Breweries "Visited"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 446: AleSmith Anvil Ale

My thought process for today's post:

Insanely busy at work...cartoon Marci running furiously and not getting anywhere...Wile E. Coyote's ACME Co. anvil falls on my head...Alesmith Anvil ale.

Impressed, aren't you?
Suspect photo courtesy of
Mr. Blog Named Brew
Lucky for me, this Anvil much more tasty than headache inducing.  It's brewed by AleSmith Brewing Company and is an extra special bitter. Extra special bitter is quickly becoming one of my top beer styles. Anvil is AleSmith's flagship beer. It was the first one they brewed!

This one poured a lovely chestnut brown without any haziness. It had a full tan head and a sweet malt aroma. The flavor is a mildly bitter hop with roasty malts and hints of orange tea.

Beer stats
Style: Extra special bitter
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from AleSmith
His and hers reviews of Horny Devil (Belgian strong pale ale). Mr. Blog Named Brew wins with the inclusion of one of my favorite songs, Circles by Soul Coughing. Nerts!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cannonball... Cannonball Coming!

Day #445 Loose Cannon / Clipper City Brewing Company, Baltimore, MD
Previously from this brewery: Barleywine and Barlewyine + The Wire

Tonight I'm getting right down to business - I officially caught up with the times and bought a scanner, so I've been furiously working to take some classic old pictures and get them to the internet.  For example, me at age four or five?
I AM A SEXY MAN
Enough tomfoolery (for the moment), let's get down to a beer review.  Tonight I'm going with a beer I had at TJ's a while back, Loose Cannon from Heavy Seas.  This beer has a clear, light copper color, with a fluffy white head.  There's a nice citrus aroma, and when you take a sip you find pine and lemon, with an earthy dryness, and just the right amount of bitterness.  A really nice beer I could drink all night, if given the chance. Great for a night when you're looking to pick a fight with the hoppiest beer in the bar.
Yar, matey.
Unless I'm missing something, you won't find the name Clipper City anywhere on their website .  However, I still believe Clipper Citythe name of the brewery, and they brew Heavy Seas beer.  I think I know this because that's what it says on Wikipedia, and the internet never lies.

Thing To Think About Today:
Allow me to point out the obvious connection for tonight: Loose Cannon, meet Cannonball, by The Breeders.  Enough said and rather appropriate on a night where I'm pouring over pictures from the 90's.  Love this song!

"I'll be your whatever you want...."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 444: Victory Brewing 100 Horse Ale


Today is simultaneously the best and worst day of the year. As an event planner, once a year I get to participate in a menu tasting for our gala fundraiser. Spending hours sampling hors d'oeuvres, salads, entrees, side dishes and desserts with--of course--appropriately paired wines sounds like a dream come true. And it is. Trust me, today was a delicious, delicious day. But it's the aftermath, what I've affectionately called the hors d'oeuvres sweats, that I've learned to dread.

There is no way to pace yourself. I thought I'd be safe by not sampling the entrees, which are predominantly steak. Nope. It's those bite size morsels--crab, tuna, shrimp and taro root, mini goat cheese sandwiches on raisin bread, endive, porcini, truffles--that do the most damage. Tempting, devilish little hors d'oeuvres! Then there are the salads. Healthy, right? Sure, but then pile on all the sweet delicacies for dessert afterwards and it's all over. 

And who had the brilliant idea to do a gourmet popcorn bar for dessert this year? Oh yeah, that was me. 

Now if I only had Thanksgiving pants like Joey...
Video is here
...I'd have room for beer. Instead I'll pull a review out of my stash and tell you about Victory Brewing's Hundred Horse Ale. It's a collaboration among Victory, Philadelphia restaurant Alla Spina and The Publican in Chicago. It's a dry, rich ale made with German Kolsch yeast and Oregon chestnuts. I selected it from among Victory's many offerings based on the description that it's nutty. I like a nutty beer.

(picture will go here if I haven't lost it)

It poured an amber color with a thick, off-white head. It smells of bread with a touch of hops. It drinks with a medium mouthfeel.  It's very mild. Malty with the lightest hoppiness. The chestnuts weren't apparent at first, but started to reveal themselves as the beer warmed up a bit. It was easy to drink and given the ABV, I'd call it a great session beer.

Beer stats 
Style: Red ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Victory
Gary's review of Hundred HorsesNATO IPA, and V-12
Here I attempt to drink ALL THE BEERS!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Red in the Morning

Day #443 La Roja / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, MI
Previously from this brewery: Ready? We've drank La Roja, Luciernaga, ES Bam, Bam Biere, and Madrugada Obscura.  Think we like Jolly Pumpkin around these parts?  We do.

I'll keep this quick and somewhat to the point, as I have yoga class tonight.  Not sure I'm much better at yoga than when I started back in 2012, but I keep trying.  I do enjoy the sense of relaxation I get from a class - my beginner classes are less aerobic and more, well, peaceful.

I often find that same sense of peace during my morning runs.   It's been a long time since I've trained for any ultra marathons (three years, yikes!) but I still try to get out most mornings and get two or three miles before work.  Truthfully, I really like being out in the world before the sun comes up.  I get a sense that I'm the only one out and about, a feeling that no one will be bothering me as I churn through the neighborhood.  It's just me alone with my thoughts, and I love that.  Of course, every now and then, my peace is interrupted by an explosion. Thankfully, the Mother Nature kind:

Glorious
Click on that image for a larger version.  I saw that majestic view last Friday morning, so in honor of a sky filled with oranges, purples, and reds, tonight's beer is the La Roja (roja is Spanish for red, for those who aren't bilingual, like I am) from Jolly Pumpkin.  In the glass, this Flanders ale is a bright mahogany color with a wispy white head.  The aroma is a wonderful blend of tart, vinegar, and fruit.  When I took a sip, the first thing I jotted down was, "This is an outstanding beer."  It's dry, with some spice on the finish.  Throughout, it's tart and sour, with citrus and cherries, all blending together with some caramel malt to create something beautiful - just like the brilliant colors of a morning sunrise.  If you like sours or Flanders red ales, you need to get this one, and FAST.  It's world class.

Cat with a sword?  Bad ass.
Bonus points?  The label has a sort of Puss N'Boots vibe, with a swashbuckling cat staring back at you.

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of red and the sunrise, I really couldn't present anything else in this space but Red Dawn.  This film tells the story of a United States that has been invaded by the Russians and their allies.  A scary thought from back in the day when the Cold War was still happening.  Starring Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Gray (nobody puts Baby in the corner!), Red Dawn is about high school students in Colorado who decide to fight back against the odds and the foreign invaders.  This movie was remade recently, but there's no shot in Hell that I'll be watching that version, as the original still kicks ass!  Do you like guns, the 80's, the can-do American spirit, and Patrick Swayze, but hate Communism?  Then this is the movie for you.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Another Beer Creation

Day #442 Hoppy Trails / Appalachian Brewing Company, Collegeville, PA
Previously from this brewery: Marci's take on the Jolly Scot

Is everyone all geeked up for the Oscars?  I suppose I'll watch some of the red carpet, just to mock those who made poor fashion choices, and I'll cobble together a list of movies I'll eventually get around to seeing through Netflix.  Not the most thrilling night of television, unfortunately.  But, some mindless tv will be a nice way to ease into the evening, after a busy yet productive weekend.  Did a ninja mission to State College yesterday, and meandered about Chester County doing some shopping after yoga class today.  Seeing how another five day work week is coming up, I think I'll be in bed long before the last Oscar is awarded tonight.

After drinking beers from around the globe (literally around the globe: check the ridiculous list of breweries we've had a beer from here on this page), I realized there's a brewery approximately 20 minutes from my house that wasn't sampled during the 366 challenge.  Whoops.  Sorry about that!  We fixed that a few weeks back when we stopped by Appalachian Brewing Company's Collegeville, PA location.  Hard to find from the street, the brewpub is massive inside, and well worth the time to visit.  As the picture below suggests, I shared a sampler with Marci, but then later ordered my own glass of their IPA, Hoppy Trails.  It poured with a clear, light copper hue, with a thin, persistent head.  The aroma is as expected: grapefruit and pine, the hallmarks of an IPA.  The taste is dry with a strong dose of pine, and bitter throughout.  You find the grapefruit citrus taste along with a malt backbone, and this beer is easy drinking and tasty.  Not as much oompfh as some West Coast or Colorado IPAs, but definitely something you can enjoy.
Tiny goodness
Appalachian started as a brewpub in Harrisburg, and  now has five locations throughout the state.  The closest to me, their Collegeville outpost, opened in May of 2011.

Thing to Think About Today:
Appalachian Brewing Company frequently goes by the acronym 'ABC', which makes tremendous sense in an alphabetical sort of way.  You know who else goes by the acronym 'ABC'?  The early 90's phenomenon Another Bad Creation!!! Look me in the eye and tell me Iesha doesn't bring a huge smile to your face when you hear it.  You can't, because it's an awesome song performed by nine year old kids headed full steam towards puberty.  Have a good night, dear friends!

"Passed her a lollipop and a letter / told her, let's keep this a secret"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 441: Random Thoughts and Another Jolly Pumpkin Beer

I'm living the boat life today. Yoga. Green juice. Puttering around the house. Rocking out and wondering how my music collection got so eclectic. Trying not to let these two lull me into a nap...

All in all a good day. Last night I opened up a La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Looking back on recent posts, I seem to be on a Jolly Pumpkin bender. Seems appropriate given how good their beer is.

La Roja is an amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. In other words, it's a sour beer. Score! This particular one came from Blend #2 and was dated January 6, 2012.
It poured a red-tinged hazy brown color with a minimal tan head. It looks fantastic in the glass. It smells like happiness to me...sour, light earthy funk and kind of like coins. Drinking it gives a great pinchy sour sensation. It's tart, lemony. It reminds me of eating unripe plums, like tart fruit. There's a good malt backbone that's not quite roasted, maybe more toasted. It lends a warmness to the flavor.

Beer stats
Style: Wild ale
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Jolly Pumpkin
My review of Luciernaga from three days ago. See I wasn't kidding about the bender.
Gary's review of E.S. Bam
My review of Madrugada Obscura and some crazy lady ranting about St. Patrick's Day
Gary actually has tried all the Bam bieres


Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 440: Sixpoint, Six Shooter, Yee Haw


It's a strange day in Marci-land. I opted for my cowboy boots instead of loafers today. Did you know that cowboy boots totally make you saunter? I've been sauntering all over this place today. Then for whatever reason, I was moved to update my Facebook profile photo...
The photo led to my declaration of it being a "beer and guns kind of day." Honestly I wasn't drinking when I wrote that. I was drinking when I was shooting anything and everything with that BB gun. 

Beer and guns...cowboy boots...six shooters...Sixpoint beer. And that, kids, is how you transition to a beer review.

Today's beer is the Sixpoint Gorilla Warfare. It's an American porter brewed with coffee beans from Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I didn't know anything about this beer when I ordered it. It was billed as an American Porter. Lucky for me, I love coffee and this beer did not disappoint.

(photo will go here if I can find it) Success!

It poured an opaque brown. It's smell and taste were all wrapped up in each other. Lots of coffee. Nutty. Hints of vanilla. A really good, bold coffee presence. Bitter but smooth with a touch of sweetness. 

Sometimes coffee beers are just beer and coffee smashed together without much effort to blend them. Sixpoint does a fantastic job of getting the balance just right.  

Beer stats
Style: American porter
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 52
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Sixpoint
My review of Sixpoint's cream ale Sweet Action
Gary's review of Bengali Tiger (IPA)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Imperial March

Beer #439 Imperial IPA / Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery:  Just wrote about Palate Wrecker on Tuesday, Marci vs. the sampler, my look at Linchpin IPA

For the second review in a row, I call your attention to Green Flash Brewing - this time for their Imperial IPA.  Over the past 439 days, I've had some truly world class beers.  However, there are a few that I always gravitate towards and tend to keep in the fridge (or the basement).  If you come over to BlogNamedBrew Manor, you're basically guaranteed to find Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues, Milk Stout from Left Hand, Saison DuPont from Brasserie DuPont, something from New Holland, something from Jolly Pumpkin, something from Stillwater, Rayon Vert from Green Flash (which oddly I've never reviewed... hmmm), and a few select others.  In fact, the only thing you're guaranteed to find in our fridge is beer, cheese, and condiments.  Food... not always, unless you count olives as food.

To add to my Green Flash collection, tonight's beer is the Imperial IPA.  In the glass, this beer has a hazy, orange amber color with a fluffy white head.  Your nose finds a ton of grapefruit, orange, and pine, and when you take a drink you get classic IPA flavors of grapefruit and pine, with just enough hint of malt to keep things honest.  There's solid bitterness throughout, and you notice the potent 9.4% ABV as well.  This beer is outstanding; another great example of a West Coast IPA, and going forward you can expect to find it in my fridge.  Stop by some time to share one, but please call before you get here.  And bring pizza.
This picture sucks, but the beer is good!
In case you were wondering, Green Flash takes it's name from the optical phenomena where green flashes can be seen around the sun at sunrise or sunset.  I don't think you need to be on a beach in San Diego to experience Mother Nature showing off... but it is a nice place to watch.

Thing to Think About Today:
This Imperial IPA is so good, it needs some theme music (every good hero should have some).  Couldn't you just picture the Imperial March playing as this beer gets poured?  To help you visualize, I present Lego Darth Vader and the Lego Stormtrooper orchestra (wait, what?).  Now where are Lego Luke and Leia when you need them?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 438: Jolly Pumpkin Made That!

You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before. It doesn’t matter what that is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening — everyone should create. 
You should do something, then sit back and say, “I did that.”

                                                                                                         -- Ricky Gervais

I have the luxury of being able to create things pretty regularly in my career. But every so often, it's good to be reminded of what an amazing feeling it is to look at something and say, "I did that." The power to create is amazing and this one is totally on my highlight reel...

Franklin Hall at The Franklin Institute, April 5, 2012
Groundbreaking of Karabots Pavilion and my pretend birthday party!


I'm pretty certain that the folks over at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales often find themselves sitting back and feeling pretty good about the beer that they are creating. I know I'm proud of their work because I find myself enjoying their beers fairly regularly.

The latest find is Luciernaga or The Firefly. It's a Belgian pale ale that pours a hazy, deep apricot color with a thick, fluffy white head. The smell reminds me of those jelly fruit candies that I remember from my childhood. I wish I could remember what they were called. Anyway the aroma is fruity but with an overlay of tartness. The flavor is metallic, dirt, earthy with tart lemon rind. There's a hint of tannins in there as well. Jolly Pumpkin can do no wrong in my book.
Beer Stats
Style: Belgian pale ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Jolly Pumpkin
Gary's review of E.S. Bam
My review of Madrugada Obscura and some crazy lady ranting about St. Patrick's Day
Gary actually has tried all the Bam bieres


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wrecker? Didn't Know Her.

Day #437 Palate Wrecker / Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery:  Marci's look at the sampler, and my look at Linchpin IPA (and others)

The worst part of returning to work after a three day weekend is without a doubt having to do two days worth of work in one day.  More like two and a half, as no one was really doing much work on Friday afternoon.  Such is life.  I did get an awesome belated Valentine's Day card in the mail today.  It was awesome because it came from Southwest Airlines and included four free drink coupons.  I feel loved.  There was also talk at work of scheduling some team building at an upcoming Phillies game, which is a sure sign that spring will be here sooner than later - can't wait!!!

Today's review is the Palate Wrecker, an Imperial IPA from Green Flash, which I had on draft at TJ's a while back.  This beer has a clear, dark copper hue, and your nose is welcomed by a huge citrus aromas, with some woodsy pine in there as well.  When you take a sip, you get a dry, earthy beer with abundant pineapple and lemon flavors, with an herbal, earthy quality from the pine.  It wraps up with a dry finish filled with bitterness.  If this beer was a superhero, it's name would be Super Hops, and it would fight crime and save the day and be delicious.  This one is a must try for the hop lovers out there, without a doubt.
It's not green, it's Green Flash!

This brewery was awarded the prestigious Best Brewery Visit award from the original 366 challenge.  Congrats!  I also reviewed this brewery after eating lunch at Slater's 50/50, still the greatest cheeseburger I have ever eaten in all my life.  I miss it greatly.  San Diego is stupid for being so far away.


Thing to Think About Today:
Palate Wrecker.... met Wreckx-n-Effect.  That seems to go well together, no?  Time to relive the 90's, because I'm dropping Rump Shaker on you all!

"JUST SHAKE YOUR RUMP!"

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 436: It's Been Awhile, Cider

Today's review is the dry cider (cidre bouche) from Domaine Dupont, makers of calvados and cider in Normandy, France. 

It poured a not quite crystal golden color without any head. It tastes like green apples and vaguely of bleu cheese. It's sweet but mostly dry. It's one of the most unusual ciders I've encountered.  
Beer stats
Style: Dry cider
ABV: 5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Domaine Dupont
This is the first and hopefully not the last

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Did You Raise $12M Today? WE DID!

Day #435 Odyssey Imperial IPA / Sly Fox Brewing Company, Phoenixville, PA
Previously from this brewery: My reviews of Chester County Bitter, Phoenix Pale Ale, and Grisette, and Marci's take on Ichor and Chester County Bitter

I'm typing this post on a quiet Sunday afternoon, with a dog curled up next to me on the chair.  While things are quiet in the house, quite a different atmosphere can be found in State College today, as the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately known to the world as THON, has officially wrapped up for another year.  I assure you, things were louder than a jet engine in the Bryce Jordan Center when the total raised was announced: an absolutely staggering $12.37 MILLION.  This money is raised entirely by college students to fight pediatric cancer (having raised over $100M through the years) and I could not be more proud to be a Penn State grad right now.

I gave my recap of my experience dancing in THON in this review last year, so I won't repeat all of it here.  However, I will once again say that dancing at THON was one of the absolute highlights of my entire existence, and I can't imagine what my life would be like without that experience.  It helped me realize the pure joy you can experience when helping others, and I've tried to carry that feeling forward ever since.

To celebrate, let's review a beer - the Odyssey Imperial IPA from Sly Fox.  This beer pours a clear, honeyed sort of copper color, and your nose immediately finds a fresh pine and citrus aroma.  When you take a sip, you get a blast of grapefruit and pine, with a good dry bitterness throughout.  You don't have to look too hard to find some caramel malt in there balancing things out, but make no mistake this beer is for the hop lovers of the world.  If you see one, I highly recommend you drink one.
Off kilter.  Sorry.
For those who didn't know, Sly Fox is a frequent supporter of Penn State; last fall, they made a very generous donation to support a scholarship fundraiser at the Penn State Great Valley campus.  Great beer, great people.

Thing to Think About Today:
I usually like to end with something humorous or witty here, making some obscure connection to the brewery or beer name with some pop culture silliness.  But today, I think I'll just leave you with this link to THON's website:

Whether you choose to support this initiative (I do), or whether there are other causes that stir your passions, I implore you think about how you can contribute your time, talent, or treasure to those less fortunate than you.  Whatever you give, wherever you give, however you give, I guarantee you'll be making the world a better place.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 434: Argilla, a Nanobrewer

I've written a lot about craft brewers in the past year or so. I've also had a few macrobrews sneak in along the way. I've written about gypsy brewers, collaboration brewers. But I'm pretty sure I haven't struck upon a nanobrewer until a now.

We did a Delaware beer tour in January and today's beer was the last stop on the journey. Gary wrote about the first stop on the tour here with his review of Twin Lakes.  I promise you that this beer tour review will be as disjointed as the Chester County Beer tour, which is summed up here.  

Argilla Brewing Company at Pietro's Pizza is located in Newark (Delaware). It started off as strictly pizza and was located in a few places before settling in its current location. The owners combined their love of homebrewing hand crafted beer with their love and pizza and Argilla was born. They have a 1.5 barrel brewery onsite and claim to bee the smallest brewery in the state of Delaware.

I opted for the D'OhPal--a Belgian style dubbel. It was billed as ruby colored with nice fruity esters.

 (photo is currently MIA)

It poured opaque and not so much ruby-hued as cola. There was very little to no head. It had a mild spice aroma. The mouthfeel was thin and it was a bit watery overall. It tasted of rich dark fruit but was lacking in depth. It was a decent drink but was lacking in richness.

Beer stats
Style: Belgian style dubbel
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Average

Previously reviewed from Argilla
This is the first beer from Delaware's smallest brewery!



Friday, February 15, 2013

Beer, French History, ABBA

Day #433 Biere d' Hougomont / Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
Previously from this brewery: Marci's look at Hougomont, some Three Philosophers, more Three Philosophers, and a look at Aphrodite

It's Friday and I'm headed out for drinks with friends, so you get the quick and dirty version tonight.  Hey - get your head out of the gutter; this is a family friendly blog!

Quick and dirty here means right to the beer, and tonight that means Biere d'Hougomont from Ommegang.  I had this one during the Super Bowl, and in the glass it poured a hazy, dark amber color with a lingering thin, white head.  The aroma gave you notes of sweet malt, fruit, and baked bread.  When you take a sip, you get a ton of candi sugar, along with plenty of oaky dryness.  You can find some hops in there, but this isn't a very hop heavy beer.  Maybe more malty than I typically expect from a biere de garde, but still a very solid offering from a fantastic brewery.
Can I have a hug(omont)?
This beer is a limited release from Ommegang's historical collection, so if you see it, grab a bottle.

Thing to Think About Today:
You may be wondering about the name of this beer, and I can help.  The Hougoumont farmstead was where the Battle of Waterloo took place; you know, the one where Napolean ran into the British in 1815 and didn't quite fare too well.   While Waterloo spelled the end of Napolean's reign, it did influence the ABBA song Waterloo, which is about a girl who surrenders to romance.  Anyone want to dress up with me as ABBA for Halloween next year?  Give me a shout.....


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 432: Five Golden Rings for Everyone

Today marks eighteen Valentine Days with this guy.
And I couldn't be happier.

I feel like I should have reviewed one of the Valentine's Day themed beers that are floating around right now, but the best beer/Valentine's Day tie in I could come up with is The Bruery's Five Golden Rings. What guy or gal wouldn't want golden rings on Valentine's Day?


It poured an opaque apricot color with an off-white  thin head. It smells of ginger spice. The flavor reminds me of autumn pie spice with light ginger. There's a nice biscuit flavor in there and a slight tartness. I also noticed some pineapple notes. It's boozy and delicious.

Beer stats
Style: Belgian strong pale ale
ABV: 11.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from The Bruery
My review of Oude Tart with soap box rantings on the world's problems
Gary's thoughts on Tart of Darkness
My review of their berliner weisse Hottenroth, which I had at the greatest burger joint ever...Slater's 50/50!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love, Beer, and Sex Mix Songs

Day #431 Greenville Pale Ale / Twin Lakes Brewing Company, Greenville, DE
Previously from this brewery: My take on Ceasar Rodney Golden Ale

Happy day before Valentine's Day!  Or, the day most guys finally realize, "Shit, I better start to think about getting my wife/girlfriend something for tomorrow."  Look, I agree with people who say that Valentine's Day is a made-up holiday to sell cards and chocolate and horrendously over priced flowers.  It is, and there's no denying that fact.  However, the sentiment IS important, and in fact so important that you shouldn't wait for one day per year to show your appreciation.  If you care about someone, you should tell them this more often than you probably do, and make sure to do nice things for each other more frequently than you might otherwise consider.  Hopefully you're spending your tomorrow with someone very special to you.  I certainly will be!

So, to set the stage for tomorrow, I recommend relaxing tonight with a beer.  Today's review is the Greenville Pale Ale from Twin Lakes in Delaware.   This beer is a clear, golden amber color with a persistent white head.  The aroma is a fragrant mix of citrus and hops, and when you take a sip, there's a good bit of bitterness right up front, with light pine and a lemony citrus. You also get a nice, dry, even finish.  This isn't an overpowering beer, because there's enough malt to balance things out.  Easy drinking, and best drank FOR FREE on their tour.
Gary is INDEED my nizzle
What's this?  FREE?  Yes, Twin Lakes has an awesome tour on the weekends, where you get to snack on cheese and honey, taste some free samples, and learn about the brewery and their process.  Truly the highlight of the tour was when our guide called up the tasting room to have more pitchers brought down so we can fill up mid-tour.... multiple times.  Now that's some awesome customer service you don't find on your average brewery tour!  Much like my trip to Real Ale Brewing, this is a tour you experience from the heart of the brewery, not some observation area removed from the equipment.  You're stepping over hoses, ducking under pipes, and meandering through tanks for the entire trip.  However, well worth it - and not just because of the free flowing beer (although that certainly doesn't hurt).
I'm pretty much in the equipment at this point on the tour
They've ramped up their canning efforts, so readers in the greater Philly area should be seeing more of this beer on shelves in 2013.  If Ken and Kathy are working the tasting room/tour, you'll be in good hands!

Thing to Think About Today:
Last Valentine's Day, I dropped maybe the greatest sex mix song of all time, Let's Get It On by the legendary Marvin Gaye.  Hard to follow that one, but in the spirit of Valentine's Day and everyone's romantic plans, allow me to present Sexual Healing, perhaps the second greatest sex mix song of all time.  Happy pre-Valentine's Day, my lovelies.

"If you don't know the thing you're dealing / Ohhh, I can tell you darling - that it's sexual healing"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 430: ABCs of Beer (Appalachian Brewing Company, that is)

Is it weird that at age 37, I just want to spend tonight playing with my new iPhone? No? Excellent.

While I enjoy my new toy...er...I mean smart phone, you can read about my visit to Appalachian Brewing Company's outpost in Collegeville (Pennsylvania).  It was actually the first stop on my Chester County Beer Tour a few weekends ago.  I wrote about the second and third stops on the tour last week. I guess this review falls in the better late than never category.

Appalachian Brewing Company was started in Harrisburg and has locations in Gettysburg, Lititz and Camp Hill in addition to Collegeville. If you're visiting the Collegeville location, be warned it's not the easiest place to find, but it's worth it.  I started out with a sampler.

They came from here...

I didn't take notes on the entire sampler. I can tell you that I like most everything. What I didn't like was the IPA, which Mr. Blog Named Brew seemed to enjoy. After I finished the sampler, I ordered a full size Jolly Scot Scottish ale. It was my favorite of the beers in the sampler.


It poured a bright mahogany color with a wispy light tan head. I couldn't get a good read on the smell. Definitely malts...but I couldn't figure out the rest. The flavor was nutty, warm and reminiscent of biscuits. It had an almost bourbon-like flavor to it with hints of woodiness.  Good stuff.

Beer stats
Style: Scottish ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 18
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Appalachian
This beer is the first out the limo!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Post with Katy Perry's Boobs

Day #429 Independence Pale Ale / Independence Brewing Company, Austin, TX
Previously from this brewery: My thoughts on their Stash IPA

My goal for the evening: at least eight hours of sleep.  I spent the weekend dog-sitting for a friend; a task I love doing, but adding in a new dog disrupts the schedule our hounds like to keep, which in turn means I get to be awake more often than not during the hours I'd otherwise be sleeping.  Add in me staying up to watch the Grammys last night and a workout at the gym after work today.... and I'm thinking of creative ways to get that eight hours of sleep up to ten or so.  I'll keep you posted, I'm sure you all can't wait to hear about me and my problems each day.  I kid.

My thoughts on the Grammys in no particular order:
1. The whole "straight down bangs" trend on girls really needs to end.  It's not a good look, and it's time to move on.  Looking at you, Taylor Swift and everyone else who thought this was a good idea.  Stop it and fix your bangs.  Please, I implore you.
2. How do you have Prince show up and not play something?  And how comfortable in his skin is Prince that he just strolls up to the mic and without saying anything, just announces the nominees.
3. Instead of using his time to thank anyone, Jay Z decided to make fun of the dude who showed up not in a tux, but rather in a track suit with a bandana.  Classy, Jay Z.  Classy.
4. Best two performances were the Black Keys with Dr. John and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Jack White with whoever he was playing with.  Even though I'm not sure Dr. John was actually playing anything, although it was hard to tell with his.... um, pelt?
5. I would kill someone for that pelt, or headdress, or whatever you want to call it.  I'd wear that to work, and dare someone to tell me it wasn't "business appropriate".
6. I haven't figured out Frank Ocean yet.  I guess that might be normal for someone of my advanced age, but I'll see what I can do to fix that.  Anyone who is willing to get in a fight with a piece of shit like Chris Brown over a parking spot is good in my book.
7. My goodness, Katy Perry.  Ahem.... call me?
Ellen DeGeneres is just doing what we all did,
although she was MUCH closer when she did it.  Lucky!
Enough ramblings.  Tonight's beer is one from a recent trip to Texas, the Independence Pale Ale from Indepenence Brewing Company.  This one came in the bottle, so I have no idea what it looked or smelled like, really.  Side note: if you're in Austin, stay at the Kimber Modern.  Why?  Free beer in the kitchen/living room area.  That's why.  When I drank this free beer, I found an earthy and dry taste, with ample lemon and pine.  Not too bitter courtesy of the caramel malt, and definitely worth a sample if you're ever in Austin.
VIVA LA REVOLUCION!
I guess technically the beer wasn't free, as I did pay for the hotel room.  But I didn't hand a bartender any money, so I still count it as free.  It works for me.

Thing to Think About Today:
Dear CBS,
Thanks for putting your content on Youtube so that people can re-watch Grammy performances from last night.  Oh... wait.  You didn't do that because your company sucks out loud.  Instead, readers of this blog can enjoy the copy some random dude pulled from his television.  Where the quality and sound suck.  Again, thanks, CBS.  Lonely Boy from the Black Keys, in all their Zapruder film glory, coming right up:

"I got a love that keeps me waiting...."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 428: Ommegang Biere D'Hougoumont

Lucky for us, Philadelphia was spared from Snowstorm Nemo (seriously, who names these storms?) and we only had to dig out from under an inch of snow. It was tough going, but Mr. Blog Named Brew persevered and cleared the driveway and walkway in less than ten minutes yesterday. I rewarded his hard work by dragging him out shopping. When the sun's shining and it's glorious outside, what better way is there to enjoy it than by shopping. Indoors.

Sadly I now have spring fever. The next several weeks are going to be rough. But treatment for spring fever in this household is good beer and I'm starting with Brewery Ommegang's Biere D'Hougoumont. It's brewed in Cooperstown, New York and as you could guess from the name, it's a biere de garde. This biere de garde is aged on maple and oak staves.
The color is a cross between auburn and orange and it poured with a thick tan head. Much thicker than what's represented in this photo. It smells of light sugar and wood. The flavor is yeasty and has a maple almost molasses character to it. There's lots of strong malt. It drinks with a good roundness and full mouthfeel with just a touch of prickly hop bite at the end of each sip.

Because I was curious about this beer's name, I thought you might be of the same mind. The name honors the Hougoumont farmstead at the pivotal center of the Waterloo battlefield.

Beer stats
Style: Biere de garde
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Ommegang
My review of Three Philosophers, the first beer I drank after year one was complete
Gary's take on Three Philosophers and with a title like Pirate Dogs and Pimps, how can you not read it?
One of my favorite beers, Aphrodite

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nectar of the Gods

Day #427 Nugget Nectar / Troegs Brewing Company, Hershey, PA
Previously from this brewery: Marci's thoughts on Sunshine Pils, and my look at Scratch 57

So, the blizzard that dominated news coverage for the past two days turned into.... about two inches of snow.  Not exactly the SNOPOCALYPSE! that was being predicted.  Instead of shoveling snow for hours, I was able to be productive today.  I took some electronics out to be recycled, swung by Target, took the dogs to get their nails trimmed, and now I'm now relaxing drinking a Nugget Nectar, an amber ale from Troegs.  Saturdays are the greatest.

In the glass, this beer has a bright, clear copper color with a lingering thin white head.  The aroma is a huge blast of grapefruit and pine.  When you take a sip, there are hops, hops, an more hops, with ample citrus and bitterness.  There's more to this beer than just hops, however, as there's a nice malt backbone behind the hops to create balance.  This beer is a manageable 7.5% ABV, but watch yourself, as this is so delicious, you'll likely end up having more than one.  Many more than one, in fact.
Some sunshine in the window to brighten up this picture
This beer is a seasonal Troegs offering, which is unfortunate, as something this good should be available throughout the whole year.

Thing to Think About Today:
I'm still not sure what my thoughts are about this song and this artist, but it's been playing in my head a fair bit lately.  So, let it play in yours: Thrift Shop, by Macklemore.  Hopefully your Saturdays are fantastic so far, and your Sundays are even better.

"Damn, that's a cold ass honky"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 426: Stillwater Lower Dens, A Collaboration


Typically when I think of a brewer collaborating on a particular beer, I assume the partnership is with another brewer--or maybe a chef. But musical artists? Nope. That wasn't on my radar at all until I found the Stillwater Lower Dens.

It's part of the Stillwater Sensory Series, which is a collaboration between Stillwater Artisanal and singular musical artists. This first collaboration is with Lower Dens and the result is an ale based on an interpretation of their song In the End is the Beginning. I had it on draft at TJ's, but if you were lucky enough to get a bottle, there's a QR code that links to an exclusive Lower Dens performance of the song. Cool, huh? It's a true artistic collaboration that aims to create a full sensory experience--sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste.

Lower Dens the beer is a hibiscus ale. It pours a bright but hazy shade of orange. There's lots of very active bubbles and it has a white head. There's a yeasty tang in the smell. Reminds me of a saison.The flavor is also very tangy with mellow hops. It has some lemon in the taste along with a slightly floral note. Hibiscus! It's very subtle but delicious.

Beer stats
Style: Hibiscus ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Stillwater
My review of Stateside Saison from year one
I snuck a second review of Stillwater in during year one for the Wabash Cannonball, but also reviewed another awesome beer from Evil Twin
And then I snuck in a third Stillwater review in year one. This was a partnership with Mikkeller (brother to Evil Twin) and called Our Side
Gary reviews Cellar Door

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I AM IRON MAN (sort of)

Day #425 Ironbound Ale / Iron Hill Brewery, Phoenixville, PA
Previously from this brewery: Marci's look at their Belgian Tripel

Going to get right down to business tonight - there's a snow storm coming tomorrow, and I need to buy all of the bread and milk in Chester County.  Maybe I should swing through Montgomery County too, just in case.  I kid, obviously.  Commuting will suck tomorrow, but mostly because people are stupid, not because Mother Nature has decided to shut things down.  Be smart tomorrow, people - for a change.

Keeping it local tonight with Ironbound Ale, from Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville.  Most of the beer world is likely not familiar with their work, as Iron Hill operates nine restaurants in the Philadelphia suburbs, and to the best of my knowledge the only place to get one of their beers is in one of those nine restaurants.  No bottles, no cans, no kegs shipped elsewhere.  No shoes, no shirt, no dice.  Pity, as they put out some good beers!  This American pale ale has a bright, clear, copper color, with a thin wispy head.   The aroma is a blend of malt and hops, so there's biscuit and citrus in there.  The taste gives you plenty of caramel malt, with a good bit of citrus throughout from the hops, all of which culminates in a clean, dry, bitter finish.  At 5.1% ABV, this is a fairly mellow beer that still brings a good bit of flavor.
Ironbound, not Iron City. Big difference...
This cold weather makes me long for the Iron Hill in West Chester, PA, as they have some sweet outdoor seating right in the center of town.  Ah, dining outdoors..... soon.  Soon.

Thing to Think About Today:
If we're thinking about Iron Hill and their Ironbound Ale, then it only makes sense we let Iron Man close things out here.  Loved the recent movies with Robert Downey Jr, but I think I have something you'll like even more: Iron Man by the Cardigans, a cover of the Black Sabbath classic.  What made the Cardigans cover this song?  Who knows, just check it out, as I'm willing to bet you like it.  And you know you can trust me when it comes to awesome and unusual music covers, after all.  I own awesome and unusual music covers, without a doubt.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 424: Russian River Supplication, An Experiment


A few months back when we were in the home stretch of year one of the blog, Teresa's Next Door had a Russian River Brewing Company tap takeover. Seeing how Russian River is one of our most favorite brewery's, it was a can't miss event. In addition to many draft offerings, there was also the opportunity to buy bottles from various batches produced in 2011. (I think I have that explanation correct.)

We went home with bottles from batches 5, 6 and 7. Then we waited. And waited. Why? Because I had the brilliant idea to do a horizontal tasting across the batches to see how they varied. And since we already reviewed Russian River in year one, we waited. 

A horizontal tasting, you ask? Let me drop some knowledge:

Horizontal Tasting: Tasting different beers of the same style made in the same year. For example, one could pick a variety of tripels produced in a particular year for the sample. 

Vertical Tasting: A slightly different approach. Tasting one beer with samples of different years. Or better yet, one beer produced in one year but tasted after x years, then x+1 years, x+2 years and so on. I don't have the patience to wait. Cellaring is not my forte!

Fast forward from beer purchase to end of blog's year one and Russian River was in play again. (Year one rules stated that we would drink a beer from a different brewer every day. No repeats.) But when was an appropriate time to do the tasting? Obviously Christmas Day. How else would one celebrate Christmas? Beer!



I didn't notice much difference in the color. They were pretty consistently a deep red amber with an off white head. The differences were very noticeable when it came to taste and smell.  Here's what I found by batch:

Batch 5
Smell: Strong balsamic vinegar
Taste: Sharp, sour bite. Brett effect is strong. Not so much oak. A little more grassiness than the others.

Batch 6
Smell: Balsamic vinegar is light with much more cherry and Pinot noir
Taste: Much rounder, full flavor compared to Batch 5. Finishes with a metallic pinch at the back of my tongue. Strong oak and wine.

Batch 7
Smell: Light balsamic and more brett funkiness
Taste: Funk comes through in the taste as does the cherry. Noticeable oak. Very dry.

Did I like one of the batches more than the other? That's like picking a favorite child. I would never, ever turn down a Supplication. Or anything else from Russian River for that matter.They were all interesting and delicious. And now I'm sad I don't have any more.

Beer stats
Style: Sour ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Russian River
Gary's review of Supplication when he drank it in year one 
My review of the Russian River sampler during a day that should have resulted in an AA enrollment

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jolly Good Time

Day #423 E.S. Bam / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, MI
Previously from this brewery: my review of Bam Biere from the day Coach Paterno passed away, Marci's look at Madrugada Obscura from St. Patrick's Day

Busy day today in the office, followed by basketball, followed by me making homemade meatballs and sauce, so I'm getting right down to business.  The beer to close out this busy day is E.S. Bam, a saison from Jolly Pumpkin.  In the glass, this beer has a light caramel color with a huge, fluffy head.  Your nose finds a tart aroma, with earthy notes of malt and citrus.  The taste is downright delightful; dry, with grain and some funk, with a hop bitterness, particularly in the finish.  This beer was aged in oak barrels and bottle conditioned, yet has an easy drinking 4.7%V ABV.  Jolly Pumpkin is one of those breweries where you can pick up anything they make with confidence you're going to get something great in your glass.  Fire away....
Bad picture, great beer!
No, this beer doesn't have pumpkin.  That's just the name of the brewery, so relax.  The brewer and his wife were just tossing out potential names for their new brewery, and kept coming back to this one.  Works for me.

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of Jolly Pumpkin, I present Smashing Pumpkins.  I close with Today, a song that always brings me back to the days of college - and puts a smile on my face in the process.

"Today is the greatest / day I've ever known."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 422: Sly Fox Brewing Co.


As promised, this is the second installment of my Chester County (Pennsylvania) beer tour. I'm obviously doing this in no particular order. I started in the middle, went to the last stop and perhaps on Tuesday you'll hear how it all began.

We wrapped up the tour at Sly Fox Brewing Company. As much as I lamented the lack of bars and restaurants in yesterday's post, Sly Fox was brewing great beer and serving up excellent food when we lived not far from their original location in a shopping plaza in Phoenixville.  They've since moved and now a new brewer is in their old digs (Note to self: Visit new brewer in old digs.)

I wanted to love the new location. Honestly it's only new to me. They've been on Route 113 in Phoenixville since 2010, but for whatever reason I'm only now getting there. So much beer. So little time. But I digress. The Brewpub and Eatery is just not doing it for me. It felt cold and impersonal--not at all what I was used to at their old place. That one had a fun, fox hunt clubby vibe. Lucky for me, their beer did not disappoint.



That is the Chester County Bitter--an English bitter ale--after being poured from the hand pump. It showed an orangey amber color with a thick, exceptional white head. The smell is honey and biscuits. It tastes like a creamy, honey-infused IPA. Quite delicious. Big mouthfeel. It brings it home with a mildly bitter finish. Overall a good beer that's never disappointed me.

Beer stats 
Style: English Bitter
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 38
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Sly Fox
Gary's review of the Bitter and the post where he awards his Beer of the Year winner!
His review of Grisette and the post where he awards Best Label Art
My review of Ichor the beer with a rambling summary of 2011 and random knowledge of ichor from Greek mythology