Firehouse Grill's Battle of the Beers Round 2 is heating up and the bloggers at #9beer have their predictions on who move on and whose suds will get left behind.
Blogger: Queen City Fresh
Elite Eight Predictions: Jackie O’s, MadTree, Mt. Carmel, Rivertown, Warped Wing, Christian Moerlein, Rhinegeist and Fifty West.
Elite Eight that Pick could lose: Jackie O’s. I could be totally wrong and most people stay in the comfort zone and chose mostly locals which would be a shame because this brewery is well respected and makes great beer. I’m gonna sneak another one in here and say that Rivertown with their bold selections could make them vulnerable in Round 1.
Sleepers: (1) Listerman. Two beers with unique ingredients - one with peanut butter and the other with beets of all things. (2) Triple Digit. Chickow! is already a popular beer and mix in some coconuts and you have a lot of people really excited to give this variation a try. I’ve heard good things about their newly reformulated Decimation Imperial White Ale and folks may be eager to give this beer and second try.
Most Excited About: (1) Rivertown. I've heard Tom from Queen City Drinks gush about Death. He's had his fair share of really good beers and if he is that excited about it then it must be something special. Old Cherry Sour Porter is already a QCF favorite. (2) Yellow Springs. I've been to Yellow Springs Brewery once and came away impressed. Both the Breakng Edge American IPA and Zoetic Citric American Pale Ale are round in my beer style wheelhouse and since I haven’t had those I’m not going to miss the opportunity.
Summary: With the popularity of MadTree and Rhinegeist, I believe they will be locks to advance. Which leaves 6 picks to determine. With the notion, that people will want to try something new, I picked 2 non locals that I thought would advance. Jackie O’s is well respected and has some local name recognition. This will be the 1st time most Cincinnatians will get a chance to try Warped Wing. Their tap handles really stand out and I think folks will be intrigued to give both their beers a taste. I rounded out my remaining 4 picks with locals Rivertown, Christian Moerlein, Fifty West and Mt. Carmel. The Coffee Brown Ale and Citra Saison from Mt. Carmel will be near the top of my list to try.
While not everyone will advance, everyone comes away winners here in my book. 32 beer selections to chose from, live music and plenty of good food options to choose from -- it’s a win win in my book. Hope to see you there!
Blogger: Queen City Drinks
Elite Eight Predictions: Blank Slate, Cellar Dweller, Ei8ht Ball, Fifty West, Jackie O's, MadTree, Rhinegeist, Yellow Springs
Elite Eight Pick that could lose: MadTree. I love many of the MadTree beers and know many others that do as well. However, I don't feel that they are bringing their A-Game to this competition. I'm not familiar with Lemon Basil Blonde but fear the folks voting on these breweries will shy away from it. Personally I enjoyed Rounding Third each time I had it but again don't think it'll be a big vote getter.
Sleepers: Christian Moerlein, Rivertown. I think Christian Moerlein is bringing a good game here with broader appeal but may be over shadowed by the more popular folks like MadTree and Rhinegeist. If I was the deciding judge here there'd be no question that Rivertown would win. Death & OSCP are excellent beers. However, they're broad appeal is almost non-existent. Sours and ultra-spicy beers aren't going to conquer the masses... the foolish masses who don't know what they're missing.
Most Excited About: Rivertown, Warped Wing. For Rivertown see above regarding my love of Death. Warped Wing I had when they very first opened and I was impressed by what could be but not what was. So I'm excited to see how they've improved in the past 3 months.
Blogger: BeerQuest ABV
Elite Eight Predictions: Rhinegeist, Triple Digit, Fifty West, Mt. Carmel, Christian Moerlein, MadTree, West Sixth, Ei8ht Ball.
Elite Eight that could lose: Triple Digit. Their sweet and heavy brews aren't the best fit for the summer, and threaten to put people to sleep, despite their tastiness. Due to the amount of alcohol in the two beers, it's unlikely most folks will purchase more than one.
Sleepers: Warped Wing, Yellow Springs. Both hailing from the Dayton area, these two breweries still don't have a lot of exposure in Cincinnati. I'm expecting some folks from the Miami Valley will make their way down to Blue Ash and Firehouse Grill, so they could get lots of votes and exposure. Plus, beer folks love trying new things.
Most Excited About: Rivertown, Jackie O's. It's been a while since I've had Rivertown's excellent Death stout, and I can't wait to try it again. Their Old Sour Cherry Porter is always fantastic, too. I've never had Jackie O's Mandala Galaxy, but I've heard great things about their Mandala series, and their IPAs are always delicious.
Short Summary: I feel like it'll be mostly a name-based game with this, as our area has their popular breweries just like any other place. The beers some of the popular guys are bringing aren't their best, most earth-shattering stuff, but I think the bigger guys will still come out ahead due to brand recognition. Whatever happens, however, it's still a win for local beer and local food at the Firehouse Grill!
Blogger: Love Beer, Love Food
Elite Eight Predictions: Blank Slate Brewing, Cellar Dweller, Eightball, MadTree, Jackie O's, Mt. Carmel, Rhinegeist, Yellow Springs
Elite Eight Pick that could lose: Jackie O's - It's a bold move to bring both a big, imperial IPA and a somewhat rich, brown ale in the middle of the summer. While I'm sure the beers will be great, it might not be what people are looking for in June. That said, who doesn't love a big IPA?
Sleepers: Listermann, Rivertown - Both breweries are bringing some fun, sorta crazy beers. This could either hurt, or work to their advantage. I'm hopeful that people will look past the crazy and find a delicious, though quirky, beer. Extra points for creativity, right?
Most Excited About: I'm really excited to try Rivertown's Death! It sounds intense and great. As long as the malt is balanced out with some pepper flavor and a little bitterness it's bound to be great. I'm also very curious about MadTree's Lemon Basil Blonde. Lemon and basil are some of my favorite culinary flavors. If the beer is executed well - meaning you can taste all the flavors of lemon and basil without overpowering the light and lovely blonde style, I'll be smitten.
Short Summary: This was really hard!! I based my Elite Eight predictions on my gut instinct about the public favorites, plus my personal experiences of the beers and breweries. I honestly haven't had some of these beers before so I'm excited to see who advances. Let the best brewers win
Blogger: Brew Professor
Elite Eight Predictions:Christian Moerlein, Fifty West, Listermann, MadTree, Mt. Carmel, Rhinegeist, West Sixth, Yellow Springs
Elite Eight Pick that could lose: Yellow Springs isn't broadly known in this market even though they are bringing some very popular styles.
Sleepers: (1) Triple Digit might win some folks over with the Coconut Chickow! and it's candy-like, boozy profile. Also, the college age crowd will do the math to squeeze out the most ABV per dollar. (2) Ei8ht Ball: Generally not real well known outside their taproom but they are bringing two great beers that are two very approachable styles for both refined and less experiences palates.
Most Excited About: (1) Yellow Springs: you don't see it this far south, they have a beer loaded with Citra, and they have racked up some hardware in their short existence. (2) Jackie O's: I'm a fan of the brewery overall and love seeing their expanded production and distribution more recently. I've had the Mandala Columbus once before which is a fantastic beer. Columbus is one of my favorite hops!
Elite Eight Predictions: Blank Slate, Christian Moerlein, Fifty West, Listermann, MadTree, Rhinegeist, Rivertown, Triple Digit
Elite Eight Pick that could lose: Triple Digit is bringing some serious potency to the battle. Chickow! is an amazing beer with sweet flavor. Add some coconut and you have a need for insulin. Decimation is another beer that is amazing with a huge punch. I think the high ABV and dominate flavor profiles could limit sales.
Sleepers: Yellow Springs and Mt. Carmel will have a strong run and could be the sleepers. They make great beer at Yellow Springs and the two styles being tapped are palate friendly and summer friendly. If you have not tried the Coffee Brown Ale from Mt. Carmel, you are missing out big-time. It is so damn good and people will realize that. Also, a Citra Saison will bring some game.
Most Excited About: Rivertown and Blank Slate. I have a serious love for spicy beers and another release of Death has been on my radar. Shroominous is one of the best one of a kind beers around. I've always loved this beer.
Short Summary: I really hope the beers are the primary focus over brand recognition and proximity to Cincinnati. There are some amazing beers on this list and the quality should be appreciated. I'm excited to see our friends up north come over to play. This will be a fun time and should bring a spotlight to the fine craft beer in this region. Also, Firehouse Thai pizza is a must.