Each month, we talk to a local expert about a specific topic in the most date-night way. For the month of March, we talked with Dream Facilitator, Lindsey Roeper from Rivertown Brewing Co. to discuss her romance with craft beer.
If you aren’t familiar with Rivertown, check out our review here.
Date Night Cincinnati (DNC): What beers are most romantic?
Lindsey Roeper (LR): To me, the most romantic beers are barrel-aged sours. Just like a relationship, they require patience, attention, care and lots of love. A majority of our barrel-aged sours (Lambic, Geuze, Ojos Negros, Kriek, Pear Lambic and a few other small batch projects) are wildly fermented. This means we allow the wild yeasts and bacteria in the air to drop in during the wort-cooling process to begin the fermentation and souring process. Once cooling is complete, the liquid is racked into a wooden barrel with a delicious past life holding wine or spirits, then left to age and develop, only being packaged when nature (and our palates) say they are ready. After that, we carefully blend different barrels to achieve the desired flavor profile. Similar to love, the resulting beers are beautifully complex, unique and help expand your horizons.
DNC: What’s something that might pair well with a steak dinner?
LR: Barrel-aged sours are a very interesting pairing with a rich, savory meal like steak, as their higher acid content, tartness and gentle carbonation provide a great partner to the richness and depth found in a perfectly prepared steak. They also pair very well with rich, creamy cheeses with higher fat contents and a touch of funk (think taleggio and brie) or even a nice, rich piece of dark chocolate.
DNC: How can you get into craft beer if you’re someone who doesn’t drink beer or never tried craft beer?
LR: ExBEERiment! ExBEERimentation is key, and with so many variations and interpretations on different styles, you may find that while you don’t like ‘Brewery XYZ’s IPA, you may love Rivertown’s!
Even those just starting out in their journey can have a gentle ease in by stretching their palate from, say, a domestic lager to something crafty, yet approachable. We often recommend our Rivertown Lager and Jeanneke Belgian Blonde for the craft curious — but before you know it, they’re drinking Death, Roebling and our Sours!
DNC: What’s the best beer you’ve ever had and why?
LR: This is a DIFFICULT question! I’ve been fortunate to have many amazing beers throughout the years. One that always comes to mind is a beer that we no longer produce, sadly. Her name was Triumvirate, and she was a barrel-aged sour. Triumvirate was aged for approximately a year in Smooth Ambler Gin barrels, blended with house-crafted Rookwood Tonic Water from Rom Wells and infused with juniper berries.
The inspiration for this beer came from a lovely evening out with my now-husband (and Rivertown’s Founder & Fearless Leader Jason Roeper) at the Rookwood Restaurant in Mt. Adams. We were enjoying carefully crafted gin & tonics, and as the evening went on, Jason, myself and Rom all knew that making a sour beer inspired by this amazing cocktail is what had to happen.
DNC: How can you tell a good brew?
LR: For me, balance of flavor is very important – I want to be able to taste all the nuances that the brewer intended the beer to have and not just a mouthful of hops.
DNC: Why do you think the craft beer trend took off in Cincinnati?
LR: We started to see the same trend take off in food a few years ago as people started looking for more flavorful, thoughtfully crafted and adventurous food experiences. It was just a matter of time before people started expecting and wanting more from their beer. When we opened in 2009, there were a handful of breweries: us, Mt. Carmel, Listermann, Hofbrau, Sam Adams and Rock Bottom. Now, there are over 30 breweries in the Cincinnati area and more on the way!