The number 13 is evocative. To some, it’s unlucky; if you take a ride on an older elevator, 13 will be conspicuous by its absence. In other cultures, such as ancient Norse and Celtic peoples, 13 is considered lucky.
But the significance of 13 goes even further back than that. The ancient Egyptians believed there were 13 steps on the ladder that leads to the afterlife, while ancient secret societies and alchemists associated 13 with the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
I bring all of that up because Listermann Brewing Company will celebrate its 13th anniversary Saturday, Sept. 18, with two sessions of tastings and this year’s crop of anniversary bottle releases.
And make no mistake, Listermann is a company undergoing a transformation. The brewery lost several tremendously talented brewers to competitors in the second quarter of this year. Rebirth is a top to-do list item for Listermann as it enters its 14th year.
“It’s no secret that Listermann has undergone a handful of changes recently,” said Jessica Gorman, Listermann’s head of marketing and taproom co-manager. “We feel blessed to be led by a team that has learned from and worked alongside our predecessors.”
Listermann’s 13th-anniversary party will tie together its past and its future. There will be several beers that have been in barrels for more than a year, a new version of a fan-favorite IPA and a sneak peek at an exciting future release. Read on for details on all of the beers.
The anniversary party, for which a handful of tickets are still available, will feature two tasting sessions. Session one will take place between noon and 4 p.m, while the second session will be held between 6 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $40 apiece, which gets you 10 beer tickets to taste this year’s anniversary beers, a commemorative Listermann 13th anniversary taster glass and the first shot at purchasing this year’s anniversary bottles.
I think a four-hour beer session for $40 is a great deal. No, I’m not getting a cut of ticket sales (although I wish I’d thought of that before now). That said, if you want to drink with me, I’ll be at the evening session.
Here’s what to look forward to on Saturday, at Listermann:
XIII – Just as it has for the past several anniversaries, Listermann is busting out the Roman numerals for this year’s cuvee of barrel-aged beers. The blend includes Scoring Discrepancies, a raspberry and peanut butter stout aged 20 months in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels; Life, a barleywine aged in River Drive rye barrels for 30 months; and Cranium, Listermann’s classic vanilla and coffee stout aged in Sagamore rye barrels for 16 months. Speaking of which ...
Cranium – Those in the know about Listermann beers have been calling for the return of Cranium for two-plus years. The coffee-vanilla stout is back, this time aged in Sagamore rye barrels for 17 months. Oh, and it brought some of its friends along for this year’s celebration.
Cranium variants – In addition to the return of base Cranium, Listermann is releasing several new Cranium variants. They include Espresso Orange, Maple Bacon and Chipotle Pepper. The maple bacon variant was aged in bourbon barrels, while the other two were aged in Sagamore rye barrels.
If any of those variants sound excessively weird to you, I advise you to keep an open mind. Florida-based Funky Buddha’s Maple Bacon Coffee Porter has already proved this adjunct combination works. Cranium has been made with orange before, so we have a pretty good idea of how this surprising combination will work out. And chipotles? Seriously, is there a better way to use jalapenos?
That was a rhetorical question. There isn’t. Chipotles are better than their non-smoked counterparts all day long.
Universal Elixir – Named for the alchemical concoction that aspired to grant eternal life to those who imbibed it, Universal Elixir is an imperial stout brewed with English toffee, caramel, almond, vanilla and lactose.
Elusive IPA – Listermann’s West Coast-style IPA is reborn with a few recipe tweaks. This version was made with Falconer’s Flight 7C’s, Zythos, Zamba and Azacca hops.
Bottles of each beer will be available for purchase by tasting session attendees Saturday, with the rest going on sale to the general public the following day.
The tasting session will also feature a Flanders-style red ale made with Michigan tart cherries, which new Listermann General Manager Jon Vollman says will be bottled and sold at a later date. It was a Flanders red that first got me into sour beers, and the style will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m glad to see the style made in Cincinnati.
In addition to all of that, Listermann will be debuting its new seltzer, which will be available for on-site consumption for tasting session attendees and taproom customers alike. Customers will be able to choose from a number of flavors, which will be hand-pumped into the seltzer by a Listermann beertender.
One of my fondest craft beer memories is from a Listermann anniversary party. Here’s to this one being another happy memory in the making.