Event Review: AleFest Columbus 2012

Written by on February 7, 2012 in Beer, Events - 2 Comments

I hope you didn’t miss the 7th annual AleFest Columbus, which was held last weekend at the Aladdin Shrine Center. If you missed it, read up and mark your calendar for next year. (If you made it, maybe you can fill me in? The details are a bit fuzzy…)

The ticket price may seem a little steep at $40, but the event benefits the Ohio Special Olympics – and while the cost of admission gets you 20 tasting tickets, only about one in four tables actually collects your tasting ticket. This segues into my next protip: you’ll probably want a designated driver. With 100+ breweries and 250+ beers, you’ll want to spend the whole four hours at the event, and with practically unlimited beer, you’ll probably be drunk. You can get a DD ticket for only $10.

The event was well-attended, but crowds weren’t an issue. I waited longest for Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught, and it was a few minutes at most; most tables had no line at all. Vendors offered a nice assortment of brewery glassware and apparel, as well as reasonably priced food ($3 for pulled pork!) Many breweries sent representatives to the event, but the remainder of the tables were staffed by volunteers, including members of Columbus’s local homebrew club, SODZ. Some of my favorite Ohio breweries were in attendance, including Great Lakes, Thirsty Dog, Hoppin’ Frog and Rockmill. Nearly all the breweries represented were top notch operations – I felt bad for the volunteers working the perpetually empty Coors booth.

I had a lot of great beers at this event, so it’d be tough to pick the best from memory but here are some of the most interesting beers I had the chance to try:

Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale, 5.5% ABV, Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V., Belgium
Normally I don’t like sour beers much, but this one took me by surprise. This beer tastes strongly of sour cherries with lots of residual sweetness, cutting the overall balance to only slightly tart.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Anastasia Russian Imperial Stout, 10% ABV, Weasel Boy Brewing Co., Zanesville, OH
If you like a heavy dose of bourbon in your RIS, give Anastasia a shot. It’s got lots of big, warm vanilla whiskey notes from its time in Woodford Reserve barrels. The typical chocolate-coffee tastes are there, and go well with the oak character from the barrel. This is a creamy, smooth one to sip on.

Old 21 Imperial IPA, 9.5% ABV, The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse, Strongsville, OH
Another Ohio native, Old 21 starts with a strong sweet citrus aroma. It’s bursting with sharp, bright tastes of grapefruit, pine, and orange. The taste is pleasantly sweet, and it finishes bitter and dry.

Nelson Sauvin Brut, 9% ABV, Mikkeller, Denmark
Nelson Sauvin Brut is a complex thing. It starts life as a Belgian pale ale, dosed with Brettanomyces. It’s then aged for three months in Austrian white wine casks. It has a slightly funky smell, but the aroma is primarily dominated by white wine and grapefruit. The taste features zesty hops, light tartness from the Brett along with vinous acidity, and tropical fruit. It ends with a nice dry finish befitting the wine character.

About the Author

Sage is an engineering grad student who loves beer, cars, and guns — in that order. At least right now. A homebrewer and gay for anything Belgian.

Leave a Comment