8 craft beers you have to try at this huge beer event in Cincinnati

People appeared to have plenty of fun at the 2014 Cincy Winter Beerfest. The 2015 Cincy Winter Beerfest will be held at the Duke Convention Center Feb. 13-14. CONTRIBUTED
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People appeared to have plenty of fun at the 2014 Cincy Winter Beerfest. The 2015 Cincy Winter Beerfest will be held at the Duke Convention Center Feb. 13-14. CONTRIBUTED

The 11th annual Cincy Winter Beerfest will feature more than 450 craft beers for an expected attendance of 17,000 eager tasters.

Once again, in addition to the usual Friday and Saturday night tasting sessions, there will be a third Saturday afternoon session for those who prefer a more relaxed pace. There’s also the pricier “connoisseur’s option” if you’re so inclined, which includes an exclusive beer list and entertainment, private bathrooms and appetizers from 15 restaurants.

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So while you’re mingling with thousands of your fellow craft beer fans, the following is a short list of selections that caught our “connoisseur’s” eye.

Click here for the full beer list.

Hazelnutly Choctobulus, ABV: 5.7 %, IBU: 51 (Source: Contributed)
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Hazelnutly Choctobulus, ABV: 5.7 %, IBU: 51 (Source: Contributed)

Rogue Ales Hazelnutly Choctobulus, ABV: 5.7 percent, IBU: 51

If you’re a fan of chocolate stouts or porters, this selection from Oregon’s Rogue Ales doubles down. Hazelnutly Choctobulus combines two other Rogue Ales beers – Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Rogue Chocolate Stout – into a dark, nutty, chocolate truffle-y concoction that might be too rich even for hardcore chocolate lovers. There’s only one way to find out.

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Moerlein Lager House Cherry Cordial Barbarossa, ABV: 5.3 percent, IBU: 0

Another dessert-flavored brew comes from the Moerlein Lager House, a favorite of denizens of the Banks or just people going to a Reds game. This dark lager is infused with cherries and vanilla. With this beer, you can skip the ice cream.

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Fretboard Vlad the Impaler Czech Pilsner, ABV: 5.3 percent, IBU: 17

Like all Czech Pilsners, Vlad is brewed using the Saaz hop, which produces a malty, moderate-to-full-bodied beer with an earthy, herbal aroma. This one, courtesy of Blue Ash’s Fretboard Brewing, is for serious pilsner drinkers only, as Vlad the Impaler was a somewhat serious dude.

Figleaf Iso-Trope IPA, ABV: 7.2 percent, IBU: 68

Who doesn’t like a little radioactivity with their brew? Seriously, the “iso” refers to “iso-alpha acids,” the primary bittering compounds created by hops. This one, from our very own Middletown brewery, Figleaf, is flavored with floral and fruity American hops.

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21st Amendment Back in Black, ABV: 6.8%, IBU (Source: Contributed)
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21st Amendment Back in Black, ABV: 6.8%, IBU (Source: Contributed)

21st Amendment Back in Black, ABV: 6.8%, IBU: 65

This highly political beer is brewed like an American IPA but with rich, dark malts. In other words, it’s a bold challenge to the British-style IPA. But what do you expect from a San Francisco brewery named after the constitutional amendment that repealed Prohibition?

Alaskan Smoked Porter, ABV: 6.5%, IBU (Source: Contributed)
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Alaskan Smoked Porter, ABV: 6.5%, IBU (Source: Contributed)

Alaskan Smoked Porter, ABV: 6.5 percent, IBU: 45

Using five types of malt and two varieties of hops and yeast, this limited edition porter has a relatively rare, smoky flavor. In addition to smoking their malts, this Juneau brewery gets its water from the glaciers in their back yard.

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Avery Liliko i Kepolo, ABV: 5.4%, IBU (Source: Contributed)
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Avery Liliko i Kepolo, ABV: 5.4%, IBU (Source: Contributed)

Avery Liliko’i Kepolo, ABV: 5.4 percent, IBU: 10

Sometimes, craft beer drinkers suffering from the winter blahs need a taste of the tropics. This Belgian-style white ale is infused with hefty amounts of passionfruit flavor. This one comes courtesy of Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colorado.

13 Below Lock and Dam #37, ABV: 6.9 percent, IBU: 32

This Scotch Ale, from Sayler Park’s 13 Below Brewery, uses Caravienne and brown malts and Edinburgh ale yeast to produce a malty beer with low to medium hops and a caramel color.

WANT TO GO?

What: Cincy Winter Beerfest

When: Feb. 2-3, 6:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Cincinnati

Cost: $45-$95

More Info: www.cincybeerfest.com | Facebook