Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pizza & Beer

I had a great weekend. I hope everyone else did, too! I had two of my favorite things: pizza and beer.

This weekend was the Brew Ha Ha beer and comedy festival. We went last year and sampled some great beer, but the comedy was awful. This year, we enjoyed a few good acts and more great beer.

Dewey’s inside Newport on the Levee

Before the beer, we went to a pizza place we’ve been to many times before, Dewey’s. There are Dewey’s locations throughout Cincinnati, and they make a great pizza. When you walk in, you can see right into the kitchen where workers are hand-tossing the crusts and piling on the toppings. They have a menu filled with cleverly-named pies, but they’re also very accommodating to build-your-own pizzas and special orders.

One great thing about Dewey’s is the usually attentive service, and for people who like to guzzle sodas along with pizza, there’s something really neat that happens at Dewey’s: any server walking by can refill your glass and know exactly what you’re drinking based on a straw color system. Genius! I don’t drink much soda, but this is a remarkable system. For instance, they can tell if you’re drinking Diet Coke (clear straw, lemon), Coke (clear straw), or root beer (red straw), or Dr. Pepper (black straw). I don’t mean to give away their secret, but this means that if you want Diet, you better keep your lemon in place. This is also how they could tell that I was drinking water, not Sprite.

Alex and I got a half-and-half, half Green Lantern and have Killer Veggie. I got my half with no cheese and it was delicious, topped with their spicy tomato sauce, black olives, mushrooms, onion, green bell pepper, and then raw tomato and parsley after the bake. This is a delicious pizza, and the Dewey’s crust is the best, it’s so chewy and soft that the ends are just as good as the topped parts. They could consider selling these as breadsticks. They do have really good salads as starters, though.

After pizza, we headed across the Purple People Bridge by foot, back to Ohio, for the beer festival. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, the city’s namesake, greeted us.

At the Brew Ha Ha we purchased several tickets that we redeemed for sample beers in little cups. I love this because I love trying different beers, and although I rarely meet a beer I don’t like, it’s nice to try a variety. I recently watched Beer Wars and learned a little bit about craft brewers and big money, lobbying, and advertising in beer. My favorite scene was the non-scientific study at a bar asking people to distinguish Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Of the ones they showed, nobody could pick their proclaimed favorite.

I was on the lookout for a smoked beer after learning about them from Bianca at Vegan Crunk. I tried the Z-Lager from Fort Collins Brewing Company and it was good and unlike anything I’d had before. The malt is smoked and it gave a smoky flavor to the drink that was pleasant and strange. Not the kind of thing I’d want a lot of, but now I’ll be open to trying a smoked beer if I come across one again.

I was in a sampling mood, and looking back over the list it’s hard to say which I’d want in a full serving. Alex’s favorite was the New Holland Dragon’s Milk, which smelled like whisky to me and was very, very strong. My favorite might be a toss-up between Founders Red Rye PA and Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale. Who am I kidding – I’m not one to play favorites. I worry that if I did, I might be asked to select it in a blind taste test for some documentary.


The night concluded in grand fashion with fireworks from the Reds game, which interrupted the headliner Bobcat Goldthwait. I’d never heard of him, so that night was my introduction to several new things. I enjoyed watching the fireworks show from Sawyer Point, though, much more than in the stadium bowl where all the smoke settles.


  1. Pizza and beer...those words sing to my heart! Sounds like a fab weekend! As a former waitress for many years, I can really appreciate that straw/drink ID system: very clever. The pizza looks great too.

    I love wine/beer tastings...would love to get a sample of that smokey ale. Sounds and looks like so much fun. Cheers!

  2. This looks like such a good time. I havent been to a good festival in a long time (which is by accident because Montreal is FILLED with great festivals). The pizza and beer looks great.

  3. Pizza and beer are of the greatest joys in life. For real. And I'm so glad you got to try a smoked beer! I love 'em! I found a smoky red wine this weekend at a wine tasting that I'm now in love with. BTW, I'm intrigued by the Purple People Bridge!! Does it have Purple People Eaters lurking below like trolls? That's how I imagine it. :-)

  4. Never heard of Bobcat Goldthwaite? I feel so old...

  5. "Brew Ha Ha" <-- love the name HAHA.
    The straw color system sounds neat, though I wonder what would happen if the kitchen suddenly ran out of lemons.

  6. The beer festival was great fun. I'm completely unsure how I'd handle a smoky red wine... but again, I'm curious.

    The bridge very well may have Purple People Eaters beneath it. I've never been under it to check.

    Alex told me all about Bobcat and he's younger than I am, so it may just be what I've been around and paid attention to. So there. That doesn't make you old.

  7. How fun!!! You share my love for pizza!!!