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The Beer Spot Blog - July 2012 Archives

Official TBS Blog

Central Waters Tap List for Great Taste Pre-Party
Posted Friday, July 27th, 2012 by Tip Top

Updating our post about the 2012 Great Taste Pre-Party, I'm excited to announce the tap list for Central Waters.  I've always been told that there was no way that Central Waters was going to let another brewery show it up on it's home turf.  Well, they sure deliver.  This year's tap list is even better than last year's impressive list.  

Central WatersOn Tap Right From the Start


  • Happy Heron Pale Ale
  • Mudpuppy Porter
  • Oisconsin Red Ale
  • Glacial Trail IPA
  • Satin Solstice Imperial Stout
  • Shine On
  • Belgian Blonde
  • Honey Blonde
  • Oktoberfest
  • Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout
  • Y2K Barleywine 2011
  • Peruvian Morning 2011
  • La Petite Mort
  • Bourbon Barrel Barleywine 2011
  • Bourbon Barrel Stout


I'm also told that there will be a firkin on all night, but I'm not sure what it will be yet.  You'd think this is enough, but there are timed releases too...

Time Releases


  • 7pm - Barrel Aged Slainte Scotch Ale
  • 8pm - Barrel Aged La Petite Mort
  • 9pm - Exodus
  • 10pm - 1414 


All in all, 20 different beers from Central Waters.  This alone is more than enough to spend the night on, but remember, there is beer coming from a couple other breweries too!


The Beer Spot's 2012 Great Taste Pre-Party at Brickhouse BBQ
Posted Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 by Tip Top


If you follow our forums, this will be old news, but we thought we should make the official announcement.  We've been working hard on another Pre-Party, and somehow we are going to make this one even better than last year.

Brickhouse BBQFor the third year in a row, we are working with Brickhouse BBQ on this.  They have been a great partner not only in providing the best location that we could find in Madison, but in really working with us to help organize the party itself.  Their passion for craft beer is evident in how they work with us every year, coming up with ideas to make the party run more smoothly.  This year, we're working to make sure that the service is even better, so you don't have to wait to grab another one of the great beers that will be offered.  

Central Waters

Here's what you really care about, the beer.  Central Waters, Shorts, and Nebraska are all back for 2012!  Last year I think the breweries did a great job of providing both rare beers, cover as many styles as possible, and have some great sessionable stuff available as well.  Expect much of the same this year, but we're planning on filling all of the available 40 tap lines.  Central Waters and Shorts are each planning on filling 15 lines, with Nebraska filling 10 again this year.  Rumors are that we'll have some cask beer this year as well, and we've been talking with a fourth brewery about taking a couple of lines.

A little about Central Waters Brewing Company, "Brewing since 1998, Central Waters Brewing Company is built on the solid reputation of producing the finest quality beer in Central Wisconsin: Ouisconsing Red Ale, Happy Heron Pale Ale, Mudpuppy Porter, and many more."  Personally, I love all of their dark stuff.  From the easier drinking Mud Puppy Porter to the Bourbon Barrel Stout, you can't go wrong.  I got the chance to try 1414 and La Petit Mort this year too, and they are great additions to their lineup.  Anello and crew make great beers!

ShortsThe thing I love about Shorts Brewing Company is their versatility and experimentation.  They go from having a rock solid IPA to making beer work with ingredients that you might not have ever considered.  "In April of 2004 we opened the doors to Short’s Brewing Company in the quaint Village of Bellaire.  Beer was the mission, and liberation was the movement.  With a lot of elbow grease, blind ambition and a little luck, the quest to create a community pub in Northwest Lower Michigan began to take shape.  The philosophy was to bring an appreciation of craft beer to the north with product education and creativity.  The process of appreciation through education we call beer liberation."  We're really happy to be working with Shorts again and can't wait to try more of their beers.  

Nebraska BrewingWorking with us for a second year is Nebraska Brewing Company.  Last year it was great to sample more of their lineup.  Rock solid beers through and through along with some great Reserve Series stuff aged in a variety of different types of barrels.  Also last year, I was lucky enough to make to the Great Nebraska Beer Fest.  I was surprised at how organized it was and how much great beer there was.  They had a very nice educational tent as well.  I highly recommend you try to make this year's fest if you can.

"Located in Papillion’s hoppin’ Shadow Lake Town Centre, Nebraska Brewing Company is a relaxed dining destination complemented by incredible, fresh handcrafted ales. Locally owned and operated, it’s our aim to share our passion for beer and food with everyone who walks through the door. When your stomach’s growling and you’re feelin’ parched, head to Nebraska Brewing Company for casual American fare, a full bar, and a great time. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in creating the perfect beer and food combination.  Oh, and on your way out, be sure to grab a growler of one (or two) of our fine ales."  I'm looking forward to being able to try more of their beers this year.

We're in the process of trying to finalize the beer list for the event.  We'll get that up as soon as we can along with any other details that develop.  Feel free to offer up suggestions and questions and we'll do our best to accommodate or answer them.  We can't wait to see all the familiar faces as well as meet lots of new people this year.



Jackie O's Thanksgiving Road Trip
Posted Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 by James Kitchens

JackieOlogo(Athens, OH) - As is our annual pilgrimage, we made a Thanksgiving holiday trip to Columbus to visit family for the long weekend. For months (or longer), I have seen and posted news items about Jackie O's Pub & Brewery. The catch is that we don't live in Ohio. So a trip to Columbus, Ohio served as my excuse to make the additional 90 minute drive from Columbus to Athens with my sister-in-law.

Jackie O's is actually one of the very few places where I post a news item and think to myself, "I REALLY need to try that beer." Don't get me wrong, there is A LOT of good work being done out there in the craft brewing industry. But lately, I find myself gravitiating to the more "unusual" beers in the world. And I have to admit that their recent news on the impending release of their Wheat Wine series of beers was what set me on the road to Athens. The beers in question are Bourbon Berry Grove, Wood Ya Honey, and Cherry Wood Ya Honey.

I called the brewery before leaving, and was disappointed to find out that they had no bottles for sale until their December 2-3 release party. Having said that, you have to understand that the release party is a very big deal for them. So not having any bottles to buy was certainly understandable. So it seems I was exactly one week too early for this road trip. If anyone is in the area for the upcoming weekend, I highly recommend making the trip to Athens, Ohio for the release party. You can find more information on that HERE.

When I called, I talked to Brian Cornelius, who is the brewing assistant. Apparently, the head brewer was off for the holiday weekend. Brian broke the news to me about not having bottles for sale that weekend. Instead, he offered to show me around the brewery for a little while. That was certainly a welcome diversion.

When we got to the brewery/pub, we also found out that the tap list was down to only five offerings because the kegs were being held until the coming release party. So we only tried Great Googly Moogly, Dark Apparition, and Hocking Tripel (a honey Tripel). The Great Googly Moogly was actually an interesting Imperial Porter, brewed with spices, chocolate and squash. The squash wasn't really apparent in the beer, but may have lent some extra smoothness to the beer. The Dark Apparition is their Russian Impeiral Stout and was a truly great example of that style. I got a growler of that to drown my sorrows of not getting any bottles (a worthy consolation prize). The Hocking Tripel was also good. I got a growler of that for take-home too.

In the middle of all this, we got an impromptu tour of the brewing area and a very quick glance at the barrel cellar. We also got a very quick sample of an uncarbonated Bourbon Berry Grove. My SIL even liked this one quite a bit. I thought it was great too, even without the bubbles. From there, we went back to the Public House side of the operation and had pizza before the drive home. So it was a relatively quick visit, given that Brian had things to do that day. But it was certainly a worthy trip.

Brian also mentioned that the Brewery side is in the process this week of replacing the brew kettle. I don't recall the exact details in terms of capacity for the new kettle, but here's hoping that they expand their production by 100x over the current setup and start releasing bottles far and wide. Right now, they basically only "distribute" at the pub and maybe a few retail spots in the area. However, if they did ever find a way to expand enough to justify the hassle, many others would be able to experience the brewing goodness that comes out of a very small brewery/pub located in a small college town (Ohio University is there) in south central Ohio. I am very, very happy I made the trip to Athens, Ohio this past weekend.



The Great Nebraska Beerfest 2011
Posted Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 by Tip Top

Great Nebraska Beer FestI have to be honest and say that I didn't know much about this beer festival before I decided to go.  I did know one thing though.  It was being thrown by some of my favorite people, Nebraska Brewing Company.

We drove down Friday after work and got to the Brewers/VIP Event after it had already been going for more than an hour.  Paul greeted me right away and we got squared away with our wristbands.  There was food and a nice selection of beer.  There was some great stuff from the local homebrew club.  I particularly liked the Watermelon Double IPA, but my favorite of the night (which I kept going back to) was the old reliable Hop God from Nebraska Brewing.  The event was laid back with lots of great mingling with all the brewers.  I spent lots of time sitting and talking with Aaron Heaton from Grimm Brothers (TheBeerSpot's own Oxymoron).  I was able to chat with everyone from Nebraska as well as meet Gordon from Funkwerks.  I ended the night in the brewpub chatting with Aaron and Trevor from Thunderhead Brewing.  It was a great night, which lead to optimism coming into the fest the next afternoon.

Saturday afternoon we headed to the brewpub to have lunch.  After we finished eating, there was a table conveniently placed in the pub where we were able to get our glasses and wristbands.  This made getting into the fest a breeze.  We were in as soon as we could walk up.  The Beer Fest was held in the parking lot of the shopping center across the street from Nebraska Brewing.  It provided plenty of space for all the breweries, fest goers, the band's stage, etc.

One of the things that made me excited to go to this festival was that there were all sorts of breweries and brewpubs that I had never tried anything from, not to mention local homebrew clubs too.  Everything was set up with several small tents and plenty of space in between them.

Some of my highlight beers from the fest...

Nebraska Brewing Hop God - always a favorite for me

Nebraska Brewing Toasted Barn - perfect amount of smoke for this guy.  A highlight rather than dominating the beer.

Crooked Stave - Wild Wild Brett Rouge 

Funkwerks Saison - I could drink this beer every day if it were available here

Grimm Brothers Little Red Cap - I had at least 5 samples of this one

Boulevard Love Child #2 - Smell was all bourbon, but the taste was all funky sour

Grape Blueberry Mead - Sorry, can't remember if it was South Omaha Homebrewers of Railroaders that brought this one

Upstream French Oak Cabernet Barrel-Aged Grand Cru - This was the highlight of the festival for me.  Good enough that I went to Upstream to buy some on Sunday

I really like that they had a seminar tent.  I sat down and listed to Chad Yakobson from Crooked Stave give his presentation on Wild Ales.  He did well in explaining more than just the basics and relating it for the homebrewers in the crowd.

Another highlight that I really didn't expect was the air show.  There was an Air Show going on at a near by air base that we could see from the parking lot.  It's not often that you are drinking beer and watching a B2 Stealth Bomber flying overhead.

For a smaller festival, I thought it was really well run and organized.  No lines got crazy, including for the bathroom when I went, which is no small feat.  There were lots of interesting beers that would please any beer geek.  Water and food were readily available for good prices.  I'd highly recommend that you attend next year if you have the chance.  I've already heard some things in the works that will make next year's Great Nebraska Beerfest even better.  

Thanks again to Paul, Kim, Tyson, Sam, Angela and the whole crew from Nebraska Brewing that set this up and treated me great.  I had an even better weekend than I expected and you guys are the reason.


Great Taste of the Midwest 2011
Posted Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by Tip Top

The Great Taste is something that I have struggled to recap every year.  There is so much that I forget about even the next day that I always think that I should have included.  There is always someone's booth that I miss.  Here's my take on this year's Taste.

I arrived on the grounds at about 11am, thanks to media credentials.  Even this process seemed much improved over last year.  We set down our stuff by the same tree as every year and started walking around the fest.  With having the pre-party the night before, we obviously wanted to talk with the folks at Shorts, Central Waters, Nebraska and Lift Bridge.  Things are at different states of ready when you get there early, so we try to say hello, but let the brewers finish up.  

After chatting with everyone, it was time to really walk around and see what was what this year.  Same amount of main tents, but the offshoot tents were a little different.  Bell's and Goose Island had huge setups.  Vintage had a huge setup with countless taps.  Quite an impressive showing from the local brewpub.  Shorts expanded on last year with spreading out the two boats and a merch booth in the middle.  I never stopped by the Milwaukee or Leinie's setup.

This year we tried to get some pictures out to people waiting in line to whet their appetites.  I was sort of successful as I figured out the new app on my phone to get it to share to twitter and both facebook accounts.  I had it down by an hour in.  Next year, it should be spot on.

Time to sample some stuff before the gates opened up and it got too crazy.  The Pom Juliet and Marisol from Goose Island were both good.  Brugge continues to be a highlight of the fest with all the great Belgians they bring.  I get a sample of Spider and know I'm going back there early and often.  Down the hill we go to hit up Kuhnhenn (again).  I had already tried both the Straight and Tangerine Play in the Hay Wild Ales, so this time Mike and I finished up with that series, getting Mango and Blueberry.  The whole series was great, but Tangerine was my favorite beer that I had tried to that point.  I'm a sucker for both wild ales and Tangerines.  Dave's Brewfarm's Rhubarb Saison was nice.  Got a couple tastes of the always good Jolly Pumpkin stuff.  

Towards the end of the time before the flood gates opened I worked my way through things I wanted to try at the cask tent.  I really liked both Shoreline offerings.  Unfortunately, the others I would've called highlights I can't remember and they were among the "TBD" beers from the program.

Time to get to the gates and capture the opening.  Mike took video while I took a couple pictures.  It always amazes me how they get so many people into the fest in such a short time period.  From what I've heard from people that were towards the back of the line, it sounds as though they got six thousand people through the gates in 15-20 minutes.  Quite the amazing feat that big fests like Great American Beer Festival could learn from.

Here are some quick observations from the time the gates were open.


  • Goose Island doing Lolita and Juliet Sno Cones was a really cool idea, but their Bourbon County Bacon Caramel Corn stole the show over there.
  • I wish the food was mixed in with the tents.  Not sure why, but it seems like more work than it needs to be to go find the food lines.
  • There were a few breweries with long lines, but I found the some great places with just as good of beers proved to be the way to spend your time.  I never once waited more that 3 people deep at Brugge.
  • I hope the fest stresses sample size even more next year.  It was much improved over last year, but it's a waste when you are getting 4+oz of something and you really only need the 2oz taste so you can try more stuff.
  • Lines for the bathrooms were very reasonable.
  • Short's Carrot Cake tastes and smells just like Carrot Cake.  It was shocking just how good it was.
  • The Livery continues to impress me with the likes of Impeche and Tripel Weizenbock.
  • Nebraska Barrel Aged Hop God is really good.  Needed to confirm this from last year.
  • Surly's idea to have carnival games with winners getting bottles of Five was pretty damn cool.  
  • Surly Two has lost almost all presence of cranberry, which is too bad as it's usually a highlight beer for me.
  • New Albanian had a ton of good beers and the people seemed to know that this year.  More of a line than I have ever seen.
  • Too bad the rain wouldn't hold off for another hour.


Anyway, that's my take.  I'm sure I forgot some stuff in here as I always do.  The fest is usually my highlight of the summer and this year didn't disappoint.  I've already put in my time off request for next year.