Three Ohio brewers — Fat Head’s, Rivertown and Hoppin’ Frog — are highlighted in the new hardcover book Boutique Beer: 500 Quality Craft Beers ($29.99, Barron’s Educational Series Inc.).
Author Ben McFarland profiles the best beers and breweries from around the world in 224 pages filled with color photos and the expected images of beer bottles and cans with each brief review. There also are lengthier write-ups on brewers and beer styles.
Here’s a look at the Ohio beer mentions:
• Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA: McFarland notes that this beer is “sweeping up medals wherever it goes.” “It’s an in-yer-face aggressive blast of summer fruit and a tobacco finish,” he writes.
• Rivertown Lambic: “I have no idea whether the yeast circling Cincinnati is similar to that floating around in Flanders, and purists may question whether it can be called lambic, but this is a super-duper spontaneously fermented sour beer,” he writes.
• Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout: “[Fred Karm’s] enormous Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout is a boozy blend of molasses, mocha, and maple syrup,” McFarland says. “Lake a navy rum in texture, it’s oakier and even better when aged in bourbon barrels. Excellent.”
McFarland also has a big profile of Jim Koch, founder and brewer at Boston Beer Co., which has a Samuel Adams brewery in Cincinnati. "Every day for the last 29 years, I've worken up s---less," Koch told McFarland. "We live in an industry where the competition with the big guys is really frightening. But, hell, I can make 60 beers now. That's awesome! Growing is good if that improves the beer."