Let the countdown begin: Cincinnati Beer Week, now in its fourth year, starts this Friday, February 13 and continues for 10 glorious beer-filled days. More than 100 bars, restaurants, breweries, retailers, and other partners are officially participating, and will offer everything from drink deals to brewing classes to special tappings. That’s a lot of beer, we know. Since you can’t possibly get to every event, because life and livers and stuff, let us be your guide. For each of the 10 days, we’ll share our top picks for beer week fun.
But first: If you haven’t yet had this year’s official beer week collaboration beer, BlackTart, right that wrong immediately. Produced and canned at MadTree, it sounds completely and utterly whack—a tart stout made with cinnamon, lactose (milk sugar) and blackberries—but hear us out. It actually works. It’s dark, full-bodied, and balanced by the tang of the berries and a barely-there trace of cinnamon. This blogger personally can’t wait to try it as a grown up float, with a couple scoops of Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream. BlackTart is currently available on draft at MadTree’s tap room and select bars, and in cans at local retailers.
Cincinnati Beer Week: Friday, February 13
Cincy Winter Beerfest
Unlike years past, when Cincy Winter Beerfest acted as the finale to Cincinnati Beer Week, this year it kicks things off. More than 400 beers (and ciders, and meads) will be flowing at the Duke Energy Convention Center (full list at cincybeerfest.com). Time to cue up your Uber app. Cincy Winter Beerfest, Friday, February 13 and Saturday, February 14, 7:30–11 p.m.; Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., downtown. $50 ticket includes one-night entry, and 25 samples in a 5-ounce souvenir mug.
Hops vs. Vines Showdown
Wine or beer, which really pairs better with food? Decide for yourself at this face-off at Marty’s Hops and Vines. Three dishes, including an arugula salad, beef bourguignon entrée and peach cobbler, will be paired with beers from the Goose Island Vintage Series (Belgian-style beers aged in wine barrels) and French wines by Gérard Bertrand. Hops vs. Vines Showdown, Friday, February 13, 6–8 p.m.; Marty’s Hops and Vines, 6110 Hamilton Ave., North College Hill. $20 per person.
It might be beer week, but that doesn’t mean you have to be without your beloved bourbon. Dutch’s will be tapping two bourbon barrel-aged beers: the Barrel-Aged Death Valley Stout from Fifty West, a boozy 11.9 percent ABV beer that’s thick, sweet and warming, and the Kentucky Ryed Chiquen from Against the Grain in Louisville, a 8.6 percent ABV rye ale aged in Redemption Rye whiskey barrels. Barrel-Aged Tapping, Friday, February 13, 2 p.m.–2 a.m.; Dutch’s, 3378 Erie Ave., East Hyde Park, (513) 871-1446.
Pints for Parkinson’s
For all of beer week (February 13 to 22), Flipdaddy’s locations in Mariemont and Union, KY will feature beers from MadTree, Blank Slate, Rhinegeist, and Three Floyds, among others, and for each featured pint sold will donate $1 to the University of Cincinnati’s Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. Pints for Parkinson’s, Friday, February 13–Sunday, February 22; Flipdaddy’s, 7453 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 272-2337, and 8863 US 42, Union, (859) 371-2337.
Find the full line-up of events at CincinnatiBeerWeek.com.