This is the companion article to the one in Drink-Up Columbus on the Columbus Summer Beerfest. Check it out first!
Hey guys, I decided to rank my five favorite beers at the festival in order. There were a ton of amazing selections, but these are the 5 beers that I would rank as a 6-pack.
#5) Triple Karmaleit by Brourwerji Basteels in Belgium (Triple)
This is a fairly easy to find triple that is world class. I have had it before, but not ranking it as one of the best of the festival would be dishonest. The beer pours with a nice Belgium head. Pefecrt carbonation delivers banana flavors that mask a high ABV%. This is the kind of beer that you can drink in 90 degree festival weather and still feel refreshed.
#4) Big Star by Four Strings Brewery in Grandview Ohio (Belgian IPA)
This beer was fantastic and had everything you would want in a Belgian Style IPA. Crisp and clean up front with a nice Belgian yeast flavor, followed up an IPA bitter hop bite. I know lots of local bars are starting to carry Four Strings Beer, so be on the lookout for this gem.
#3) Milk Stout by Neil House in Columbus Ohio (Milk Stout/Sweet Stout)
All of the guys had wanted to get their hands on some Neil House brews after hearing rave reviews about their cider. We were glad we finally got to try this stout. It is perfectly balanced with dark chocolate notes and coffee malt. The lactose sugar flavor chases the bitter after every sip bringing amazing balance. This is a beer that needs to be in stores and consumed with breakfast.
#2) Head Hunter by Fat Heads Brewing in North Olmstead Ohio (American IPA)
I was the last of our group to finally get my hands on some of this beer. The guys were excited that I was going to get it at the festival and it was my second stop. I now know why it carries the hype that it does, it is delicious. The nose on the beer is full of grapefruit and hops; it begs you to have a drink. Each drink is followed by another as the floral hops dry out your mouth and demands another taste. If you see this beer, buy it.
#1) Bodhi by Columbus Brewing Company here in the Capital (Imperial IPA)
Without sounding like too much of a homer, this beer makes me proud to be from Columbus. This is a world class beer that is brewed just a few miles away from me. The bouquet on this beer is one of the best I have ever smelled and I huffed it like some sort of a hop junkie before my watering mouth won the battle and I took a swig. OH, MY! The citrus and grapefruit notes balance perfectly with the hops delivering a delayed bitter that is hard to find. The 8.5 % ABV brings the perfect amount of harsh into the equation while keeping the mouth feel light enough to drink as much of this as you can find. MattOhioBeer has alluded that this may be the best beer brewed in Ohio and I am not sure I have a solid argument to rebut that statement.
If you take look at the contributors page you’ll notice the Bub, Matt, and myself all have very similar taste when it comes to beer style and from what I can recall I believe we were all on the same page wether or not we liked the beers we tried. Based on that I was expecting to see almost identical top 5′s but mine differs from Bubs except for one beer.
#6) Tyranny by Lager Heads Brewing Company from Abbeyville OH. (Pale Ale)
This is not really a review because I have previously reviewed this beer. It’s more of an update. In my post I gave Tyranny a less than stellar review because of a metal taste that was very prominent and was hoping to give it a second shot. Well I got that chance at the beerfest and It was much much better than when I had it a few months ago.
#5) Bourbon Barrel Aged Uncle Rusty by Columbus Brewing Company in Columbus (Red Ale)
Now the other guys seem be fans of CBC I on the other hand am impartial to their beers I’ve never really had one that wowed me. This beer however I enjoyed very much and coming in at 10% doesn’t hurt either! It poured a dark off red color and the aroma was straight whiskey barrel and the taste followed suit with a very slighty maltiness typical to red ales. This beer is probably one of my favorites from CBC.
#4) Nut Brown Ale by Mt. Carmel Brewing Company in Cincinnati (American Brown Ale)
This was my first experience with Mt. Carmel and I’m kicking myself for having waited so long to try a beer from these folks. Before I discovered craft beer I was a New Castle man so I’ve always had a place in my heart for this style. It poured a really nice dark brown with the aroma of sweet nuttiness and malt coming through with a taste to match. Solid beer and great first impression on me from Mt. Carmel.
#3) Sorcerer by Fat Heads Brewery in New Olmsted OH (Belgian Strong Dark Ale)
While the other two we’re sampling Incubus from Fat Heads I went with Sorcerer both of which are only offered at the brewpub. Sorcerer comes in at 9.5% and pours a dark reddish brown with notes of plum and raisins in the nose. The taste is much of the same with a sweet maltiness that balances well with the alcohol and and fruit flavors. Seems like every beer I’ve had from Fat Heads has been top notch.
#2) Milk Stout by Neil House Brewery in Columbus (Sweet Stout/ Milk Stout)
Before we arrived at the Neil House stand I had no idea that they even brewed a Milk Stout so I was pretty pumped to get my hands on some. This Stout was well balanced with with sweet and roasty flavors, I get down on some Left Hand Milk Stout and at least for me this rivals it. Hopefully they’ll start to distribute this I would love to get my hands on some more.
#1) Ivan Porter with Vanilla Beans By Barleys Brewing Company Columbus (Porter)
It was pretty late in the festival when we made our way to the Barley’s stand and looking back it was well worth the weight. The table was decorated with dried hops scattered all over it, I’ve been to Barley’s quite a bit and maybe I’ve missed it but haven’t ever come across this beer before. The 8 ounce tasting glass glistened with the tan head flowing over it and the aroma smelled amazing with the vanilla beans really coming through. The taste was much of the same I would compare it to having a Founders Porter with a scope of vanilla bean ice cream but not as sweet. With out a doubt this was my favorite beer at this beerfest.
With all of the beers on that were availible here I didn’t want to include any beers I had reviewed for this site, but Bohdi and Head Hunter would have made this list for sure if I hadn’t.
#5) Big Star by Four Strings
Crisp Clean and wonderful I could drink this all Summer-long too bad summer in Columbus is almost over ;
#4) Stone 16th anniversary IPA
This beer is filled with lemon flavors its actually made with lemons and lemon verbena. But the IPA beneath is very good too. One of the only non-Ohio Beers that jumped out and pulled me in for a second drink.
#3) Sorcerer by Fat Heads Brewery
I only got a few sips of this one that Nick was so nice as to share with me, as I was drinking their maple triple which I didn’t like nearly as much. But in the few sips I had of this beer was a flavor explosion of dried fruits (raisins and plumbs) but it wan’t muddy like some can be. This was very solid for me and Belgian darks are not my favorite style.
#2) Ivan Porter with Vanilla Beans By Barleys Brewing Company
I had this toward the end of the fest and my drunk pallet isn’t as good as my sober one but, this was very very good, sweet and so much vanilla, in a great way. I would drink this all of the time if it were available.
#1) Milk Stout by Neil House
Bohdi, Head Hunter and this were the beers I told everyone who asked me they should try. This gives Left Hand milk Stout a run for its money for best milk stout I have had. Sweet, coffee, light feel, and just fantastic