It was nearly five years ago that I first attended a beer tasting at Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield, Ohio. That night, Samuel Adams was the brewery visiting and letting everyone enjoy the fruits of their labors. It was October 10, 2009 and I had wanted to bring my brother as it was his birthday, but he had other plans, so I brought a friend.
We had the scheduled 10 beers, plus 2 others from a Sam Adams taste test. There were 2 more from the master brewery who had made a hop extract to mix with some of their sweeter beers. They were fantastic.
Back then, Jungle Jim’s was nearly the only place in town having regular beer tastings. Every month, they were well attended and people listened with great interest to the speakers. A few months later, I started to write about the Cincinnati Craft Beer scene for examiner.com. It was just the beginning of it all.
Since then, the various beer festivals have grown greatly. Jungle’s own beer fest on Father’s Day Weekend has grown to two days. Many bars and restaurants have small beer tastings and Friday night flights are not uncommon. With the opening of the Eastgate store, Jungle Jim’s now has pint nights on Friday evenings where patrons can buy a beer and walk around the store. The enjoyment of good beer is becoming common enough that having a special event feels no longer necessary. Alas, the tastings have become a victim of success.
The truth be known, over the last year or so it has been harder to truly enjoy the beer tastings. Many of the attendees are there to socialize and it is hard to hear the speaker, even with the use of the microphone. Bit by bit, the true beer nerds stopped attending as the crowds got larger. Then the crowds started to go other places and attendance this year become worse with each passing month. Before summer started, several tastings were cancelled due to lack of sign-ups. The trend was set and now it is done.
For those of us who looked forward to each month’s chat with a brewer or someone from the brewery who was truly passionate about craft beer. It was a bit of release from the mundane and became an Untappd check-in game. Over the years, I was able to meet Larry Bell and Greg Koch. What great times those were. What great times they will remain. So long monthly beer tastings. We knew you well.