valley24.com

Enjoy life at Casual Pint

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

By Jim Cyphert

Mahoning Valley Flight Crew

Justin Homer, owner of The Casual Pint of Youngstown, has spent time in Eastern Europe.

Experiences there formed his true love for good beer and inspiration to open his own craft-beer shop.

“Their philosophy is simple, ‘You’ve got one life, enjoy it!’” Homer said. “That’s our approach. Try something new. If you don’t like it, we’ve got more great beers.”

The craft beer surge throughout the nation is based on this concept. It’s effective here.

“People in the Mahoning Valley work hard,” Homer said. “They come here to unwind and enjoy new craft-beer experiences.”

Homer visited The Casual Pint in Knoxville, Tenn., several years ago when he was a mortgage banker.

“I saw a really great atmosphere,” he said. “I knew I could make that work here.”

The Casual Pint features beers from Youngstown to Cincinnati to Europe on tap and in cans and bottles.

Homer is a fan of beers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Lithuania. You can find what he refers to as the “perfect beer” in his shop – Kasteel Donker, a Belgian Quad.

Special beers were on tap for its recent one-year anniversary festivities, including High Quad Drifter, a collaboration beer brewed by Birdfish Brewing in Columbiana with 10 lbs. of black currants.

“The craft-beer drinker’s tongue is evolving,” Homer said. “People are looking for new styles. We’re helping in that evolution.”

However, the KISS philosophy still applies to craft beer.

“People will tell you what they want,” Homer said. “Our staff listens and leads people to new beers that are just right for them.”

Many of the new experiences are beers from local breweries. Homer supports Ohio and Mahoning Valley beers. Local beers are designated with a large Y on the big board.

“When we sell Ohio beer, tax revenue stays in the state,” Homer said. “We embrace what’s going on in Ohio and right here at home.”

Here’s what the Flight Crew liked best:

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA (6.7 percent ABV, 40 IBU)

Dave Shively

“If it’s possible for a beer to have its own soundtrack, Hazy Little Thing IPA would be set to 1979’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. Why? Because I absolutely loved everything about this beer. Until last December, this was a brewery-exclusive beer; you had to travel to Chico, Calif., or Ashville, N.C., to enjoy it. Now, this New England-style IPA can be found on tap at The Casual Pint. This hazy, hop-heavy, non-bitter beer comes to you straight from the tank, in all of its unfiltered, murky glory. If you’re a hophead, treat yourself to this one.”

Sibling Revelry Coffee Red American Red Ale

(5.5 percent ABV, 35 IBU)

Roger Gillespie

“The first thing I noticed as I peered at my flight was the deep, rich amber color of this beer, with its cream-colored head. It looked so good. Oftentimes, I have to wait for a coffee aftertaste, but not with this one. Conditioned with freshly roasted Rwandan coffee from Cleveland’s own duck-rabbit coffee roasters, there’s plenty of aroma and flavor to set this Westlake, Ohio, gem apart.”

Columbus Creeper Imperial IPA (10.0 percent ABV, 100 IBU)

Jim Cyphert

“Columbus Brewing is one of the largest craft breweries in the state for good reason. Creeper is a big, bad Imperial IPA that’s right in my wheelhouse. The brewery alerts drinkers, “You’ve been warned.” Thanks for the warning! Creeper, a limited-release beer, features pale malts that provide a stage for its huge hop presence and an evolving blend of American hops. I’ll be back for more of this Great American Beer Fest Gold Medal winner.”

MadTree Citra High Imperial IPA (9.5 percent ABV, 120 IBU)

Jason Jugenheimer

“This is a big beer … big ABV … big IBU … big flavor. Don’t let that scare off you non-hopheads. High ABV and IBU beers often give beer drinkers a false impression of tastes too hoppy and too much like alcohol. Citra High challenges those assumptions. It’s a very drinkable warm-weather beer. It’s a showcase of Simcoe and Citra hops, and boy do they play well together. Off the bat, you’ll pull a tropical dankness from the aroma and taste, with hints of pineapple, mango and grapefruit. Add to that a balance of bitterness from the hops and the sweetness and biscuit flavors of the malts. It finishes extremely smooth and crisp, leaving a variety of citrus flavors on your palate that changes little as it warms. This is a beer to add to your summer rotation.

Seventh Son Proliferous Double IPA

(8.3 percent ABV, 85 IBU)

Brian Long

“This Columbus-brewed beer had tons of tropical fruits and citrus throughout, balanced with an almost-subtle amaretto sweetness. The hoppy finish was a real palate pleaser. This orange, hazy Double IPA will get many purchases from this Flight Crew member throughout the summer.”

North High Jalalima

Jalapeno Lime Ale

(5.9 percent ABV, 16 IBU)

Joe Sanfilippo

“After several previous visits to Casual Pint, I knew Justin wouldn’t disappoint. For this review, I was looking for something a little different. I had my eyes on this one from North High Brewing in Columbus from the beginning. It may not show up on the Scoville scale, but you get a refreshing blend of jalapeno and lime. Using the bloodhound test, you definitely get a nice aroma of the jalapeno. At the beginning, you get the hot jalapeno flavor followed by the sweet lime at the finish on the tip of your tongue. Don’t wait … try this one before it’s gone.”

Recommended Flight Pattern: Take a moment to enjoy life. Stop by The Casual Pint and try something new.