Breweries "Visited"

Friday, November 30, 2012

Beer 356: Furst Wallerstein and Ooh-Ooh Friday Night

Today summed up in three bullets:
- produced an entire week's worth of work in one day
- tweeted like it was my job
- listened to way too much rap

The beauty of one's own office? Drake can yell muthafucka as much as he wants. How was your Friday?

Tonight's beer is the Landsknecht-Bier from Furst Wallerstein in Germany -- a Munich dunkel lager with a 5.2% ABV.

It looks like a hazy cola with a thin tan head. It smells mostly like bread. There's an ashiness in the flavor along with huge malts and a bit of caramel. This is a style of beer that I'm not all that familiar with. Per the definition I found, it should be smooth, rich and complex without being heavy. This one meets that description.

It should also be full bodied with minimal bitterness. Again we have a winner. Based on my obvious limited knowledge, I'll rate it a great and kick up my heels because it is Friday night and the feeling is all right! Cheers!

The Dog, The Devil, The Stones

Beer #356 Duvel / Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat, Breendonk, Belgium
Beers to go: 10

Great day today, and not just because it was Friday.  Today, we went shopping for toys, clothes, books, and other fun presents for the three kids my co-workers and I "adopted" through the Sponsor a Child holiday gift program at work.  If you're ever having a bad day, do something nice for someone else.  You'll feel better immediately.  Trust me on this one, please.  Despite having an otherwise great day, I did have a strange moment this afternoon.  Went to the grocery store and on the way in, I felt someone staring at me.  Not unusual, I'm incredibly handsome, so people are always looking at me to see what's up.  But this time, it felt.... different.
Right, that explains things.  There was a giant black dog hanging out the sunroof of a Volvo, giving me the eyeball.  When you're as good looking as I am, everyone wants some, I guess.

Enough silliness, as tonight's review is Duvel, a fantastic Belgian Golden Ale from Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat. This beer shows off a pale straw color, with a white dissipating head.  The aroma is a great mix of yeast, spice, bread, and citrus, and the flavor is a wonderful concoction of green apple, spice, biscuit, yeast, and fruit.  Great dry, spicy finish.  One of the better beers I've run across this year, and quite frankly, I've run across quite a few.  Fun fact: this beer was originally known as 'Victory Ale' to commemorate the end of World War I, but was renamed 'Duvel' after a loyal drinker called the beer "a real devil", possibly due to the sneaky high 8.5% ABV.  Tastes so good, you don't even notice the high alcohol.  Marci's take on this beer can be found here, and I'm going ahead and putting this beer on the coveted Top 25 list.
Devilishly good
This brewery traces its roots back to 1871, and was family owned and operated until 1999, at which time it went public (note to self: buy some shares).  At the start of the 20th century, this brewery was one of about 4,000 in Belgium.  That may not mean much to you, until you learn that Belgium is roughly the size of the state of Maryland.  MARYLAND.  Damn, that's a lot of breweries!  Did you know that Duvel Moortgat was an original investor in Brewery Ommegang, and has since taken complete control of that operation?  Look, I usually complain about mergers and takeovers in the craft beer space, as I think it dilutes the product and takes away some of the regional significance of certain beers.  However, if mergers crank out beers such as this one and the great things Ommegang produces?  Merge and acquire away, my friends.  Merge and acquire away.

Thing to Think About Today:
Tonight we have a beer name that translates to Devil in English, so you're expecting something Hell, Satan, or underworld related to wrap this post up today.  I am nothing if not a slave to your wishes, as I'm wrapping up with Sympathy for the Devil.  And if we're doing it, we're doing it right and going back to a 1969 Hyde Park show.  And while we're on the subject - a very happy 50th Anniversary to Mick and Keith and the boys!  Yeah, the sound quality of this video isn't exactly up to modern standards, but just sit back and soak in the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" at the zenith of their power.

"Pleased to meet you!"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beer 355: What Would Mom Drink? Benediktiner Wheat Beer?

Back on November 4, I posed some questions about what I've learned during this adventure. I guess with a mere eleven beers to go, I better start coming up with some answers. 

Let's just rip this band-aid off and start with the hard question.  Has all this writing helped honor my Mom's memory?

I don't freaking know. I don't think she even liked beer. But seriously this woman never stopped encouraging me to pursue my dreams, even when my dreams seemed ridiculous for any number of reasons. You want to be a cheerleader? I'll drive you to practice everyday. You want to play tennis? Sure where do we buy a racket? You want to move to the suburbs of Philadelphia? Ok, just don't get shot. Mom never fully grasped how safe it is here, that I don't really live in Philadelphia and that the museum area where I work is quite safe. God rest her soul. You're going to buy a house with a guy that you aren't married to? When's the housewarming party? You're marrying that guy? Thank god because I really like him.

Fast forward to now and I have a feeling that she's sitting there thinking good job. Keep writing. It makes you happy.

Thanks, Mom.

Another question -- would she like tonight's beer?

It's the Weissbier from Benediktiner Weibrau in Germany. It's a hefeweizen with an ABV of 5%. It pours a deep, golden brown color with a full white head. It smells of lemons and wheat grains. The flavor is thick...wheat, general citrus and I would have said berries but I couldn't find them again. I may have hallucinated that part. Overall I think this is a good beer and I would totally share it with my Mom.


Kick Me

Beer #355 Kick Back Ale / East Coast Beer Company, Point Pleasant, NJ
Beers to go: 11

After a nice and relaxing three day work week last week (really, 2.5 days), I'm currently having a hard time adjusting to the idea of a five day work week.  Just one more to go, and then the weekend is upon us.  Also important to note: due to football season ending, this weekend I'll get to sleep in my own bed and not have to drive in the car for extended periods of time.  While the lack of football makes me sad, that last sentence makes me feel much, much better.  On to the beer!

Tonight I'm reviewing Kick Back Ale, an amber from East Coast Beer Company.  This beer has an amber color and thin white head in the glass, and you pick up a floral, sweet aroma.  The taste has plenty of lemon and a decent amount of hops, all rounded out with some malt sweetness.  Not the greatest beer I've sampled to date, but definitely a tasty beer and worth a sample if you find it on draft or in bottles near you.

Just kickin' it....
This brewery started operations in 2009 and had their first beer ready to go in 2010.  To further prove that beer people are good people, they're donating money from each case sold to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Thing to Think About Today:
A beer to kick back with to me means we're wrapping up today with a song wondering about kicking it.  Or, more specifically, Can I Kick It?  A Tribe Called Quest, the floor is now yours...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some Silly Fun

Beer #354 Silly Scotch Ale / Brasserie de Silly, Silly, Belgium
Beers to go: 12

Long day of doing work and then spending the evening on one of my volunteer activities, so I'm just jumping right in.  After today, down to a dirty dozen more beers to the finish line.  Good times, good times.

Tonight I'm going with a beer that's been in our beer cellar for a while, the Scotch Ale from Brasserie de Silly.  This beer has a dark dark mahogany color and an off white head.  Your nose finds aromas of sweet malt and spice, and the taste brings you dark fruits, malt, caramel, honey, and raisins.  Once the beer warmed a bit, I picked up some cola flavors as well.  Not entirely what I was expecting, but this beer is actually quite good.  If you find a bottle, go ahead and pick one up.  Thank me later.
All the silly jokes!
The name of this brewery comes from the town of Silly in Belgium, not due to any funny business.  Despite me being fluent in Dutch, I don't think silly means anything different across the languages.  It has been in operation since 1850, so a good bit of history here as well.

Thing to Think About Today:
I'm running out of steam here, and I can't quite find the perfect thing to tie today's post together with.  Silly, laugh, funny.... fun?  Fine, let's go ahead and close out today with something fun: Japanese girl band 5 6 7 8's with their classic Woo Hoo, which you may recall from the Kill Bill movie soundtrack.  I defy you to listen to this and (1) not sing along and (2) not have fun.  My job here is done, peoples.  Good night.

"Woo hoo, woo-who-hooo"

Beer 354: Silly, Silly Things

I can't explain it, but today was one of those days that is only survivable because you love the people with whom you work. You love them because you can be your truly nerdy self with a sharp wit and you get it delivered right back at you and then some. No one gets huffy. Everyone laughs. Life is crazy but good.

Tonight's beer is the Scotch de Silly from Brasserie de Silly in Belgium. I can't find my photo so for now I can only promise a placeholder. I know the bottle is at home so I'll update at least that much later.

Update: Replacement photo has been deployed!

The Scotch de Silly -- as one would suspect -- is a Scotch ale or wee heavy.  It has an ABV of 8%.  It poured an opaque brown with a thin tan head.  It smells wet, aromatic wood. It's also earthy with some cinnamon and possibly apples.  The taste is rich chocolate caramel and nutty. It has a thin mouthfeel.  There's just a pinch of bitter at the finish to keep it from being too sweet. This is a great beer.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Beer #353 Pipe Organ Pale Ale / Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh, PA
Beers to go: 13

Winter made an early house call today with some fluffy white snow.  My initial thought this morning was that I wanted to be huddled under a blanket, drinking some hot chocolate, sitting in front of a fire.  Nothing that happened today changed that original opinion.  I don't mind winter one bit, but I really prefer when winter doesn't happen on work days and does happen under my terms and conditions.

What better way to welcome some big, wet snowflakes than with a beer?  How about the Pipe Organ ale from Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh?  This beer was a gift from friends at our tailgate last weekend, who brought us some choice selections from the Steel City.  This American Pale ale is a crystal clear light amber color.  The aroma is a nice blend of pine and citrus.  The taste is clean, with hops throughout and ample malt sweetness. Clean, dry finish, with some bitterness on the end.  Light enough at 4.3% ABV, this is a good beer for those who like hops, but maybe don't want to marry hops and have hop babies.  Just wish I hadn't burned the roof of my mouth on the pizza I made for dinner, which would have allowed me to enjoy it a bit more.  Not the beer's fault, that one is on me.

The only way I like going to church!
Cool story behind this brewery, as they operate in a former Catholic Church.  The building was built in 1902, and served as St. John the Baptist Church until 1993.  Church Brew set up shop in 1996, and has been going strong ever since.  Definitely a destination I intend to visit next time I'm in the 'burgh.

Thing to Think About Today:
You may not think about this every day, but the city of Pittsburgh has been the setting for some great movies.  Your preference might be the high school football movie All the Right Moves (Tom Cruise!) or the action flick Striking Distance (Bruce Willis!), but for my money, I'm definitely taking the comedy route and going with Gung Ho.

Directed by Ron Howard and starring Michael Keaton, this film tells the story of a recently shuttered automobile plant outside Pittsburgh, which is given a new lease on life when a Japanese auto firm moves in to manufacture cars in America.  Great... in theory, except the marriage of two diverse cultures doesn't get off on the right foot, and it's up to Keaton to bring peace to the plant and the town. Or else the Japanese firm will move their business elsewhere!  Classic film, great selection to watch on a cold winter day.  You can trust me on this.

"Afterwards, we have a beer and piss for distance."
   "For us, it's accuracy."

Beer 353: Einbecher Brauhaus

Tailgating is not always fun and games. Every now and then it ends up with ridiculous numbers of prescription drugs and chest x-rays. Let that be your warning for having as much fun as humanly possible during the football season. You can always sleep when you're dead.  I guess I have Warren Zevon on the brain after Gary's post yesterday

Today's beer is the Einbecher Brauhaus Mai Ur Bock, a maibock or helles bock with an ABV of 6.5%.  It pours a bright copper color with a thick off white head. The smell is toasted malt with hints of hops. It tastes quite rich with raisins, some fig and lots of honey. There is very little noticeable hop in this beer. What's there is very flowery.  I think I would have liked a little more bite to balance out the rich sweetness. 

There are definitely better examples in this category out there...Lancaster Brewing's Rumspringa comes to mind.  Cheers! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beer 352: Church Brew Works and Itching on a Photograph

I have a great post rattling around in my head and I cannot get it out to save my life. I've started three different intros. I attempted to jump in the middle and sneak up on it. I sat here and flipped through a bunch of photos from this football season. Ok that last one wasn't even supposed to help, but I mean, come on! Who doesn't want to look at Michael Mauti?

Instead I'm just going to sit here with this song rolling through my brain...courtesy of KFOG radio...

So in lieu of a long rambling, nostalgic and perhaps a bit maudlin post, I'll tell you about a beer from The Church Brew Works. It's their Pipe Organ pale ale -- an American pale ale made in Pittsburgh. Thanks to our friends Casey and Mike for getting this one for us!

It pours a clear golden color with very little to no head. It has a soapy hop aroma. For a beer with an ABV of only 4.3%, the alcohol is very noticeable. The flavor has lots of cracker and bitter, earthy, piney hops. Thinking back on some of the other American pale ales I've had this year, I can only rate this one average.


Three the Hard Way

Beer #352 Gumballhead / Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN
Beers to go: 14

Tonight I'm reviewing a beer from a brewery I've had on my wish list for some while.  I managed to score a bottle as a gift from a friend who is connected in the seedy beer trading underworld.  Ask them no questions, they'll tell you no lies.  Tonight, you get the long-anticipated Gumballhead, a pale wheat ale from Three Floyds Brewing.

This beer is a hazy gold, with very little head in the glass.  The aroma is of grapefruit and lemon - more like an IPA than a wheat beer.  The texture of this beer is thin, but the taste is flavorful; packed with citrus, wheat, and some light peach notes.  There's a nice bit of hops in there giving it a dry, mildly bitter finish.  Definitely more hops than I was expecting from a wheat beer, but nothing overpowering.  With a great blend of drinkability and flavor, this beer will hopefully be a go-to beer for me... should they ever decide to ship to Pennsylvania.  Until then?  Someone in Chicago (because really, I don't know anyone who lives in Indiana) needs to ship me some, and pronto.  While this beer doesn't reside in my home state, it does officially earn a spot in my Top 25 for the year.
Fun label, better beer.
In case you were wondering, and you probably were, this brewery was in fact named for three Floyds: Mike Floyd and his sons Nick and Simon.  The brewery started in 1996, and in 2005 they added a brewpub for to serve the many people who came to visit and sample their beers.  Gumballhead was named in honor of a character created by underground cartoon artist Rob Syers.

Thing to Think About Today:
In this space, I've shared with you one of my favorite bands in the world, Talking Heads, five times to date.  Let's face it, if today is a Top 25 beer, don't you deserve the best?  Well, you do, but I have interests beyond the music of Talking Heads, so I'll leave you with another great artist - Warren Zevon, and his unusual classic Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.  This particular performance was the last live show Zevon did, as he passed away shortly thereafter in 2003.

A world class beer named for an underground comic, wrapped up by a beautiful and mournful song about mercenary from Norway who served in the Congo War, only to lose his head (well obviously) and haunt the battlefield to exact his revenge.  One of those nights, people.  One of those nights.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Born to Run

Beer #351 India Pale Ale / Climax Brewing Company, Roselle Park, NJ
Beers to go: 15

Time flies when you're having fun, and another football season has flown by.  Yesterday, Penn State closed out an emotionally charged season with an overtime win over Wisconsin, sending their seniors out in grand style.  And did Coach just drop the F-Bomb on national tv in the post game interview?  Why, yes, yes he did.  Love that guy, love this team.

I started this post with a corny phrase, so I'll move things along with another: All good things must come to an end.  So, let's close things out on the 2012 football season with a beer review (what, you were expecting something else from this website?) of the India Pale Ale from Climax Brewing in New Jersey.  The color is a hazy amber, with a thin white head.  There is a nice lemon aroma, and the taste is thin, with caramel malt and pine and citrus, and enough bitterness on the finish to do the job.  Typically look for something with a bit more oomph in my IPAs, as this one was a bit too mellow to find a home in my permanent rotation.
Climax has been in business since 1996, and they claim to be the oldest craft brewery in New Jersey.  They started by brewing an ESB, which I think I would very much like to try.

Thing to Think About Today:
Wisconsin entered the game with a rushing defense ranked first in the Big Ten and ninth nationally.  Yeah, that was before they met PSU sophomore Zach Zwinak, who pounded the Badgers for 179 yards on the day, which gave him an even 1,000 yards on the season.
Photo courtesy of Patriot News
Zwinak becomes the 40th Penn State player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and so to celebrate this accomplishment and to give a nod to the home state for this brewery, we call on New Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen to close things out with Born to Run.  Good night all, see you again tomorrow.

Beer 351: Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA

Holy hangover, batman. Yesterday was the final tailgate of the season and we went big. So much so that I'll be paying for the celebration for the next two days. Funny thing about getting older...I can still party like I'm in my college years but I recover like I'm in my retirement years.

But the blog goes on and here is today's beer review for Fat Head's Brewery and Saloon's Head Hunter india pale ale.

I started out drinking out of the bottle and that's when I took this photo.

Then I decided that a glass was necessary but never retook the photo. Oh well. It poured an golden orange color with a thick white head. It had an amazing and strong grapefruit aroma. It tasted of sweet grapefruit, lots of hops, and a tiny bit of malt. There was a great deal of general fruity hops, some of which leant a nice pineapple flavor. I think this is a great example of a big, bold IPA. Cheers.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last One (Tailgate, Not Beer)

Beer #350 Netebuk Saison / Brouwerij 't Broukot, Gullegem, Belgium
Beers to go: 16

As you're reading this, I'll be standing outside in the parking lot of Beaver Stadium, enjoying one last tailgate with the crew - and hopefully one more win for the Lions!  It's Senior Day, and we're bidding farewell to a great group of young men who are destined to big things once they graduate.

While the 30 degree temperatures at the tailgate are more suited to hot chocolate than beer, there's no stopping the beer reviews now.  Today I'm reviewing Netebuk, a saison from Brouwerj 't Brouwkot in Belgium.  This one was on draft at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, and I can't pass up a good saison when there's one on draft.  In the glass, it's a clear, very bright gold color, and there's a light aroma of tart citrus.  The flavor gives you lemon, grass, some light sweetness, and an enjoyable tartness.  Quite nice!
Very nice.
Having a hard time figuring out much info on this beer/brewery; their website takes you to Brouwerij Gulden Spoor, but I can't determine if this is a merger thing or a spin-off thing or a rename the brewery thing or what.  If you know, send me a message.  I like knowing.

Thing to Think About Today:
I have nothing to connect this beer or brewery to, so I'll just go ahead and drop in a song that was recently added to our tailgate playlist.  Did you know I create a new, 8 hour tailgate mix for each home game?  With an additional post-game old school rap dance party mix as well?  Now you do.... stop by the tailgate next year and see for yourself.  Today, I'm closing with Youngblood Hawke and We Come Running.

Beer 350: A Perfectly Inappropriate Martens Witte

Today's beer is the Witte from Brouwerij Martens in Belgium. It poured a hazy lemony yellow color with a full white head. It smells of wheat and lemons. The taste is light and thin, almost like a shandy or radler. I'm not getting orange or any spices. There is a yeasty tartness, which is why I keep thinking shandy and not witte.

I think this one would be great during the summer. Instead I'm drinking it in late November with a threat of a snow shower while wearing seven layers of clothing under my parka. Good times!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Beer 349: Hook Norton Brewery and The Holiday Season is Here!

I've been sitting on this beer for weeks...waiting for the right time to break out a Christmas ale. Since I was overcome by the Christmas spirit last night, I think today is the day. Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving is when our holiday decorations go up so this beer today makes sense to me. This year I was ready to put the tree up last week and managed to resist until we got home from turkey day festivities last night.

Our tree this season is about four feet tall and made of purple tinsel. It is nothing short of purple sparkly perfection. Our other tree is a six foot tall monster and made for a house twice the size of our house. When lit, we don't need other lights on in the house. It is truly a sight to behold. I think Clark Griswold would be proud of it. But I decided this year to go understated with the purple one.

Lots more decorating will happen on Sunday, but for now I'm feeling all kinds of satisfied and jolly.

What better beer to pair with the kick off of the holiday season than Hook Norton Brewery's Twelve Days English Christmas ale? Brewed in England, this English strong ale has a 5.5% ABV. It pours a rich cola brown with a slightly off white head. It has a chocolate aroma with a good malt profile. The flavor is chocolate malt with a little hop. There is some fruit ester in there and it has lots of tingly hops at the finish. I think this is a great beer.


It's Not Unusual

Beer #349 Old Peculier / T & R Theakston, Mashom Ripon, England
Beers to go: 17

Finally, we've arrived at the last Friday of the Penn State football season.  This of course means I'm not at work, but I am furiously working to get the tailgate prep taken care of.  Hearing snow showers in the forecast for Saturday.... can't wait!

Hopefully everyone has survived their hangovers/food coma, and is back in business today.  Please be nice to other people if you're out shopping.  Nothing says 'spirit of the season' like getting into a road rage incident in the parking lot because you're furious you can't find the Cabbage Patch Kid your little tyke has been whining about.  The 349th beer of the year is a bottle of Old Peculier, an old ale from T & R Theakston in England.  This ale has a dark mahogany color with a wispy off white head, and your nose finds the aroma of plums and malt.  The taste is a rich mix of raisin, honey, toffee, and malt, with a clean, slightly bitter finish.  Nice beer, particularly for a winter's day.  This beer takes its name from a court opened by the Bishop of York in the 12th century.
This  is not odd.
This brewery traces its history back to 1827 when Robert Theakston took over the Black Bull Inn and began brewing beer.  His sons Thomas and Robert took over the operation after his death, and they registered the name T & R Theakston for their "new" brewery.  The brewery was sold back in 1984 and eventually bought by Scottish & Newcastle, but members of the Theakston family bought the brewery back in 2003. Good bit of history on their website, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Thing to Think About Today:
While this beer is Peculier, it's definitely not unusual.  Therefore, let's have Tom Jones close out our Friday with It's Not Unusual.  Enjoy a sunny fall afternoon, everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Beer #348 Petrus Aged Pale Ale / Brouwerij Bavik, Harebeke-Bavikhove, Belgium
Beers to go: 18

Winding down a glorious Thanksgiving Day, and hopefully your day was as good as mine.  I will tell anyone who listens that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and nothing else is even close.  There's no pressure of shopping or gift giving, just relaxing time spent with family, delicious food, and some football.  I'm a simple man at heart, and this holiday has everything I need.  In the spirit of the day, I do feel I should stop and make mention of things I'm thankful for:
1. A great family; big thanks to my brother-in-law and sister for hosting everyone today and doing a huge portion of the cooking.  Somehow, me showing up with a pie and some wine while you guys cranked out a fantastic turkey and mountains of sides doesn't seem fair.  Your hospitality is a huge part of why Thanksgiving is such an awesome holiday.  So thank you.
2. A wonderful wife who shares hobbies with me.  Particularly crazy adventures involving craft beer.
3. A great group of friends.  My only wish is that I saw them more often, as it's always an adventure when we manage to get together and hang out.  So get a babysitter, and call me.  I'm free.
4. Bill O'Brien.  It may be odd to be thankful for a guy I haven't yet met, but his leadership of the Penn State football team has been really fun to watch this year.  I look forward to seeing what he does in the years to come to help restore the good name of PSU.
5. You, the reader of this blog.  In a universe filled with things to distract us and occupy our time, I appreciate you stopping by to read my rambling thoughts on life and beer.  Maybe you don't read every day (you should, but whatever), but the fact you spend some time here makes me feel good.  Thanks!

Let's wrap up this awesome holiday with a beer: specifically, a Petrus Aged Pale from Brouwerij Bavik in Belgium.  This Oud bruin shows off a beautiful clear gold hue with a thin white head.  As you get close to the glass, you find an intoxicating, tart, sour apple aroma.  When you take a sip, there are notes of oak, tart vinegar, apple, and some faint sweet notes.  Absolutely, positively a beer that must be tried by people who appreciate a complex beer.  Petrus is an all time favorite of mine, and earns a coveted spot in my Top 25 beers for the year.  Hooray!
Sweet chalice for a killer beer
Brouwerij Bavik has been operating since 1894, and Google translates this gem from their website:
Today the fourth generation of this brewer sex through this website take a look behind the scenes of Bavik Brewery.
Wait, what?  Um, you all see the sentence about brewer sex through this website, right?  I'm not sure if I'm horrified or proud that this has been happening for four generations.  Ah, those crazy Belgians!

Thing to Think About Today:
I could just drop in some Adam Sandler here singing The Thanksgiving Song, but you come here to be fascinated and think differently.  Therefore, in memory of the delightful turkey I devoured today, let's spend a second being thankful for poultry.  Songs about poultry, you ask?  Well, that means The Trashmen singing the always unusual Surfing Bird.  Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night!

Beer 348: Tucher Hefeweizen and Thanksgiving Wishes

This Thanksgiving I'm grateful for the balance I've found in my world. I'm at peace with who I am and how I make my way in the world and I sincerely hope that brings joy to those I encounter along the way. I have amazing friends and a strong family and an incredible husband. Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm also grateful for good beer and that's certainly been plentiful this year. Today's beer is from Brauerei Tucher Brau -- specifically the Tucher helles hefeweizen.

It pours a hazy straw color with a full bright white head. It hails from Germany and has a 5.3% ABV. It smells of banana and wet dog. Somehow the wet dog isn't a bad thing. The taste is light buttery banana, wheat and some bubblegum. Overall this is a great beer.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Beer #347 Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale / Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, CA
Beers to go: 19

Welcome to the long weekend!  Today is apparently one of the biggest bar days of the year, as everyone cuts out of work early/comes home from college and heads immediately to a bar to begin celebrating.  I'll spend more time on the topic of Thanksgiving tomorrow, but for tonight please make sure that you all stay safe - can't enjoy Thanksgiving if you're absurdly hung over, or in jail, or something bad like that.

What better way to celebrate a legendary bar night than with an awesome beer: the unusually named Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing Company.  In the spirit of full disclosure, this is probably the third time I've drank a Stone beer this year.  However, due to the fact it's frequently available in stores near me, I never felt pressure to review it, figuring I could always come back to it later.  And here I am.  Anyway, this black ale has a cola color in the glass with an off white head.  The aroma is a heady mix of malt and citrus, and the taste is a lightly toasted malt, with plenty of pine and citrus, some notes of stone fruits, and an enjoyable dry, bitter finish.  Quite good, and definitely on the verge of being included in my Top 25 for the year.  This beer was originally brewed as a special edition for Stone's 11th anniversary, and it was so popular it was added to the regular rotation.
Demons and beer
Stone opened for business in 1996, and have gained a well-deserved reputation for producing big, bold, delicious beers.  In 2005, they moved to a larger space, and fellow awesome brewer The Lost Abbey now occupies their old real estate.  I did not get to visit Stone in person during the San Diego leg of our journey, as Escondido was a bit out of the way from where we were.  Next time, I promise.

Thing to Think About Today:
While the Rolling Stones would be an appropriate connection here, let's go against the grain and let Van Morrison send us into the weekend with the always enjoyable And it Stoned Me.  I'm thankful you all read this.  See you all tomorrow....

Beer 347: Old Speckled Hen

Interesting fact about me? I horde recipes. What makes this even more interesting is that I don't cook. Now you know.

I learned this little tidbit about myself as I was putting away my cranberry pie recipe because I do bake. I can whip up dessert like nobody's business. There's a precision to making dessert that I find incredibly comforting. I've written about it before...way back at Beer 21.

That was 326 beers ago. 326. Wow. But I digress. As I was putting my recipe binder away, I found a stack of paper beneath it and realized it was about twenty or so things I intended to have Gary make for dinner. Having a bit of free time on my hands today, I figured no time like the present to get organized. And now I have dinner figured out for the next six months. I wish I was kidding.

I also started writing holiday cards today. Hopefully I make it through my entire planned list, but if I don't, please don't get mad at me if you didn't make the cut. I thought about sending you a card. I really did.

In other happenings, I drank an Old Speckled Hen from Greene King Brewery.

It poured a beautiful, crystal clear amber and this photograph doesn't do it justice. The head was slightly off white and disappeared quickly. Old Speckled Hen is an English pale ale with a ABV of 5.2% that's brewed in England. It smells of rich, caramel malt with hints of brewed tea.

The flavor repeats that rich malt but it's balanced by a hint of hops. It's also buttery and earthy -- very easy to drink and well balanced. This is a great beer. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beer 346: Jever Pilsener and Scattered Pre-holiday Thoughts

I just registered for next year's bicycle trip through northern Belgium with BeerCycling. I. Am. Going. To. Belgium. IamgoingtoBelgium!!! I'm going to take a little break from writing to do the running man since 1. I know how to do it now and 2. I have some excess excitement to burn off! I've traveled overseas once in my life -- to Egypt. I'm pretty sure I'm more excited for this trip!

Other things rattling around my head...

Pitbull is a funny and articulate guy. I may have judged him too harshly after that awful Dr Pepper commercial Let's Have a Real Good Time.

I inadvertently demanded a promotion at work today. Lucky for me, they already know I'm crazy so this came as no surprise when I hit the ceiling over some nonsense.

I've also come to realize I don't care for pilsners. I like lagers, but for some reason the light lager isn't doing it for me. This is a confusing time for me because I just declared my love of Victory Brewing's Prima Pils. Odd.

Tonight's beer is the Jever Pilsener from Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever in Germany. Jever is the original Friesland pilsner (ABV 4.9%) -- brewed in northern Germany with pure Friesian spring water and fresh Hallertau hops.

It pours a golden color with a wispy white head. It smells like skunky weed and Shredded Wheat. Seriously. Shredded Wheat. The taste is grassy and very sharp. There's something medicinal and sweet in there as well. Yeah. I think I've outgrown pilsners. I'd rate this one average.



Beer #346 Westmalle Trappist Tripel / Brouwerij Westmalle, Malle, Belgium
Beers to go: 20

Now down to the last 20 beers on this phase of the craft beer journey, and feeling good!  Had a amazingly productive afternoon, so let's go ahead and blog while we're in a good mood.  To answer a question I've received: yes, I'll be recapping the top 25 beers/breweries of the year once we get to the finish line, and I'll be handing out a few other awards as well.  Keep reading to see if your favorites are here!  Have a favorite post so far this year?  Let me know and win a prize (note: I have no idea what a prize would be)!

Today's beer is a Trappist beer, the Westmalle Tripel from Brouwerij Westmalle in Beligum.  This beer has a honey color, with a wispy white head.  It's fairly well carbonated, and your nose picks up aromas of apple, grass, and spice.  When you take a sip, you find this beer is earthy and dry, with notes of spices, yeast, and flowers, and a definite grape flavor.  This beer packs at healthy punch at 9.5% ABV, although it hides the booze well.  Not my favorite of the Trappist beers by any stretch, but a rather decent option in the world of Belgian tripels.
Go west, young man.
Westmalle Abbey was founded in 1794, and belongs to a religious order that dates back to the eleventh century.  That's old, people.  OLD.

Thing to Think About Today:
So this beer (like all Trappist beers) is brewed by monks who dedicate their life to prayer and work, and in the process make their own cheese, bread, and beer.  If we're drinking beer made by men of the cloth, then let's have Dusty Springfield close things out with the always awesome Son of a Preacher Man.  Note: if my church brewed beer when I was a kid growing up, I might still attend church.  Just saying.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beer 345: Climax Brewing and 1,000 Paper Cuts

I tried my damnedest to get tickets to the Mumford & Sons show in Philly in February. The first show went on sale at 10:00 a.m. and was sold out by 10:03 a.m. They tweeted that another show was added for the next night and those tickets would be on sale at 11:00 a.m.

Guess what? Those tickets sold out in about two minutes. Guess who's sitting home listening to Mumford & Sons on her iPod come February? Yup. About 800 tickets ended up on by the end of the day. As of 7:00 p.m. tonight, there are 1,200 tickets listed. God damn scalpers. There are ways to prevent this from happening. Ways to make sure your fans get tickets to your shows and not get completely and utterly ripped off by scalpers.

Mumford & Sons, I expect better. Every time I hear one of your songs on the radio now, it's like a thousand tiny paper cuts. Boo.


Tonight's beer is from the Climax Brewing Company --

specifically their India pale ale (6% ABV). It pours a hazy, deep copper color with a tan head that disappeared pretty quickly. It smells of citrus hops. The flavor is citrus and caramel and has a lingering hop finish. I'd rate it average.


You'll Get Nothing and Like It!

Beer #345 Wrasslers XXXX Stout / The Porterhouse Brewing Company, Dublin, Ireland
Beers to go: 21

After a productive day at work today, I'm in hustle mode tonight as I need to make some dinner, blog, and then transport myself down to Total Wine in Delaware to stock up on wine for Thanksgiving (and maybe some beer for future use).

So tonight I give you a review for Wrasslers XXXX Stout, from The Porterhouse Brewing Company.  This Irish beer is a dark black hue with a thin tan head.  The aroma is of smoke and toasted malt.  The taste has some chocolate, but you really find an overwhelming amount of toasted, roasted, burnt, smoky malt.  There's some bitterness on the finish, but this whole overwhelming smoky thing is just not my cup of tea, and I can't even picture a world where I would drink this beer regularly.  However, that's just me; I'm sure for those of you who like these sort of beers, it's a very fine example of the style.
She can't wrestle, but you should see her box!
 Porterhouse was opened in 1989, and claims to be Ireland's first brewpub.  They now have a number of locations throughout the U.K., and one in New York as well.

Thing to Think About Today:
I really can't think of the word 'Porterhouse' without thinking of Porterhouse, the clubhouse attendant from Caddyshack:
"Why you sonofabitch!"
It's also on my mind because I just re-watched this classic comedy two weekends ago.  While Porterhouse was but a bit character in the grand scheme of the movie, I'm sure his hatred of Judge Smails made him want to engage in some wrestling.  Or, wrassling.... in honor of this beer.  Off to shop, my friends.  Have a good night, and go ahead and think about Caddyshack in my absence:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

All Aboard

Beer #344 Pier 54 IPA / Titanic Brewery, Stoke-On-Trent, England
Beers to go: 22

Another great, but tiring weekend in the books, as Penn State dominated on the field, and our tailgate dominated in the parking lot.  Literally, as a girl tried to come over and challenge one of our crew to a dance-off (don't ask).  She left defeated, and it wasn't even close.  She found out that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

I'll go ahead and get right into the beer, as I'm tired, and I need to cram five days worth of work into three courtesy of the short week.  Tonight I'm reviewing the Pier 54 IPA from Titanic Brewery.  As you may not know, the doomed luxury liner Titanic was scheduled to arrive at Pier 54 in New York after completing its maiden voyage.  Only problem was that things didn't quite work out according to plan.  This unsinkable beer has a copper color with an off white head, and your nose picks up aromas of citrus and hops.  The taste is a nice mix of caramel malt, lemon, and pine, with a nice bitterness on the finish.  If you're looking to try this beer, I suggest visiting The Farmers' Cabinet in Philly, which has the most impressive European bottle list I've seen on our beer journey.
Cold beer, dead ahead!
Titanic Brewery opened for business in 1985, and was named in honor of the Titanic's Captain Edward John Smith, who grew up just down the road from where the brewery was located.  They have a number of beers with Titanic themed names, however it does appear the Pier 54 is only released occasionally.

Thing to Think About Today:
We're by all means sticking with the theme today.  For those in the Philadelphia area, the always entertaining and amazing Franklin Institute just opened Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit, which will run through early April.  This traveling exhibit features 300 artifacts recovered from the ocean floor, and tells the complete story of this ship, from how it was built to the fateful events during the maiden voyage 100 years ago to current technology used to explore the wreck 2.5 miles below the surface and collect artifacts.  I was fortunate enough to see this during an opening night event, and it's fascinating on many levels and incredibly well presented.  If you're near Philadelphia and looking for a great way to spend an afternoon, I highly encourage you to check out this exhibit.  Bonus tip for guys: great place to take a date you're trying to impress....

Beer 344: Things Peculiar and Peculier

Peculiar: adj.

1. Unusual or eccentric; odd.
2. Distinct from all others. See Synonyms at strange.
3. Belonging distinctively or primarily to one person, group, or kind; special or unique: rights peculiar to the rich; a species peculiar to this area.

i.e. Yesterday's tailgate.

It lasted 13 hours only to be interrupted for a few hours by a football game. And what a game it was! Penn State destroyed Indiana to the tune of 45-22 and left a number of PSU football records in tatters. But from that high came a very, very low. It looks like senior Michael Mauti is out for the season with a knee injury. This wasn't the way his season was supposed to end. Not for one of the most passionate leaders of this team, who managed to keep it mostly intact as the world tried to tear it apart.

The team rallied around their fallen leader and played some inspired football yesterday afternoon. What did we do? We rallied and tailgated like it was our last days on earth.

We were among the first in the lot at 7:23 a.m. and we were definitely among the last as we put a fork in it as the clock neared 9:00 p.m. We ate taco dip like it was our last meal. We plotted a gangnam style flash mob. We worked out our MC Hammer dance. There was a dance off with a neighboring tailgater -- the poor thing had no idea what hit her! I finally figured out how to do the running man, which by the way has given me Mike-Mauti-sympathy-knee-pain.

There were six tailgaters at the start and six eggs. There were six tailgaters at the end and no eggs. That's dance cooking style.

Now for the Peculier...the Old Peculier from T&R Theakston Ltd. . Theakston is one of Britain's few remaining family brewing companies and Old Peculier is the beer for which they are renowned.

It pours a deep, dark brown with a light tan head. It smells like molasses and rich malts. It tastes like a mash-up of tea, malt, fruit, molasses and bits of raisin with a bracing hop finish. I couldn't quite place the fruit until I read the official description. It's black cherry. The ABV is 5.6% and it's quite drinkable. This is a great beer.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


Beer #343 Chang / Cosmos Brewery (Thai Beverage), Bangkok, Thailand 
Beers to go: 23

By the time you read this, the Penn State vs. Indiana game has kicked off, and I'm likely enjoying a great day in the parking lot - and hopefully in the stadium, too!

Today's beer is another one of those macro brews, but a macro coming from a strange place that I'm not likely ever going to visit.  Today's beer is Chang, from Cosmos Brewery, which is owned by Thai Beverage, in Bangkok.  In the glass, you see a clear, dull gold, and your nose finds a sweet aroma, maybe of rice.  The taste has some grain and rice, and some sweetness, and not a while of much else, really.  Unless you have some burning desire to cross off a beer from Thailand on your bucket list, go ahead and skip this one.
Pretend this beer never happened
Thing to Think About Today:
You know who makes me laugh?  Ken Jeong, who is hilarious and plays the equally hilarious character Senor Chang on the NBC comedy Community.  He's waaaay better than Chang beer, that's for sure.  Senor Chang, the floor is yours:

Beer 343: Netebuk, a Belgian Saison

What have you done by 7:00 a.m. this morning? I hit publish on this post and am now enjoying a Founders Cerise at the second to last PSU tailgate of the season. I'm also praying to god that I don't drop anything. Flexibility is close to zero since I'm wearing two full sets of long johns, jeans, two long sleeve t-shirts, a fleece and a jacket.

But alas I'm not writing about Founders. I did that back on March 3.. Instead you get the Netebuk -- a saison from Brouwerij 't Brouwkot (6.5% ABV).

Is there a difference between a Belgian saison and a saison from Belgium? I say to-may-toe. You say to-mah-toe.

The Netebuk poured a bright gold with a thin white head. The smell is strong fruit, not what I expected from a saison. The flavor is grass, light fruit, hops and a bit of wheat. There's also some light honey and the usual peppery spice. This is a good beer. Cheers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beer 342: Stoudt's Scarlet Lady and a Growing Problem

I may be addicted to striped sweaters. Another one came home with me today.

This photo doesn't do it justice. It is fantastically neon pink with black and white stripes. Because if there's one thing I love almost as much as a striped sweater lately, it's neon. Another color I love? Scarlet. As in Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ale.

Stoudt's is located in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, which I just learned is Antiques Capital USA. It's trademarked so you know it's true. I highly recommend a visit. Stoudt's makes some awesome beers and it's an incredibly easy place to get to. While the Scarlet Lady ranks fairly high on my favorite beers list, I'm also a fan of their Fat Dog stout, Heifer-in-Wheat and Karnival Kolsch. The Karnival Kolsch has become a beer of choice at Franklin Institute events. Sadly my distributor couldn't get any for me at the most recent event, but rest assured I'll have something from Stoudt's at upcoming events. I'm slowly converting the macro-beer drinkers in Philadelphia. Watch out!

I was lucky to find the Scarlet Lady on the hand pump at Teresa's Next Door last night. I love beer on the hand pump. I think it brings out a lot more of the subtle flavors in a beer. Scarlet Lady is an extra special bitter -- one of my favorite styles. It smells of nutty malt and pours a lovely reddish amber color with a thick, off white head.

The flavor is robust malt with a nice bitter finish. There are notes of caramel, nuts and just a little grassiness. It's nice crisp beer with a full body. Cheers!

Day off = Magical

Beer #342 Circus Boy / Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Burlington, VT
Beers to go: 24

While you're at work, I'm sitting at home, writing a review and getting ready to get on the road - it's another Penn State tailgate weekend!  Only two left in the season, need to make them count...

Today's beer is Circus Boy, a hefeweizen from Magic Hat Brewing Company out of Vermont.  In the glass, this beer shows off a clear effervescent gold hue, with a wispy white head.  The aroma is of bread and lemon, and when you take a sip you pick up flavors of bread, biscuit, and banana, with floral notes and a crisp and clean finish.  Not as much clove or banana as you might want from a hefeweizen, but a decent beer for those who are looking for something light to remind them of sunny days.
Yeah, boyeeeee!
Burlington is a great town, and the last time I was there, I figured a tour of the Magic Hat Brewery would be a lot of fun, right?  Yeah, until I found out that the brewery was undergoing renovations, and there were no tours that weekend.  Next time, next time.

Thing to Think About Today:
Magic Hat?  Magic Man, from Heart.  It's Friday people, go crazy.  Let loose.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Good Old New England

Beer #341 Narragansett Lager / Narragansett Brewing Company, Providence, RI
Beers to go: 25

I had an immensely productive day today, which is an awesome way to close out a Thursday and open up a three day weekend.  It's Friday, so I won't bore you with any more details, it's time for happy hour to begin and the party to start.

Tonight's beer is the Narragansett Lager from Narragansett Brewing company.  This pounder can pours out a clear, effervescent gold color with a quickly dissipating head.  The aroma is a light mix of grain and sweetness, and the taste is clean, with plenty of grain, bread, and barley.  Not a terribly complex beer, but if you're looking for something simple and easy drinking (and a FAR more flavorful alternative to macro light beers), you've got it.  Maybe it's because I grew up on Yuengling Lager, but I was originally expecting more malt flavor in this one.  However, once I got that out of my head, it was easy to see that this would be a great tailgate beer.  Plus, beer in pounder cans is always better, that's just a fact.
Sold on Merit
Interesting history behind this brewery, as it originally opened in 1890 in the town of Cranston.  It produced one of the most popular beers in the New England region, and was eventually sold to Falstaff Brewing Company for $19 million back in 1965.  The original brewery in Cranston closed in 1981, and once giant St. Louis based brewer Falstaff eventually went of of business, Narragansett was off the market.  The original brand name was sold to a group of investors in 2005, who have relaunched the famous brew.  Their website has a nice recap of the history, and a photo gallery of 'Gansett Girls, if you're into that pretty girl sort of thing.

Thing to Think About Today:
The weekend is officially underway, and I might as well keep with the weekend theme and drop in some Vampire Weekend.  I saw them headline the Roots Picnic in Philly two summers ago, and they absolutely killed that night.  They have a pop/world sound that always brings me back to the best of Paul Simon.  They're not everyone's cup of tea; they can come off as a bit too preppy/Ivy League/trust fund/Frat Bro/too smart for their own good at times, but for me they're fantastic.  Hard to believe I waited 341 days to get us thinking about them, actually.  Shall we ride along into the weekend?  We shall, and we'll start with A-Punk:

And I'll go ahead and close out today with a slowed down, acoustic (with string trio!) version of the song Vampire Weekend used to close out the Roots Picnic, Walcott.  A song that just happens to be about life in New England - where this brewery is from.  Hooray music for smart people!

Beer 341: A Dose of Humility and Porterhouse Brewing

Two nights ago I went to my first intermediate yoga class in a long time. After hitting a month's worth of beginner classes after an entirely-too-long absence from any yoga studios, I felt confident. It also didn't hurt that Mr. Blog Named Brew did the same intermediate class the prior week as a novice yoga student. 

Oh. My. God. These chicken arms didn't know what hit them as I found myself in repetitions of down dog and high plank. Float my feet to the front of the mat? How about I take 19 baby steps to get there and stay somewhat in forward fold?  After about 70 minutes of some serious yoga flow, I was utter jello. After another 12 minutes, I begged for mercy and curled into child's pose. OK, I didn't beg. I just crumpled into a heap and wiggled into position.

The funny thing about yoga is that I tend not to really feel the workout until two days later.  That would be today. Sitting up is a challenge. I sound like an old man, grumbling and groaning every time I get up from my desk. I think my spine is trying to leave my body. I worry that I won't be able to feed myself dinner. Really. Worried.

You know what else is so intense?  The Wrasslers XXXX Irish dry stout from the Porterhouse Brewing Company in Ireland.  Could this really be my first beer in 341 days from Ireland? I checked all my records and indeed it is. Before I get into the beer review, take a gander at the cap on this one:

A pull tab on a bottle? I had no idea that existed.  This may be one of the most unusual caps I've encountered.  After peeling off the cap, I ended up with this:

The Wrasslers XXXX poured black as night with a thick tan head.  The flavor was vanilla and milky at first.  That was quickly followed up by some roast coffee. It finished with a bracing dryness and a bit of smoke.  The armoma was earthy and full of cocoa.  The most interesting part of drinking it is the way it grabs hold of your tongue and just doesn't let go. 

I think this is a good beer.  Cheers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beer 340: Pier 54 from Titanic Brewery

I had the chance to try the Pier 54 from Titanic Brewery way back in August and I've been sitting on this review since then.  Why the long wait?  Because Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is now docked at The Franklin Institute!

If you haven't seen this exhibit, please do yourself a favor and go. I can't begin to describe how mesmerizing the exhibit design is.  You board as do all passengers, across the dock and up the gangway. The scene is set through amazing room recreations, but what I love most about it is the gallery that takes you through the series of communications received by the Titanic that fateful evening in April 1912. Communications that were largely ignored. Was it unwavering faith in the supposedly unsinkable ship that made the warnings seem over-cautious? Was it man's vaulting ambition to be bigger, better, faster? There's a lesson to be learned in this exhibit that is as relevant today as it was back then.

No one and nothing is unsinkable.  I didn't know where I was going with this post when I started writing it, but there it is. No one and nothing is unsinkable. Look at the past year...Penn State's football program. The icon that was Joe Paterno. Elmo. John Edwards. Lance Armstrong. David Petraeus.

Wow. That just got real.

The Pier 54 hails from England just like the RMS Titanic. In fact, the original brewery is in a town right down the road from where Captain John Smith was born! The name Pier 54 was the intended destination of Titanic, but as we all know, she never made it there.

It is an English strong ale and poured a deep golden color. Much of what I smelled also ended up in the taste -- full fruity flavor with lots of caramel undertones.  It had a strong bitter finish.  There was a lot more flavor in this beer than I was anticipating to find given its low ABV (5.4%).  I'll rate it good and bid you bon voyage.


Turn Those Machines Back On!

Beer #340 Bell Ringer Ale / RJ Rockers Brewery, Spartanburg, SC
Beers to go: 26

Hustle day today, as I'm headed into Philly tonight for an event.  More on that tomorrow, I promise you.

Up for review tonight is the second beer in a row from the Palmetto State, the Bell Ringer Ale from RJ Rockers Brewing in Spartansburg.  This beer shows off a honeyed amber color, and your nose finds a bready, boozy aroma.  The taste is filled with alcohol; a rather abrupt greeting of straight up booze, in fact.  There are flavors of caramel malt, molasses and dark fruit, with a dry, hoppy finish.  This beer is somewhere in a Bermuda Triangle of a Double IPA, Belgian quad, and barley wine.  However, much like planes and small boats which venture into the Bermuda Triangle, this one seems to have lost its way.  You're better off looking elsewhere for a strong ale.  Sorry.
Why does RJ Rockers sound like a depressing chain restaurant?
RJ Rockers opened as a brewpub in 1997, and found success with their beer and moved out of the restaurant business in 2002.  Now you know.

Thing to Think About Today:
By the time you read this, I'll be on my way into the City of Brotherly Love.  Philly really is a great city, no small part in thanks to the fantastic beer and food scene and abundance of vibrant cultural institutions.  Throughout the years, there have been some classic movies that use Philadelphia as a backdrop, or even a character in the story.  Think Rocky, Philadelphia, The Sixth Sense, Twelve Monkeys, and maybe the best one on the list - Trading Places.

This film stars Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd, and Jamie Lee Curtis, and tells the tale of the Duke brothers, two wealthy industrialists who debate the topic of whether someone's environment or their upbringing makes the man.  To answer the question, the Randal and Mortimer Duke make a bet (for their usual stakes, $1) to see if one of their well-heeled proteges (Akryod) can survive without his job, social status, and girlfriend, while simultaneously seeing if a hustler from the street (Murphy) can make it in the board room.  Once the two victims of this plot find out they're pawns in this strange game, they join forces to teach the Dukes a lesson they'll never forget.  Whether you've seen this a dozen times or haven't yet been lucky enough to see this one, please do yourself a favor and watch this movie immediately.

"Looking good, Billy Ray!"
"Feeling good, Louis!"