Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: A Year of Beer

KC Beer Blog inspired me to write up a brief year in review of the CoMo beer scene. 2012 was a busy year for us! I'm sure I'm leaving some things out, but I'm going by my Facebook timeline.


  • Deschutes' arrival in Missouri! After almost a year, it's easy to take it for granted we can buy it off the shelves, but they have so many good regular and seasonal choices. Gumbo Bottoms in Jefferson City had the first tasting opportunity, then the Columbia release party included 44 Stone, 1839 Taphouse, and Uprise. The Columbia Tribune did a great spread on this in the Food section, too (featuring: my arm!). Here' a photo at the end of the night with all the Deschutes gang. 
  • Our monthly tasting was the Blind Paper Bag tasting at 1839 Taphouse. I also wrote a post about a beer pairing class (with Mike Odette) and dinner by Inside Columbia magazine. 
  • And how can we forget the annual Bell's beer dinner at Sycamore? Hopslam on tap and cask, plus the unforgettable Black Note Stout. Next year's is on sale today at noon
  • 1839 Taphouse had their 173 Anniversary Party, featuring the last keg of Boulevard's Chocolate Ale in CoMo.
  • Jason and I went to the Big Chill, a beer and chili festival at 75th Street Brewery in KC. It was in a freezing, partially outdoor beer garden including Schlafly, Blind Tiger, Boulevard, Free State, among others, and 75th brought out their cellared collection. 
  • "Beer and a Movie" series presented "Blazing Saddles" at our house. Bigfoot vertical 09-11 was a highlight. 
  • True/False film festival was fantastic as always, sponsored by Schlafly and featuring appearances by James Franco and Morgan Spurlock. 


  • A group of us formed a team to play Geeks Who Drink trivia at Roxy's on Monday nights. Arrogant Bastards are still going strong (mostly). 
  • Attended Parkville Microfest, which had a mobile app this year to help navigate your beer itinerary for the day. FYI, beef brisket bourbon beer isn't a good idea in reality. 
  • We can't forget the Avery Tap Takeovers!! Split between Uprise, 1839 Taphouse and 44 Stone, we got some samples of some heavy hitters. Thank goodness 44 Stone had just implemented their small pour option! 
  • The 2nd annual Missouri Beer Festival featured the debut of Columbia's Rock Bridge Brewery and Mother's Brewing out of Springfield (which finally made it to our market the end of this year.)
  • I visited a friend in Lawrence, stopping by Free State, Blind Tiger, and bringing home a growler with a collaboration by those two, plus 23rd Street Brewing. 
  • local Rock Bridge Brewery released a firkin of their summer seasonal, Lizard Pale Ale at Taphouse. 
  • I visited a little beer town known as Denver for a conference. Stops included Cheeky Monk, Falling Rock, Wynkoop, and a huge beer haul was made. 
  • 44 Stone's live Tap cams made their debut.
  • Our tastings included a blind IPA/DIPA tasting at our house, where Phil's blackberry lambic blew everyone's mind, and an impromptu tasting at Jonathan's to unload some beer buys. 
  • More press: The Missourian visited brew day with Holly and Jeff's crew. Como Collective went social with the craft beer scene. 
  • 1839 Taphouse hosted the Best of Summer tasting, which spilled over into the opening party for the new Shakespeare's pizza south location for some of us. 
  • 44 Stone had us for the Aged to Perfection tasting. This was an epic event! Beast Vertical, and a Bigfoot Vertical. 

Whew! We had a lot of beer and a lot of fun. Jonathan has already scheduled many 2013 CBE events. They will soon all be on the CBE calendar, which you can find here, along with other beer dinners and special events as we hear of them. 

Thanks again to Sycamore, Broadway Brewery, Uprise, 44 Stone, 1839 Taphouse for supporting us and hosting our events! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Three New Tastings!

The Columbia Beer Enthusiasts (CBE) have come out of hiding to schedule three upcoming tastings. As always, participants are asked to show up with a beer or two that fit the tasting's theme to share. Typically, two 12 oz. bottles or one bomber (22 oz. or 750 mL) do the trick. If you don't have beer to share, you can join in by paying $5, but where's the fun in that?

The three tastings are as follows...

On Sunday, July 22nd at Sycamore, the CBE will hold an "Off the Vine" tasting. Beer enthusiasts are to bring lambics, sours, and fruit beers to share. A nice list of lambicscan be found on Beer Advocate's site. Technically, lambics fall under the category of sour ales, but sour beers include many more styles such as Berliner Weisse, Flanders red and brown ales, and gueuze. Of course, one could also peruse BA's list of fruit beers for more choices.

The Best of Summer tasting on August 25th will celebrate the beers of summer. This event will happen at 4PM on 1839 Taphouse's patio. What defines a "summer beer" is left up to interpretation, but the club suggests summer seasonals, cream ales, golden ales, and blondes as possible styles to enjoy.

Finally, 44 Stone is hosting the "Aged to Perfection" tasting. For this tasting, participants are asked to unearth beers they have been saving for a year or more. Verticals where several vintages of the same beer are tasted in chronological order are encouraged. The tasting will start around 3PM. Then, hang around for dinner afterward. If you don't have any beers that are over a year old, you can always search local shelves and coolers for older vintages or beers that we can use in a vertical tasting. 

For more on these events and all-things-beer-related in CoMo, join the Columbia Beer Enthusiasts on Facebook. Also, be sure to RSVP to these events and participate in the discussion so that members can coordinate beers to share. Also, homebrews are welcome. There's no better place to get feedback on your homemade brew than a CBE meeting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the CBE Summer Picnic

The Columbia Beer Enthusiasts are holding their annual summer picnic this Saturday at Albert-Oakland Park, off of Blue Ridge Road. Everyone is welcome, even if you have never been to a CBE event before. Spouses, friends, children, and dogs are all welcome. (However, anyone expecting to consume beer should be 21+, of course.)

The picnic will take place in Shelter #3, located near a playground, restrooms and an aquatic facility. Here's the map. There is a Family Aquatic Center with a children's play area which costs $3.75 for adults and $2.50 for kids. The picnic starts at noon, but all are welcome to come any time throughout the afternoon.

The CBE provides burgers and dogs, but please bring a side or dessert and beers to share. This is a great opportunity to come meet and greet fellow beer enthusiasts and provide input about the kind of craft and homebrew beer events you'd like to have.

In case you're still debating whether or not to come, CBE president Jade Elwess provided the following top-ten reasons to attend this weekend's picnic:

10. Swimming - As mentioned above, the family aquatics center provides families a chance to cool off...or to sober up.

9. Food - The CBE provides burgers and hotdogs, but many CBE members like to bring foods that pair well with various beers. Of course, for many of us, beer is just liquid bread.

8. Games (washers, frisbee golf, volleyball...) - Depending on what equipment people bring with them, friendly games have been known to break out during the picnic. They're even more challenging after a beer or two.

7. Free to attend - There are few things one can do for free in CoMo. The CBE picnic is one of those things.

6. Hopefully good weather, no monsoons/heat waves in June - We've had this picnic in a rain storm as well as 100-degree  weather. Luckily, there's a shelter and cold beer to keep you dry and cool.

5. Be an active voice in planning future events, tastings, give us feedback - We'd like to hear from you all as to what kinds of events you'd like to see in the future. This is a great opportunity to get your voice heard. Who knows? Maybe you'll decide to be an officer...

4. See the latest in Cabana wear, Hawaiian shirts, plaid shorts, etc. worn by CBE members - There are hints at a mankini, but I'll believe it when I see it.

3. Families are welcome - Just because it's a beer event doesn't mean kids and spouses can't come. Besides, you may need someone to drive you home.

2. People--come mix and mingle with the CBE and get to know us - Stop lurking online. Come, meet, and talk to real human beings.

1. Beer, beer, beer. -  There is always a great mix of all kinds of beer. Bring any kind. CBE members often bring homebrews, that special bottle in the back of their cellar, or just a tried and true favorite from the store. Just don't forget to drink water, too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Craft Beer Events

Long time, no blog! I know. That doesn't mean there hasn't been a ton of craft beer events going on in the area. I mean, Deschutes Brewery is here! They hosted events at Gumbo Bottoms in Jeff City, and recently in Columbia at 44 Stone, 1839 Taphouse and Uprise Bar. In fact, Abyss just hit town today and many stores are sold out. Supposedly, only 5 cases of the limited releases are allocated between Columbia, Jeff City and Fulton. I am pursuing Jeff City, but Abiy's had not gotten the Abyss, XXIII or Stoic as of today. I got a bottle of everything but the Abyss (HyVee on Nifong), plus an unexpected Chocolate Ale (Abiy's). Anyway, we had a great time meeting the Deschutes fellows and look forward to seeing them for a future beer dinner. There should be something in next week's Tribune food section about our little party.

Mike Odette opens a Goose Island Sofie to add to the fondue.

Last night, I attended Chef Mike Odette's Brewmaster's Dinner: Pairing Beer With Food. The new Culinary Adventures program located in the old Grindstone Brewery has cooking classes, and this is one I didn't want to miss. This place has one main kitchen/classroom with monitors where you can watch the cooking demo. We listened to Mike give an overview of tips on pairing beer and food while we enjoyed snacking on spicy caramel corn with Tallgrass Ale. We were given recipes and put into groups to each try one recipe together. My group got fondue, but there were so many people crowded around the one stove that people had to take turns. Then we retired to the dining room for the tasting of the food and beer pairings.

There was then more of an informal discussion, when Fred Parry asked Mike about Sycamore and then Paul Wissman of the local Scheppers distributor, spoke some about the beers and breweries. It was opened up for an audience Q &A. Then we got to take home a goody bag: the BBQ sauce and rub made in the class, which is Sycamore's recipe used for their BBQ pork belly sliders. Score! I can't wait to try these. We took away the recipes for everything we ate, too.

Fred, Mike and Paul talk beer and food


Another cooking class involving beer may be appearing on the schedule in the coming months, so check back. These are filling up very fast as word gets out. 

Craft beer coming attractions: 
  • Schlafly Beer Dinner at 44 Stone, Tuesday, January 24th. Last I heard there were a few tickets left on Brown Paper Tickets. The cask of Winter ESB will be the special treat of the evening. 
  • Columbia Beer Enthusiasts Paper Bag Tasting, 1839 Taphouse, Wednesday, January 25th. This is a twist on the blind tasting, and it should be very interesting. More info here
  • Bell's Beer Dinner, Sycamore, Tuesday, January 31st. This event sold out in record time, but you can still come try the beer:
Winter White Belgian style Wheat 
Hell Hath No Fury Belgian style Dubbel
Sparkling Belgian style Tripel with Pacific NW hops
Two Hearted IPA 
Black Note Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial stout
and...a cask of Hopslam Imperial IPA

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dark Beer Tasting at Uprise Bar

Last night, the Columbia Beer Enthusiasts had a dark beer tasting. As you can see from the list below, dark beers can be awfully varied and we barely scratched the surface of possible styles. This was our first tasting in a while. We held the get-together at Uprise for the first time and plan to be back in the near future. Be on the lookout for a holiday tasting and Yankee Swap this December for paying members. Speaking of which, it's not too late to pay dues.

Now, on with the beers...

Mikkeller Black
Shmaltz Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.
Avery & Russian River Breweries Collaboration Not Litigation Ale, Batch# 5
AleSmith Brewing Company Wee Heavy
BrewDog Abstrakt
Brooklyn Brewery Local 2
HaandBryggeriet Odin's Tipple HaandBryggeriet
Life and Limb 2
He'Brew Rejewvenator (Year Of The Grape) 2010
Schlafly Reserve - Imperial Stout (2010)
Atomic Cannon American Barley Wine
Schlafly Reserve - Imperial Stout (2006)
Hantverksbryggeriet Kosacken (Prototyp X)
Casa de Elwess Nuts About Porter
Schlafly Black IPA (Not officially tasted. This beer was on tap and many of us gave it a try.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

CBE Cheese & Beer Pairing

Kudos to 44 Stone for hosting us in their back room for our tasting last night.  It was a really nice place to have it and we were treated so well by staff. I tried to record the pairings on Untappd and others who were there can fill in the gaps. Keep in mind the point of this wasn't to have crazy beer, but to focus on styles that we experimented with different cheese pairings throughout the night.We only did one pairing at a time and discussed each one. Sometimes, different pairings worked better. This worked much better than last time. I had fun, learned things, and really appreciate Dave's help in putting this event on!

Gnomegang: Collaboration between Ommegang and D'Achouffe
paired with Piare cheese

Schlafly's Barleywine (on tap!)
paired with oak smoked cheddar

New Holland's The Poet (Oatmeal Stout)
paired with brie

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA (also on tap)
paired with goat cheese

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel
I believe with Gouda

Firestone Walker Double Jack
with cheddar

Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter

Young's Double Chocolate Stout (44 Stone has in cans)
with gouda

Belhaven Wee Heavy
with goat

Firestone Walker Reserve Porter
and porter cheese with Guinness?


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Columbia Travel Guide

CoMO Travel Guide
This an excerpt from a post I wrote for KC Beer Blog as a guest blogger, and I thought I'd post here as a reference if anyone wants to link back to it.  

This is not an exhaustive list by any means of “The” bars or restaurants, but more of a quick guide to a great weekend. This is not a list for people with kids in tow--I’ll leave that to someone else to do the “family friendly” list. I didn’t go to Mizzou for school and I don’t watch sports, so you won’t find any of that here. I’m simply a person who likes good food and good beer and supporting my local establishments. I know I left many things out, including some fine restaurants that I would consider “special occasion” places, but are not part of my regular haunts. In fact there is such a turnover of restaurants that I can’t even keep track of what’s coming, going, or moving, so you should consult Show-Me Eats for that.

When to hit (or avoid?) Columbia

Right now is a great time to be in Columbia. The students just left, traffic has eased, and you can park in a comfortable distance of where ever you are going. I would avoid all MU football home games like the plague, especially homecoming. Nightmarish.

IMHO, the best time to be here is during True False film festival, the first weekend in March. It is incredibly busy and crowded but there is a fun buzz around downtown where everyone is discussing films, buskers play on the streets, and it feels like our own little Sundance. Warning: This requires advance planning. It is hard to get in the individual movies unless you get a pass, or are a volunteer.

If you are into music, the Summerfest concert series starts on Wednesday nights in June on 9th Street outside the Blue Note. Most of these are free, but there is usually a bigger finale to the series that requires a ticket. In September, the other biggie is the Roots n Blues n BBQ festival throughout downtown. One or two day passes are sold for this weekend festival.

A weekend in CoMo
If you are into art and discovering local artists, try to hit an Artrageous Friday if you can. The downtown galleries, like Artlandish Gallery and Orr Street Studio are all open late. Walk around, look at art, sip on wine and mingle. You never know, there could be a band playing or spontaneous fire spinning.

The natural thing to do after this is head to my local watering hole, Sycamore. It’s just around the corner from the North Village Arts District on Broadway. Excellent beer list (menu is updated online) and great taps (updates on Facebook and Twitter). Reservations are usually not necessary unless it’s Mother’s Day or graduation weekend. I just belly up to the bar because there will inevitably be other Columbia Beer Enthusiasts there. From 5 to 7, ask for their happy hour menu. One beer will be on special and some appetizers will be half price. It’s a great deal. They have a friendly and knowledgeable staff and are kind enough to let the CBE invade their space for our monthly tastings. They even serve beer in the proper glassware--kudos!

Watch for announcements about their weeknight beer dinners. These feature a different brewery each time, and 4 or 5 courses,  each paired with a different beer. Upcoming dinners include Boulevard (June 7) and New Belgium (July 14). Tickets are sold on Brown Paper Tickets about a month in advance, and they sell out very quickly. They always offer something special, like a glass to take home or a special release beer you can’t find elsewhere. Also, it’s a good chance to meet (i.e. nag) your local brewery rep.

Recommended: Parmesan fries with homemade ketchup, gnocchi, or pork belly sliders from the happy hour menu

Then, walk next door and check out Cool Stuff. It’s just a crazy store beyond description. They have jewelry, gag gifts, gadgets, games, oh, and homebrewing supplies in the back. Ran out of sanetizer? Broke a thermometer? Never fear. They have it.

It’s worth walking a couple blocks down 9th Street to Bluestem that supports local artists in Missouri and the surrounding states. This is a great place to find unique gifts for people that are hard to shop for.

Then, be sure to leave room for homemade ice cream at Sparky’s. They have interesting flavors and also alcoholic ice cream “floats” for the adults.

Recommended: Grasshopper float or Les Bourgeois wine & chocolate flavored ice cream

Depending on their schedule, you shouldn’t miss The Blue Note and/or Mojos for live music. The Blue Note is a local landmark that’s been around for 25 + years. I’ve been going to see shows of all kinds there since college. Not only do they get pretty big names, but you could also catch a local showcase for cheap, a dance party, or a burlesque show. The smaller stepsister of the Blue Note is Mojo’s, which focuses more on local and indie bands. They have an outdoor patio with happy hour specials. Niether place is really a “beer bar,” but it’s usually possible to find something you like in the line-up. The Blue Note has recently been serving Ranger IPA on tap and Mojo’s will have Lagunitas IPA, for example.

So, it’s not time to call it an evening yet, but you want something more low-key and quiet after your ear drums burst at the show. The Vault, located below the Tiger Hotel, is Columbia’s “speakeasy.” The bartender makes really excellent cocktails from scratch from recipes he develops. Fresh fruit, infused simple syrups, homemade’s all delicious. Even I need a switch from beer sometimes, and you can’t go wrong here. There’s not a huge lineup of beer here, but what they do have is usually pretty cheap, like a $2 draft special. Follow them on Facebook to get the secret phrase for discounts on your drinks.

Recommended: Fancy Pants, Sangria

Now, it’s Saturday and you’re ready for a mellow afternoon. The best way to get going is at Ragtag. The Uprise Bakery is inside (as well as a full bar), so  you can get coffee, pastries, soups and sandwiches to eat there or take in with you to the movie. Ragtag is another local landmark known for showing indie, foreign and documentary films and is the home base for the True False festival. You can even buy your tickets online so you don’t need to rush over early. Take your time and play a game of Scrabble.

Should you want to begin drinking, this is another place with a fine beer selection. They have regular bottled and canned beers and taps are listed on a chalkboard. For example, during the Stone release party, the Uprise bar was one of the stops and had Double Bastard on tap. There will also be special beer releases or cask tappings, but you have to follow them on Twitter to be in the know. Or join the CBE.

In June, they have a new weekly “Homebrewed” film series linking independent filmmakers and craft beer. Come watch them with us and have a beer!

Recommended: Brie-apple sandwich and a Caldera IPA

Flat Branch Pub and Brewery is another Columbia landmark downtown. During the school year and on weekends it can get really crowded. I don’t have the patience to wait an hour for a table, so I scout out a spot at the bar to eat. They have a nice patio, but go at an off time to get a seat. Flat Branch has both regular and seasonal beers they brew on site. Local favorites include Katy Trail Pale Ale and the Green Chilli Beer. Their infamous Pumpkin Ale is usually gone before I can get a pint. It goes on tap around Halloween. They list the rotation on their website and Facebook, and you can take home a growler of your favorite. Their menu has something for everyone, including burgers, salads, pizzas and seasonal items.

Recommended: Oil Change Oatmeal Stout, Green Chili Chicken Fingers or crab cakes with chipotle mayo

If you want to do any beer shopping, drive a little bit south of town and you can hit both Arena Liquor (inside a Shell gas station) and Hy-Vee in the same neck of the woods. Head straight down Providence for both. They both offer make your own sixers and have good craft beer selections. All of the Hy-Vee stores in town have good beer selections, FYI.

Two other bars in town that get passed over because they are “far” (10 minutes) from the center of downtown are 1839 Taphouse and 44 Stone. I hadn’t given 1839 Taphouse much of a chance until they were one of the stops during the Stone beer release event. They had several taps of Stone going, PLUS Maharaja. They update their list of 24 taps on Facebook. The Taphouse Ale is their own house beer. I am excited that this will be a new destination for the CBE in June for our monthly tasting out on their patio.

Recommended:  beer dough pizza, which I sampled at the Missouri Beer Festival.

44 Stone is also in the southeast area of Columbia kind of tucked away in a lot of stripmalls. They are fairly new and describe themselves as a contemporary “gastropub.” They serve traditional British staples like fish and chips, bangers and mash and mushy peas, along with curries and Tikka Masala.

As for liquor, they have a whole chalkboard list of beers and whiskys from England, Scotland and Ireland (and some American choices) I don’t know how often the list on their website is updated, but they post some new specials and additions on Facebook. They also have some meads and ciders currently listed. A new feature is live Celtic music on their patio on the first Thursday of the month. The CBE will also be doing a beer and cheese tasting here in July.

Recommended: 44 Stone Burger with Jameson steak sauce

Sunday, if you’re looking for brunch, and possibly some hair of the dog, hit Broadway Brewery.

9:30am - 2pm Start your week off right with a rotating selection of seasonally delicious brunch options, and indulge with a custom cocktail from our Build-a-Bloody Buddy Bar.

Broadway is locally owned and gets most of their ingredients from area farms and the Root Cellar, a community based grocery store right next door. Their focus is integrating local, fresh ingredients into pizzas, sandwiches and salads. They offer their own beer on tap as well as a good menu of bottles and guest taps. They are also a frequent host of CBE tastings and many spontaneous gatherings, since they are steps away from Sycamore. Check Facebook to see what’s on tap or walk by and check out the chalkboard.

Recommended: Broadway’s IPA, pizza by the slice with side salad

If you have some time to spare as you make your way down I-70, it’s worth a stop in Rocheport (15 minutes from Columbia) to visit Les Bourgeois Winery. Their Bistro serves brunch, lunch and dinner, but if you just want a glass of wine, the A-Frame next door is the place to be. Weather permitting, it is open noon to sunset. Near sunset is the perfect time to be here right on the river listening to live music. Their Rock the Riverboat music series starts May 28 and continues each Saturday through October from 4 to sunset.

Recommended: Jeunette Rouge Red or Solay White and the picnic basket for two (cheese, sausage, crackers and fruit) at the A Frame. Don’t expect much in the way of beer--this is a winery, after all. I think they used to have a wine cooler option and maybe a Boulevard choice.

If you have another day, Jefferson City is 30 minutes south of Columbia on Highway 63. I admit, I am not as in the know on this city’s offerings , but I do commute there for work. You should go tour the State Capitol and see the Thomas Hart Benton murals and the Missouri State Museum if you’re into history and/or art.

Prison Brews is the local brewpub located downtown near the old prison, hence the name. See what’s on tap on their website. I have had lunch here a few times and I sampled the Gone-a-Rye-Pale-Ale at the Missouri Beer Festival. I really need to get down there and try a flight.

Recommended: Wood fired Greek pizza. They also have brats made with their own beer.

Also just off of the river bridge exit (Main St.) is a cozy Irish pub called Paddy Malones (or “Pat’s Place,” if you are a real local). Paddy’s is known for their Guinness and burgers and the central location for St. Patrick’s Day activities. They open early for corned beef and cabbage and the parade. No green beer. The website is basically dead, so look for specials on their Facebook page instead. Oddly enough, they were posting about Boulevard Chocolate Ale on tap when everyone else was out in the area.

For beer shopping, the place to go is International Wines on the west side of town. If they don’t have it, and they can get it, they will special order for you. Distribution is on a different schedule than Columbia, so there may be Hopslam there after Columbia is out or you may stumble upon something different.