Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Everywhere but ballpark, beer selections growing

Sips: Beer

By Ed Westemeier
Enquirer contributor

Well, your feedback was staggering on my recent comments about getting improved beer choices at Great American Ball Park. Apparently, there are a lot of baseball fans who want a good beer with the game.

Unfortunately, after nearly a month, I'm still waiting for one of my calls to Sportservice to be returned. If you'd like to see BarrelHouse and other great local draft beers at the concession stands, why not ask for it? The Sportservice phone number is 621-1555 and the Reds executive office number is 421-4510.

Meanwhile, there's quite a bit of positive news to report. For one thing, we've all been looking forward to the opening of the Hofbrauhaus in Newport. Since the public opening was scheduled for Tuesday, I wasn't able to check out the beer selection in time for this column, but I'll have a full report soon.

Dilly Deli in Mariemont has completed the installation of new taps, and is now offering 10 draft beers. What makes this special is that only top quality beers are awarded a tap here. You won't find a loser in the bunch, because they care as much about the beer quality as we do. On a recent visit, I saw Old Speckled Hen, Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre, Arcadia Whitsun, BarrelHouse Belgian Red, Stone IPA, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, Stoudt's Mai-Bock, Coniston Bluebird Bitter, and the incredible Pauwel Kwak. By using the recently developed smaller kegs (one-sixth barrel instead of half barrel), it's possible for even such a smaller location to always have fresh beer on hand.

Another nice expansion note concerns the opening last autumn of the second Dilly Deli location in Ridge Market (6142 Montgomery Road) in Pleasant Ridge. Although the selection is smaller, this is giving neighbors a new retail location where they can always find some unusual, top quality craft beers on the shelf.

The monthly beer dinners at BarrelHouse Brewing Co. (22 East 12th St.) in Over-the-Rhine have been a great success. Each month, they focus on one style of beer, featuring world class examples of all the variations on that style. A buffet dinner is included in the $25 price, with food designed to complement the beers. So far this year, the themes have been Winter Warmers, Barleywines, Stouts, and Bocks. May will feature a special Single Batch Bourbon Tasting, and June will match specialty cheeses with specialty beers. Details at Web site or 421-2337.

Up the road in Oxford, Steinkeller has scored another coup. The recent arrival of EKU 28 makes it the first (and, I think, only) location in the United States with this extremely special eisbock in draft form. If you've never tried it, this is a real German doppelbock that has been partially frozen and the ice crystals removed. The result is a concentration of flavor (and alcohol) that must be experienced to be believed. Since the bottled version is available locally, is EKU 28 on tap worth the drive to Oxford?

Yes, but you might want a designated driver. Steinkeller is seductive. If you're not interested in the giant beer, they also have a three German Maibocks among their extensive tap array.

Steinkeller is at 15 East High St. in Oxford. (513) 524-2437.

Contact Ed Westemeier by e-mail:

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