Over the Rhine is the German district of Cincinnati that was home to many of that city’s early breweries, including the original incarnation of Moerlein. The name and recipes have been recently revived by Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. The ale pours a slightly hazy amber with a brief head and a persistent ring. For an ale I get a lagery nose of malt and honey with a hint of fruit and a slight bite. It’s mild on the palette, refreshing and seemingly sessionable, giving malt wth hint of milk chocolate and a touch of hops without clear citrus or pine, perhaps noble hops. (Galena and Fuggle, as it happens, so there are none of the four noble hops varieties.) After the first gulp there’s surprising bitterness on the finish, surprising because it’s been mild to that point. However the bitterness does not build on subsequent sips so a balance is maintained. I would call this a German-American style rather than either specifically German or specifically American. 6.0% ABV
Here is Moerlein’s Munich Dunkel. It is quite dark, medium brown with little head quickly dissipating. I get a mocha nose with faint fruit and a bit of cracker. On the palette it delivers dark fruit, coffee and caramel with a dry finish. It’s a good winter beer. 5.0% ABV
Incidentally, for a beer lover, I have read that the brewery should be on the short list of places to visit in Cincinatti, with a fine tap room called The Malt House and historic tunnels beneath the brewery.
From South Carolina, this is an almost black American Brown Ale. I get a caramel-malty nose with fig highlights and chocolate. The flavor gives gentle smoke and bisquit, slightly thin with chocolate in the background. Hops only come in on finish, drying things out. 5.6% ABV
Another R.J. Rockers brew, it pours medium amber with a quarter-inch head. Very fresh hop nose with stone fruit and caramel. The flavor is caramel over solid malt backbone with a touch of peaches. The finish continues the hops at moderate bitterness. The label says “Drop. Take cover. Hold on. ” I might have expected a hop bomb but it’s more balanced and restrained than a big West Coast hop monster. Nice stuff. 6.5% ABV
This was a very sessionable and satisfactory set of four. This was my last beer club shipment, the finish of six months of brewed pleasure courtesy of my family. I heartily recommend the Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. They have four varieties, The U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club., The U.S. and International Variety Beer Club, The International Beer Club, and The Rare Beer Club™. I had three months of the U. S. & International and three months of the U. S. Both are very good. With the combined you get three bottles each of two domestic and two international brews, typically from four different breweries. The U. S. club features three bottles each of two varieties from each of two breweries. It’s excellent to have three bottles each rather than just a one-shot taste. I really appreciated these “gifts that keep on giving,” and they introduced me to a lot of breweries that were new to me and to specific beers for which I’ll be on the lookout, and am already finding.