Kevin Spatz – Memorial Benefit at Rivertown

Roxanne Westendorf from the Bloatarian Brewing League, Rivertown tap-room, and AHA governing committee sent me the following info about an event happening at the Rivertown tap-room on Wednesday, December 17th. The event will be to honor the memory of Kevin Spatz, a long time local brewer, both home and professional. I think it sounds like a great time for a good cause and plan on being there. Hopefully you all can make it too!

Rereading this real quick before hitting the publish button my eyes keyed in on the bit about Boston Beer donating gifts with face value of at least $200. Only 1 thing comes to mind made by Boston Beer costs that much… Utopias! Now I’m not saying that’s what they’re donating I’m just saying I’ll be taking part in the silent auction!

Kevin Spatz passed away unexpectedly in October at the age of 47.  Rivertown Brewery is hosting a benefit for the family (wife Carol, son Philip – college sophomore, and daughter Elizabeth – high school junior).  All proceeds from the benefit will go to an educational trust for Philip and Elizabeth.

Many of us in the brewing community have very strong connections with Kevin and his family.  While our friendships started with brewing, they became much stronger through the years.  The benefit is not just about helping a fellow brewer, but is part of the bond that many of us developed with Kevin and his family through the years.

Kevin and Carol moved to the Cincinnati area just over 20 years ago.  In 1995 – Kevin attended his first Bloatarian Brewing League meeting – which is where Rob & I met Kevin (also our first meeting), and we quickly became friends with Kevin and Carol (and Philip and Elizabeth, of course). A couple of years later – Kevin got a job at the Samuel Adams brewery in Cincinnati – and was one of their first employees in Cincinnati.

When Jason Roeper – owner of Rivertown Brewing Company – started homebrewing, Kevin was one of the first Bloatarians he met.  Jason was a Sam Adams Longshot finalist in 2009, and Kevin spent a lot of time escorting Jason and introducing him to the folks at Boston Beer and other key industry players.  When Jason turned pro – he and Kevin kept in touch professionally as well.

Kevin Spatz – Memorial Benefit at Rivertown Brewing Company

  • Wednesday, December 17.  4 pm until close (9-10 pm).
  • In addition to the regular taps – we will have a special beer in honor of Kevin – an American Stout.  Stouts were one of Kevin favorite styles.  Fellow homebrewers Brian and Jen Becker are in town over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  When Brian lived in Cincinnati, he and Kevin often brewed together.  Their families are still close – even though the Beckers now live in Texas.  Brian, and Roxanne & Rob Westendorf will be brewing a small batch of this beer at Rivertown to honor Kevin.  Net proceeds from the nights will go to the educational trust for the family.
  • Silent auction and raffle.  Boston Beer has donated some amazing gifts for us to use in a silent auction and raffle – including several gifts with face value at least $200!  Rivertown will be adding additional items to the silent auction and raffle.  ALL proceeds from the silent auction and raffle will go to the educational trust.
  • Donations will also be accepted at the brewery during and before the event.
  • Food vendors will be present outside the brewery, with food available for purchase during the event.
  • Rivertown contacts:

607 Shepherd Dr, Unit 6
Lockland, OH 45215
Phone: 513-827-9280

Many of Kevin’s co-workers at the Cincinnati Sam Adams brewery are expected to attend this event.  There will also be a group from the Bloatarian Brewing League at the event.  We would like as many people as possible to join us at the event to honor Kevin’s legacy and share our mutual love of beer and the friendships we have made through our hobby and profession. We hope you will join us there, and help spread the word about this event.

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The Ultimate Beer Glass Guide

Every few months someone approaches me asking us to post their infographic. Most of the time I’ve already seen it around the net 100 times and the rest of the time the infographics are dumb sales ads. I feel this one has good content that is straight to the point and not already floating across Facebook. So with thanks to John Powers from Hangover Revivol I present their Ultimate Beer Glass Guide.

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6 Of The Best Bloody Marys in Cincinnati

At its simplest a Bloody Mary is vodka and tomato juice served over ice in a highball glass, but it is rarely simple. Bloody Marys are one of the most varied and complex cocktails out there. Ranging from the two base ingredients to a complex menagerie of spices and garnishes, from not hot at all to so spicy it takes your breath away. The drinks have become associated with hair of the dog for being a good hangover cure. That’s not true as only water, rest, and electrolytes will help hangovers but the following Bloody Marys will definitely get you up and running again.
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Learning About Brettanomyces: An Ode To My Favorite Microbe

Microbes are a crucial part of beer which many beer drinkers don’t appreciate until they take the jump to homebrewing. Many pro brewers will admit that they don’t make beer; they make wort and the yeast, which is a microbe, makes the beer. This is entirely true. We create very sugary water and add yeast to it. Yeast eats the sugar and turns it into CO² and, the fun part, alcohol1. The main yeast used in brewing is Saccharomyces but it’s kinda boring and I’m a much bigger fan of its family member Brettanomyces. So, let’s learn about my favorite microbe!

Alien planet from the next blockbuster movie? Nope just the pellicle Brettanomyces created for once, and hopefully returning, writer here Josh Osborne.

Alien planet from the next blockbuster movie? Nope just the pellicle Brettanomyces created for once, and hopefully returning, writer here Josh Osborne.

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  1. That’s the super simplified gist of a very complicated process


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Calamity Labs and Stillwrights Spirits

2014-11-11 19.48.11

Calamity Dawn and Dorian Bridges are: Calamity Labs!

It is hard enough keeping up with new breweries, distilleries, and bars opening in Cincinnati. Trying to keep a handle on what is going on in Dayton seems like just a little too much to ask these days. Luckily, I have a couple of friends in the area who invite me up when things get interesting.


Award-winning moonshine

Calamity Dawn and Dorian Bridges are the geeky bar-tending duo behind Calamity Labs. Together they roam the Eastern United States bringing booze, informative panels, and killer room parties to steampunk, comic, gaming and various other conventions, as well as doing private events. I got to know them during my misspent years with the steampunks. Calamity was one of our first guests on The Charlie Tonic Hour and created our official cocktail. I have followed the development of Calamity Labs as they have gone from doing panels at regional shows to leading presentations at DragonCon and competing and placing in The Bourbon Social Cocktail Competition. On Tuesday they hosted a test run of the latest panel that they will be presenting at shows this spring, Mixology 320: Mixology in Motion and they were kind enough to invite Charlie and I up to participate.


The three competitors wondering what the hell we got ourselves into.

The event was hosted by Stillwrights Spirits at their Flat Rock Distillery in Fairborn, Ohio. Stillwrights has only been on the market for the past four months but Calamity Labs became fans right away. I was thrilled to be able to combine a trip to see friends and experience a fun night with learning about a new distillery that I didn’t even know existed. Stillwrights primarily makes flavored moonshine but they have a straight moonshine, bourbon and rum as well. One interesting thing about this distillery is that the owners were in the machine business before starting the distillery and were actually able to fabricate their own still. In addition to the traditional moonshine flavors I was excited to try some of the more tropical flavors they had like Margarita and Key Lime Pie. You can do a tour and tasting there on Saturdays for $10 so if you are in the Dayton area I encourage you to stop by and check them out.


The winning cocktail. It wasn’t mine.

The panel itself was a lot of fun. After a brief intro about the distillery and the basics of cocktail making, three audience members were chosen to go up to our mixing stations and were given twenty minutes to create an original cocktail recipe. I was able to compete and decided to play it safe by mixing ginger beer and grapefruit bitters with the Stillwrights Peach Cobbler Moonshine. Unfortunately for me, Calamity Labs rewards boldness and innovation, plus I over did it with the ginger beer a bit so I did not win. I did however, have a wonderful time. I think everyone learned a lot about the subtle art of cocktail creating. Along the way we were able to try a skill that was out of our comfort zone, and I got to see several good friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time.


The three competitors with two of the owners of Stillwrights

If you want to learn more about Stillwrights or Calamity Labs they both have Facebook pages you can follow and you will find Calamity Labs at a variety of conventions in the coming year. You can hear more about the panel and our interview with the owner of Stillwrights on Episode 151 of The Charlie Tonic Hour.

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Beer Review: Mt. Carmel Coffee Brown

Mt. Carmel is Cincinnati’s oldest, currently operating, craft brewery and has made good beer for almost 10 years now. I say good beer and not great because that’s the truth. The Nut Brown, IPA, Stout and all the others are all spot on but not exciting.
They’ve been making great beer for about 2 years. So far I have adored everything to come out of their SnapShot series especially the Imperial IPA and Ardennes Belgian Quad. Originally these beers were draft only but starting with the Imperial IPA a month or two back they began bottling the SnapShot series. Last week they held a launch event for bottles of Mt. Carmel Coffee Brown, unfortunately I had pre-existing obligations but Kate from Brown Ale Girl has a post covering the event.
When I was doing my normal beer buying I spotted this beer on the pick six shelf and couldn’t resist giving it a go. Before we get to my thoughts here’s the blurb from Mt. Carmel’s website:
Mt. Carmel Brewing’s breakfast beer, Coffee Brown Ale, is our unique variation of brown ale, delivering a rich body of dark malt, chocolate and toast. Notes of sweet maple and explosive coffee create a rousing finish perfect for the start of your morning.

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Writers Wanted

Queen City Drinks was founded on the idea of multiple authors all writing about different drink related topics in Cincinnati. From better beer bars to the best mixologists and morning coffee spots, if it’s drinkable in Cincinnati that’s what we want to talk about. However it’s has basically turned into “my” beer blog that Ginny writes for occasionally. It’s time to try and get back to the roots and get more people involved talking about more things. Here’s a couple of areas I’d like folks to cover.

Bars & Restaurants

I don’t live downtown and don’t go out to new bars too often. I’m kinda a home body and normally just go out to MadTree or Dutch’s. So I’d really like to find someone who wants to talk about all the bars around OTR and across the city.What they have on the taps or the top shelf, what their speciality in-house mixes are, the overall vibe, bands or music selection, stuff like that. For bars that have food or for restaurants then being a foodie is definitely an upside. Or just saying what kind of food it is and how good or bad it is in generally works as well. Or whatever you want to write about.


Covering the few, but growing, number of wineries around town. Reviewing bottles of wine. Spreading general wine knowledge about styles and how to taste them and what to look for and how they’re made. Or whatever you want to write about wine.

Beer Reviews

I used to thrive on doing beer reviews but I’ve kinda gotten burned out on it. I’ll still do them on occasion but I don’t feel I do enough that need to be done. So I’d love to have somebody write some beer reviews for us. Preferably about new local beers coming out as well as going back and trying older year-round or seasonals. I don’t want someone writing a new review every week about some hard to obtain beer. I say that but I’m not going to tell you what not to write about. And again… or whatever you want to write about beer reviews.

Whatever You Want to Write About

Most importantly is an open forum for you to speak your mind about beverages, preferably alcoholic ones, in the greater Cincinnati area. The three things above are what I’d like to cover if I could but I don’t have all the time, or money, in the world to talk about all these things. But I remain open to other ideas and concepts that you may want to talk about. If you want to talk about something there are strong odds that a lot more people want to read about it. So pitch me your ideas and we’ll hammer things out.

If you just have one idea for one post that’s great and I’ll be happy to post it. If you have a couple ideas that’s even better. If you think you have something shoot it to me and we’ll hammer it out into a solid piece of work. I don’t claim to be the best writer but I’ll gladly proofread your posts for spelling and grammar if you want, though flow has always been more important to be personally.

What’s In It For You?

Honestly, not a tremendous amount unless you work for it. And no actual cash money pretty much ever. You can, if you work it, successfully use this as a launch pad for other businesses like Ginny has done with Tonic Tours. You will get to meet a lot of awesome people and have plenty of great times. If you get into reviewing drinks you will very likely get free samples delivered to you. The same likely goes for restaurants and bars but I can’t personally speak to that as I’ve never gone far down that route. But really the payoff is in the awesome people and the great times.

Have I sold you on the idea of blogging? If so shoot me an email at and let’s talk about what you want to talk about.

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SweetWater Brewing Company Now In Ohio


SweetWater Brewing Company launched in Ohio 2 weeks ago starting in Columbus before moving to Cleveland last week and finally arriving in the Cincinnati area two weeks ago. Anyone in the Cincy area who occasionally escapes the surly bonds of Ohio to buy beer in Kentucky has likely encountered SweetWater sometime in the past year or so since it launched south of the river.

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Music to Brew By

I have a voracious appetite for new music, nearly as aggressive as my quest for new beers. This has only gotten worse with Spotify and the ability to stream 17+ million some songs at the click of a mouse. One day I tweeted a few of the brewers looking for musical suggestions. Steve Shaw at Cellar Dweller was quick to respond with Larry and his Flask, which I have now listen to daily.

That got me thinking what other brewers, and bloggers, like for music to brew by or keg/clean/bottle to? With Saturday being Learn to Homebrew Day what better time to build a playlist of tracks to listen to while teaching a friend to brew?

Cellar Dweller

When I asked Steve Shaw again for writing this post he listed Hank The Third, Johnny Cash, and Steve Earle. Mentioning that Johnny Cash’s song Hey Porter is the song that named they named their Porter, “Hey Porter”, after. So here’s that to listen to


Matt Rowe said they’re mostly classic rock. He gets a little doo wop fifties and sixties music mixed in there as well. Another favorite is bluegrass, especially The Tillers and The Rumpke Mountain Boys. Perhaps most importantly from MadTree is their Do Not Play List


To make sure we all get to enjoy lots of different music with this article here is a specific song that Matt Rowe mentioned liking

Blank Slate

Leave it to Blank Slate to have an eclectic love of music.  While breaking the bounds of beer styles and defying having a single flagship beer owner and head brewer Scott LaFollete likes to listen to everything from Punk to Hip Hop. Never having been a big too exposed to Punk I checked out his three specific suggestions (Minor Threat, The Queers,  and New Bomb Turks) and dug this track the most.

Ei8ht Ball

Mitch Dougherty is the man behind Ei8ht Balls brews and is into everything from Patsy Cline, Muddy Water, and Tool to Hank 3 and Pantera. So I had to diversify this list and get some metal in here.


I reached out to Rhinegeist’s Head Brewer Jim Matt for what him and brewer Luke Cole like to listen to. While Jim is all over the map musically and Luke was a Led Zeppelin fan Jim did call out 1 song in particular that I had to include in this list.


On creative days they like 311, others range from Seattle Grunge to Rolling Stones, with a love of classical (Beethoven and Chopin) or Jethro Tull.

Just like our brewing portfolio, all styles get tossed around the brewery!


This idea started with just breweries but since Queen City Fresh is so big into music I decided to include him and expand it to my fellow Cincy Beer bloggers as well.

Queen City Fresh

Chris Stevens may not brew beer but he’s hugely passionate about music and beer and most especially The Tillers so I couldn’t write this without giving him a shout out. Matt Rowe from MadTree also mentioned The Tillers as a favorite so here’s a track from their new album.

BeerQuest ABV

“I either want to be mellow as fuck or pumped up so hard I’m ready to kick a baby”


“My favorite band and the most talented musician ever all in one package.”

“Well, except for Prince”

Brew Professor

Love Beer, Love Food

What about me?

I listen to all kinds of music but right now I cannot get enough of Shakey Graves.

What about you?

Leave a comment on your favorite song or artist to listen to while brewing or drinking your favorite beer!


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King of the Ohio IPA Southwestern Poll Results

King of the Ohio IPA

Holy smokes, 1809 votes over two weeks! There are clearly a lot of people out there who love Cincinnati and Dayton’s craft beer scene. For those that missed voting the poll had two questions, one where you could pick your favorite IPA from Cincinnati and the next question being the same for Dayton. Now for the results!

Representing Cincinnati

The first question focused on Cincinnati’s IPAs (remember it’s straight IPAs only so no Fork in the Road or Citra High) and was won, by a large margin, by Rhinegeist’s Truth! MadTree’s PsycHOPathy came in second with Cellar Dweller Hoppy Poppy coming in at a solid third.

Representing Dayton

As I said before the second question was all about Dayton IPAs. Dayton Brewing Company’s Oregon Alley IPA will be heading to Columbus to show what the Dayton beer scene has to offer. Following Dayton Beer Company was Yellow Springs Wobbly Wheel at second and Fifth Street’s Icebreaker IPA in third.

My Pick

Part of the plan is to have each of the five bloggers involved in this pick one beer from their area to bring along with the two beers selected by the voters. For my pick I’m going with the second highest vote getter, and what I honestly believe is one of the best IPAs in the area, MadTree’s PsycHOPathy.

From Across The State

The three beers above are what will be heading to Columbus from the Cincinnati/Dayton area but there are four other regions coming too. Check out the following posts to see who else will be going!

What Happens Now?

The next step in the King of the Ohio IPA competition is that myself, and the other bloggers, will pick up the freshest growlers or six packs of these beers that we can find. We’ll all meet up in Columbus next Saturday (November 1st) for the judging. We will have helpers on hand to make sure we are drinking the beers blind and judging them solely based on their inherent qualities and not on favoritism, brand recognition, or any other external influences. We will know the winner that day but you won’t find out until Monday November 3rd. Then the winning brewery will receive a King of the Ohio IPA championship belt.

Stay tuned to Queen City Drinks on Facebook and Twitter for updates, and more importantly results, on the competition! Plus don’t forget to follow my fellow bloggers covering the rest of Ohio.


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