, Washington.
Outburst Imperial IPA (8.5%)
Produced with four malts: 2-Row, Munich, Caramel, Carared; plus four hops: Nugget, Chinook, Centennial and Simcoe, this rich, floral IPA brought forth
flavours of caramel, grapefruit, pineapple, apricot, with lots of citrus notes. It was a bit on the syrupy side, but not too shabby. A fairly decent example of a
7) Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, Michigan.
Bam Biere (4.5%)
First, a rather nice introduction from Jolly Pumpkin explaining how the beer got its name: "This delicious farmhouse ale is named for our Jack Russell, who
struck by a car, bounced back in fine tenacious Jack Russell fashion, and is brewed for those of us who knocked down, have picked up, dusted off and
carried on undaunted".
Secondly, Jolly Pumpkin are known for their often tart Belgian-style ales, which don't often grace the dinner table at Roberts Manor. Bam Biere is a saison
style, which was actually much lighter than expected. There was some light apple, peach, lemon and spicy coriander flavours with a mild tart, cider-like finish.
Quite undemanding really. 5/10
8) Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, Michigan.
E.S. Bam (4.7%)
This total disaster was a more hopped up and more malty version of Bam Biere and was completely more SHITE too! The wild-yeast tartness was very
disconcerting and quite excruciating, coupled with a mixture of old shoe leather, fading tulips and Sarson's vinegar. Absolutely hideous in every way. 0/10
9) Columbus Brewing Co. Columbus, Ohio.
Halopeno Pineapple Ale (ABV unknown)
They were queueing around the block for this one. The word was out that the Columbus Brewing Co had brewed something rather special for the Columbus
Summer Beer Fest AND it was a cask ale too. Being of Royal descent we made our way to the front of the line. I mean, we had to try this beer before it ran
out - the peasants standing in line behind us would have to wait.
Putting the Royal nose to the glass, the opening aroma was of pineapple - Hmmmm, interesting. The tastes that came forth, however, were wild: lots of sweet
pineapple, a ton of citrusy hops and a large dose of halopeno peppers. One of the most remarkable beers we at The Manor have ever tasted. In brief - a
hot and spicy IPA with sweet pineapple to lessen the blow. Top hats off to the Columbus Brewing Co for producing such a daring brew. 15/10
10) Arcadia Brewing Co. Battle Creek, Michigan.
Whitsun Ale (6.2%)
What a delicious finale! Arcadia's Whitsun Ale, brewed with Michigan star thistle honey was a beautful ending to a most intriguing beer festival. This
unfiltered wheat ale was packed with oranges & lemons with a light malty, caramel backbone. With a refreshing bitter orange finish, this was a little ripper for
the Royal tastebuds. 10/10
And that, kids, was it for the Columbus Summer Beer Festival. Summer 2011 was to prove a busy time for trying out some quality beers. This festival still
seemed somewhat disorganised, but it's early days and this one sold out. We left in the Royal limo, well pleased at the variety of beers tasted today. Next up
was the Michigan Summer Craft Brewers Festival and boy, wasn't that an event - Young Cheers!