The Best Craft Beer

The Best Craft Beer – March 2017

The Best Craft Beer – March 2017

At the end of the month, I look over my Untappd check-ins to see what was the best craft beer I drank that month.

March was definitely a month of a lot of local craft beer for me. Cincinnati is quickly approaching 40 breweries so there is no shortage of beer to try. When you have so much great local beer to try, it can be difficult to remember that there is great beer from all over.

As winter slowly exited, I made sure to enjoy a lot of stouts in March and that is evident in my best craft beer list.

Here is the best craft beer I had in March 2017:

Black House Nitro w/ Coffee, Coconut & Cocoa

Brewery:Modern Times – San Diego, CA

Style: Oatmeal Stout

ABV: 5.8% IBU: 40


This is Black House-our beloved oatmeal coffee stout-nitrogenated and packed to the gills with coconut & cocoa nibs. The result is a decadent symphony of chocolate and coffee laced with luscious notes of coconut and a mouthfeel so luxurious it’s like drinking a velvet painting. It’s a stunning display of liquid elegance best enjoyed while wearing your sauciest smoking jacket. Pour hard for a proper head.

Why did it make the list?

Modern Times Black House NitroI love stouts; they were one of the first styles that I really got into a few years ago. So I rarely hesitate when to try a new one; however, oatmeal stouts aren’t my favorite. Russian imperial and other large, bold stouts are more my style. When a co-worker brought this one back from California for me, I was really excited to see how the nitro, coffee, coconut and cocoa impacted this beer.

You can read my full review here. The nitro adds a richness to the beer that I really enjoy. Just remember to “pour hard” to get the most benefit from the nitro. The coffee is very prominent while the coconut and cocoa are subtle.

Modern Times is getting a lot of praise for their IPAs these days but don’t skip on their stouts. Their Black House series is excellent for any stout and/or coffee lovers.


Brewery: – Rhinegeist – Cincinnati, OH

Style: Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.5%  IBU: 98


Intense & refined, Knowledge delivers notes of resinous pine, dank sap, pithy grapefruit, & ripe pineapple. Chewy hops, a zesty punch; this erudite Imperial India Pale Ale sharpens perceptive depths in the studious night.

Malts: 2-row, wheat malt

Hops: Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus

Why did it make the list?

Rhinegeist KnowledgeCall them imperial IPAs or double IPAs; this style is one of my favorites. Big, bold and strong; imperial IPAs rarely let me down but I have also had enough of them to be picky. The only downside to most imperial IPAs is their limited availability. This is caused by the limited hops that are used when brewing these big beers. The hard to find hops make the best IPAs; or at least that is what we believe.

That is where Rhinegeist Knowledge steps up and makes my list for March; this new beer is available year round. Obviously, they are not using the hard to find hops that normally drive lots of demand for this style but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Knowledge quenches my thirst for a style that is often only in stores once or twice per year.

Sunday Morning Stout (2016)

Brewery: – Weyerbacher –  Easton, PA

Style: Barrel-Aged Stout

ABV: 11.3% IBU: 20


Sunday Morning Stout, 11.3% ABV, is an American Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Aromas of roasted coffee and bourbon awaken your senses while their flavors blend with hints of chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla and caramel. The perfect cap to a Saturday night or start to Sunday morning.

Why did it make the list?

Weyerbacher Sunday Morning StoutSaving beer for a long amount of time to see how the flavors change is called cellaring. This isn’t a practice that I am involved in. Instead, I try to drink most of my beer while it is fresh but occasionally a few stick around for a while. This is one of those cases as this bottle of Sunday Morning Stout (SMS) is from last spring’s annual release.

Weyerbacher SMS is often called the KBS Killer (suggesting it is better than the “highly acclaimed” Founders KBS). I would not go that far; I would say that it is one of the better barrel-aged stouts. When I first had it last year, it was very strong and boozy but after a year it has mellowed slightly. Compared to other barrel-aged beers; the bourbon notes much stronger even after sitting for a year. The coffee seems to almost completely gone.

But even with these changes it qualifies for the best craft beer list because it can stand up to aging or be enjoyed fresh. Weyerbacher makes a wide range of other barrel-aged beers so take a look at them if you haven’t had their beer yet.

Cappuccino Stout

Brewery: Lagunitas – Petaluma, CA

Style: Stout

ABV: 9%  IBU: 29


We get some help from our friends/neighbors at Sebastopol’s Hardcore Coffee just up the road. The coffee beans are freshly ground when we drop them into the brew kettle and whirlpool, giving that deep coffee flavor without taking away from that even deeper beer flavor.

Why did it make the list?

Lagunitas Cappuccino StoutExpectations is what qualifies this beer for my best craft beer list. If you read my post about craft beer reviews and ratings, then you know that I use Untappd. And you know that I don’t always trust what I see there. This beer has a raring of 3.8/5 but the reviews are all over the place. Some said it was amazing and others hated it. On top of that; it was only $5 for the bomber which is a steal in the craft beer world. So my expectations were not very high for this.

But it is really good. It’s a well made stout with lots of coffee in the aroma and flavor. The low bitterness allows the coffee to come through in a strong but gentle manner unlike many bitter coffee beers.

If you find this beer for around the same price point that I was able to get it, definitely pick it up. I think it will exceed your expectations as well.

Chocolate Mint Imperial Stout

Brewery: Woodburn – Cincinnati, OH

Style: Stout

ABV: 9%  IBU: 50


Yes, it tastes exactly like a Thin Mint Chocolate cookie !

Why did it make the list?

Woodburn Mint Imperial StoutGo back and read that description once more time. That isn’t just marketing; it is the truth. I know we have all been burned in the past by beers that did not live up to their claims but this is not one of those.

When Woodburn opened their brewery and taproom last year, one of their big hits was their Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout. It was like a chocolate covered cherry in a glass. For me; it was reason enough to visit their taproom a few times within the first few months there were open.

They have built on to that reputation with the mint version. And before you suggest it, they had taproom events featuring Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. I love drinking a beer to end my day and this is the ideal dessert. Without a doubt, it qualifies for the best craft beer list.

What were your favorite craft beers of March?

Comment below, tweet at me, email me, or whatever you find easiest to tell me about your Best Craft Beers from March.

Give me a recommendation and maybe it will make my list of The Best Craft Beer in the future.

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