Cincy Beerfest taps local home brewer

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The Cincy Beerfest Friday and Saturday at the Duke Energy Convention
Center features craft beers from around the region, the country and
the world. It also will feature an award-winning beer first brewed in
a kitchen in College Hill.

Will Magnuszewski's Ellzebelle Belgian Tripel Stout won the local
Oktobersbest contest for homebrewers, which included 200 home brewers
from all over the region. Part of his prize was that his beer would be
professionally brewed by local beermaker Rivertown.

Magnuszeski's next stop: Denver. The ultimate home brewer contest is
the Pro/Am contest at the Great American Beer Festival, one of the
biggest and most prestigious beer festivals. Last year, 75 brewers
entered beers devised by home brewers and commercial brewers.

The Great American Beer Fest almost five years ago was where
Magnuszewski's hobby as a home brewer began. He was on a plane to the
festival, and for in-flight reading, he took along a book about how to
brew beer.

"By the time I came back, I was committed to start brewing beer," he
said. "Since then, I've since brewed about 80 batches of different
kind of beers."

Inspiration for the Elzebelle was a trip he took to Belgium recently,
visiting breweries and drinking as many of the country's top-notch
beers as he could. "Belgian beers don't really fall into categories.
They're more free spirits."

His Ellzebelle is an unusual combination of a porter style with
Belgian yeasts. It's dark brown, with lots of chocolate, coffee,
roasted grains and dark fruits, light in body even though its alcohol
content is 8 percent.

"I'm not a dark-beer person, but that is a very good beer," said Craig
Johnson, manager of the Cincy Beerfest. "It's not heavy."

The Beerfest has grown from 750 people attending at Downtown's
Radisson at the first one four years ago to the Duke Energy Convention
Center this year. Organizers expect to sell 5,00 tickets.

Every local brewery will be represented.

"The renewal of interest in craft beer in Cincinnati really has so
much to do with having local brewers," Johnson said. "People support
their local labels, because they're unique, they're independent.
Locals include Moerlein, with four beers, and Hudepohl-Schoenling
(their beer is not yet all brewed in Cincinnati, but the company is
based here).

Listermann's, the brewing supply company in Evanston, is now making
beer, and will have five to taste at Beerfest, including Friar Bacon
smoked bock. Rivertown will be there with lagers, stouts, bocks,
hefeweizens and more.

Party Source's Quaff Bros. Brewing Co will offer two brews; Mt. Carmel
will offer several ales, and there's a nice variety of beers brewed at
the local Rock Bottom, including a Cincinnati Chili Beer.

Samuel Adams, based in Boston but brewed here, will also be included,
and several brewers from Kentucky and other parts of Ohio will be

Get there early if you want to taste Magnuszewski's Ellzebelle. All
beers are poured until their gone, and Rivertown made only five
barrels of his.

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