Tag Archives: Cincinnati

The End Of Beer Tastings

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.

Archduke Who? The Day Of June 28

Felicia Day
Felicia Day (Photo credit: -seek-)

Today is June 28. On this day of June in 1914, 100 hundred years ago, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. This Serbian Nationalist touch off the powder keg in Europe that lead to World War I. Thanks very much Gavrilo. Millions died in the War to End All Wars and afterward, Serbia still wasn’t a loan country.

Every year, many remember these events. Sure it lead to the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but it also set the stage for World War II, where the number of dead staggers the imagination. Such a great loss of live and destruction of property.

In the year 1968 on this day, a happier event occurred. Here I, Bryon Lape, was born to Jim and Mary Lape. My father was in Viet Nam at the time and my mother lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was the first born and it was a joyous occasion. Today is 46 years since my birth and I do not feel so old.

Eleven years after my birth, another person was born on June 28. Unlike me, this person was female and has red hair. No worries. In 1979 was born a girl named Felicia Day. She would latter become a nerds great dream and she is beautiful, funny, and a gamer. Yes!

As for me, I’d rather celebrate me turning 46 and Felicia turning 36 than remembering someone getting killed 100 years ago. War never solves anything and leads to more war. I’d rather show and share love for one another. I’ve never met Felicia, but image she and I would share much in common. Sure, she and I would not agree on everything, but at least we could play World of Warcraft or some board game. Yes, I’ve seen every episode of The Guild, though I’ve tried to watch her other shows, they don’t speak to me so much.

So, Happy Birthday Felicia Day. Happy Birthday to me. And Happy Birthday to anyone else born on June 28, no matter the year. Stand up and be counted.

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Hello Atlanta

English: Atlanta Metro (MARTA), station Peacht...
English: Atlanta Metro (MARTA), station Peachtree Center in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been to Atlanta, Georgia many times. Well, I’ve been through Atlanta, Georgia many times. Whether it was family vacations to driving destinations further south or transferring from one plane to another at the airport, Atlanta has not been a place I’ve stopped. Until now.

This year, the AAA/CAA Marketing/IT conference is here. Right in downtown at the Peachtree Center. Getting here is quite simple. From the airport, I skipped the expensive options for travel and went with a trip on MARTA. Despite getting turned around 2 times trying to get to the hotel, it was 25 minutes from the time I boarded the train till I was at the front desk. I thank you to all those who helped me on my way. The cost? $2.50 plus $1 for the card. I bought a two trip card, so the total was $6.

Nice. $10 in and $4 in dollar coins. I didn’t know they still made these things. Will have to save them for my return home to Cincinnati.

I had planned on hitting a Geocache or two, or a few Munzee scans, before the conference workshops started today, but leaving from Cincinnati was delayed and I arrived an hour later than scheduled. So is my experience with coming to Atlanta. I’ve never had a flight arrive or leave on time. Ever.

I first came through the Atlanta airport in 1986 when I was going back to the states from Stuttgart, Germany. I had lived there for three years and my father was still active duty Army. He was up for retirement in early 1987 and elected to stay in Germany for a few months. This left me as an unaccompanied 18 year old traveling on Army orders ( had them in my pocket). Customs was a little confused by me, but they managed.

It was August when I came through Atlanta and the layover was to be three hours. I found the USO and left my bags with them. The next few hours were spent wondering around the airport, eating and trying to remember what it was like to live in the States. I did approach an outside door and the blast of heat kept me inside.

The flight to Knoxville? It was delayed an hour. Typical and things really aren’t better. Atlanta is a busy airport. Many, many flights. Will this time around be different? Probably not, but it will be the homeward leg, so it doesn’t matter. There is no connection to make that might be missed. Friday will be time to relax and take in Atlanta one more time, before heading home.


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The Road to Elle Macpherson

Elle MacPherson
Elle MacPherson (Photo credit: chaim zvi)

I am quite proud of my daughter, Keleigh Lape. She has been accepted to attend the Dallas Expo (fully the Model & Talent Expo presented by Mike Beaty) as a representative for John Casablancas in Cincinnati, Ohio. There are some who claim this Expo is total crap and a scam. It does costs money to attend the Expo, but it is limited to no more than 500 talented people. This is very unlike other expos and gives the attendees far greater exposure to agencies.

So, what does this have to do with Elle Macpherson?

Elle is a woman I’ve wanted to meet and photograph for quite some time. I’d like to meet her as she seems quite the woman. She leveraged being a model to act in several movies, the most notable being her role in Sirens. How lovely were her assets?

As her modelling career wound to a close, she was able to use her image and fan to become a serious businesswoman. This too makes her quite desirable to meet and interview. No, not an interview like for Newsweek, more a like and afternoon chat among friends.

Who knows where my daughter’s modeling career will lead. It would be a good ending to be in New York someday with Keleigh and meet Elle. Perhaps Elle could give Keleigh pointers and advice on using her modeling for more after the path has been run.

And maybe, just maybe. Elle will let me take her picture.

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Wit Ale By Rivertown, A Beer Review

Beer vendor
Beer vendor (Photo credit: BrainMuffin)

One of the many hats I wear is the one of Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner. It is a heavy hat and one that falls off from time to time. As more and more breweries open in Cincinnati, and perhaps someday one run by yours truly, there is much beer to review and it is well passed due.

The full review is available on the Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner blog: Beer Review: Wit Ale by Rivertown Brewery. So, why mention it here just to post a link back? Because, duh!

There is also a video review of the beer.

To be more informative, because being the Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner is a part of who I am and this blog is about all the wonderful things I do and wish to share. This blog is about my opinions and observations. This blog is about coming together to walk the road to the future together. So, it’s about more than me. It’s about us.

Through the pages of the Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner blog, one is taken on a journey through craft beer, history of Cincinnati, beer and food pairings, menu ideas, local Cincinnati beer related events and festivals. Yeah, it has all that.

Again, why all the repeat?

Because, it is necessary. Read all the stuff. Share all the stuff. And the pages will get better.

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Pushing The Reviews

Perhaps I’m learning more about Search Engine Optimization or perhaps I’m lucky. My article about former classmate Edwina Marquand is now the first link when searching for her name. In a future article I’ll be sure to do the same for another former classmate by the name of Kevin Pelch. After all, he is the one who gave me the nickname Ropeman in the 10th grade. It is a name I used proudly for years until Anne Langley gave me the one of Brainmuffin. That, however, is writings for another time.

As many readers know, I also write as the Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner. As the Cincinnati beer scene is going crazy these days, it is quite a bit keeping up. Several breweries have opened over the last few years, including Listermann’s (yes, the home brew supply place), Mad Tree and Double Barrel. Oh, what to do.

Well, it is time to do reviews. Not of one beer from each brewery. No, that wouldn’t feed my OCD very well. It is time to review everything available. Oh great…more text to read. Yes, but also video reviews. Pictures of beer (posted to Flickr too). After all, it is time to combine all my passions into a single, directed future. It is time time to combine beer, photography and writing. After all, Charlie Papazian was the one who pushed me to start on Examiner and it is high time his recommendation was rewarded.


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The Growing Cincinnati Beer Fest

The 2013 installment of the Cincinnati Winter Beer Fest has come and gone. This year continued the tradition of growing and growing. The crowds were bigger. The events louder. The beer list, about the same.

This year saw me passing out beer and checking ids. I did take a few photos here and there, but as I was not the official photographer, there will not be much posted. There will be none of Facebook. There might be a few on Flickr. No idea.

The event has now grown to alienate many of its early supporters. The crowds are now to the point where peace and calm have to be maintained. Some puked near the Kentucky Ale booth. Someone else pulled down the Brew Monkey’s large mug display. A guy tried to pick a fight with security. All in all though, still a well behaved crowd.


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The End Of An Era – Pictures Of The Cincinnati Beer Fest

A selection of Samuel Adams
A selection of Samuel Adams (Photo credit: BrainMuffin)

It all began quite well. In the summer of 2009, the Cincinnati Beer Fest was being held for the first time at Roebling Point. Previously held in the Winter time, this was also the first time it was during the summer. Wanting to practice taking pictures of people, I wanted to attend and then wonder around capturing the event. I contacted the fest organizer, Craig Johnson, and he asked me to be the official photographer. This was a start of a partnership that would last 3 years.

The 2009 Cincinnati beer fest came and went. In February of 2010, the third annual Cincinnati Winter Beer fest has become too large for the hotel in Covington. For the first time, the fest was actually held in Cincinnati. Again held in a hotel, it quickly overran the facility, though many had fun. I again took pictures and had a great time meeting fest goers and talking to brewers.

The summer of 2010 was interesting. Craig Johnson wanted to do something different. In October, he conducted a fest on the Purple People Bridge. The setting was unique and it promised to be a good fest. The weather on the 10th was near 80, sky was clear and the crowd did other things. Still good pictures and good conversation.

Columbus also came on the menu for beer fests in 2010. Expanding in the May, the first was well attended and held over two days. The Columbus fest would grow to include the winter as well.

The beer fests of 2011 grew in attendance, beer selection and choice of events. The fests were held in Cincinnati and Columbus. The pictures were great too.

The year 2012 started as normal. The Columbus fest in January and the Cincinnati fest in February. In need of setup help, I arrived in Columbus hours early to do my time. The Cincinnati fest also took some extra time. I climbed the Leinenkugel’s truck to get great shots of the crowd. I wrote an Insider’s Guide To Surviving the Cincinnati Winter Beer Fest. All was well.

The summer Columbus fest was the beginning of the end. Though I could not attend anyway, I was not asked to take pics. It was a bit thrown together, so I figured it was an oversight. Then the Columbus Winter fest came and went. No call. Now the Cincinnati beer fest is close and I’m not taking pictures.

It is the end of my era as fest photography geek. I may still be there as a beer slinger, but it is not nearly as fun. Being able to walk among the crowd, talk to the attenders, chat with beer industry insiders. That’s what beer fest means to me. I may have to find new meaning.

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Coming To A Close

It was months in making and planning. A combination celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary and our summer vacation. Sending the kids out by plane was too much, so having to drive to the in-laws was in. To save more money, we left from Newport-News instead of Richmond. We drove many miles and took a mid-night flight out of Salt Lake City. Today, is the last day.

Bogue Inlet Pier-Emerald Isle, NC
Bogue Inlet Pier-Emerald Isle, NC (Photo credit: Michael D. Dunn)

Time. It comes and goes, always at the same rate, though it is perceived differently. For this year’s vacation, time has nearly run out. It is bittersweet.

We have traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio to Mechanicsville, Virginia by car. From Newport News, Virginia to Salt Lake City, Utah via Denver Colorado by plane. We have driven all over central and southern Utah. Then from Salt Lake to Jacksonville, North Carolina by air. Oh the miles. The miles flown. The miles driven. The miles walked.

Our adventures including hiking and geocaching in the rain on Antelope Island, getting bitten by bugs in the mountains above Park City and dealing with the sun and heat in Zion National Park and really getting burned in the Canyonlands and Arches National Park. Along the way, we eat buffalo cheeseburgers and did some star gazing. I have tried many different beers from Uinta, Wasatch, Moab and Epic.

It has been a very good, though tiring, trip. It was one we planned, not a travel agent. It was one we enjoyed. It was good.

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