Review: Fifty Fest

It was a real scorcher, so the name of the game was to stay reasonably hydrated, find and stay in the shade whenever possible, and drink the most refreshing beers that would still be fine after getting warmer and warmer in the excessive heat.

Fifty Fest is one of my Favorite Local Beer Festivals for a number of reasons, but mostly because the beer lineup features 30 breweries — all local and regional; there are a dozen bands that play on various stages throughout the day; and there are a handful of food options (think Fifty West, Quite Frankly, The Beerded Pig, and Pizzelii) — all housed on the expansive grounds of Fifty West Brewing Company, one of the mainstays of Cincinnati’s brewing scene.

Honey & Houston playing a set on one of the three stages at Fifty Fest

The beer lineup was good, even if I’d already had more than half of them going into the festival. But in addition to the beer lineup — and perhaps the best feature of Fifty Fest — there were three specialty releases every hour. We saw that there was a Blank Slate collaboration with Quaff Bros. for the 6 o’clock release, so we decided to go around 2pm and have Blank Slate’s release as our grand finale. In hindsight, that big of a beer (10.3% Belgian strong dark ale) was an interesting way to top off drinking all day, but it had been aged for a year and a half and it was our last chance at a new Blank Slate recipe, so it had to be done.

Blank Slate/Quaff Bros. collaboration Space Taxi (Belgian strong dark ale) being tapped
One final Blank Slate recipe

I was fortunate to have gotten to have or try 15 beers (thanks to sharing 12 oz pours with my husband and some of our friends), including six specialty releases. I’ll tell you what. Every beer I had was good, and some really surprised me. The Best in Show were probably Streetside Return of the Mac (coffee blonde with coconut) and Nine Giant OSHY vs. Bowser (pale ale), while Listermann really knocked it out of the park with Double Dry-Hopped Don’t Talk Sh!t About Norwood and Jungle Honey: Godmode.

My only real complaint is that getting full pours of each of these beers is a bit excessive. In the future I’d love to see a smaller pour option — perhaps a half pint or 5 oz pour. 

Besides that, it was another great year at Fifty West’s annual beer festival.


Complete beer list of things I had:

Bad Tom Smith Hazy River NE IPA
Bad Tom Smith Wickked Sheryl’s Blush Pale Ale (fruit beer)
Blank Slate/Quaff Bros. Space Taxi* (Belgian strong dark ale)
Fat Head’s Goggle Fogger Hefeweizen*
Jackie O’s Berliner Weisse*
Listermann Double Dry-Hopped Don’t Talk Sh!t About Norwood (pale ale)
Listermann Jungle Honey Godmode (pale ale)
Litermann Kendi NE BIPA*
Municipal Woltermelon Blonde*
Nine Giant Crooked Rain (NE IPA)
Nine Giant OSHY vs. Bowser (pale ale)
Platform New Cleveland Palesner (hoppy pilsner)
Rhinegeist Wet Hop* (IPA)
Streetside Return of the Mac (coffee blonde with coconut)
Urban Artifact Chariot Cherry Pie Gose

*Specialty release


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