|The perfectly-sized souvenir tasting glass given to this year's Hullabaloo goers|
The CCBA, which touts itself as a non-profit organization "with the mission to promote and support Columbus area breweries" on its website, has hosted numerous events to support this cause, including the inaugural "Beer and Donuts" event at the newly opened Four String facility on the west side of Columbus.
The Hullabaloo is currently CCBA's longest running event. Touted as a celebration of "Strong Beers and Smoked Meats', this now three-year-old gathering has paralleled the growth rate of craft beer in both Columbus and the state of Ohio overall. Starting with the inaugural 2014 Hullabaloo with twelve total breweries (with ten from the metro area), 2016's version sported just over 30 breweries, with representation from all corners of the state from such breweries like Rhinegeist and Madtree (Cincinnati), Warped Wing (Dayton), The Brew Kettle (Strongsville) and Catawba Island (Port Clinton.) In another sign of growth, the venue changed from its original Grandview location to the former location of the Byers Chevrolet dealership in Franklinton.
We have not been to a bigger beer-oriented event since last year's Columbus Winter Beerfest, but we took our lessons learned there to heart. With most of the beers in the double-digit ABV-range, pacing would be important, and the souvenir glass provided to all Hullabaloo goers proved to be the perfect size for sampling. Also, we made a commitment to change up the taste palate as much as possible, which proved to be a perfect strategy, as it would have been easy for me to go with my tendencies toward stouts and porters. Finally, we both had goals of trying breweries that either aren't as readily available here or new/new-to-us. Sometimes, though, old favorites are hard to resist.
The size of this event seemed to be more of our liking. While there will always be a demand for the bigger events (we would love to go to something like the Great American Beer Festival someday), the crowd of a few hundred of what seemed to be mostly more sophisticated beer drinkers was, to quote the immortal Goldilocks, "just right." The vibe overall seemed to be very informal yet cordial, and most everyone we encountered seemed to be in good spirits.
And now, a little photo show of what we experienced at this year's Columbus High Gravity Hullabaloo...
|No event runs well without dedicated volunteers; these three|
prepped the registration area as event-goers gathered
|The founders from the CCBA (Jamie Gentry, Doug Oldham and Laura Oldham)|
give event-goers final instructions before the Hullabaloo officially opens
|Gahanna's soon-to-be-open Kindred Artisan Ales made its official|
debut at this year's Hullabaloo. Both of their brews (Golden and
Belgian Strong Ales) showed promise for a bright future
|CCBA partnered with Zero Waste Productions to keep the trash to minimal|
minimal levels. Unlike similar setups I've seen at other events, it
was pretty easy to decipher what trash went in each receptacle
|The neatly designed token which got you a smoked meats meal from|
ManBque Columbus. Spacing out and sharing our individual meals
combined with good drink pacing buffered the effects of alcohol nicely
|A contingent of Athens breweries (Jackie O's and Little Fish Brewing) brought|
some excellent brews from parts south. Jackie O's Dark Apparition Russian
Imperial Stout with Vanilla and Coffee Bean was its usual satisfying self,
while Little Fish's The Aecern Old Ale (old ale aged in oak with brett)
was one of the more interesting beverages I had this night
|It was nice to see Lyric Donuts at the Hullabaloo; we first encountered these sweet|
treats at the CCBA's first ever "Beer and Donuts" event at Four String Brewing
|Outfit Good, which produced this year's excellent Hullabaloo 2016 T-shirts,|
had plenty of T-shirts available for event-goers. I ended up scoring
a very Columbus-appropriate King Gambrinus T-shirt at a discount.
|I love my stouts, and Vandalia's Hairless Hare Brewery had one|
of my favorites of this night with their Cold War Russian Imperial
|Lots of smiles and conversation were had at the Columbus-located|
Sideswipe and Smokehouse Brewing booths
|The Ohio Taproom and Rambling House Soda Pop teamed up to give designated|
drivers (or anyone needing a break from the alcohol) a fizzy pop beverage
|Maumee Bay Brewing's Dreaming Demon Belgian Strong Dark Ale proved|
to be one of my favorite non-stout brews of the night
|One of the Columbus breweries we haven't quite gotten around to more|
deeper exploring yet is downtown's Wolf's Ridge. Their Dire Wolf Imperial
Stout with Cherry, Coffee and Vanilla only gives us more incentive to do so
|Newcomer to the local food scene, 1803 Bacon had all sorts of bacon-oriented|
goodies for Hullabaloo-goers. After tying their Barmix and Bourbon Truffles
(thank you Cheryl Harrison for sharing!), we took home a couple of
their bacon packs, including a ghost pepper(!) version.
|I got to sample my second beer from Powell-based Ill Mannered Brewing.|
Their Oldmanski English Old Ale was another solid palate changer
from the sweeter stouts this night
|The friendly folks manning two of our favorite Columbus-area|
breweries, Clintonville's Lineage and Franklinton's Land Grant.
We tried to stay away from more easily acquired or previously
sampled brews, but the folks at Land Grant convinced me
to have a glass of the previously untried Card Ale Barleywine
|Splitting the difference: a shot of the Hullabaloo at its peak from|
the south end of the room that hosted the facilities.
However, in a bit of good news, it looks like the CCBA will be continue promoting the craft beer scene around Columbus with a series of more intimate, soon-to-be-determined events. For more information on these upcoming events hosted by the Columbus Craft Beer Alliance (CCBA) please contact them at the following links:
CCBA - Facebook Instagram Website