Little Miami III: The Search For Bock
Friday's show at Little Miami Brewing Company was unusual in that it was an early happy hour show, where I played between 4:30 and 7:30pm. This allowed me to actually stay for a while after I was done playing, so I got to sample a few more brews than I usually have time for.
Little Miami is one of the few breweries that the Great Brewery Tour has stopped at more than once, in this case once on each leg of the tour (Summer '18, Fall '18, and the current Winter '19), so I have previously tasted a written about a fair number of the beers on their sizable menu. Luckily they have a fair number of new or rotating beers each time, so there is always something new to try... all the beers I drank on this visit were firsts for me.
Little Miami Brewing Company - Milford, OH
Beer is on tap and to go via growlers and crowlers at the taproom.
Played: 9/1/18; 11/15/18; 2/22/19
The crowd made for a bit of a strange evening from a musical/performance standpoint. My start time was 4:30, so the initial crowd were folks who either skipped or left work early on this Friday, and were at the taproom while most in the area were still at work. These folks were the typical type I find at breweries... looking for fun and enthusiastic about the music. About halfway through, though, an early-dinner family crowd started arriving, and that seems to tone things down a bit. The little kids seem to love that there's live music, but the reality is that most people probably just want quiet and conversation during their dinner, so the crowd became a mix of the enthusiast music lovers, and people that probably wished you'd wait until they left to play. C'est la vie... we make the most of it and play to the folks who are responsive to the music.
My first beer of the night was a brand new one that they just premiered a few days ago, the And God Said Let the Hippies Dance (7%), a German maibock. I enjoyed this one so much I slammed the first one, than sipped a second one during my first set so I could savor it a bit more. True to the German maibock breed (and made with German hops and yeast), the pour was an almost orange hue with a foamy head, slightly toasty and bready, and really smooth... a medium and crisp body, and a little hoppier than your traditional bocks. Nice and refreshing, and as I said very slammable, yet flavorful enough that I wanted that second one to sip. A very nice new brew.
On my set break I switched to the Sasquatch (8.8%) English Strong Ale. A very dark pour and a little heavier body, this is a nice sipper for a chilly day. A toasty/roasted flavor with a slight chocolate finish, this one didn't have much aroma but was a really good drink nonetheless.
I took a gamble on the next beer, and went with the Cherry Creek (5%) American wheat. I say it was a gamble because I've had mixed results with beers made with cherries, and I feared that the cherry would be way too dominant and sweet, or possibly too sour (with it being a wheat, too sweet seemed more likely). The good news was that it wasn't too sweet, but on the other hand it wasn't my favorite beer, either. The body seemed a little thin to me, and the cherry wasn't too sweet, but it was still pretty forward. That said, it was following an English strong ale, so I'd try it again, but next time start with it so I'd have a fresh palate.
Smoke On the Water (6.1%) smoked porter was up next, and that's a delicious brew. I love a good porter, and this one was a nice balanced smokey, toasty one with caramel, chocolate , and coffee hints, which just a touch of smokey flavor on the back end. Another great drink for a cold wet night, and I was back into a good groove with the darker beers.... My last beer of the night was, now that I think of it, a repeat from a previous visit... the Earth Cookie (6%) nut brown strong ale. This is one of my favorite Little Miami brews. Hints of chocolate and coffee, but with a bit of a crisp body, it gives you that darker flavor but with a somewhat lighter body... which sometimes ends up kinda flat, but in the Earth Cookie works just right.
Little Miami is growing rapidly, and will soon be starting on a major expansion that will put a big addition on the portion of the building facing the river, where the patio is currently. In addition to providing more indoor room, it will also enable them to host more full bands instead of just duos and acoustic outfits, and has the potential of becoming a nice music venue for the eastern 'burbs of Cincinnati.
After the very enjoyable, and relatively warm, run through the South, this was my first gig back in the midwest. We're about 2/3 through the Winter Tour, and after a few days off will resume next Thursday at Mashcraft Brewing in the Indy area, with a long weekend run through Indiana and Illinois, before then heading back to the Carolinas and Virginia.
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