Come enjoy the highly acclaimed, semi-annual Liederkranz Fall beer tasting party. Sample some 10 different seasonal beers in our authentic Rathskeller, led by local beer professional, Mike Schwartz. Our sampling tour will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Big Beer and Barley Wines moves to the Greek Orthodox Church
This weekend’s upcoming Big Beer and Barley Wines festival, the Miami Valley’s only beer tasting that focuses exclusively on hard-to-find beers, has a new home.
In the past several years, the Miami Fairgrounds Roundhouse has housed the event. With the sale of the fairgrounds and an uncertain future about the Roundhouse, Dayton’s most exclusive rare beer festival has relocated to the Greek Orthodox Church Memorial Center (500 Belmonte Park N, Dayton, OH 45405).
Along with the new venue, there is a renewed interest in serving the most interesting and hardest to find beers, including pub exclusives and beers brewed specifically for the event. “Since we had to move the festival to a smaller venue this year, that means that we need less beer,” explains Gus Stathes, co-organizer in charge of beer for of the event and General Manager of the Centerville tap house, Ollie’s Place. “The end result is a more tightly curated list of fantastic beer with less ‘filler’ than in previous years. “
The beer list, which can be found here is heavy on rarity. “We’ve been working closely with local and regional breweries to secure limited releases that you don’t see on the shelf every day,” notes Stathes. Look for beers like Three Floyds Crack the Skye, Jackie O’s BA Cellar Cuvee, and 50 West’s 10&2 Barleywine (which just won gold at GABF). You can also expect beers from Hoof Hearted, Streetside, and many other local, regional, and national favorites.
Expect this year to bring the heat and to be different from earlier events: “In previous years, the festival had a ‘the bigger the better’ mentality, focusing on alcohol content. This year, and moving forward for years to come, the spotlight is going to be shifted to quality and rarity over heavy-hitting alcohol,” says Stathes. “There’s a world of incredibly complex beer under the 8% ABV threshold,” he adds. “Why limit ourselves from sharing those beers just because they don’t fit under the “Big Beer” umbrella?”
Big Beers and Barley Wines traces its roots to 2009, when Mike and Donna Schwartz, owners of Ollie’s Place Craft Beer and Whiskey, Belmont Party Supply, and Brewtensils, first teamed up with Resident Home Association (RHA). Established in 1966, RHA, an Ohio non-profit, provides homes, daily living support and services to individuals with developmental disabilities. The money raised supports individuals with developmental disabilities served by RHA.
Peter Roll, RHA’s Executive Director, explains how this event helps the community he serves, “We are extremely thankful for the patrons and sponsors of Big Beers. It is through their generosity that we are able to enhance the services we provide to our residents with developmental disabilities. This year and into 2018, we have some ambitious plans to renovate homes and expand our day program space to better serve our clients.”
Big Beers and Barley Wines is a primary fundraiser for RHA. “One hundred percent of the proceeds of Big Beers stays with the Resident Home Association and allows us to invest in services that helps improve the quality of life for those we serve,” explains Roll.
Big Beers is also a Who’s Who of the Dayton craft beer scene where volunteers from the area’s craft beer-friendly establishments work tables, serve beer, and mingle with the crowd along with brewers and representatives from highly acclaimed breweries. Guests can order food from one of several restaurants at the event and listen to a live band while sampling their beers. Also offered are door prizes and a variety of raffles to take home souvenirs from the event and support Resident Home Association.
The relaxed atmosphere of years’ past is certain to carry over to the new location, in part because of the passion that drives it. “This beer festival means so much to me; to us who plan it,” explains Pam Skelly, RHA’s lead organizer for the event. “It’s fun and more importantly, it’s the Dayton craft beer community coming together to support individuals with developmental disabilities. I’m so proud of the people who continue to support this festival year after year. Proceeds help us to increase the quality of life for the people we serve. It’s the little extras in life: a night out for dinner and a show, tickets to see a concert by a favorite singer, presents at Christmas for those with little to no expendable income, a new coat. . . . these are just a few of the little things Big Beers supports.”
Although VIP tickets are sold out, there are still general admission tickets available and can be purchased at www.bigbeersdayton.com. General admission tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door (if available). General admission starts at 5 pm. Those holding VIP tickets can get an early taste of the beer list, starting at 4 pm.
Sponsorships, donations, in-kind support or items for raffles are still being accepted and are greatly appreciated. Reach out directly to Pam Skelly at email@example.com to enquire how you can help the RHA meet their goals.
The first Wednesday of each month Mike Schwartz from Belmont Party Supply picks 9 beers for folks to sample and then teaches beer school at Trolley Stop in the Oregon District. Novice or expert, there’s always something to learn about the beer, the hops used, the barrels used for aging or some other aspect in the process that affects the flavor of the liquid.
And this Wednesday, December 7th at 7pm will be Beer Tasting #100 and that’s a big reason to celebrate! That means 900 beers have been tasted and rated by the crowd’s that show up for this monthly event.
If you want to be at #100 plan on arriving early, these do sell out on a regular basis. We even hear there will be free t-shirts for the first 25 in attendance. Cost for the tasting is $25 and includes light snacks.
Check out the list of beers available for this tasting:
Heavy Seas Below Decks Barrel Aged Barleywine
NorthCoast 2016 Barrel Aged Rasputin
Mad Tree Bourbon Barrel Aged Axis Mundi
Against the Grain /Hoof Hearted Clearly Everybody Wants Some
Stone Unfiltered Enjoy By 12.25.16
Jackie O’s BA Noble Sorrel
Spencer Holiday Ale
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Three Floyds Dreadnaught
A preview to the annual rare beer festival, this time with no ABV cap.
Dayton has a lot of great festivals, but there’s one that stands above the rest in terms of selection of rare beers. Big Beers and Barley Wines, which returns this Saturday, October 1, to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Roundhouse, is a festival for beer geeks, put on by beer geeks. Organizers work for months in advance with breweries and distributors to cherry pick the line-up of nearly 90 beers, carving out one-off beers, pub exclusives, and limited releases and combining them with vintages of old favorites, beers seeing their festival debut, and beers created exclusively for the event.
This year promises to be the biggest yet. While previous Big Beers have showcased giant barley wines and imperial stouts, those beers were capped at 12% alcohol by volume (ABV) by Ohio law. Not so in 2016—the cap was lifted on August 31st. Mike Schwartz, a founding member of the event team and owner of Ollie’s Place, Belmont Party Supply, and BrewTensils, drove the planning team to think big for this year’s line-up. “Big Beers and Barley Wines’ goal is to bring as many rare beers to the beer connoisseur as possible,” Schwartz explains. “This year with the alcohol cap removed, we have put the emphasis on Big Beers!”
Big Beers and Barley Wines will be the first regional festival to present these huge beers, and Gus Stathes, the main beer buyer for the event (and beer guru at Ollie’s Place) has been like a kid in a candy shop, lining up beers that were not available in Ohio before. “We’ve always focused on securing the most exciting and special beers that we can get our hand on for this festival,” explains Stathes. “This year’s list is more exciting in that without an ABV cap, we have access to a much more broad spectrum of options.” Beers like Hebrew Jewbelation 17 and Deschutes Abyss 2015 are scheduled to see their Ohio festival debut, alongside local and regional giants like Hoppin’ Frog T.O.R.I.S. The Tyrant triple oatmeal imperial stout, Dayton Beer Company’s Midnight Dream Raspberry Imperial Stout and a Evil Twin’s Molotov Heavy, an enormously hoppy triple IPA.
But don’t let the focus on huge beers prevent you from trying those with a more “modest” ABV. Look for cellar projects from Green Flash like Oculus Savage and Nocturna Morta Boysenberry. Quaff Brothers killed it last year with their Orange Melvin and are promising more of the same in 2016. This year, they’ve teamed up with MadTree to create Gus Juice, a Gnarley Brown barrel-aged variant with honey, cocoa nibs and cinnamon named after one of the festival’s organizers. MadTree also has three rarities on the docket under their own name: a brown ale called Ford the Mill, a wild ale named Chamomile Levanto, and a 2015 BA Coffee Axis Mundi.
Want to go even more local? Nearly all of the Miami Valley local brewers will be attending. Warped Wing BA Abominator was a hit last year and returns this year, this time infused with Maple. Toxic’s Barrel Aged Night Ender is also scheduled to make an appearance—a boozy variant on an already deceptively boozy imperial stout. Fig Leaf, which is opening in Middletown the first week in October, will debut their Ponderous Porter—try it at the festival days before you’ll be able to try it at the taproom. And when you’re ready for dessert, seek out Eudora’s Mother Fuggle on chocolate covered bananas—a dessert beer indeed.
What makes the event even better than the fantastic beer line-up is the worthwhile cause it supports. “Not only is Big Beers & Barley Wines the premier craft beer tasting event in the region, 100% of the proceeds benefit the Resident Home Association of Greater Dayton, Inc.,” explains Peter Roll, RHA Executive Director. “Resident Home provides services to people with developmental disabilities where the primary source of funding is Medicaid dollars. Those dollars do not fully meet the needs of the people we serve. Events like Big Beers help us provide for those unmet needs. This helps us buy clothing, pay for uncovered dental services, purchase new eye glasses, pay for leisure activities and other things on our clients’ wish lists.”
Established in 1966 by a group of parents with developmentally disabled children, RHA has expanded to now provide homes, daily living support and services to around 80 adult individuals in the community. Pam Skelly is the event organizer with RHA. She notes that, “Big Beers is near and dear to my heart as it is with so many other participants—Big Beers gives us the chance to enjoy and talk beer with fellow beer geeks.” Skelly also emphasizes how the event funds the RHA wish list: “The RHA wish list helps us to support the hobbies and individual interests of the people we serve. The people we serve derive so much joy from the little things in life—a country concert, a night out for pizza and a movie, jewelry-making parties and so much more; supporting these hobbies and interests is so very important. We could not do any of this without the support of the Dayton beer community.”
The Dayton-based non-profit employs a staff of full- and part-time resources and works with other organizations such as Sinclair Community College and Choices in Community Living to extend their reach into the community. The web of support that RHA provides their clients through their various programs and partnerships gives their clients the assistance to live and work with a high level of autonomy within the community. Roll adds, “When you support Big Beers, you are supporting a very worthy cause and we very much appreciate our patrons.”
Early ticket sales have surpassed previous years’ numbers, so the organizers are expecting a possible sellout and they are advising would-be attendees to get tickets as soon as possible. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door (if available). Tickets may be purchased at Ollie’s Place, Belmont Party Supply, BrewTensils, 5th Street Wine & Deli, The Barrel House, Bee Gee’s Market, Chappy’s Tap Room, Kings Table, Lucky’s Tap Room, South Park Tavern, Thai 9 and Trolley Stop or on the web at www.bigbeersdayton.com.
How are you enjoying Dayton Beer Week so far? The wide variety of beers, beer dinners, and other special events should be heaven for any beer lover in the area. Some people are not satisfied with just going out and enjoying. Some people need to create it on their own. For those people, there is BrewTensils. They have been open for just a few years, but have a much longer history than that. Darren Link, the manager at BrewTensils, took some valuable time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for us here at Dayton Most Metro. He spoke a little about the growing Dayton craft beer scene, how he started home brewing, and how you can join the ranks of home brewers in the area.
How did you get into home brewing? How long have you been doing it?
I got into it the same way almost everybody else does, a friend said “Let’s make some beer.” And I had the typical reaction “You can do that?” We made a few awful batches, I ‘borrowed’ some of his equipment to do my own beers. I got the bug and have been doing it for 4 years now.
What is your favorite style of beer to brew?
I kind of jump around with the styles I brew, so I don’t think I have a favorite style to brew. I enjoy brewing IPA’s; you will never have a fresher IPA than one you brew yourself. I also enjoy brewing English styles, Belgian Sours, and recently finished my second lager a Munich Dunkel.
What made it a good time in Dayton to open a home brewing store?
We have sold homebrewing supplies for the past 25+ years. The supplies used to be in the back of the beer store next door, Belmont Party Supply. A small shelf and items were constantly out of stock. Both BrewTensils & Belmont Party Supply are owned by Mike Schwartz. He noticed the demand increasing in the area and after the dry cleaner went out of business that used to occupy this space, established the current BrewTensils roughly 3 years ago. We’ve been consistently growing ever since.
How have you seen tastes in beers change?
There’s almost an evolution in craft beer drinkers tastes. They have one craft beer or a couple beers that change their prospective. They get curious about what else is out there; they typically get into IPA’s and the hoppier styles. Then higher gravity (higher alcohol) and finally start appreciating the styles that are difficult to brew. As far a craft in general, it’s up 14% this year when beer sales in general have declined.
Do you see home brewers influencing national trends, or vice versa?
I think it’s a two way street. Brewers like to see how close they can get to brewing their favorite commercial beers. There are literally millions of clone recipes on the internet; New Belgium Fat Tire, Bell’s Two Hearted, and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald being very popular ones. On the other side of it, homebrewers have helped to save some less popular beer styles. I feel that traditional Belgian Lambics have been an example. Almost going extinct in Belgium in the 60’s & 70’s, the popularity amongst homebrewers, professional brewers & beer connoisseurs have helped to keep them alive.
IPAs look like they are all the rage right now. What do you think the next beer trend is going to be?
I think IPA’s will always be the rage. I think session beers are increasing in popularity. A session beer being defined as a beer you can drink large quantities of without getting sloshed and typically has an alcohol percentage between 4 & 5.6 or lower. People want to try several different beers in one sitting, maybe even venturing outside of their comfort zone. On the other side of that there’s ‘extreme’ beers which can clock in at 10, 12 even 18 or 20 percent, which you can have one of and be rocked.
When does your next round of classes start? What do you like most about teaching them?
I don’t have dates set for those yet but I’m looking at having a round of classes before the holidays, so October/ November time frame. Our largest attended class is right after the holidays in January. The past 2 years we’ve had 70 people attend Brewing 101.
I like seeing their excitement of getting started, getting hooked and then bringing their first or second beer in for me to taste to see what I think of it. Kind of living vicariously through my customers reminding me of how excited I was when I started.
What is the:
-best beer you have tasted brewed by one of your customers?
The one that’s in front of me. No seriously, I am always pleasantly surprised by the high quality of beers that my customers brew.
-the worst beer? (or a beer that people seem to have the hardest time brewing)
There’s an ancient beer style that used a whole uncooked chicken thrown into the fermenter. He soaked the entire chicken in white wine to ‘sanitize’ it, put it in the secondary for about 2 weeks, and loosely filtered it. I thought I was going to get salmonella from drinking it but the white wine added more character than the chicken.
-a beer you thought sounded awful but ended up tasting really good?
It didn’t sound awful; I was more intrigued by the idea of using homegrown garden herbs and spices in a beer. I have a couple of those I’ve done with great success. Honey basil ale is a really popular summer seasonal. Several customers have brewed it also with rave reviews. Another one that came out well is Thai basil & lemongrass wheat. But not all experimentation beers have turned out well, I’m still trying to perfect a baklava inspired beer with honey, pistachios, and philo dough.
Dayton Beer Company just opened, and Toxic Brew Company, Fifth Street Brewpub, Vitruvian Brew, Yellow Springs Brewery and Dayton History are poised to open breweries in the near future. Plenty of restaurants already have a wide selection of craft beers in the area, like Boston’s, South Park Tavern, Chappy’s, and a few others. Do you think Dayton is close to a saturation point on breweries and craft beer?
Not even close, we’ve only just begun. I had a theory before the new resurgence of breweries. I think Dayton was the largest craft thirsty market in the US that didn’t have an operating brewery. Look at the numbers Fifth Street Brewpub got for their charter member drive. Their original goal was 300 they got 830, in one month. I feel that Dayton and surrounding areas could support a double digit number of breweries. Grand Rapids, Michigan and Ashville, North Carolina split the Beer City USA title this year. Those aren’t huge markets but beer tourism drives some of that. Don’t be surprised to see some beer tourism in Dayton a couple years from now.
What is your advice to someone that wants to start brewing? What is a good “beginning style” to start with?
My advice for new brewers is to do some reading first. Read Jon Palmer’s “How to Brew”. Either pick up a copy or read it online at howtobrew.com. He writes it in a way so you can avoid mistakes and have a successful beer they will enjoy and be proud of the first time they brew. Other than that, start small, pick up a Brewer’s Best Deluxe Equipment Kit and a small bottle of Star San sanitizer. Cleaning and sanitization are very important and are two separate actions. The Brewer’s Best English Brown Ale is by far the best selling first time brewer recipe kit, it comes out like a Newcastle. The nice thing about the recipe kits is they only require a 2 ½ gallon boil so it can be done on the stove
Belmont Party Supply, BrewTensils, and Stacker’s Subs and Grub are all located on Smithville Road, near Watervliet Avenue. You can call BrewTensils at (937) 252-4724, and become their fan on Facebook. Cheers!
The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery continues their monthly Pub Science speaker series with a lecture on beer brewing by one of the area’s foremost authorities on the subject.
Mike Schwartz, owner of Belmont Party Supply and Brewtensils, will present “The Art and Science of Beer Brewing” on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 7:00 p.m. at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District.
Schwartz’s “world-recognized” beer store consistently ranks in the top 25 stores nationwide by respected craft beer websites ratebeer.com and beeradvocate.com. He opened Brewtensils, an equipment and supply store for making beer, wine and cheese, in Oct. of this year and conducts various introductory classes aimed at the beginning home brewer.
“I’ll talk about yeast and how it affects your beer,” says Schwartz regarding Tuesday’s presentation.
The Pub Science series, which began in December, was created as a fun way for anyone to learn about science and technology in a relaxed, informal setting. Previous topics discussed were nanotechnology and forensic science.
Pub Science is held the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. There is no cover charge for the event however, donations are accepted.
For additional information, please call (937)275-7431 or check our event calendar!