Ohio / Kentucky Brewery # 3 – Nostalgia Brewing

Our final Hillbilly Elegy inspired stop is the memoir appropriately named, Nostalgia Brewing.

The brewery and taproom is located north of Columbus in the town of Gahanna. And their beer names lean into the movies and sports area….such as….

The Hunt for Red Oktoberfest Vienna Lager – “You don’t need Jack Ryan to save you from this one – it’s a seasonal beer, get it before it’s gone!”

Dawg Pound Brown – “Dating back to 1985, the Dawg Pound is known for it’s vocal support through thick and thin.”

7734 Helles – ” 7734 is a nod to the days of quickly hitting the “C” before the teacher noticed you spelled hELL on your calculator.”

3 Hour Tour Farmhouse Saison – ” Hints of juniper and ginger, this refreshing beer might be your choice if you’re stuck on an island with a fella named Gilligan.”

A Book & A Beer – Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

I am not a big memoir reader (except for this year it seems) but as the author of Hillbilly Elegy states at the beginning of his book, this isn’t really a memoir.

It is a hybrid memoir with scattered bits of social policy thrown in. To me, the history of the J.D. Vance’s growing up is fascinating with one of the key take-aways being that the skills that he needed to survive childhood are not the same ones that he needed as an adult. I found the political and how to help the poor (aka hillbillies) to be a bit simplistic at times though Vance does go out of his way to say that the problem doesn’t have a one size fits all solution. Those thinking that he is some staunch Republican would find little in common with the current powermongers in DC or with most Republicans. He is basically right-center on the spectrum.

I will be highlighting breweries in Ohio and Kentucky where the book was primarily set this month, so for my recommendation, I would suggest (if still made) have a beer that was around when you were growing up. For me, I would find some Widmer or McMenamin’s to take me back to my past and the places that made me who I am.

Ohio / Kentucky Brewery # 1 – Somewhere in Particular Brewing

It seemed kind of a given that given the name of this brewery and the fact that the brewery tour them is Hillbilly Elegy that I would start with Somewhere in Particular Brewing Company. Also, love the fact that the name is super cool and also an acronym for what you do inside.

Here are the Ohio brewed beers that I would try first…

Liquid Weekend Table Beer – sessionable lager

Peppin the Short – West Coast IPA

Very Berry Bity City – blackberry sour

Harry Porter – the original SIP flagship beer

In the Tap Lines for October

header_attractionsHave we entered Fall?  L.A. has seen 90+ then practically shady temps, then back up again.  The weather whipsaw might be best suited to those lighter Oktoberfest beers.  Now onto what is coming up this month….

~ e-visits to three breweries from Ohio (see A Book & A Beer below)
~ special featured reviews of the Firestone Walker Hoppy Lion Variety Pack
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Eaters Digest
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your October started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) October 1st – MacLeod Ale night at Tony’s Darts Away
2) October 13th – DTLA Brewers United Fest


I am of mixed mind on this craft beer hotel project from BrewDog that will be placed next door to their new Columbus, Ohio brewery and sour beer facility. Partially because I think it lets hotel chains off the hook for having mediocre to poor beer choices and if chains don’t improve then how will the majority of Americans who don’t have Ohio in their travel plans going to benefit.

Yes, there are hotels like the Four Points near LAX that have promoted craft beer, and yes, Stone will eventually have their own hotel in Escondido but if I go to a hotel in Solana Beach and they have a poolside bar with little to no local taps when there are close to a bajillion breweries in the San Diego area, well it seems like a drop in a bucket.

Now if they could franchise a chain or sign up with a boutique hotel with national presence, that would be different.

Not that I wouldn’t visit the Doghouse even though the in-shower fridge scares me because the other amenities do sound cool….
• Craft beer tap in every room serving IPA
• Hot tub filled with IPA in the luxury suite
• Craft beer spa with beer-based treatments and products
• In-shower fridge so guests can sip whilst they scrub
• Deluxe breakfasts, lunches and dinners, all infused and paired with artisanal craft beers

The End of History – Again

Some of you may remember the lovable little feud that led to ever escalating ABV beers including Brewdog’s End of History which got up to 55%. A number considerably higher than the bottles of beer that were released.

Now the End of History returns as the first beer brewed at the upcoming American Brewdog brewing facility in Ohio. Quite possibly as a nod to the fact that Ohio recently repealed a law that prevented beer over 12% ABV to be sold in the Buckeye state.
Even though it will be brewed here, the rarity of it will probably be just as high depending of course on if they decide to used taxidermy specimens this time around.

Ohio to Portland

In my weekly perusal of beer blogs far and wide, I ran across this pre-opening review of a brewery in Portland from the New School blog.


Now a new brewery in Portland would not normally warrant a post because of the frequency of openings for Rip City. But the route for this brewery came through Ohio. Fat Heads (with the weird cartoony logo that I am not fond of) is a fixture in the Midwest but a bit of an unknown to left coasters. But they have plunked down a brewery in Downtown Portland.

I will review it in a later post but this trend of opening new locales in far-flung places seems to be the new thing.

Cleveland Brewery Tour – Fat Head’s Brewery


The mustachioed gent on the label doesn’t scream craft beer to me but any website that has a beer section for “wheat” beers gets my attention and that is why Fat Head’s Brewery is the second stop in Cleveland.  This brewery gets filed under the category of places that I have yet to have a beer from.  I may have seen them at GABF but that is the extent of it, seen.

That being said, here is what I would put in my taster tray…..

Alpenglow – A weizenbock that won silver at GABF in 2012.  It is a style not oft seen in L.A. but one that is hearty and bubblegummy at the same time.

Starlight Lager – a German style lager with the Hersbrucker hop and lovely Carahelles malt.

Head Trip – They do Belgian too, not just Germanic styles.  This tripel has “secret spices”.

Battle Axe – Another seldom seen style, the Baltic Porter would be a nice addition to the dark side of the taster.

They have hoppy offerings as well for those who can’t go without a blast of bitterness.

Cleveland Brewery Tour – Great Lakes Brewing

Cleveland sports have not been in the news for prowess or playoffs of late, but they are in the news for draft picks and hope.  The football Browns snagged Johnny Football and the basketball Cavaliers have been granted a #1 pick do-over from last year.  But lets start with a truly great brewery for our month long visit and Great Lakes Brewing.


Great Lakes is part of the storied class of ’88 and is one of those breweries that you hear about even if you aren’t in their distribution path.  Even with that disadvantage in L.A., I have (in my travels) had the good fortune to sample a couple of their beers.  Their Dortmunder Gold lager is lovely and light.  And their famous Edmund Fitzgerald porter is a layered and flavorful beer that really pairs well with food.

But if you are visiting then I would suggest the following beers for your taster tray….

Chillwave – their Double IPA with Mosaic and Nugget hops blended together.

Glockenspiel – primarily for the awesome name but also because it is a rare Weizenbock  in a world of hops

Engine 20 – a hoppy offering with undertones of smoke

Ohio City Saison –  with ginger, lemongrass and coriander from a local farm


Heartland Brewery # 2 – Rhinegeist Brewery


Things are starting to happen in Cincinnati for Rhinegeist Brewery.  Despite the usual permits and other legalese that has to be surmounted the latest from Facebook has this to say, “Rhinegeist is a brewery located in the Over The Rhine historical district. We brewed our first batch on June 8th, 2013 and should be open sometime Summer 2013. ”  Plus I have met the co-founder Bryant Goulding when he was part of the LA beer scene with Dogfish Head and Golden Road.  ‘Cause I love to name drop.

And you can read more about this fascinating brewery history rich area at the OTR Brewery District page HERE.